Over the last few years, Will and I have been making a point of spending at least one weekend a year away - just the two of us. We went to Warm Springs, VA back in 2014 and our 2015 weekend was spent in Blacksburg, VA. Just last weekend, we took the kids to my parents house in PA and then headed back down to Luray, VA where we had rented a cozy little cabin with a beautiful mountain view.
Before we left, I told Will that the only thing I wanted to do was stay put. I didn't want to go shopping, didn't want to go out to eat, didn't want to hike. I just wanted to relax by the fireplace, read a book, watch a movie, and admire the view. But when we realized that we couldn't get into the cabin until 4 on Friday and we had planned to leave my parents house at 9 that morning, we knew we needed something to kill some time. So, naturally, we headed to the reliable land of the Internets to find ourselves a good hiking trail. With the Shenendoah National Park right around the corner from where we were staying, it was a natural choice to head up there for a quick hike on Friday. We ended up doing the hike up Stony Man Mountain that Friday afternoon. It was really cold so the short walk and mountain view at the end was just what we were looking for.
As we were leaving the park that day, we noticed that the Old Rag trail was close by, too. As fate would have it, a college friend of mine had contacted me just the week before asking if Will and I had ever hiked Old Rag. She mentioned that the website called it a dangerous hike and wondered what we thought about it. Since we'd never attempted it before, when we saw that it was close we knew we had to try it. Who wants to sit around a nice warm cabin when you can spend 5 hours hiking 9 miles in 30 degree weather on a trail that gains 2500 ft and has a crazy long rock scramble to climb? Not us! So after sleeping in until 8am (isn't it sad that 8 is sleeping in?) on Saturday morning, we packed our warmest layers, grabbed some snacks, and headed to the mountain.
It. Was. Awesome. What a fantastic trail. But it definitely lived up to the "very strenuous" rating it receives and I'll tell you, after all the trails we've hiked and in all the different conditions we've hiked, I usually feel pretty confident in our abilities on any trail. This one was a challenge for sure, but so much fun! I can't wait to go back in warmer weather and try it again. We ended up hiking the loop so we didn't have to hike down the rock scramble since it was icy in spots, and that added an extra mile or two that we could have avoided by just turning around. But the loop was an easy walk down a fire road and we got to cross that beautiful creek up there in that last photo. Definitely a great hike for our 2016 weekend away.
Afterwards we headed back to our cabin to make some dinner and do all those other things I was hoping to do: sit by the fire, read a book, watch a movie, and enjoy the view.
What a great weekend. It's so good to push pause on this busy life every once in awhile and remind ourselves of what's important: love, time, being together. Hoping that 2016 will include one more weekend away, just the two of us.
Have a great weekend, friends!