Sometimes when you hike, you experience nothing out of the ordinary. You rediscover the same landscapes. You feel the same breezes blow. You experience the same emotions. That's not to say the hike has been boring and mundane, you just haven't felt inspired or connected with the moment. Then again, sometimes you hike and experience the extraordinary, knowing that what you're seeing is forever changing you. You've connected with the moment, and you're present. You've found adventure.
That adventure is exactly what I discovered when I set out on Old Rag Mountain in Virginia. Located in the Shenandoah National Park at 1,001m, it's not the tallest peak in the state, not even the tallest peak in the park. However, what Old Rag lacks in elevation, it more than makes up for in trail diversity. Steep slopes, multiple cutbacks through the valley and boulder scrambles to the summit make this trail one of my favourites. Add to it the foggiest morning of the year, and damned if I didn't have a race to the top.
I wanted to see the horizon blend with the carpet of fog and watch it roll as the afternoon sun slowly burned it away. To this day, I swear I could hear the droplets move through the trees. For a few hours, I sat on a small boulder at 1,001m completely engrossed in the scene unfolding around me. It was in that moment I let go of life’s stressors, worries and complications. I found adventure.
I was, quite literally, walking on clouds.