Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009 Great Summer Day

Partly cloudy, very humid. mid eighties on the mountain, nineties at the fee station. One of those days that when the air got saturated with humidity as evening grew cooler.

Country Roads
Got to the fee station about 10 minutes before it closed. I had done some sightseeing on the way out by using some of Virginia's back country roads. I plan on taking the roads less traveled to get to Old Rag more often in the future in order to get a better feel for the countryside between Woodbridge and Old Rag.

Relatively quiet day. Seemed like about 150 cars in the lower lot. In the upper lot I met a hiker coming down the fire road who had started early in the morning and had already done (if memory serves Stony Man and Robertson). His plan was to finish with the Old Rag circuit for a total of 17 miles and over 5,000 feet of vertical. Since he was already a little spent he decided to stay with me. Of course I hike extremely slowly with lots of breaks since my main goal is to reach the summit around the end of the day. My goal is to maximize the amount of time I spend on the mountain. Being a NASA contractor and a good conversationalist my impromtu hiking partner was great company.

I did not have to pick up much liter. I had to break up a fire ring for the second weekend in a row. No medicals and the typical advise was dispensed.

The Wily Old Rag Dogs Got Loose And Went Walk About
I and the fee station rangers had a warning that all three Old Rag dogs who live at home down near the lower lot had gotten loose. The dogs were a popular discussion topic with hiking groups on the mountain this day. Hikers are often concerned for the dogs welfare. The dogs sometimes compound this since they have learned that looking tired, hungry, and thirsty elicits treats. One group was bringing one of the dogs down on a make shift lead. He had a sore on his flank which his owner had warned me about. His owner is treating this with iodine. The hiking group was very concerned but relieved to learn the whole story and to know that they could let him go once they reached the parking lot. Daisy was hanging out under a bunch of rocks just before the rock scramble. As we approached her she barked and growled very loudly. I know she is shy and I bet someone had thought they needed to try and pick her up over some of the rocks. From my encounters with her having anyone try to grab her while she was cornered in the rocks would have greatly agitated her. She let me coax her out from under the rocks to within about five feet of me and at which point she lay down but she would not let me get any closer. She appeared fine. I have never figured out how the dogs get down from some of the trickier places I have seen them get to but they always seem to get down with or without help.

No medicals or separated parties. No rock climbers seen.

Photos offer higher resolution if double clicked.

My climbing companion for most the day.

Looking down the Ridge Trail from the Summit. (stitched from four shots)
Looking West from the summit. (stitched from three shots)

The picture below is an Old Rag deer near the fire road junction.
My Lyme Encounter
While they certainly feed the tick population, deer are not carriers of Lyme. It is the rodents which are the reservoir for Lyme.
I am learning a lot more about ticks and the diseases they vector since I had what appeared to be a tick byte and a large rash on my back. Not a bulls eye rash but it turns out some people who get Lyme doe not ever have a rash and of those that have rashes many are not the classic bulls eye rash. I got this byte and rash even though I take precautions and use Deet on my skin and Permithrin on my clothes.
Just to be cautious I am on 20 days of Doxy. I am probably being a hypochondriac but have had plenty of what might be Herx reactions so am wondering if I may have also been carrying a stealth infection. I guess I will just have to watch myself over the coming months. My problem is I will not know if my symptoms are just due to old age or if they may be the result of a low level stealth infection. I wish they had a good test which could actually tell you for sure if your body was clear of infection. I understand they are working on one.

Yet another great Old Rag day.

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