There is no indoor plumbing at the Old Rag contact station or anywhere else on Old Rag Mountain within the park. There are springs and streams low on the mountain and in the hollows but any open water in the park should be considered unsafe unless disinfected. Boiling, UV Light sterilizers, chemical treatment, and filtration are all methods that can be used to disinfect your water. There are many good sources on the web concerning water purification. Here is just one:
Advice About WATER From US Parks.com (slightly altered)
During hot humid months each hiker should plan on needing to carry two to four quarts of water on an Old Rag day hike. Watch your "ins and outs". Drink enough so that urine frequency, clarity, and volume are normal. You are not drinking enough water if your urine is dark, small in quantity, or non-existent in the course of a day's hiking. In addition, eating adequate amounts of food will help you replace the electrolytes (salts) that you are sweating.
During the summer months, your fluid/electrolyte loss can exceed two quarts per hour if you hike uphill in direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day. Do not wait until you start feeling thirsty to start replacing lost fluid. By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Your body can absorb only about one quart of fluid per hour. Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. Carry your water where it is easy to get to and drink small amounts often.
During weeks when seasonal variations can be observed I try to post a picture taken from the same spot each week just for comparison purposes.
The next picture has been zoomed a little just so you can see that the leaves on the trees along the ridge line have not fully developed yet. Down in the hollows the leaves are fully out and the understory bushes and brush are growing in. Some Azaleas were blooming .
There was a profusion of Bluets along the trail. The simple elegance and colors of this flower has always enchanted me.
The next picture shows some Violets that were growing tucked up under a boulder near Byrds Nest Shelter. At first I mistakenly identified them as Birds Foot Violets but then I learned from a fellow ORMSer who writes a great blog Silver Spring Wanderer (see link at right) that Birds Foot Violets have orange centers and these are most likely Common Blue Violets. She was nice enough to send links to pictures of both Birds Foot Violets:
ORMS has started its 2010 season. Here you see some stewards near the summit. You should be able to spot ORMS members by their orange shirts with the Trillium(Wake Robin) logo on the upper left chest. I have posted the link to the Old Rag Mountain Stewards (ORMS) web site on the right of the blog.