Evidently this was one of those days when Skyline Drive was closed and we received some of its refugees who decided that if they could not do the hike they planned off of Skyline Drive that Old Rag was a good alternative.
Either lady luck or some supreme power decided to return a name tag that had become separated from me during an earlier trip. It had been hiding in the leaves in Mel's ditch until he had decided to clean his ditches on this day. What a quirky set of coincidences.
If you are a friendly reassuring presence and get into friendly conversations with folks it is amazing how much information you gain about the goings on across the whole mountain without needing to be physically all places at once. A lot of parties that I catch up to later in the day are amazed that I know about an earlier part of their hike. "Heard you banged your knee in the Chute this morning" Incredulous hiker "How did you know that?" me in answer "Oh the hiking party just behind you. You know the three older gentleman one of whom had that funny stocking cap on told me all about it."
On this Saturday there were a number of the classic Scout Troops either doing day hikes or overnights. It is a lot of fun seeing the youngest troop members who are doing their first hike on Old Rag and perhaps getting their first exposure to a rock scramble and some cold weather camping. For many, Old Rag will be where they first caught the outdoor mountain adventure bug.
Hey for those who like to follow Helios and his steads this is a fun time of year. The earliest sunset of the year is already behind us. From this point on the sunsets will be a little bit later each day. The winter solstice follows around ten days later and the latest sunrise for the year will follow about ten days after the winter solstice. You might think they would all occur on the solstice but because of the interplay of a couple of different celestial motions they are spread out the way they are. If you are interested in a more detailed explanation that might make your head hurt a little check out the following links: