In the following picture the Old Rag Boundry Station's thermometer was in the shade but it was still showing 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Just five-six months ago we were snowshoeing and skiing and now we are seeing record breaking highs.
With the weather being so hot I thought I would provide a little guidance about a tiny but deep-enough-to-cool-off-in wading hole near the end of your hike. It is in Brokenback Run just below the old upper lot. Look for an informal trail between the big boulder and the PATC Trail Overseer sign. Since this can be a popular place please try and be careful about limiting your impact.
FUNGI AND INSECTSOld Rag has a wealth of fungi species and some can be very colorful. If you look closely at the mushroom pictured below you will see a beetle (I believe it is a firefly) on this one. I have recently started to become more aware of the insect life on Old Rag. At one point on this trip I saw four beetles rumbling in the middle of the trail. I did not see any obvious thing nearby to fight over but it was clear they were fighting over something. One beetle finally prevailed and the other three took off into the leaf litter. Ten minutes later and further down the trail I heard a fairly loud noise in the leaf litter. Thinking it must be a small rodent of some kind I waited to see what was making the noise and a GIANT! black beetle about the size of a small vole emerged. When I put my headlamp on high I can see all kinds of pin point but bright insect eyes glowing back at me. Upon close inspection they are usually revealed to belong to a spider. Fireflies Photuris pyralis are still around but their numbers are greatly dwindling. Of course then there are the countless species of ants, termites, ticks, gnats, flies, bees, wasps, butterflies, moths ........
Looking down on the farms near Etlan from the slab just above the Chute. I am always amazed at how small everything looks even though it is only a two to three thousand feet and a mile or two below.