A Literal Leap of Faith

7.29.2011

Shenandoah National Park / Old Rag Mountain Trail / July 23, 2011

The Old Rag trail is easily one of the hardest trails I've ever done. It wasn't all that long- about 8 miles round trip, but it was steep, grueling, and mentally challenging. It was also about 100 degrees and absurdly humid. 

When we were about 1 mile into the 1.5 mile rock scramble we heard thunder in the distance. I think the worst possible scenario would have been rain on the rock scramble. The rocks were already slick, steep, and challenging- rain would have made the stretch treacherous. More treacherous, I should say. 

Thank goodness the rain held out long enough and we made it, but not before we used serious rock climbing skills and jumped a 4ft crevice. That jump was probably the scariest thing I've ever done in my life because the fall would have been 20+ feet and the surfaces we were jumping from and landing on were not friendly. I shudder thinking about that jump. 

A literal leap of faith. Marissa made it across the crevice first and left Kate and me standing on the other side. She told us to take a leap of faith, which I found to be very nerve-wracking since the faith would be in my mind and body's ability to cope with my fear. I was nervous that my body would quit mid jump or that my mind would change right as I left the safety of the rock. Kate had similar feelings. We knew all to well that real safety was a 4 hr hike away (although I don't think I wold have been any less scared if paramedics were standing by.)

Once we all made it to the other side (after much deliberation and stalling) we just sat on the rock feeling thankful that we'd done it and that it was over. I'm glad I did it and I hope I don't have to do it again. 


p.s. I realize that a 4 ft jump is not very long at all, in fact it's easy. It's a different story when there is a 20ft drop that you have to jump over. A 20 ft drop with jagged edges on the way down. I still can't believe we all made it across. I also can't believe we all tried to make it across. Terrifying. 

At the end of the 8 miles we were so proud of ourselves. We all conquered some major fears on this trail and we did it together.

26 comments:

  1. Great photos, and a great story too. That leap surely sounds rather scary but exciting at the same time! :) I've always loved the sense of accomplishment at the end of something so nerve-wrecking. It's nice having such adventurous friends with you to do such fun activities. I wished I had them too. My friends happen to not be so adventurous, haha!

    Have a great weekend, Sarah! xx

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  2. That is so awesome! I am so happy for you! I would love to be able to accomplish a hike like that! Although I doubt I ever could... :/ is there a picture of the crevice?

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  3. Wow, that sounds like a tough hike! Congrats, you must really feel a sense of accomplishment.

    www.saffakate.blogspot.com

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  4. Brave girl - looks like a beautiful spot to hike! Would love to see a photo of the jump.
    xx.

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  5. what a beautiful place! You go on the best hikes :)

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  6. Wow! I would have been so proud of that hike too! It looks intense but the feeling that you would have gotten once reaching the top (or after completing a crevice jump!) would have made it all worthwhile. Plus you get the gorgeous scenery.

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  7. Looks amazing. And hey, four feet is four feet! It just takes a millisecond to lose your footing. I'd have been terrified too! Good job!

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  8. It always feels great to accomplish something grueling. Those stone steps look pretty neat, though. And your photographs are lovely, as always.

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  9. oh wow! I bet you felt so empowered after all that. Great job! :)

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  10. Congrats! Nothing better than overcome a fear, and the satisfaction of accomplishing something. Looks like a really nice but heavy track. Good one!

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  11. WOHOO Congrats! the big drop would totally freak me out and i am so clumsy :)

    happy weekend.

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  12. How amazing! I can only imagine the huge rush and feeling of accomplishment you all had at the finish of the hike. It looks like such a beautiful place!

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  13. yikes, that would totally freak me out! reminds me of the danny boyle/james franco film 127 hours!

    Katie x

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  14. I would freeze right up if I had to do that. In fact, my feet got a case of cold sweats when I read that you did it! That sounds terrifying.

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  15. You just inspired me to do what I've been wanting to do all summer: summit a mountain. I live quite close to Ha Ling Peak (in fact I can see it from my balcony) and I want to start with that one. I'm not a climber (that one picture of your looks terrifying) but I can hike a pretty steap incline. I want a challenge in my life and I think I'm ready.

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  16. P.S. Good for you for accomplishing that.. never forget it!

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  17. GREAT blog! it is so interesting and inspirational! if you get the chance to check out mine, I would love to see what you think of it!:)

    follow me?
    www.so--hi.blogspot.com

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  18. Wow! Amazing! Congratulations! And the photos are breathtaking!
    xx

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  19. That jump is scary! And it truly was a leap of faith. :)

    It's realllyy realllyyy weird, but yesterday I went hiking too and it rained us out! It was seriously the hardest trek up a mountainside I've ever done. It was crazy because the rain made all the rocks so slippery and loose. Luckily, I was with a few friends and we all helped each other out. :)

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  20. Again, where do you find these places! It looks stunning!

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  21. The old rag trail sounds fun, but good to know there is a 4 foot spot where you need to jump! :) That would be so scary, but you did a great job!

    http://bronsonbloopers.blogspot.com/

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  22. You are some very BRAVE ladies. I'm so proud and nervous at the same time! 4 ft definitely sounds like a lot to me...I know I wouldn't have the courage to jump. Unless of course there was a bear after me...or a serial killer or something. ;) HA.

    Glad you girls had a SAFE and fun time! xo

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  23. You are so awesome! I would have been scared to jump across the crevice too, but sometimes those leaps of faith are the most rewarding. I just can't get over how gorgeous the scenery is where you live. I guess when I picture New York all I think of is the city. That last picture is wonderful.

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  24. This is awesome! I guess you had an awesome view!

    And I'm new to your blog... I really like it! New follower!

    I hope you have an awesome day!
    And btw... my name is also Sarah! :D

    xo, Sarah =)

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  25. Holy crap! I don't know if I could have did that jump... I feel like, knowing my clumsy-ness, I would for sure fall through... I'm impressed!! Great photos!!

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