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50 before 25 - West Virginia & Shenandoah NP

Friends are like a canopy of trees on a rainy day. Friends can’t block the rain but they definitely muffle the blow. Friends share fruit snacks, friends hand you a water bottle when you’re struggling to catch your breath and friends wait for you when you need a minute. Friends are the only way we could justify hiking 7.5 miles to the top of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park on the outskirts of a hurricane. Friends make everything a little easier. And when you summit to absolutely no view, friends laugh and take pictures anyway. 

Mikayla and I have had the privilege of traveling with our friends to a majority of the states we have been too. And now that we are 25 states in I want to say thank you to all of our friends. The journeys have been long but always fun when our friends are there! 

Anyway, West Virginia! We began our journey to WV after work on a random Friday in September. Saul, Kaitlyn, and Menna were meeting us there. In our typical fashion, we had Olive Garden for dinner and then walked to the local Walmart to pick up snacks for our hike the following day. The Walmart sold guns and it was a very different experience. There were religious sayings on a majority of the clothing as well! Very unique. The next morning we had some complementary continental breakfast (our FAVE) and then started our drive to Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Along the drive there, there were many cows and very little bars (not much service). You do have to book a reservation the night before (and I believe there are only 800 spots) so be sure to do this! There weren’t many people on the day we went, though—perhaps because of the hurricane. We had no trouble parking and then confirmed our reservation and began our hike! It rained the entire time but the trees provide a canopy of leaves that helps defend from the harsh rain pours. This is a difficult hike—the beginning is a gradual to aggressive incline that, towards the middle, incorporates many rock scrambles. You will need to maneuver your body quite a bit. We summited, and saw absolutely nothing! The sky was full of clouds, it was super windy, and there were no longer trees to cover us from the now intense rain. So we began our descent the same way we came instead of finishing the loop. We all made it back safe and then had some Blaze pizza and watched some TV. We finished the night with Crumbl Cookies and then went to bed. The next day we visited Lurray Caverns. It was epic! I loved it and for only $35 I would definitely do it again! You get to walk inside the cave and see all of these amazing natural formations. 10/10. After that we did a short maze and then headed home. 

West Virginia is beautiful. We are talking about going back already! 

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