Trailhead Seven: The descent begins

Final Project: A study of Old Rag Mountain

Trailhead Seven: The descent begins

Syria, Virginia 22743, United States

Created By: Kaitlin Cleary


When I first began hiking this space, I recall thinking about the way in which the descent marks a just as worthy, if not more important space within one's journey along this terrain. For someone like myself, the descent down the mountain is entirely as challenging as the gait up the rocks. It makes one's body ache and demands to be felt as a presence within the hike you have chosen to embark on. This feeling of attachment to the land is one that I have been unable to shake since my boots first graced these rocks and is arguably a feeling I never want to lose. I cherish the shifting of cotton in my shoes as I try to navigate around the rock pools that fill the holes in the granite of the mountain. My fevered heart rate peaks as I grapple with the earth around me to maintain my balance. Hamstrings quivering and sweat perusing from my pores, this interaction with nature is one I find true pleasure in.

There is something to be said about the way in which our memories of a given place are able to be felt by others. I am a strong believer that all the hikes along this trail have not only added to my personal history of felt memories but rather regional connectivity to all of those joining the journey along this trail. The weary smiles and exchanges of well-wishes or perhaps wishes that one had been better-prepared, fill this trail every season. And yet, every season the same exchanges of visitors on this land warm my heart and remind me of purpose. I feel enlivened to continue my journey and even more than that- thankful to those indigenous communities who upheld a whole connection to this body of earth.

As you look around you at this point in the tour try to recall all those you have interacted with along your journey up the mountain. You need not remember every face or every voice but seek out those who inspired you to go further and motivated you in some way. In the present, it can often be hard to find the same sense of community that one may feel while hiking. The same unaltered appreciation for the land around you and the bounty that abounds with it. If you can, try to delve deeper into this feeling of appreciation and community along these rocks and beg yourself to consider the communities who found this area and maintained it for centuries.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Final Project: A study of Old Rag Mountain


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