Final Project: A study of Old Rag Mountain

Final Project: A study of Old Rag Mountain

Madison, Virginia 22719, United States

Created By: Kaitlin Cleary

Tour Information

Throughout this course, there is one aspect of counter-mapping and genealogy of place that has captured me beyond all else, the resonation of connectivity between body and land. Before this course, I lacked knowledge of why certain spaces within nature were so healing for me. Within a specific area, such as the one I will explore on this tour, I could feel so grounded and acknowledged within a space and larger ecosystem. From the playful musings carried along with the breeze to the healing touch of the sun on my skin as a scaled the mountainous terrain, my genealogy of space and place of Old Rag Trail, better known as the ancestral home of the Manahoac and Shawandasse Tula peoples, details a sacred and personal history. Above all else, as a non-native individual, I hope my audial, photographic and historical analysis emphasizes the importance of cultivating strains within one’s tradition that prioritize connectivity to place. As a visitor to the land and space I currently occupy, there is an importance to explore this fugitive space of indigenity and act as a willing observer of critical ruptures of colonial, normative categories. Moreover, I hope my genealogy of place will function from a place of respect for those indigenous peoples of the land I have to come to find refuge within.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

As I stand at the trailhead about to begin my hike for the second time in nearly a year, a great defeat in my opinion especially considering the 9.3 mile loop, I find it crucial to begin my tour with a historical analysis of the area I will... Read more
When I first hiked Old Rag with my father I wanted to prove myself. My father, a seasoned outdoorsman and nature enthusiast had always professed a fondness for the outdoors. From white-water rafting in Colorado to hiking the Appalachian tra... Read more
During the pandemic, it was clear that a lot of people found a sort of peace in returning to nature to help break up the routine and anxious quality that coronavirus brought into our lives. I myself found a truly healing quality in nature, ... Read more
Not long after the spring, the trail becomes significantly steeper and rockier. You are about to come out of the woods and onto the rocks! From this point on to the summit, the trail is almost continuously on rocks. At 3.3 miles into the hi... Read more
At this point, the trail goes through a short "cave." As you can tell, this is not really a cave, but rather a tremendous crack in the Old Rag Granite. And yet, it stands as a place that reminds me now of the indigenous histories that fill ... Read more
It is often said upon beginning a hike like this one, that the most rewarding part of the entire experience is being able to take in the view from the top. Within this section of the tour, I have chosen to interview a friend and fellow hike... Read more
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 ... Read more
My sister has only ever joined me on this hike once before and as such created a very memorable journey for the both of us. Reaching the 7-mile marker on this trail, one quickly finds themselves surrounded by plants in abundance, at least i... Read more
Above all else, my genealogy of this land has taught me much regarding the history of place and space and the way in which the process of western colonization has erased indigenous stories of being in a given space. Old Rag stands as a terr... Read more
Now standing at the tail end of the hike, nearly 9 miles completed and nearing the parking lot, I feel so grateful for being able to have experienced traversing this space again. My time being local to Charlottesville is coming to an end ... Read more


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