Why I Hated Hiking Old Rag

If you live in Virginia and you mention that you like hiking, someone will suggest climbing Old Rag.

It’s about the best hike Virginia has to offer, and I will give it this: The climb took some effort and at times left me breathless.

“Some say it’s even the best hike in the mid-Atlantic region,” reads this blog. (In fairness, hiking with kids must require a lot of caveats – although I was less reluctant to bow down to the many mighty parents hauling both kids and dogs up 14ers in Colorado.)

I climbed this badly-named “mountain” one October day while I was in the middle of a nasty fight with the guy I was dating. He was ignoring my phone calls; I was angry; my stomach was in knots. In other words, I was motivated to climb away from my problems.

I drove 2 and a half hours from Washington, D.C., to get there so the stakes were pretty high — I was dedicating the day to the activity.

Because I was alone, I took the Berry Hollow trailhead, which avoids some of the bouldering of the traditional route. When I got to the trailhead, it was completely deserted. (This never happens in Colorado. I don’t care what day of the week it is, there is always someone hiking. The trailheads are so busy some trails now offer shuttles.)

The trail signs were a little confusing and seemed to contradict the map. (I recommend following the posted map.)

It was a hot day and the climb didn’t get any cooler, because this is Virginia and you’re starting below sea level.

Here are my recommendations for making hiking bearable in Virginia:

  • Insect-proof everything. (This is something I didn’t know about until I left Colorado.) I have Permethrin in a spray bottle that I used on my hiking pants and Camelbak pack, plus insect-treated socks and a buff for my head.
  • Pants and long-sleeved shirt made of breathable fabric.
  • Bring a lot of water to replace the sweat.

For this hike, I also recommend real hiking boots. For most hikes in Virginia, you can get away with any form of athletic shoe.

This hike was strenuous enough to get my mind off my problems and my hand off my phone, so points for that. My boyfriend and I worked things out later that evening, but I spent most of the day thinking about breaking up with him.

There was a false summit with a pretty decent view.

False summit

I was pretty tired — and a little embarrassed to be tired, to be honest — by the point I got to the false summit, and at that point a pair of older hikers warned me to watch out for the swarm of bugs higher up. But I kept going, of course, because I have never climbed a mountain and not made the summit (what would be the point?).

This is the first time the strategy has not paid off.

Old Rag’s summit is 3,284 feet and there is no view. 

The summit


I came, I saw, I turned around and climbed back down again. I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich down at the false summit instead and tried to ignore the sweat and the bugs and the fact I’d spent an entire day on this.

The climb down was not as fast as I would have liked because of the stretch of loose rocks (this hike is 5.4 miles and took me about 2 hours to go up). My car was still the only one in the parking lot and the drive home felt very long.

There’s a small town near Old Rag but it didn’t have any obvious places to stop for food or any type of liquid reward after the hike.

I might be comparing Old Rag to my ideal version of hiking, but it’s a version that exists. In Colorado, here’s what our summits look like:

I tried. This is yet another reason why I hate hiking in Virginia.

Social media campaign examples

As a freelance social media consultant, I provide strategy guidance, platform maintenance, and basic analytics reporting. My focus is Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. My experience includes managing a high-profile public figure’s social media brand; contributing to social content distribution and strategy at a political think tank; writing and implementing a complete social media strategy for a national law firm including individual coaching for attorneys; and creating a book launch social media campaign for a publishing company. Here are a few examples of my digital experience and work on social media campaigns:

  1. The Hill – full time, 2011-13
  • Covered politicians using social media, including innovation during 2012 presidential campaigns
  • Live blogged breaking news on Twitter on a daily basis and during presidential debates
  • Worked closely with political and media teams at Facebook and Twitter
  • Regularly broke news on Twitter
  • Launched and wrote weekly Q&As with members of Congress on their use of Twitter

twitter pinning

Figure 1 Feature cover story on Ann Romney’s use of Pinterest

Figure 2 Created and managed a beat focused on how politicians use social media


  1. The Heritage Foundation/The Daily Signal – full time contract employee, 2013-14
  • Managed and ghostwrote think tank president’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts
  • Engaged in content on reddit, StumbleUpon
  • Used tools such as Bit.ly, Attentive.ly, Google Analytics
  • Repurposed and distributed content on organization’s social media including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Tumblr as well as website and WordPress microsite
  • Live tweeted and blogged about events
  • Wrote marketing copy using market research, SEO principles
  • Managed Facebook Q&A with think tank president
  • Supported book launch for Sen. Jim DeMint’s book “Falling In Love With America Again,” including contributing to strategy and writing social media marketing copy before and after launch
  • Supported launch and wrote copy for “The Daily Signal” spin-off news analysis site, including contributing to marketing launch and branding strategy

tweetie pinterest

Figure 1 Accepting a Tweetie award from Twitter for best digital campaign

Figure 2 Earned national media attention in Jezebel for unique Pinterest campaign


  1. Tyndale Publishing House/NavPress imprint – freelance, 2016
  • Designed social media campaign strategy to correspond with book launch
  • Provided recommended content, timeline, incentives and market research


navpress bev

Book launch campaign including parameters, action items and content/graphics recommendations


  1. Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck – full time, 2014-present
  • Overhauled firm social media strategy on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, including writing firm wide social media guidelines with input from legal counsel
  • Designed graded Twitter “audits” and provided one-on-one coaching to attorneys
  • Managed firm Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts

grading onepager

Figure 1 Social media guidelines “one-pager”

Figure 2 Criteria for Twitter best practices