Brothers, Bricks, and Summits

I check my watch as we reach the first real lookout. Our pace is good and this rocky ledge beckons for a break. I don't fight it.

As I ease the ruck off my shoulders, I begin to wonder if bringing bricks on this trip was worth it. When I checked the weight of my loaded ruck back at the house, the scale read 35 pounds exactly. With four bricks, water, food, first aid... it felt heavy.

This was my third time on Old Rag Mountain and I knew what to expect but the weight was proving to be a game changer.

These bricks have come to mean something special to me. Too many times do we take the easy way. That doesn't mean it's wrong but there is almost always more reward when you choose the hard way.

Summiting Old Rag Mountain that day was difficult but rewarding. I discovered that if you find yourself moving too fast, grab a few bricks. And a friend. Enjoy the adventure.

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Fresh Snow, Bear Tracks, & New Peaks

A buddy of mine has been itching to go camping and with my newfound time off, I figured it was the perfect time to go. I was needing a bit of a recharge and spending time outdoors always helps.

We've both climbed Old Rag Mountain before but this time I wanted to try something completely new. We set our sights on Robertson Mountain.

As we left town, it started to flurry and when I called the National Park Service to check conditions, I was informed that they already had 2 inches on the ground in some parts and were closing sections of Skyline Drive.

We pressed on.

Before long we were on the trail looking for a suitable spot to setup camp. It was still snowing as we set the tent up and climbed in to warm up and dry off and finalize our plans.

The only snag was that my buddy brought his wife's sleeping bag which was made for indoor sleepovers but we improvised and neither of us froze to death. 

Getting up around 6 am was great though. The sun was started to brighten things up and we were eager to start the day. After boiling some water for oatmeal and coffee, we were ready to hit the trail.

There was still a lot of snow on the trail and before long we finished the Corbin Hollow Trail and were starting the Robertson Mountain Trail. After a short time on the trail we saw some bear tracks and these were super fresh. Luckily the area is only home to black bears and they are generally scared of people so we weren't too alarmed. It was neat to see the prints up close and each paw was the size of my entire hand.

After a quick summit we headed back down.

I strongly encourage you to take some time away from your desk and spend the night outside. You'll thank yourself for it.

But wait, there's more...
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