I tried out a Meetup group this past weekend, with lots of success. While looking for something else online, I found a group–the DC/MD/VA Adventure Meetup–that does fun things like hiking, jumping out of airplanes, whitewater rafting, and so on. Actually, I’m not interested in the more adventurous adventures–all I really want to do is go on day hikes. I never feel like organizing them myself, and none of my friends is particularly passionate about hiking. Thus, this group.
The organizer had proposed a hike up Old Rag mountain, which I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The only problem was that he wanted to “beat the crowds” and do it at 6am, which meant leaving DC at 4:15am–and getting up at 3:30am. Second problem: it rained all night. But I stuck to my guns and, after about 3 hours of sleep, stumbled out of bed and made it to the meeting point. Two hours later, we were ready to climb the mountain in the grey fog.
It turned out to be really terrific. First of all, Old Rag is amazing. It’s just the right length (about 4.5 hours for us, including a half hour at the top) and rigorousness (rigorosity?) to feel like you’ve genuinely accomplished something. The path we took on the way up gave way to rocks towards the top, so we had to scramble and at times truly climb over the rocks, which was a challenge. Apparently the views are amazing, but we were in fog the whole time and largely missed them–but the verdant forest and lichen-covered rocks were impressive enough. And we had the whole mountain to ourselves.
What was also very cool was the whole meetup thing. Because of the rain, only 5 of the 28 who’d RSVP’d showed up. But that made it even better, as we were able to get to know each other quite well and really look out for each other throughout, particularly on the treacherous parts of the train. Meeting 4 strangers and having a great time talking and being kind to each other–it’s enough to give heart to any cynic.