April 2016 - Hiking Old Rag Mountain
This was an interesting weekend of camping! The weather forecast was
calling for a chance of rain and snow on Friday night and the
possibility of rain on Saturday. We were fortunate Friday night was cold
and clear with a sky full of stars and a low temperature of only 32
degrees. Saturday morning was clear and we headed for the parking lot.
We had a few brief snow flurries while hiking but no rain. The wind
started to build around 10 AM and it was blowing 20-25 mph when we
reached the first overlook and throughout the rest of the hike. We only
spent a few minutes on the summit because the wind was in the 50-60 mph
range up top. We hiked down to Byrd's Nest Shelter and had our lunch
protected from the wind.
When we returned to camp we found the canopies gone and tents collapsed on the ground. It blew so hard in camp while we were gone the adults who stayed behind took down the canopies after they chased them down and took out the tent poles and flattened tents to prevent more poles from breaking and tents from tearing. Winds were estimated to be over 25 mph most of the day with gusts into the 40-50 mph range. Check out the photographs below of tents contorting in the wind. We set up a wind break with the trailers, trucks, and a tarp between them so the patrols had a sheltered place to cook. We also drove the cars amongst the tents to provide a wind break for the tents for the first time ever. Finally around 930 PM the winds subsided and we were able to make repairs to the last of the tents so people had shelter for the night. Everything stayed up overnight despite a few gusty minutes. However, the temperature plummeted to 17 degrees overnight. We thought back longedly to the December camping trip when we had daytime highs in the low 70s.