Hiking 4:30:00  9.1 mi (29:40 / mi) +450m 25:43 / mi
shoes: Roclite 280-2015
Addie, Mei-An and I hiked up Old Rag with the Pastel family (Joe, Glen, Jenna, Daniel, Sadie). The temperature was in the teens all day. We went up the ridge trail with all the rock scrambling, leaving at about 11 a.m., had lunch at the top, then 4 of us came down the Fire Warden's trail, while the other group of 4 went back the way we came. The Fire Warden's route was a mile and a half longer, but 15 minutes shorter.
Despite the cold, it was a great day for this hike. It was sunny on top (the sun
was hidden by the ridge much of the way up) and no wind at all, making it comfortable to sit on the rocks and eat lunch on the top.
I hiked this route many times in the 1980s and early '90s, and decided early on that winter was the best season for it, mainly because it avoids the crowds of hikers the rest of the year. Its popularity has only grown in the intervening time. There's a huge new parking lot about a mile below the original parking area, with at least a dozen cars parked there when we arrived. But there was no congestion in the boulders (which can be pretty challenging, mentally and physically), and the summit area is big enough that several groups can be hanging out without even seeing each other.
All of which is to say, it was a fine outing. I'm happy that we got to Old Rag this season, and doubly happy that the kids got to do this amazing trail in good style with good friends.