We’ve finally done it. After countless strings of e-mails and “I think I might have too much work” freak-outs, four friends and I packed the car at 7am and made our way down Route 64 to Charlottesville. We drove by pastures, farms, and the occasional cider stand. We grabbed picnic food, parked the car, bundled up, and started the trek up Old Rag, renowned as one of the most beautiful and challenging hikes in the Shenandoah Valley. The trail stretches for 8.8 miles and begins with a leisurely incline into the mountains but don’t be misled. The hike quickly transforms into a rigorous climb up boulders and the infamous scramble, where visitors are forced to constantly jumping down, over, and maneuver their way around massive rocks. Although most of the leaves had already fallen off the trees, the hike was still breathtaking…and I mean that in both the figurative and literal sense. In Thoreau’s book, “Where I lived and What I lived for”, he writes, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” To be surrounded by such natural greatness is a refreshing reminder of one’s priorities and, as tired as I was when returning to the car, I had never felt more alive.