Shenandoah National Park
A little over two years ago,
(before the pandemic was even a whisper)
Taido and I drove to Pennsylvania to attend the wedding of a dear friend.
On the way there, we took a slight detour to take in the sights of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
It was early April so the trees were still bare, but spring was blowing in.
We rolled the windows down to feel the mountain air.
We made several stops in the park.
We walked through the visitor center where the history of the park
and of white supremacy
was on display.
(Even our national parks were segregated, y’all.)
We stopped at the overlooks.
We watched mist roll over the hills.
We paused when we found streaks of blue sky.
We didn’t have a lot of extra time,
but we stopped for a short hike.
Stretching our legs in the woods,
we covered 2-3 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
The trail runs all the way through the park for 100 miles.
We walked over mossy rocks
and peeked at the views through the naked trees.
Patches of snow were hiding in high places.
The last dregs of winter hanging on.
Our short hike was over far too quickly,
so as we drove out of the park we started to
coming back one day.
Wouldn’t it be fun to hike the whole stretch of the park?
To wander the trail for 100 miles over several days?
Maybe with friends?
Or our kids?
To set up camp in this forest.
To stay for more than a few hours.
We drove on to the wedding,
a sweet celebration and a reunion with friends from Germany.
Our time in the Shenandoah turned to memory,
but a seed had been planted.
Next week, we are loading up our car with tents and backpacks and trail mix and raincoats.
We’re driving across the country to meet up with friends
(including the ones that got married).
And we’re hitting the Appalachian Trail.
We’re all vaccinated and ready to breathe that mountain air again.
Shenandoah National Park, here we come.