Here is a repost from 2010, about a trip my mother and I took. It brought back good memories to read it, so here it is.
17 April 2010
My family spent many happy days, when I was young, going camping with our tent and later our tent trailer. We traveled up and down the east coast of North America. . . .from Canada to New England, to Pennsylvania, to Virginia, to South Carolina. When we moved to Virginia during my high school years we started going regularly to Shenandoah National Park. Dad would get home after work on Friday, and we would take off with the trailer for the two-hour ride to the Park and a campsite for the weekend. Or we would spend a week during the summer at the Park. . .sometimes with good friends who also had a tent trailer. There were hikes up to mountain peaks, and down to hollows with cool, refreshing falls. There were mornings spent picking blueberries, and nights spent at the large outdoor amphitheaters listening and learning from Park Rangers. When I was home from college on breaks, you could often find me backpacking the AT or other trails in the Park. . .alone or with friends. When I got older, I would take groups of youth to the Park. . .sharing with them the love I had for the place.
For various reasons, it has been almost 10 years since I have been to Shenandoah. Yesterday morning, Mom and I loaded up her car, and I drove us to the Park for the day. The drive itself is beautiful. . .Route 33 winding through towns in the foothills. . .passing by vineyards and horse farms. . .always with the mountains in the distance, beckoning. The car climbed up Swift Run Gap to the entrance station to the Skyline Drive. We stopped at overlooks and marveled at the clear day. . .blue skies with occasional clouds racing over the mountain range. The temp dropped about 10 degrees. . .from the 89F of the Piedmont, to the 78F of the Park. We made it to Big Meadows and to the Byrd Visitor Center. We saw deer, learned about local bobcats, had a picnic lunch, and drove around the campground area. . .remembering. Spring was just starting to poke its head out, with most trees still bare. We returned to our city, before dark, and had a filling supper at a local eatery.
We both agreed that the day had served to clear our heads, and get us away from the problems and challenges of our lives. We forgot those challenges, just for today, as the beauty of the natural world surrounded us.
We also gained a new memory. I'm aware that, as my mother grows older, such trips may not always be possible. I want to look back and remember that we took the opportunities that were available, and used them to the fullest. It was a perfect day. . .and that is how I will remember it.