This is Deputy Digby Pancake. Do you have an old friend? No. Not a friend that’s old.
But a friend that you have known for a long time?
I have that friend. Sheriff Brickle. But I also like to think of all the states and places we have hiked at as friends. The creeks, the mountains, even the bears.
But do you ever meet someone and feel like you may have already met them? Maybe they are so nice to you that you wonder how you could possibly be strangers. That’s how I felt when we got to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia yesterday!
Somehow, I felt so much peace and it felt familiar there. I remembered the days not so long ago when I would hike for miles. I remembered how good I felt when I accomplished something like reaching a waterfall miles back. I remembered. And I wondered. Do I know ya, Shenandoah?
Girl Person said that we had not been here before.
And I believed her and took her for her word. Because it’s hard to keep track of all the places we have been. But I felt that somehow, today was going to be special. Because an old friend never feels unfamiliar. You can let time go by and it feels like just yesterday when you were together. And I knew that the hike we were about to try would be like an old friend. Waiting for me. Watching that I was ok.
So even though Shenandoah National Park was a new friend, the qualities she had like waterfall hikes and trails were my old friends. So yeah. I kinda did know ya, Shenandoah. And I decided. I would try this 2.7 mile trail to a waterfall downhill and uphill. I could do this. Shenandoah told me I could. But most of all, I told me I could.
It was harder on the persons than me at first. They were worried I couldn’t do the whole hike but they wanted to let me try. And they promised they would carry me back if they had to. Well, I may not be the lightest feather in a pillow. So I was hoping that would not happen. We took it slow. And I was happy. Happy to be back on the trails. Whatever the speed! It didn’t matter to my family. It didn’t matter to Shenandoah. It mattered I was there and I was trying.
And as we saw our first glimpse of the waterfall, I knew it was the prettiest one I had ever seen. No, not the biggest, not the most majestic. But it was the most important and beautiful waterfall ever.
Because just a few months ago, I would have never been able to hike. I would have never been able to feel the excitement of a new but old friend saying hello again. It had been too long.
Oh, what a wonderful hike it was. Even as we hiked all up hill and we had to rest, I actually beat Brickle. However, I won’t mention he was pulling Girl Person. And as we got back to keep riding on the Skyline Drive, I wasn’t even tired.
Sure. My legs were a little tired. But not my heart. There was too much to see. A reason to be alive makes us keep going and makes us feel like we matter. Old friends make us feel like we matter. Shenandoah, do I know ya? I guess you were always waiting for me. I know that.
As we got out at the next picnic area and had our lunch, I rested with my brother in the grass.
Resting never felt so good. I felt restful in my heart. I can do anything. I can do all things.
Thank you, Shenandoah National Park for the reminder.
Stay tuned for more travel in this area and Shenandoah National Park this week!
–Deputy Digby Pancake
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