A few months ago, I had written a post explaining why Charlie and I started visiting our state’s parks. I am often asked if we are going to continue now that “lock down” is a thing of the past. Of course!
Due to our recent move and Charlie’s first birthday party, we had taken a few months off of our state park quest. Despite the hiatus in our travel to more distant parks, Charlie and I continued to regularly visit our local state parks. The return to our travel schedule reminded me of how much we missed it during our time off.
First, I miss the travel. My husband may vehemently disagree but I enjoy the travel as much as the destination. We see parts of Virginia that we ordinarily would not visit. We work together as we figure out how to navigate the back roads that often lead up to the parks. Each time I am awestruck by the varied geographic features we discover, the small towns we visit, and the people we meet. Before we started this, I did not think it was possible to have such surprising adventures in our home state. Growing up here led us to believe that we were omniscient of all things concerning this state. We could not have been more wrong.
Next, it is nice to make some positive and happy memories during a year that was so difficult. I will always remember singing Old McDonald in the car with Charlie and her dad. I will not forget the fun we have seeing a park for the first time, exploring it, and trying new activities.
It makes me laugh when I remember cooking out by a lake in late November or the reaction of people when they see us “off road strollering” for the first time. It has been interesting to see all the new activities there are for Charlie as she grows. She started out riding along on hikes in a jogging stroller and liked to look at the trees over head and hear the birds tweet. As she grows, we find fun ways to incorporate sensory play or work on her therapy goals. I have many memorable photos of her state park firsts.
I should conclude by making note that we are officially one third of the way through our quest. There are thirty six state parks and we have visited twelve. So far, the experience has been kind of like my college education. I headed into it expecting to get one thing out of it and have been delighted to discover that there is so much more to it. I think part of me may actually be kind of sad once we finish all thirty six. Even so, I am consoled by my husband’s considerations of a cross country car trip when Charlie gets a little older.