Once the meeting place for members of the Powhatan and Iroquois Nation Tribes.

Now it is a much-loved-by-locals park (established in 1966) at which to take in the forces of nature. Watching the Potomac River crash over jagged rocks and flow into the Mather Gorge before winding its way to the Chesapeake (Chessepiooc, an Algonquin word meaning, “At a big river”) never gets old. GFNP was always a favorite for us; at least twice a year we would wander the trails as a family.

With nothing to unpack and air freight delivery five days out, Jack and I rented a car on my first Sunday back; our four-pawed wily guide jumped in and off we set for the park. My memory held that luck favors the prepared; indeed, in arriving early we were not faced with the mile-long vehicle queue to enter the park, and could enjoy the overlooks and spectacular scenery before the flip-flop wearing selfie-stick wielders invaded our space.

The sign exists for a reason. Obviously.

The high water mark lines. We lived in the area in 1996 (second from the bottom) and witnessed the destruction from a massive snowstorm that quickly melted in January of that year; if I could forage through the storage unit I know there are photos to share. Some other time.

The views from Overlooks 1 and 2. Spectacular.


Along the return trail, a little creek for CTF to cool his toes in; and two Swallowtails (The State Insect of Virginia) enjoying the blossoming milkweed for me!

Afterward, GROCERY SHOPPING. ON A SUNDAY. Because I could.