A Thirty-Year Hike

Before our wedding anniversary rolled around, I was hoping we’d get to celebrate by going hiking, and I had in my mind getting back to South River Falls.

We made it to the Falls, not far from Swift Run Gap in the mountains of Virginia. If you know where Richmond and Harrisonburg are, Swift Run Gap is the gap in the mountains between the two, just a few miles west of Stanardsville. For my Richmond friends, if you get on the iconic Staples Mill Road and head west until you get to the first mountain, you’ll be near the trail head to South River Falls.

When we got to the base of the Falls, another couple were there and snapped our picture, helping us mark thirty years of marriage.

Is it really possible that it’s been thirty years?

Ten years ago, we celebrated our twenty year anniversary with this same hike, although then we made it an overnight. My mom came and stayed with the kids, who were then 4, 11, and 13.

So much has happened even in the last ten years — including a move to Mississippi, a move to southern Virginia, and now, for Nick and me, a move back to the mountains, with Rick commuting here. Along with the more critical life changes, we lost our little spaniel, our kids played soccer in five different soccer organizations, we gained an American Shelter Dog, two kids finished homeschooling and started college, one lived in Ecuador, Nick started playing guitar, we’ve attended many hundreds of soccer games, and we read another thousand books or so.

Even with all the transitions, one thing that has remained constant is that Rick and I love to be outdoors, whether that be in the woods, at the park, on the farm, or on the soccer field.

And, the “walk and talk” has been a mainstay of our marriage. We walk and talk to work out problems, to process things, to make sure we have time together when it’s so easy for work and kids to take up so much space and energy.

Just to be more anniversary-like, after our hike, we also went out to dinner at The Standard in Stanardsville, which was also a pleasure. This was not exactly a day of roughing it, then.

But it was a day that worked pretty well as metaphor: the trail down is easier than the trail up, so you’d better save some resolve for the hard part. And if you’re fortunate, you will enjoy breaking bread together at the end of the day.

This is a view from in front of the Standard Restaurant in Stanardsville, Virginia,near Celt Road.

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This entry was posted in A Writer's Life, Family Life, Uncategorized, Virginia, Virginia Byways and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Thirty-Year Hike

  1. Michele says:

    What a great idea. I’m going to tell my husband about the “walk and talk.” Happy anniversary and here’s to many many more!!

  2. Evelyn says:

    The love and respect that you two have for one another was always evident. It has been a while since I have seen you but what I remember most was that you seemed to be best friends and kept your relationship private like a special treasure to be protected (one that was created just for you two). I could never see you complaining about the other to really anyone. It is also evident through your taking the time to celebrate and in the way you chose to honor the years with one another. I don’t know if it is the level of commitment or simply the people that you are but I can say that not all couples have this. I remember it as one of the prettiest weddings that I have ever seen. From the the location (awesome) to the colors to the feeling in the air that of course Rick and Jeannie would be joined just as the sun would come up the next day (the way things were meant to occur). Congratulations on your anniversay and protecting the gift of finding one another.

  3. cathyfamilyhome says:

    So lovely, Jeanne. Congratulations to you and Rick!
    – Cathy

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