Just imagine for a minute that you’ve had a best friend for a very long time. Over half your life, kind of long time. This friend was one of the first people you called when you met your soulmate. She’s the friend who said, “Can you be yourself with him?”
This is the friend who was there when your child was born. The friend you called when you were so mad you almost bit someone’s head off so you could spit in her neck. The friend who makes you snort with laughter and tear up with anguish.
The kind of friend who will tell you the truth even when it makes her uncomfortable because she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, and she’ll tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it because she loves you enough to be honest.
Now, imagine that friend comes to spend 5 days with you, and the two of you wave “so long” to the husbands and kids and strike out on your own for two days and nights. (Because you both have the most amazingly wonderful, generous, loving husbands in the whole entire world.)
That’s what Gina and I did. We had great fun at home with Buds and the kids, and then, on Friday night, we struck out for Massadoah. We stayed up until 2 a.m., then I slept until 10:30 a.m.! I think it was the first time in our adult life that Gina was up before me in the morning. (She’s always awake much later than me, though.) We breakfasted with Jerry and Marie Ann, and Marie Ann suggested a hike for us. With Gina navigating, and me setting us off in the wrong direction almost immediately, but Gina saving the day…we drove our way through lovely rural Virginia towns that we’d never seen before. Eventually we found the trailhead, hosed ourselves down with bug spray, made the fatal decision to leave the jackets in the car…”so we might get a little wet. We’re okay with that”…and headed out. Gina had her handy camera backpack, and was carrying both her medium and big cameras. She did leave the waterproof camera at home, another decision we would come to rue.
We passed several hikers coming down off the trail. They looked pretty wet, so we were thankful that the rain had struck before we started hiking.
It was a gorgeous, lush hike up and into the woods. We were headed for a plateau called, “Buzzards Knob.”
A little rain started, and we decided to stay the course. We were still under pretty heavy tree cover, so it seemed like an adventure. “We don’t mind getting soaked,” we told each other.
Cue the crack of thunder as we enter a clearing in the trees, and we are soaked to the skin. Gina had a nifty rain fly for her backpack so her camera equipment was all safe, but, we had brilliantly left our jackets in the car.
We paused to regroup, decided we couldn’t get any wetter, and surely it wasn’t too long until we reached “The Knob.”
Shortly afterward we passed a burly mountain man type who said, “I’d think twice about what you are doing. There’s a lot of lightning going on up there. Plus, some couple’s up there with an umbrella! In the rain. They must be from the city.”
We thanked him for the advice, stood in the path trying to decide, listened to a couple more cracks of thunder, then headed back down the path.
A few minutes later Gina says, “I think it’s letting up.”
We paused to see if it was true, decided the storm was definitely clearing, and turned back up the trail, to recover our lost ground, and to finish our quest for The Knob.
Soon after we passed a man and woman who had stopped in the middle of the path. The man was eating a sandwich while the woman stood by. In an attempt to make polite conversation, and to have a slight laugh at ourselves and our drenched appearance, we said, “You two aren’t nearly wet enough,” or some other banter.
The man responded smugly, “We had an umbrella.”
Making fun of him passed the next 10 minutes or so of hiking for us.
We eventually reached the summit, soaked with delicious rain, laughing, talking, and just enjoying the beauty around us.
On the way down, it rained on us some more, but it only added to the wonder of the outing.
At one point, we heard something crash through the trees ahead of us. We paused to look, didn’t see anything, then heard the wild beast coming down the path from behind us. For a split second my thought process was, “I only have a water bottle to protect us with. Can I smack the bear across the nose with the water bottle?” We stood in place, paralyzed as the sound came closer, then a mountain biker came cruising down the path. We laughed with relief and wonder, and after letting him pass, continued on our way.
The rest of our time was spent at Massadoah. We stayed up until 2 a.m. again, had great meals, laughed and laughed and laughed. Then we went down and played in the river, which was so beautiful and perfect, we had to go tubing. It was simply ideal.
Our time at home with the kids and Buds was awesome, but I think Gina and I are sold on the idea of a Girlfriends’ Vacation on an annual basis!