Living outside of the U.S., each time I go back I find that I have a deeper appreciation of so many things that make the U.S. unique and wonderful. Being such a large country, there is so much to discover and see. That said, it is the things that are particularly American that I appreciate more and more. My wife grew up in Virginia and is an adamant fan of Virginia and I have really learned to appreciate that wonderful state, which has such a rich history and has played a key role at critical moments in U.S. history.
Having spent the majority of my life in the Western U.S., I used to tease my wife about how the "mountains" in the East were really just big hills, not real mountains like the Rockies out West. While nothing makes me more homesick than a photo or video of a bald eagle soaring over mind-shatteringly stunning mountains in the West, I have come to appreciate the natural beauty the East has to offer.
One of the wonderful programs the U.S. has is the National Park program, which was created to ensure the natural treasures of the U.S. are preserved for generations to come. My wife for years wanted to take me to the Shenandoah National Park and I've been lucky enough to go there a couple of times now.
On our recent vacation, we stayed there for a few days and when we arrived we went on a hike in the Park. I let the troupe of kids and adults zip ahead on the trail while I lingered with my camera and tripod to make some images. It was a wonderfully peaceful, idyllic walk, with no one around. It had been misting a bit and then a mist rolled in, until the sun began to burn it off. Below is one of my favorite images (so far) from the hike:
If you ever get the chance, a trip to the Shenandoah National Park is a must!
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