No ordinary day in the park

Ever since moving to Central Virginia about 6 years ago, Shenandoah National Park has been a very important place to me. I have spent many a warm day, cold day, and even night hiking trails. It has become a getaway when I am stressed as well as a place to enjoy the solitude and beauty that nature has to offer. But one hike in 2006 stands out to me more than any other.

I was dating a wonderful man and we had shared many hikes together. But I didn’t realize that he had a larger goal that April day when he suggested we hike Old Rag. When we reached the top, it was teeming with people, so we stayed up there for only a few minutes before continuing along the trail. Not too far past the summit, Jay ducked off the trail and suggested that we explore some boulders and check out the scenery. As I was busy eating my granola bar, I thought nothing of it and followed him. We came out to an overlook with a beautiful view of the mountains and just a stone throw’s from the summit, but far enough that it was quiet and a little bit more personal. Still rather oblivious and munching away on my granola, I looked around, enjoying the view, and turned towards Jay…who was down on one knee! I was initially confused (and yes, the thought “what is he doing down there?” crossed my mind) but as I looked down I noticed a ring in his hand, and heard him ask, “Will you marry me?”  Through the granola in my mouth and the tears in my eyes, I managed to squeak out a “yes!”

— Michelle Delany

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