I grew up here by playing in the woods, walking along creek edges, cooking over camp fires, pitching tents, swimming in lakes and hiking mountain trails. I camped here with family, then friends, then first loves. I went to university here and escaped to the parkway in times of celebration and as a way to clear my mind and find peace when life became too much. I returned here after moving far away to attend a beloved craft school. I have always felt comfortable here, I can always be my true self here. I miss this place and wish to be here more often than I will ever be able to return. I was not born here, nor do I live here, but the mountains of North Carolina will always be my home.