A friend recently wrote about the phenomena of "Guys"... how when you live in a certain place for an extended period of time you amass an army of "Guys" to do just about everything. People typically have a "Car Guy", a "Jewelry Guy", an "Investing Guy", and maybe even a "Fix-it Guy." I'd say that your doctor, dentist, and hairstylist could all qualify as "Guys" too. Overtime you come to depend on and, in many cases, implicitly trust these "Guys"... you return to them faithfully and usually recommend them to others (I've channeled at least two dozen people to my former "Car Guy" in Utah).
These "Guys" are one of the reasons that moving can really suck. You pick up your life and truck half-way across the country and you're back at square one. You eye all of your new service personnel with suspicion until they gain your trust, a process that may entail an awkward "dating" stage with several "Guys" until you find one that works for you.
I think the same is true for "spots" or "places." After living in an area for awhile, people usually settle on their favorite restaurants, burger places, concert venues, stores, ad infinitum. Often out of the way or lesser known, they are places you love to take others to, especially when they may not have known about them.
I've found this is especially true with the outdoors. When I lived in Utah, my friends and I had our favorite camping spots, hiking trails, ski/snowboarding resorts/runs, climbing routes, natural hotsprings, canyon firepits, etc. We found these places and developed our preferences over the course of years, and we always enjoyed sharing our finds with others. Sliding Rock was one of these places. It is a natural waterslide formed by the icy run off of Lone Peak in Alpine, Utah (see Melbo on the left). First shown to me by a friend's former girlfriend, it became a place I loved to bring people to (even after local residents gated off the trail).
Moving to the D.C. area necessarily entailed losing all the "Sliding Rocks" we'd found over the years. Our first month in Virginia we went camping and ended up pitching our tent in a commercial camplot because we didn't know where else to go. While it's taken a couple of years and a LOT of so-so recommendations, we've finally begun to find new "places" to call our own... and among them is a new Sliding Rock.
Just before summer break wrapped up last month, we sneaked off to some nearby mountains for a day with some friends and discovered White Oak Canyon, a gorgeous hike nestled in the Shenandoahs that has several impressive natural waterslides... including one that's even bigger and faster than our beloved Sliding Rock (see me on the right). While the search goes on to keep finding new "places" to replace those old "places" we left behind, finding something like White Oak Canyon almost makes up for the lack of respectable ski resorts any where in our vicinity. Well... actually, that might be stretching it a bit, but it was a nice find nonetheless.
Note: It has been pointed out that, embarrassingly, I failed to give proper credit to the individual who brought Melbo and I to White Oak Canyon... as such I'd like to publicly thank this kind GW International Law Review Articles Editor.