This article is part of "My Home Virginia", a tribute to what makes Virginia so special. The series follows distinctive Virginian voices to the beautiful places that inspired them to put down roots, calling them to return no matter how far their travels may take them.

As a photographer who works for publications like National Geographic and spends more than half the year out of the country, I am often asked where I want to go next. People are often shocked by that answer, which comes as no surprise. But they shouldn’t be, because Virginia is where I grew up - and places, like music, have an extraordinary ability to help us recall memories and relive experiences. In fact, about three years ago, researchers from Dartmouth University and the University of North Carolina were able to show that our brains lock in memories by tying them to a location.­

Photo Credit: Trevor Frost, @tbfrost

Tucked under the shadow of Virginia’s tallest peak, Mount Rogers, is Grayson Highlands State Park, a quiet and wild place, about the size of New Jersey. I can’t say exactly how many times I’ve been there, but it’s been at least half a dozen. One might think I’d be bored of the place by now, but, you see, I don’t visit for the beauty and solitude of the place alone; I visit to relive my childhood, to unlock memories of that precious time in life.­

Photo Credit: Trevor Frost, @tbfrost

I recently returned to Grayson Highlands for the first time in more than a decade. Within seconds of entering the park, memories of my childhood trips with my father came flooding back: the curious wild ponies that dot the landscape; the sea of blooming, bright pink rhododendrons; the wild blueberries you can eat in August; the cool, clear swimming holes on Wilson Creek trail; the innumerable rocky outcrops you can scramble up for a spectacular view; and the incredible change in ecosystems as you climb higher in the park. The experience was surreal to say the least. I was transported back in time.­

Near the end of this recent adventure, my father joined me, and as we were sitting on the old stone wall that lines the entrance to the park, I was reminded of a passage from Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past”: “The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others.”

Photo Credit: Trevor Frost, @tbfrost

I return to Grayson Highlands for many reasons, but above all, I return because each visit is a chance to explore, as Proust says, with new eyes and with new people. Returning to places I know is at once a way to remember, to excavate memories of my early trips with my father - and in the quiet of the mountains it is a way to create new memories that won’t ever disappear.

Trevor Frost is a photographer and filmmaker with an obsession for telling stories that increase our UNDERSTANDING AND COMPASSION FOR WILD AREAS AND WILDLIFE. HE HAS PUBLISHED SEVERAL PHOTO ESSAYS WITh National Geographic Magazine and has contributed to a number of documentary films. He lives near the James River in Richmond, Virginia.