Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Hiking In Acadia Part One: Journey to the Summit

Recently, Jamie and I had the privilege of traveling together to our Nation's easternmost national park, Acadia. We thought that one of the best things we could do to celebrate five years of marriage as well as our love for the created world was to spend some time in a national park on the 100th anniversary of National Parks!

We arrived in Acadia in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday shortly after checking in at this exquisite bed and breakfast called Coach Stop Inn (check it out if you are in Maine and please say hello to Jim and Anna for us!). After a quick stop at the visitor center in Acadia, we began driving the park loop and trying to decide where we would hike first. By unanimous vote, we decided to make our way to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. We saw a sign for Gorge Path, and we were off. But, we decided that instead of hiking the Gorge Path straight up, we would go the opposite direction and see where it started. We ended up hiking along a connector trail that took us to the Cadillac North Ridge Trail. We hiked steadily and smoothly all the way to the summit. Training with our good friend Derek Roberts over the last couple of years on 13,000 and 14,000 foot summits probably made this a bit easier than it would have been otherwise, but it was still a strenuous and awe inspiring hike.

When we made it to the summit, we soaked in an enormous view of ocean and and islands in the distance and wilderness all around us. Of course the journey would not have been complete without a star jump from Jamie at the top to mark the accomplishment. :)

From the summit, we decided to loop back around to the Gorge Path and make our way back down to our car. The first quarter mile from the summit had some fairly steep descents and we found ourselves not just hiking but scrambling at points. The lower we descended, the more we were able to hear the steady flow of a stream journeying alongside us in the gorge. The trickle steadily grew in volume (both of water and of decibels) and by the time we had arrived to a flatter part of the trail, we were listening a much louder flow of water providing us pleasant background and acoustic accompaniment.

On both the upward and downward journeys we had to pause every few feet to bask in the beauty that surrounded us. Every time we stopped, the view was not only incredible, but incredibly different. One could probably make the case that every perspective is slightly different, but these views were as though whole new worlds were opening before us. Even though we were traveling at a far lower altitude, the splendor around us was reminiscent of Colorado mountains.

Eventually, we made our way back to our car, and traveled down the road to Bar Harbor for a delicious local meal that we thoroughly enjoyed. And looking back on that day, we were gifted with a good reminder to pause from time to time and enjoy the changes in perspective provided by the present moment.

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