Acadia

Driving up to Mount Dessert Island, home of Acadia National Park, I was hit by the memories of a time when, as a young and vulnerable child I had my first contact with difficult times.  We moved to Downeast Maine when I was just finishing up 5th grade.  My aunt lived up there and we were excited about the prospect of being close.  It was hard on all of us.  A depressed local economy combined with insular communities and our first contact with public schools made for a tough 2 years for the whole family.  We left that place at the end of 7th grade and life suddenly became good again.  I didn’t realize how much of that pain I had retained though, until driving with Mr. Cookie through towns I hadn’t seen in years.  Thankfully, confronting those painful memories and creating new, wonderful memories mean that I have reclaimed this area for what it should be:  an incredible place to visit.

When asked if we wanted to join our friends and their family on their annual “campetition,” we jumped at the chance.  We knew there would be camping, kayaking, hiking, bike riding, and great community.  We were not let down.   

This was at the beginning of our first hike (Mt. Champlain).

At the top.  It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.  Also, my clothes are all too big on me now (huzzah!)

Just so you don’t think I was making it all up.

Our campground had floats (like docks, but on air bladders rather than stakes that go into the ground).  Mr. Cookie took out a kayak; I alas did not (I didn’t feel like it when he did and then we didn’t wind up having another chance).  Still, KT, her mom, and I went down and dipped our toes.  In case you weren’t aware, COLD!

Everyday you could come down here and see kids catching crabs.  We asked them what they used for bait and they blithely chirped “hot dogs!”  Hey, apparently humans aren’t the only ones to enjoy camp food.

We drove up Cadillac to see the sun set.  This picture does not come close to doing it justice (but I did try!).

More hiking, bla bla bla.  Pemetic promised us great views and it delivered.

See?  Spectacular.

Oh, I should inform you.  On this trip, there were three modes of ranking hikes.  The guide books rated things from “easy” to “strenuous” (and occasionally would give you something akin to “moderate with two strenuous sections.”).  KT’s mom, who largely walked the carriage trails, rated things from “lovely” to “spectacular.”  Then, The Professor (Mr. Cookie’s best man) took the guide book’s rating system and added in “ridonculous.”  Now, I need to let you know that Pemetic was moderate with a strenuous portion according to the guide book, spectacular based on KT’s mom’s system, and then the descent got a ridonculous on the Professor scale due to a very steep grade and large rocks as opposed to a regular trail.  All in all, an adventure.  Here is the Professor.

We saw this face a lot.  Full disclosure:  I probably made worse faces, but I stayed behind the camera.

One day, the crew decided to see what all this “lovely” hype was about and do a carriage trail with the adults.  Hmm…  Lovely!

Except… we had some mutinous souls who decided to forego the planned walked for something more adventurous.  They left with our water.  And our food.  And my rain coat.  And no walkie-talkies.  And no maps.  Goodbye, foolish ones…

Did I mention Mr. Cookie had my raincoat?  Yeah, well.  It started to drizzle at the end of the walk.  I didn’t know where my  husband was.  I didn’t know whether to be angry or nervous.  So I was both.  When they finally found their way back to us (after scaling a cliff wall and leaving a Hansel and Gretel-esque trail), Mr. Cookie ran up to me and, spreading his arms said “You have my permission to punch me in the stomach.  I deserve it.”  I didn’t, but I did force him to give me my water.  I guess I really was more worried than angry.  Still, I think I probably made a Professor-caliber face.

Hey!  Did I mention we hiked?  Yes?  Okay.  Notice our fingers?  Yes?  That was our fourth peak that day.  We did the “Peak Bagger’s Delight,” a trail that promised numerous peaks along with some of the best, most remote views in Acadia.  Ummm… yeah.  Pea soup.  We were all drenched.  It wasn’t actually raining, the air was just FULL of moisture.  Our final descent absolutely got a “ridonculous” on everyone’s scale because we were hiking down a CREEK BED which translates into lots and lots and lots of very wet, very slippery rocks.  Ooof.  Still, look at those winning smiles.  We didn’t know what was still ahead.

Sunrise at Thunder Hole.

One last hike yielded much better views than the Peak Bagger.  I took this photo of a bird circling lazily while sunning myself on a rock.

A quintessential New England lobster boat.

Mr. Cookie takes in the view from above one last time.  Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention this before but my husband is a total mountain goat.  He was made for hiking!

One last stop at Thunder Hole before bringing the trip to a close.

It really was a great time.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  AND, we learned a few things.  1)  That Grand Canyon trip wasn’t a fluke.  We really do like active camping vacations.  2)  Four person tents are much less crowded than our two person backpacking tent.  3)  Princess beds (air mattresses with sheets and blankets) may be silly and get you teased, but certain members of the Cookie clan could probably use them anyway (I’ll give you a hint:  it’s NOT me).  He hasn’t given in yet, but I give it two more camping trips.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Mom Cookie said,

    Thank you for this wonderful post!!! Photos and commentary are equally fabulous. So happy that this special place has been reclaimed for good because that’s exactly what it is.


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