S: Acadia National Park: Adventure is Out There!
BC: NATURE | The time to explore is now
FC: Acadia | National Park (Maine, Summer 2013) | Project Media Memoir: English 15 Instructor: Justin Perez Memoir Created By Katie Hayden
1: “Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! It’s time to explore. It’s time to seize the day!” shouts my mother from across the hotel room. The alarm clock on the nightstand reads 4:00am. If today were any other day, my body would say it’s still bedtime, but today is our first day of exploring Acadia National Park in Maine. There is time to lose. As I let my mind consider all the fun to be had, I slowly emerged from behind the wall of covers protecting me against the morning chill and gingerly stepped out of bed.
2: Our first stop is Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the U.S. During certain times of the year it is the first place in the U.S. to see sunrise. Much to our dismay, the presence of last nights rainstorm left behind a dense wall of smoky fog that not even the most radiant beams of light could penetrate. As I ventured off into the depths of this misty wonderland I became lost in its infinite beauty.
5: Following the windy trails ahead, I was invited to embrace the woolly mist that seemed to hug all sides of the awakening mountain. Everywhere I turned, the ecosystem was coming to life. Spotted spiders awoke from their slumber to find drops of mist lingering on their nests while the blades of grass slowly rolled these droplets down their spines so they could stand upright. Both organisms are ready to embrace the sun that would soon emerge from behind this thickening fog.
6: “Choose your steps wisely,” my father said. “One step in the wrong direction and you could be sailing for the base of this mountain”. I chuckled at my father's theory, but the limited visibility and abrupt turns of this trail kept his words lingering in the back of my mind. Each step was like stepping into the unknown. Still, the ability to see the mountain awakening within the fog was thrilling enough to help me succumb to my father's warning.
8: When the sun was ready to wake up with the rest of the Earth, the time had come to take a more rigorous excursion across the park. Our next stop is the Beehive trail. Stretching 520 feet into the sky, this mountain provides a strenuous hiking experience for all its guests. Though the trail is a little less than a mile long, its vertical climb can make the trail appear much longer. With one deep breath in and out, I am ready to explore.
11: Diving into the depths of the forest, I am instantly overwhelmed by the sweet sound of distant birds calling out to one another in a melodious song. Above, the canopy of trees mark patterns of light and dark on the trail in front of me. As I draw closer to the base of the mountain, the soft bed of moss, mulch and grass gradually recede and are replaced by sturdy boulders of shimmering granite. As the canopy of trees begins to fade as well, I find myself facing a magnificent, rigid, geological tower.
12: With the sun beating on my back I hasten my pace and hoist myself up the first of many rocky obstacles that fill the path ahead. As I’m climbing the mountain higher, the path becomes narrow to the point where my rocky footing is replaced by thin and rusty iron bars attached to the rock’s face.
15: When the occasional wind howls at my back I am forced to keep my attention upward, toward the (what seemed like mythical) top of the mountain. Adrenaline pulses through every vein in my body as the bars, my lifeline to this mountain, slowly ebb from overhead. Squinting my eyes to protect them from the sun’s outstretched rays, I push myself off the last iron rail and hurl myself onto a small platform that oversees the cliff I had just conquered.
16: Fatigued from my journey I allow myself to sink into the cooling rock that remains hidden by the sun’s rays. This time, I welcome the wind as it dances around me. Its whistling tune brings joy to my ears and relief to my overheated and overstressed body. My joy only deepens as I look out upon the great valley below and beyond. Just as the canopy of trees patterned the forest floor, so too did the clouds against the sun.
17: Shadows of dark danced with light around the valley. Meanwhile, the trees took part in a similar dance: swaying and churning in time with the rhythm of the wind. Watching nature unfold from my perch atop this mountain, I am awestruck by Acadia’s natural beauty.
18: After an exciting and exhausting day of hiking and adventure we finally arrive at Boulder Beach. Stepping out on to this rocky environment, my feet instantly curl around each pebble’s smooth and spherical figure. With every connection my feet make with the beach floor, a wave of relaxing tension rises up from within the sole of my feet, continuing up through the center of my leg. My path along this rocky beach leads me to a cozy depression between three connecting boulders. As I slide into my new perch overlooking the shoreline, I give my eyes a rest and allow my senses to fully take in the sounds and smells of this peaceful environment.
20: The air is salty, but sweet. The smell of fresh leaves, soil and algae linger in my nose. The sound of velvety waves rolling through a field of pebbles intertwines with the song of distant seagulls calling out to the setting sun. Feeling at peace with myself in this new world, I allow my eyes gradually open and take in the magnificent display of colors unfurling on the horizon. Shades of blood orange and rosy pink are embedded in a thick blanket of puffy clouds. A deep blue occupies the areas where the sun’s rays have lost touch with the cloud blanket to signal the awakening of nighttime.
22: As the last of the sun’s rays project in a spectacle of lights along the silky waves I am reminded of how lucky we are (as human beings) to be a part of an ever changing and wonderful world. William Shakespeare wrote, “And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything”. Through my adventures in Acadia I have come to discover my own values in sustaining a rooted relationship with nature. She works and flows in a way that is peaceful, yet efficient. Through Earth, I am made whole.