Two years ago, I stood at the top of Cadillac Mountain with my family and Sam (our favorite Englishman), admiring the view. Acadia National Park is less than two hours away from my parents’ house, and it is one of my family’s favorite places to spend summer days. On this particular day, we had spent time at Sand Beach, watched the tide come in at Thunderhole, and driven up the Park Loop Road to the top of Cadillac.
“You know, I’ve always thought it was pretty wimpy to drive up this mountain,” I said to Sam. “I’d rather hike it.”
“I’d hike it with you,” he offered. But it didn’t happen.
By the time April came along, I hadn’t spent time hiking in about a year, and I was desperate to go. So Cadillac Mountain and the hike that never happened came to mind. I sent a random message to Sam, telling him that I was planning on being back home in Maine in July, that he should come at the same time, and that we could squeeze the hike in before returning to our respective places to act like responsible adults.
I didn’t expect him to take me seriously. But he did. And so we planned the long overdue hike.
I counted down the days. I made a road trip playlist. I found the trail we would take. I mean, I was excited. More excited than I’ve been about anything in a long time.
The morning of the hike finally came. I gulped down the last of my coffee, picked up my backpack full of water bottles and snacks, and jumped in the car with Sam and our cousin, Chris. I connected my phone to the Bluetooth, started the playlist, and we were off.
Now, I must admit, this was my first time heading to Acadia without my parents, and I’m not the world’s most fantastic navigator. But I got us into the park. Phase one complete.
We picked up a map and started looking for where we needed to be. But we had counted on having a detailed map, and the maps that were available were pretty minimalist. We made it to Blackwoods Campground (from which the South Ridge Trail is accessible) and started looking for the trailhead. We failed. So we went back to the check-in station for the campground. The boys volunteered me–the world’s least confident navigator–to do the talking (I guess because I’m the one with the closest thing to a Maine accent??), and the ranger was able to point us in a shorter direction. Later, we would find out that we walked right past the trailhead we had originally been looking for–and a very obvious marker.
The South Ridge Trail is a moderate hike. It starts out in a woodsy area near Blackwoods Campground, but it’s not long before the dirt trail through the woods turns into exposed rock with the occasional stunted tree and a little bit of brush. And the views. The views are incredible.
I took this picture from about 3/4 of the way up. See that roundish, bare area up there? That’s the summit.
Insert awkward picture of the three of us, awkwardly taken by an awkward tourist at the summit. It’s a terrible picture, but hey, the fact that we made it to the top is documented. (Also, if you’re a Pokémon Go person, Chris found a Pokémon at the summit…)
The three of us managed to get up the mountain and back down (with a pause for lunch at the top) in roughly 3 hours. And we had a blast! Thanks for participating in one of my crazy escapades, guys! I’m so glad we went!