I don't like the word "perfect." Nothing can ever be perfect, and my recent weekend trip to Acadia National Park was filled with flaws from imperfect planning, shaky weather conditions, the inability to locate wood for a reasonable price at an unreasonable time, and our campfire not starting from time to time. But if you disregard these minute factors, or take them as they are, I bet I could convince you that this weekend was actually perfect.
Let's just start by saying I went with two of my best guys. Even if you just left it at that, it's a weekend worth remembering because if you have true pals those true pals could make you forget you're having a shitty time - no matter how whack a party could be, how disgusting the weather is, the laughs trump all. You forget the dreary circumstances.
We left for Acadia National Park on Friday, stopped by an awesome Louisiana boil restaurant in Stoneham, Massachusetts for late lunch/dinner called Loui Loui (don't front, I know all you Asians back at home know where this place is). We left late and, needless to say, arrived pretty late to Blackwoods Campground. Forced to set up our tents in the dark, we had a short fire, drank some beers and called it a night.
The next day is where all the magic happened:
Cliff Diving at Long Pond. Well, in my case, cliff jumping? For those of you who don't know, I didn't know how to swim until about a month and a half ago. I know - shameful. It started to really get to me because my travels were sometimes hindered by the fact that I couldn't swim. Just to let you in on a little secret: when I went to Mexico and swam the cenotes, I needed a life jacket!, :(. I was so disappointed in myself that I took adult swim lessons in Boston until I got fairly comfortable with the water. Fast forward a month a half later, I never imagined I'd do something as absurd as cliff jumping. It was a short cliff, but still.
Hiking the Beehive Trail, Gorham Mountain, Ocean Path Trail. These hikes are super short and connected, which made for the perfect casual day hike. They weren't challenging at all, but fun as fuck. For example, the Beehive trail is steep at the top with limited space to step before the summit, so you have to be careful with your footing. Despite being around 500+ feet, the Beehive and Gorham summits delivered spectacular views.
Sand Beach. We ended our hiking adventures on the beach. The water was freezing, but such a nice way to cool off for the rest of the day after sweating a ton.
Bar Harbor Lobster Company. Late lunch with fish n' chips, lobster rolls, and a giant crab cake sandwich. So good!
Sunset at Cadillac Mountain. I've seen my share of sunsets in my short life, but this was easily the best sunset yet. Usually when you enjoy a sunset, the other views surrounding you are 'meh'. I felt trapped in a 360 degree panorama of dreaminess. To my three o'clock was this hazy, periwinkle sky with subtle hues of the rainbow just above the water; my six o'clock was a cascade of big, green trees layered perfectly alongside the face of the mountain; my nine o'clock was a dip between the mountain and what I thought was some hill into a valley with a warm blue sky not yet touched by the sun's setting light; and my twelve o'clock, of course, the most intense coral-red sunset. It cast such a nice pink over the rocks from where we were standing. And to make it even more visual for you, there was a strip of cloud to the right of the sun, dissecting the sky into two parts: above the cloud was still clear blue sky, as if the day had just started, and right below it was the majesty of the highlighter red/pink colors emanating from the sun as it went down. Ugh! I can't even tell you how lovely the entire thing was.
Milky Way Gazing and Shooting Star Spotting at Sand Beach. After the sunset, we packed up our chairs and headed back to the beach, perched our seats in the sand, and literally just sat for an hour, gazing up at the stars. The last time I saw stars inundating the sky like that was during my service trip to Vietnam with my peers and mentor. Mike has always wanted to see the Milky Way, and none of us expected to see it this trip but there it was, so matter-of-factly, a faint ghost-like strip softly slashing the sky in a perfect diagonal. The tide was thrashing against the shore, and I could see and feel the tips of the trees behind me when I looked up as if they were protecting us from whatever was behind us. Do you know how small and unremarkable I felt? All this endlessness out there, and I was sitting at the heart of it with two of the best people in my life. Writing and recreating all these pieces in my head makes me tear up because I know it would be rare to have a moment like that again. To top it off, Don brought his bluetooth speaker so we were blasting Bon Iver's "Holocene." I saw nine shooting stars that night. The last one was the best one, leaving an ephemeral streak of dark reddish-orange in the sky.
Some of the lyrics from Holocene go like this:
"And at once I knew,
I was not magnificent.
And I could see for miles, miles, miles."
Literally, how perfect and fitting! We felt tiny. Not even like a mere speck in the universe. Surrendering to all of this and just taking a breath and not worrying about my next night shift and all the drama of the world that can fill your day was pure serenity. We could have stayed there all night if we could, but ended the night with more beers, hot dogs, and bad food.
The next day we stopped by Portland, Maine to check out downtown. Got more seafood at Portland Lobster Company, tried out a new coffee joint at Bard Coffee, and sampled some beers and got some sick gear at Shipyard Brewery.
Now we're home and back to normalcy. Easily one of my favorite moments in life, ever.