Looking back as we emerged from Somes Sound, I was sad to be leaving but tired and happy. In eleven days, we had hiked 30 miles and about a mile of that was straight up. I now knew these lovely, ancient mountains so much more intimately than when we arrived. I identified each one and remembered the view from the top. I relived the smell of spruce and fir, evoking thoughts of Christmas, intermingled with the flavor of sweet blueberries, ripe on the bush and warm from the summer sun. I could still feel the simple joy of watching Chloë scramble over a rock pile with self-satisfaction or of seeing Mark and Chloë work down a ledge together with a deftness that eludes me.
Acadia is one of those magical places where, despite what you may have heard on the news this morning, things make sense. Standing atop a granite outcrop, that has changed little in 10,000 years, gazing out at a vast sea, the worries of the day seem small and the possibilities seem endless. Pleasure is simple and easy to come by. Tired legs make for hearty appetites and restful sleep. The morning watch for seals or an afternoon spent observing a cloud bank obscure a rocky summit makes cable news seem like a poor use of time.
We still got tired, sore, grouchy, lost and utterly sick of riding the bus. We encountered plenty of vacationing families with petulant teenagers who were clearly not feeling the same existential revelation as me. And that’s okay.
My idea of paradise always involved swaying palm trees and a tropical sea lapping gently at a powdery beach. After our time in Acadia, I realize I may have to broaden my definition.