Writers Note: This is the fourth part of a multi-part series detailing a 3 day trip to Mt. Washington, Acadia National Park, and Portland, Maine. If you’re interested, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
2:18 AM. I can hear a faint sniffling. I don’t have a cold. I listen harder. Several twigs break. Heavy animal breathing, another sniff. It sounds just like the family dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Wallace. Except it’s not. I’m alone in Lamoine State Park, Maine and protected only by the thin veil of a tent.
Immediately I rack my brain for potential slip-ups. I must have left some bread crumbs in my backpack. I did make that PB&J using my thighs as a table-top earlier. I’m rapidly blaming myself for the disastrous hypothetical situation furiously brewing in my head. A motley crew of mountain lions, black bears, and uncharacteristically aggressive white-tailed deer have undoubtedly surrounded my tent, I thought with all seriousness. I sat upright, more still than I’d ever been. I hear footsteps, heavy enough to be a human.
I sit rigid, stomach shaking. (Side-note: camping alone in fear of wild animal packs is a phenomenal ab workout). I stare at my phone every ten minutes, counting down until the sunrise that’s scheduled for 5:27 AM. It’s amazing how precise your memory gets when paralyzed with fear. After hearing a couple more footsteps and some more measured sniffing, silence arrives at 4:14 AM. Still uneasy, I lay down until sunrise finally arrives.