A Rude Awakening

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.

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