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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Sunset in Maine

Writers Note:  This is the third part of a multi-part series detailing a 3 day trip to Mt. Washington, Acadia National Park, and Portland, Maine. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed it.

A sunset is more than a picture.  It’s the closing remark of a day rich with thoughts and experiences.  Not yet fully aware of this, I snapped a few pictures of the sunset converging on the lake near my campsite.  I felt far way from home in Texas.  Far away from my closest friends and family.  Yet, this sunset inspired a feeling of exhaustion and accomplishment that made it all worth it.

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In conclusion….

I quickly sent a few picture messages of what I perceived to be awe-inspiring.  Mixed reviews.  Why?  Because you can’t transport a feeling and you sure as hell can’t share a moment with someone through a picture message.  Traveling alone is liberating but it is truly impossible to fully share the experience with others through pictures, phone calls, even writing.  Sometimes you just have to be there.

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You can’t transport a feeling