Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Day 7, Acadia National Park

We've been to Maine. We've eaten lobster and blueberries (pie and ice cream). We've sailed. We've talked to locals, and now we've walked in the woods. Today in Acadia National Park, we were really touched by nature. No, I didn't fall down.

Just inside Acadia is a sign that has a John Muir quote: "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in... where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul." That set the mood perfectly for the four hours of woods and mountain vistas we slowly traveled. We stopped at the visitor's center and bought the CD with the self-guided tour, and each time it guided us to a stopping point, we'd pull over and hop out. About half way through, John decided I could just hop out by myself.

By the time I got to Jordon Pond, I was having images of myself writing a book and calling it "On Jordon Pond," and including the phrase 'you old poop' in there somewhere. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie On Golden Pond, then just forget I said that, okay?

While walking around the peak of Cadillac Mountain, I ran into a trio of people, seniors all, carrying cameras. One was about to take a photo of the other two, and I offered to take a photo of them all together. They were thrilled. "There are more of us!" they said. Soon there were fourteen people gathered together. It was a family reunion from six states ranging from Texas, the furthest, to Massachusetts, the closest, and this was their last day together, the end of ten days. During all that time, nobody had offered to take their photo together. They piled into three cars while I climbed back into our trusty Tahoe to drive back down from the highest point on the East Coast of the United States. One of the things I like best about traveling is the people I just happen to meet. I know I'll never see them again, but they still touch me in unexpected ways.

Before I leave Acadia, there's a really great tale about the Acadians who emigrated to Louisiana to become the Cajuns there. It seems they left behind some mighty lonely lobsters. The lobsters waited for them to return, and they mourned for their Acadian friends. When they finally decided they weren't coming back, the lobsters followed them down the coast, crawling slowly and painfully, looking for any trace of their old friends. It was a hard, painful trip, and those poor lobsters lost a lot of weight. When they arrived in Louisiana and found their old friends, the Acadians, now known as Cajuns, had trouble recognizing them, because of their smaller size, and gave them a new name: crawfish.

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