Last week, I was very fortunate to celebrate my mother’s birthday with her in Acadia National Park. We had no idea that this little part of Maine on the Atlantic Coast was the seventh most popular national park in the country with nearly 3.5 million visitors a year. We arrived the week before the summer season started with the kids still in school and a lot of businesses just unlocking their doors from a long winter.
Experiencing Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island for the First Time
Both newbies to Acadia and the Mount Desert Island area, we came with a couple of guidebooks, recommendations from bloggers and friends, and open minds. What we stumbled upon was an area that would take much longer than our weeklong stay to even scratch the surface. With over 45-miles of carriage roads to bike along and countless hiking trails, it would take the entire summer to thoroughly explore Acadia. However, waking up with the birds and going to bed well after a sunset on Cadillac Mountain, we experienced a plethora of beauty, ranging from mountain vistas to wildlife and the rugged Atlantic coastline.
Although I could go on and on about the lessons that Maine’s natural setting and even Mainer speak taught us over our stay, I have a funny story to share that reminded us both to Look Up.
Funny Story that Served as a Reminder to Look Up
On our second day in Acadia, it was predicted to rain heavily in the afternoon. We awoke early to take advantage of the morning hours, albeit cloudy and a wee bit chilly. We both sat on the bench in the stairwell of our cottage putting on our almost identical hiking boots and packed our backpacks with tasty snacks, raincoats, and extra layers. We set out for an easy morning walk through the Asticou Gardens and Thuya Gardens near Northeast Harbor.
Having had a bike accident a week prior, I was coddling a bruised rib as well as some major scabs on my right knee and elbow. The hiking of the day previously in combination with my ailments made me slow down to a stroll instead of my typical determined and brisk walk. This pace paired well with my mother’s exploration and picture taking of the gardens. However, I did notice that my hiking boots were starting to bother my toes. I thought to myself, “I just got a pedicure. My big toes feel a little tender. I wonder if I’m getting an ingrown toenail?”
As we finished our visit to the gardens, we walked out to a vista of Northeast Harbor. With the backdrop of many fishing boats and pleasure yachts, we decided to take a boat ride. If you don’t want to hike in the rain, you can take a covered boat ride to see the surrounding area from a different vantage point.
Epiphany on Boat Ride Ends with Laughter
Bundled up in all of our layers plus a blanket apiece, provided by the charter boat, we cruised the Gulf of Maine spotting bald eagles, Bear Island lighthouse, a couple dozen seals, a harbor porpoise, and other marine birds. It was on our return to the harbor that my mom looked over at me and asked, “Are you wearing your hiking boots? Mine look different.” I looked down at my boots, which were not nearly worn enough to have completed the Camino de Santiago earlier this year. In fact, I was wearing my mom’s hiking boots a size smaller than my boots. As the naturalist continued with his explanation of x, y, or z bird or geological formation, we were laughing hysterically. In our fog (aka autopilot) in the morning, we had both grabbed what appeared to be our own pair of hiking boots.
Although I had noticed mine felt a bit tight, it was minor in comparison to my other aches and pains. It took getting off of our feet and enjoying water views to figure out that we were wearing the wrong hiking boots. As we disembarked the boat, we walked to the nearest bench to exchange boots, not blaming anyone, both laughing at the switch-a-roo.
Look Up Reminder
It just goes to show. Autopilot and routine are dangerous. In this case, it was funny. However, it just goes to show that it is crucial to break up your routine in order to change your perspective or put on the right pair of hiking boots.
The mantra Look Up is a tool that you can use to shift your focus. Quickly Look Up puts you in the moment and allows you to spin any situation positively into a lesson or a laugh.