It was our last morning in Acadia. As I pulled back the fly on our tent I looked out and saw blue sky. Finally! After 3 days of clouds, fog, and rain we would actually see the beautiful ocean surrounding this island park.
We ate a quick breakfast and packed up our gear. We hadn’t planned to spend much time in the park today, but with the ability to experience Acadia with a true sense of sight we decided to take a quick lap in the car.
The views were wonderful. Up to this point I really liked Acadia, but now I could see why people love Acadia. The sunlight cast a new color to the park, and the blue /green backdrop of the ocean really brought the whole scene together.
To finish our farewell lap we made our way up Cadillac Mountain via road. We soon realized that everyone here had the same idea. Cars were backed up bumper to bumper.
I despise traffic. What a waste of life. One of the reasons we took this trip was to get away from fumes and congestion. We would have hiked up, if only we had the time. The parking lot near the top was more packed than a big box store on Black Friday. Horns honking, aggressive maneuvering… people were ruthless. So much for peace and beauty.
I find a parking space just in time to see a woman carrying her chihuahua come within inches of getting hit by an RV. I was terrified. She was oblivious. I turn to Karrie with wide eyes. I can see that she is overwhelmed by all of this too. “Well, we made it.” I smile, trying to relieve some tension, but it doesn’t wash away easily.
After carefully crossing the road we make our way to the trail that will take us to the summit. About 20 yards into the hike we come upon a younger man who is standing in the trail taking photos of what I assume to be his girlfriend. We stop to wait for them to finish.
His camera shutter snaps in rapid succession: Click…click.click.click…click.click.click.click….click.click.
He rotates the camera 90 degrees and continues firing.
“Oh my gosh. This spot is so much better.” he says without taking his eye from the camera. Click…click…click.click.click.
This is getting a bit ridiculous. There is literally a line of people forming behind us. Trail etiquette people.
After ripping off another two dozen photos he stands up and looks down at his view finder. This is my chance to pass him! I start walking and he lifts the camera back to his face and starts clicking away. CLICK.CLICK.CLICK.CLICK.
"Screw it." I think to myself, “I’m going.”
As I walk in front of him, he throws his free hand in the air and starts yelling at me, “Yeah! Okay! Sure! No problem! Just walk in front of my shot why don’t you!”
Something inside me ignited, and I shot right back at him, “Well if you’re going to stand in the middle of the trail all day someone is going to have to pass you sometime! We’ve been politely waiting for 5 minutes. There’s a line of people who would like to pass! But you’re right, I’m sorry, of the 500 pictures you just took I’m sure that I ruined your 'perfect shot.’"
As if sarcasm and air quotes weren’t enough to prove my point, I flipped him the bird for good measure.
Everyone stood staring at me, mouths agape; Karrie included. As the photographer fumbled for a response Karrie tip-toed around him and we continued walking.
“What the heck just happened?” Karrie asked cautiously.
“That guys was being a jerk, and then he tries to make me out to be the bad guy! Someone had to put him in his place.”
“Well I know, but geez!"
She was right. While that guy probably deserved what he got, it’s not usually my style to confront people so aggressively. I suppose I could blame it strictly on his actions and the stressfulness of the drive up, but as I sat there taking in the spectacular view of Acadia’s highest peak, I knew my outburst was driven from something deeper.
For the past 2 years I’ve been working my tail off to rack up vacation time. Picking up hours on weekends, evenings, and even holidays. All of this work just so that I could have two consecutive weeks off to go on an adventure. I thought if I could manage to have one genuine adventure every year or two, where we are truly free and wild like we were on the PCT, then maybe I can do this whole "settling down” thing.
Well here I am, sitting at the pinnacle of my attempt to escape, and I’m wound as tight as a drum. I failed to satisfy my thirst for adventure, and now, unless I quit my job, it will be another year of long hours before I have the chance to try again.