6:32 am: Bar Harbor, ME

The patter of rain slows long enough for me to emerge from my soggy tent, where I am greeted by my latest single-serving friend. I met Don yesterday while we were standing in line for the last remaining campsite in Blackwoods Campground, Acadia National Park. With only three tent sites remaining and a line of anxious faces behind us, we decided to share a site. We remain standing while we eat Honey Bunches of Oats; the picnic table is too wet even to lean on.

12:05 pm: Southwest Harbor, ME

The Wonderland Trail lives up to its name; it’s worth the hour-long bus ride from Bar Harbor. Seated on a block of pink granite on a southern point of Mount Desert Island, I snap some final pictures of the fog over the ocean, the mountain cranberries, and the Maritime Spruce-Fir Forest at my back. Three natural communities – two of them rare – in 0.7 miles. Not bad, Acadia. I begin to outline my piece before I head out of the woods.

12:45 pm

“Don’t touch those plants, they’re poision ivy.”

“Which ones?”

“Pretty much all of them.”

A mother gestures toward the bushes that line the Ship Harbor Nature Trail. They’re all Rubus species. I don’t particularly like hiking on busy days, but I enjoy this rare peek my audience.

Around the corner, I am baffled by a handful of Swarovski-clad birders playing a Black-capped Chickadee song on a smartphone. They mutter softly to one another, gesturing excitedly in the direction of a Black-capped Chickadee that is calling in the distance. The cacophony of other songs surrounding them is ignored.

As I approach the bus stop, I begin to take inventory of my belongings. Binoculars, check. Camera, check. GPS, check. Notebook, check. Sunglasses. Where are my sunglasses?

2:08 pm

My photos and GPS points have allowed me to retrace my every step of the Wonderland Trail, which has apparently swallowed my best pair of sunglasses. At least I manage to catch the bus. I can’t tell if the oozing sores on my toes are blister or bites; I suspect some of them are both.

3:15 pm: Bar Harbor, ME

I’m ironically seated across from a bartender who is wearing dark sunglasses indoors. I hope Eric doesn’t charge me for this beer. I’m lucky; his shift ends and he switches sides of the bar. I eat half of his blueberry scone for lunch, and we talk about California and a mutual friend whose lost cell phone charger brought me to this bar in the first place.

10:30 pm:

Jon has been teaching me mandolin. We play my first two semi-successful songs together and try to ignore the mosquitoes that float around our bare legs; they leak in through an undiscovered crack in his cabin.

In the morning, we will drive back to Augusta, where our only escape from a silent, air-conditioned office will be an hour-long lunch break. We will spend it wondering aloud how anyone could work a “regular” 9-5 job.


*some names changed

One comment

  1. kris Neiss

    Kelly. Your writing style is amazing. You should write a book along with illustrations. Miss you.

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