This is the story of our first attempt to climb the Bubble...and with it, my Travel Lesson #2: You can't do anything about the weather, so just relax and enjoy whatever Mother Nature blows your way!
UP THE BUBBLE
We really could not have timed it worse if we had tried. Rob and I were on the last few days of our drive up the Maine coast and had finally reached Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. The guidebooks for the region included vivid photographs of trees glowing red and golden under the autumn sun, cerulean ponds shimmering under sapphire skies, rocky islands dotting the many bays and inlets along this glacier-gouged coast. As we drove into town, the anticipated vibrant colors were considerably muted by the grey drizzle that had followed us up the coast, but we held out high hopes for the following day.
We woke early, filled with anticipation for our drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which sits inside Acadia National Park just behind Bar Harbor. At 1,532 feet, the mountain is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, and the summit is the first place in the United State to catch the rays of the rising sun. Somewhat to our dismay, the rays of the rising sun were totally absent, still hidden by thick grey clouds. Ever the optimists, we drove into the park and wound our way slowly up the mountain.
As Rob drove, I took the role of perky minute-by-minute weathergirl.
“Oh, look, honey, I can see a little light shining through a little break in the clouds! - I think I see a little blue over there! - I’m sure it will burn through any minute!”
|The "view" from the top of Cadillac Mountain|
Determined to salvage the day, I dove into my Acadia National Park guide.
“Here’s another great hike, honey. We can walk to the back of Jordan Pond and hike up the South Bubble. It’s also supposed to have some great views, and I’m sure the weather will clear up by the time we get there!”
My husband has a very cute rear end. I know this because the minute we start an uphill hike, that is the view I get as he charges effortlessly ahead while I huff and puff my way up the trail. I quickly came to terms with the fact that I will never get to walk with him on the up hills but I get the advantage of the nice view, and he has slowly come to terms with the fact that he has a hopelessly out-of-shape wife but he gets the advantage of a nice rest when he reaches the top and waits for me.
We started up the South Bubble trail and, as usual, Rob forged ahead so quickly that I soon found myself walking alone. I didn’t mind the solitude. The forest was dark and cool and quiet and I was quite happy to amble slowly along enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.
About ten minutes into the climb, it started to sprinkle. The leaves above me were so thick that I barely felt the drops but I could hear them tapping out a little rhythm. I joined them with the little ditty from Disney’s Bambi.
“Drip drip drop, little April showers,
Beating a tune as you fall all around.
Drip drip drop, little April showers,
What can compare with your beautiful sound?”
About twenty minutes into the climb, it started to rain. I sped up a little…trying to catch up to Rob. The trail was no longer a nice tidy dirt path but had become a steep minefield of granite boulders and tree roots.
About twenty-five minutes into the hike, it started to pour. I met a man coming rapidly down the trail and asked hopefully, “Am I almost to the top?” He laughed and shook his head, “No, you’re about halfway.”
I cursed Rob under my breath for being so fit as I had to keep fighting my way up the trail to find him, but a few minutes later, he came down to me.
“Joan, we have to turn around. This is getting too dangerous.”
Our search for gorgeous views that day was a failure, but the return hike held one consolation. I did not have to jump over the rivulets that criss-crossed the path…I just marched right on through!