Saturday, June 25, 2016

One More Acadia Loop, No Looking Back

Miss Piggy at Woodlands Cottage #3

25 June 2016

We have to check out of the cottage by 11:00. There's enough time to take Miss Piggy for a 10-mile sightseeing loop.

I begin on Schooner Head Road, which starts almost at the foot of the cottages. I pass the back side of Jax. It looks like a warehouse from here.

Farther along I stop for a picture.

And another a few minutes later:

At Schooner Head, there's a parking lot and a lumpy asphalt path that winds down to the rocks. I one-foot it as far as I can, over lumps and roots, until the asphalt becomes too decomposed to ride on.

I walk out into a clearing before the bottom of the path.

Even with the digital zoom, the lighthouse is too far away. It might come out all right. Might as well snap a handful and hope for one clear shot.

The distortion is fun. It makes the house look like a badly-executed watercolor.

I want a picture with my foot, the rocks, and the ocean.

It's only a little past 9:00 a.m., but I have to wait in line with the cars to show my park pass at the ranger gate. I'm only going to be on Park Loop Road for a mile or two before I turn off.

Otter Creek Road takes me back to Route 3. The Tarn, along Route 3, is the reason I wanted to go this way.

I get back in time to pose Miss Piggy against the stairs to the cabin. I'll come back, someday.

I get a lukewarm shower while Shannon figures out what to do with all the food we bought but never ate because we weren't hermits after all. I pack what I can into my cooler. We load the car, and I drop her off at Hancock County Airport. I'll probably never hear from her or any of my Jax classmates again*.

We're waiting at the gate in Bangor Airport. We're taking up two rows of seats. I'm sitting on the floor, across from the one person I maybe could call a friend, but we'll never see each other again, so I won't. 

Somebody says something, and I respond, "I don't love anyone." 

"Bullshit," my not-really-friend, who never curses, almost whispers.

"What did you say?"
"You heard me."

"I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"I really don't."  Why is this so hard to understand?

As I drive west, listening to music I listened to 34 years ago, what I see looks less and less like the Maine I remember. I switch playlists to All Bike Tunes and turn south towards Boston, wondering how the weekend rides are going back home. The weather is perfect.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Thunder Hole and Another Bar Harbor Sunset

Thunder Hole, Acadia National Park

24 June 2016

We were milling about outside of the teaching lab. Ariana said she wanted to see Thunder Hole. Five of us squeezed into her rental car and headed to Acadia. We used my pass to get in. The tide was on its way out; we'd missed peak thunder of waves crashing into a hollow in the rocks. Still, it was booming enough.

On the path that led to the rocks, a baby squirrel was eating. It didn't appear to care that there were people around.

There were the usual flip-flopped tourists, and a handful of serious photographers with tripods. I did the best I could with my little Canon.

Jessie took a picture of Shannon while I figured out where to walk next.

The walkway down to the source of the thunder was blocked off, still damp from high tide.

I walked out to the edge over the cave. At high tide, this would all be under water.

I sat on the ledge for a long time.

Can I stay here forever?

"Ready when you are," Jessie called from above.


The little critter was still on the path as I made my way back to the car.

We drove straight into town, where our chosen restaurant had an hour and a half wait. Ariana put her name in, and we went back to last night's restaurant for beers. I took a walk through town instead, in search of suitable moose for Jack.

Buying moose in Bar Harbor is easy. Different stores have the same ones. They're all cheap, as stuffed moose go.

I made it back to the group with plenty of time, and we were there for at least another half hour. There were more beers at the restaurant, and it was dark and late when we left. The conversation among us, helped along by alcohol, was more personal than it had been before.

For the fourth night in a row, I went to bed far too late.


Today was the last day of class. There was no lab component today; it was all sitting in the conference room. We ended ahead of schedule and started early on the wine and cheese outside. Not very many of us were left, and then it was down to seven. Ariana whipped out a bottle of wine she'd squirreled away from the reception. When that was gone, it was time for dinner. We went back into town.

Dinner, then ice cream, then a walk to the dock, where we caught the last of the sunset in the harbor.

What did we do our last day on Hardwood Island? I don't remember.

The motorboat pulled away from the dock. 

There is no pain
You are receding
A distant ship smoke on the horizon. 

I stood in the back and watched the island disappear into the fog, as if it had never happened. 

I have become 
Comfortably numb