I am going to say this right off the bat: nature and I do not get along. Keeping that in mind, this story will probably be humorous to some of you.
It begins with an extremely long and tedious car ride through the backwoods of Maine, which, astonishingly, is not as exciting as one might think. After hearing the same four pop songs blaring on the radio and staring at blurry trees whisking by outside for three plus hours, you start to go a little crazy.
I was already annoyed at my parents for having the brilliant idea of dragging our family up to Baxter State Park for a “fun filled weekend” of hiking, swimming and sitting by the fire, and this car ride was definitely not making matters any better. It was seriously cutting into the summer vacation I was attempting to enjoy.
After what could only be estimated as the fiftieth time hearing “Someone Like You” by Adele through the constantly cutting out speakers, we arrived at the campground, which was nestled at the base of the mountain we would soon climb, or attempt to climb: Mount Doubletop.
Walking towards our campsite, we stumbled upon a group of Park Rangers picking up several tipped over trash cans and their accompanying shredded plastic bags. My ever curious Father asked them what had happened, and a Ranger with perhaps the largest mustache I had ever seen responded with, “We’ve been having some black bear problems recently. Don’t worry though, they shouldn’t get in the way of your weekend.”
Maintaining my unamused expression I turned on my heels and headed full throttle towards our minivan, only to be grabbed at the arm by my Mother and dragged towards our campsite. What seemed to be my only window for escape had vanished.
After making it to the campsite and dumping our rainbow assortment of duffel bags onto the dusty ground, my Dad headed back to the van to get our tent. My sister trotted off towards the sound of running water just over a nearby hill, and I collapsed with a groan on our site’s picnic table. My Mom shot me a frustrated look, however we both looked up at the sound of my Dad’s fast-paced approaching footsteps. He was there all right, bald, sweaty, but empty handed. Right away my Mom and I both knew what happened.
“You FORGOT the tent?” the shriek from my Mother had never been louder.
I rolled my eyes as an argument erupted between them. My sister poked her head up from the hill next to our site, and I pointed to the bickering couple next to me. She nodded, understanding, and disappeared, continuing with whatever she was doing.
Three hours later, after the sun had long set and our fire had died, I found myself wedged in the trunk of my minivan with my Mother, Father, Sister, and about five Pillow Pets. The thought of black bears running around made me uneasy enough, and my Father’s unnecessarily intense snoring didn’t help matters at all. Needless to say, I got no sleep that night. The next thing I knew I was standing at the base of Doubletop, backpack strapped on, baseball hat on head, sneakers tied, and feeling more indifferent to my current situation than I had the entire trip.
As we started up the trail my Dad attempted to crack a few camping-themed jokes to lift our spirits, but all they made me want to do was go back to our site and jump down the roofed hole the State Park labeled bathroom.
The way my Mother explained it, there were three sections of the trail. Damp, rocky, and woodsy. The rocky part was in the middle, and required the utmost hiking experience and finesse. Lucky for my family, I had neither of those things. The damp part mostly involved leaping over puddles and creeping around mud pits and other suspicious things on the ground. The puddles, I stepped in. The mud, I fell in. The suspicious things, I kicked out of the way, only to fall in another puddle seconds later.
Then the rocky part came. Let’s just say I was pulled up that portion of the hike.
When the woodsy part towards the peak came, I had a total of ten scrapes on my right arm, four on my left, and an unmeasurable amount on my legs. My sister had ripped her backpack, and my Mother’s water bottle had fallen off a cliff. Nevertheless, we trudged on through the towering pines.
My family was already at the peak when I rounded the corner towards the top. I heard my Mother’s gasps and the clicking of my Father’s camera. The energy I had been lacking the entire hike suddenly came to me, and I sprinted up the last leg and joined my family at the peak.
The view was absolutely breathtaking. The smaller peaks of the State Park looped around us like a jagged crown, and in the distance, Mount Katahdin loomed like the jewel on top. I took in a deep breath and smirked, appreciating the beauty that surrounded me as I tried my hardest not to let my family know how much I was actually enjoying the moment.
After the even more precarious hike down and lots of marshmallow roasting, I found myself once again stuffed in the minivan trunk with my family and overabundance of stuffed animals. I sighed and looked out the sunroof above me. The deep purple sky was filled with more stars than I had ever seen, and my eyes widened as I attempted to take them all in. As my eyes darted from star to star, I realized this would be something I could never experience in the city, and maybe, just maybe, if I made amends with nature, the view would always be worth it.
Sophie Charest '16