Monday, February 19, 2018

Nothing Could Burst Her Bubble

Thursday dawned even more beautiful than the previous three days in Bar Harbor. Kate awoke easily looking forward to the adventures their last full day in Acadia National Park would bring her family.

She softly nudged Adam's shoulder. "Wake up, sleepy head. We've got to get moving. The parking lot at the trailhead of the Bubbles was full yesterday morning when we drove by at ten."

Adam groaned and mumbled that he was awake, but Kate was already in the bathroom washing up and getting dressed. By the time she emerged, ready for the day, the girls were both awake as well and searching through their suitcases for the perfect outfits.

Within a half an hour the family of four was enjoying their continental breakfast and within another half hour, they were loaded into the Expedition and once again on the short drive into Acadia National Park. Roughly 2 miles past the turnoff for Cadillac Mountain, Adam signaled and turned into the small roadside parking lot. As expected, it was already crowded, but they were able to find a spot, and everyone piled out ready for another adventure, hoping it would be as marvelous as the previous days.

The well-maintained trail was a continuous, gradual ascent through a seemingly ethereal forest. It was a fun, relaxing hike, only about one mile to the summit, and along the way they had to scramble a couple times over large rocks.

 The time spent together on the moderately trafficked trail with her husband, daughter, and step-daughter made Kate wish this vacation would never end. Gone were the everyday demands of chores and errands. Gone were the temptations of technology. Kate used her cell phone as a camera, not as a device to keep her connected to the rest of the world. In place of the monotonous language of typical daily life, there was laughter and meaningful conversations. Not that Kate never laughed with or talked to her husband or kids when they were at home. On the contrary, Kate thought they lived a very happy life together, but just very predictable and highly demanding with Adam's coaching schedule and the girls' extracurricular activities.

Before long, Kate, Adam, Madeline and Chloe were standing on the top of South Bubble Mountain, their eyes taking in an incredible view of Jordan Pond on one side . . .

 And the Atlantic Ocean in the far off distance in the other direction.

"Wow," Kate exhaled. "You can hardly tell where the sky stops and the ocean begins."

"It's an amazing view," Adam agreed.

Kate enjoyed the majestic views while examining the exposed edges of the steep mountainsides, suddenly very thankful her children weren't fearless and curious toddlers.

"Come on, Mom!" Madeline exclaimed. "Let's get our picture with Bubble Rock." She was referring to the famous tourist attraction which was basically an elephant-sized boulder that had been carried by glaciers many, many years ago and deposited at the very edge of the cliff. To read about it, it seemed like just an average sight until Kate actually laid her eyes on it.

"Look at it! It's just balanced right there on the edge of the cliff! How does it not fall?" Kate shook her head in awe.

Chloe looked at Kate matter-of-factly. "The rock is big, but God is bigger. That's how."

Somehow in the eight years that Kate had been this girl's step-mother, Chloe had grown from a shy, awkward preteen to a stunningly beautiful and wise young lady. How had Kate missed it? She blinked, that's how.

Pulling Chloe to her, Kate kissed the teen's temple. "You're right."

They all took turns posing for pictures with Bubble Rock, pretending to push the giant rock off the side of the mountain, and spent several more minutes marveling at the God-drawn tapestry.

They climbed the last little stretch to the summit of South Bubble Mountain, and then slowly began their return descent to the trailhead. Kate, however, remained high on pure joy. She had no intentions of coming down anytime soon and she knew, after this wonderful vacation with the most precious people on the planet, nothing could ever burst her bubble. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Worth the Wait

After such an early morning, they returned to the hotel, were four of the first diners at the continental breakfast, and then easily took a two-hour nap back in their room. When Kate slowly woke, she reached for her phone, still in camera mode, looking through the stunning pictures from their amazing experience that morning. Exhaling, part of her felt like it was just a dream and she was relieved that it was very real.

Adam rolled toward her. "What's on the agenda for this afternoon?"

"I don't know that anything can compare to this morning."

"Doesn't mean we shouldn't go try and see what adventures we can find, does it?" Patting her hip, Adam crawled out of bed. "I'm going to shower."

"Alright. I'll get the girls up and around." Setting her phone on the bedside table, Kate reluctantly parted with her pictures for the time being and went to the adjoining room in their family suit to rouse Madeline and Chloe.

Within the hour, the family of four made the short drive from their hotel to Jordan Pond, a crystal clear mountain lake. Adam and the girls, ever the adventurers, were eager to hike the 3.6-mile perimeter. Kate, on the other hand, was anticipating the famous Jordan Pond House popovers.

Right off the bat, however, Kate thoroughly enjoyed the hike. It proved to be challenging and the views were incredible. The trail they started out on had several stretches which were narrow boardwalks, and they each had to watch their steps. A turned ankle would've been an easy injury on that section. That gave way to a stretch through and over rocks. They had to be sure-footed during this section as well. The last and longest stretch was relaxing, a mostly dirt or pea gravel trail, and they stopped many times during this section to marvel at the beauty of their surroundings. They discovered on their hike that Jordan Pond had an average visibility depth of 46ft.

"I wonder why it's so clear," Madeline mused gazing over a bridge at a frog and several minnows easily visible in the water.

"It said on the sign back where we started that there is no swimming or motorized watercraft allowed, which means nothing is polluting it," Adam stated.

"I see a kayaker, though. That's okay?" Chloe asked.

"Kayaks and canoes don't use gas or oil which could leak into the water." He smiled. "It looks fun, doesn't it?" All three ladies nodded and they continued on their hike, which was over way too soon.

Turning back one last time at the end of their hike, Kate snapped a few pictures and gazed at the pretty mountain-bordered lake. "I could just stare at this view all day long."

Slipping an arm around her waist, Adam nuzzled his wife's neck. "I get an even prettier view every single morning and evening."

"I love you, handsome." She kissed his cheek. "Now let's go check out those popovers in the restaurant. I'm feeling that hike!"

Jordan Pond House was an extremely popular full-service restaurant and the only one inside Acadia National Park. It was just a short distance from the Jordan Pond trail and the scenery out the huge windows as they enjoyed a fancy coffee or hot chocolate drink and popovers was every bit worth their decent wait.

Kate smiled. Just like life. Seems like all the best things take time and patience, but it's always worth the wait. That night Kate fell asleep early, exhausted but absolutely satisfied.