Experiencing Acadia National Park, Together

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Acadia, Maine at Sunrise: The Grace of Dawn

Watching the sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain, together.Watching the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, together. Andy Christian Castillo photos.

3 a.m. Memories

Bri: I had been to Acadia once before, and remember multi-hued skies, salty air, and rolling mountains amidst sandy beaches. I couldn’t wait for Andy to see it – the place is a photographer’s dream.

Our first morning we woke up at 3:15 a.m., sleepily collected our sweaters and a blanket and headed for the top of Cadillac Mountain – the first point on the east coast to see the sun rise.

I could watch that sunrise a million times and never get bored of it.

The light changes minute to minute; a work of art being painted in the sky by the divine, revealing the clusters of small islands and calm seas below. It had me mesmerized. Surrounded by the grace of dawn and the gentle murmur of friends, couples, children and families, witnessing the majestic sky that I too often take for granted, felt almost sacred.

It was the most perfect way to begin part two of our road trip.
The Mountain Top

Andy: Standing on the top of Cadillac Mountain, watching orange creep up through the clouds, was one of those experiences that lingers long after it has ended. Words can’t describe the joy of living carried on that morning wind; or paint an accurate picture of the tapestry of pastel colors smeared across the eastern sky.
Waves crash onto the rocks at Acadia National Park in Maine. That was at 4 a.m. We had arrived late the night before, and pitched our tent at Seawall Camping in the dark (they didn’t even have showers or soap dispensers).

By midmorning we were both pretty smoked. But instead of returning to the site for sleep, we pushed ahead and hiked a trail off of Sand Beach.

Bri: We decided to do some hiking after sunrise, and unlike my last visit to Acadia, the park was nearly empty. We went down to Sand Beach and dipped our toes in The first point on the East Coast to see the sunrise: Cadillac Mountain.The first point on the East Coast to see the sunrise: Cadillac Mountain.the water, then quickly ran back to bury our cold feet in the warmth of the sand. There’s something invigorating about being barefoot on the beach in the early

We made our way up the trail with new energy, ready to explore. A short ways in, we wandered off the trail to climb out on the rocks.

Andy shot some photos of a passing boat and the crashing surf.

Seagulls & Yoga

Andy: The rocks stretched out before me, reaching down to the edge of the roaring surf which rolled endlessly onto itself; never seeming to grow tired of constant tumult; but instead, reaped fury on the crimson shoreline. Seagulls rose and fell on the air currents; their wings stretched wide in effort, adjusting like a man walking a tightrope; flying forward into the wind, but moving nowhere at all.

A lobster boat motored across the horizon, checking buoys and pulling up traps. Seabirds turned and pitched like torpedoes into the wake, snapping up unsuspecting prey from the fathomless depths and swooping away as quickly as they came.

I stood on a crest of rock, with the waves pounding at my toes; the foam swirling back into the tide, shuttling through bottlenecks in the rock; quickly dissipating back into the sea, leaving slick seaweed in its place. The strong scent of salt water permeated the warm breeze blowing off of the ocean, drowning out the crash of the surf and the putter of the distant boat.

In the trees, the landscape was just as breathtaking. Stark white birch trees contrasted tall grasses and bleached rock. Outcroppings overlooked crashing waves far below. Bri stopped for some yoga on a patch of grass; I watched the fishing boats until I fell asleep.
Bri: A little ways farther up we came across a patch of grass on a cliff looking out over the ocean. It was silent expect for the song of nearby birds and the rhythm of colliding waves below. There was no one else around. I decided to practice yoga on the grass, and AnBri doing yoga early in the morning.

Refreshingly Disconnected
Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park in Maine.

Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park in Maine.

We lost track of time. Neither of us had a watch, and we had left our phones in the car. Completely disconnected, we took our time to indulge in our own little paradise, hidden away in nature, not a care in the world.

Andy: Sometimes I wonder why I don’t live in Maine. More than any other location, the coast feels like home.

It has been about fifteen years since the last time I felt the ocean breeze, but it feels like I never left. Maybe it’s because a part of my heart will always live here; a part of me will always call this place my home. Even though I’ve never been to this particular spot before, I’m not discovering a place for the first time; rather, I am rediscovering myself.

Acadia National Park is a place of tremendous beauty; quintessential New England: mountains, harbor, grasslands, forests. There is no other place like it.

After the hike we went to Jordan’s Pond House for popovers and lunch. They don’t have a big menu, but what they serve, they make well. The seafood chowder is pretty killer, as are the popovers.

See more of his work at andychristian.net

Brianna June Lertora is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher, on a path of constant transformation and inquiry. She trained at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She studied Spanish and communications at Stonehill College, and spent a year teaching English in Ecuador. In her spare time, she writes and travels the world.

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