Its hard to believe that it was just over seven years ago that I first set foot on Acadia National Park. Now, five years later, I returned to that land. But to me, it wasn’t just another part of the country that I was standing on. It was more like another part of my imagination.
I had seen plenty of trees, mountains, animals, waves and shorelines in my life, and yet I’d never seen anything quite like this before. I could not explain where the feelings of freedom and ecstasy came from whenever I was exploring a path or challenging a mountain or jumping from rock to rock along a rocky seashore. A paradise beach that no Californian could possibly understand.
I was nine years old, that first time. That first time, I saw the beauty of the world in the eyes of a child. I remember, I saw it’s magic in a way that others—others older than me that is—did not. I did not know how, but somehow I knew that I understood this place.
And now at the age of sixteen, I would, somehow, go back to the days of my youth. My heart knew that I would be able to see that wonder again.
The first day we went to a trail that started a quarter-mile or so from the shore and turned out on the coastline. The Wonderland Trail, it was called. It had nothing to do with Alice or queens or painting roses red, but was a very different sort of Wonderland in my eyes.
A graveled path began the journey to the shore, sheltered by trees. I could barely hear the ocean; in fact, I couldn’t hear it at all. Surely it had to be too far away, but I could sense its presence. I jumped from rock to rock as the man-made gravel began to fade from the path.
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