Acadian Morning Gold

My eyes slowly came to terms with my surroundings. It was pitch black and silent, save the cacophony coming from the alarm clock on my wrist. I fumbled around until it stopped and closed my eyes. A gentle breeze slowly guided me side to side, with crisp, awakening air breaking through the tightly knit seams of my hammock. I was hung between two trees in the heart of Acadia National Park.

I reopened my eyes and glanced at my watch. 2:55 am, an ideal time to chase a sunrise.

It would be a quick trip. Having a day off work, I hauled my way up to Acadia at 10:30 the night before, swung up my hammock, and slept until my alarm woke me. Now, eyes partly open, I dug through my pocket until my hand found its way to a crinkled up Blueberry Crisp Cliff Bar: Breakfast.

Cadillac Mountain lay 40 minutes due North East of me. I was sunrise chasing. Specifically, I was chasing what was rumored to be the first sunrise in the United States. I didn’t know what lay in store, but with the excitement and pounding of my heart, I knew it had a chance to be an experience rarely matched.

As the car pulled to the top of Cadillac, I organized my pack and set off to find a spot to call basecamp. My watch read 4:05 and off in the distance the faint golden color of a sun was already beginning to poke through the grey clouds surrounding it, creating a lavender hue that consumed the sky.

Second by second, mother nature slowly was waking up.

Above me, a solemn hawk glided, gazing down at the spectacle of people arriving to see the show. At my feet, bugs began their busy commute, rushing from rock to rock, already harvesting food for the day.

I sat down on a rock grouping some 150 feet from the edge. In the far off distance, the breaking sound of the waves beckoned, filling the air with a heavy salty smell the wind carried between the tips of the trees that I sat around. All was quiet. All was calm.

In due time the rocks I sat on slowly turned from a dark sandy tint to an expressive golden hue ready to introduce the coming of the sun up ahead. Now 4:50, the sun began creeping over the horizon. A once foggy ocean had been turned into a gleaming waterfront with four islands glowing vibrantly against the blue water.

Quite simply, I cannot do the scene justice with my words. They leave a gaping hole in perhaps the most important part of discovery in the natural world: sentiment.

I sat for some time, reflecting simultaneously on my present state as well as my future and past endeavors. I was dreaming, one eye in the present, one in the past and future. And just like that, it was time to go, to move on, and let more of Acadia reveal itself to me. The golden sunrise introduced me to the serenity that lay in the park’s borders.

Three hours later I found myself atop another peak of Acadia, looking out in broad daylight at a cool blue ocean emphasizing the lush green forest floor below. Though undeserving of the landscape that lay in front of me, I had climbed up the face, a near vertical climb at parts that seemed far too short. The weathered rocky peaks allowed for discovery and a panoramic view that sat off the harsh drop some three feet away.

Acadia had shown its beauty to me.

It had teased me, played with me, and tempted me. The more time I spend in the depths of Maine, the more I realize its unique nature, far different than the West, the South, and even its neighboring states throughout New England.

Sitting on Cadillac Mountain, I felt welcomed and accepted, fully allowing Acadia to call and come to me. Come to me it did, revealing its humble origins and simple ways. Yet, its simplicity was only matched by its elegance and expressive nature.

Now, all I want is to find myself back in my hammock, swinging side to side in the breeze, with a watch reading 2:55.

- OA

Oliver Ambros