That’s how long I planned for, 4 months. It started as an extension of a trip from last year with my brother. We’d go beyond the Green Mountain National Forest we spent 4 days in last year, and this time head to Acadia National Park. When my friend and business partner Darren got wind of this he mentioned he’d fly out from Colorado if we’d extend the trip north 100 miles and camp in Fundy National Park over the Canadian border.
While researching the trip, I discovered the Fundy Footpath: a 50km hiking trail that traverses the ridges and beaches of the acadian forest along the Bay of Fundy, with its terminus dropping you in the heart of Fundy National Park. PERFECT.
We bought maps and gear, secured sponsors, poured hours into researching the right camp locations scouring topos, looking at projected weather patterns and figuring out the flora and fauna of the area. There’s no other way to say it, we were stoked. And then, things started to unravel.
First, it was the weather. 2.5 weeks out the weather pattern shifted and started showing a front rolling down from the Arctic that would not only bring temps about 12 degrees colder than we had planned for, but also about 1 inch of rain per day. Maybe that seems doable if you’re thru hiking elsewhere, but with more than a dozen stream crossings and 2 tidal rivers to cross, this trip was looking canceled before we even left. We held our breath, and waited. Days passed, and we waiting some more. Finally we began coming up with a plan B, then a C, then a D. More maps, more research, more gear.
A CHANGE IN THE WEATHER
Monday, roughly 72 hours before our departure the weather changed. Low 70’s, zero precip in the forecast, YES. We got our green light. Celebration! Until we no longer had a green light. The next day I got the call that the vehicle we planned on taking was out of service. The trip was off, again.
The next day I made a few calls, and with way less effort than it should have taken I actually secured us another adventure vehicle. My father would meet me halfway between his house and mine and we’d swap cars, me leaving with his Exterra. Disaster averted.
UNTIL THE NEXT DISASTER
A word of advice: If your job is to carry stuff, lift stuff, haul stuff or generally be the muscles in any type of operation, it would probably behoove you to make a good footwear choice. Low top, three year old canvas Vans are not the right choice for this type of work. Additionally if you ever find yourself hauling a loaded handcart through a labyrinth of Italian food products, do not lose your patience to the point where you yank said cart smack into your foot, causing a bone bruise or perhaps a slight fracture, and you will have no one to blame but yourself.
I offered to have the crew head up North without me. They refused. I could have made the choice to sit around and pout, but that didn’t seem right either. So we packed the car, laced up the boots (tightly) and headed north to the mountains.
In my head, I’ve titled Day 01 “dealing with disappointment”. On one hand the trip I’d planned for months was canceled. I wouldn't be fishing for salmon, hiking 13 miles per day, foraging for shellfish or watching the world’s most dramatic tides. On the other, I wasn’t injured enough to be in a cast, I could still walk, and I had 3 days to get off of a computer and get outside. It was an interesting thing to work through. I’m the type of person that likes to go with the flow, unless the flow doesn’t let me do anything I want to do. That's when I get a little bratty.
At some point, I had to resolve to not let that happen. I had to say out loud that for one reason or another I wasn’t meant to go on this trip. Was it the timing? Was I not prepared for it? Was I spared something awful happening? I can’t answer that. But, I can answer this: somewhere in the woods of Keene Valley, surrounded by some of the best dudes I know in the middle of God’s creation there was no other option than to choose thankfulness.
Adventure is a word that gets batted around a lot these days. It means something different for everyone. For the most part, for me it means getting to a place where I’ve never stepped before and pushing my mental and physical boundaries to a place I’ve never taken them. In light of this recent “adventure” I might change my stance – or at least stop saying I seek adventure. I really think what I seek is time out of doors, a decent challenge, real undistracted conversation, camp fires, and good views. And after all the failed planning, roadblocks and logistics, I got what I needed and I’m thankful for that.
THE NIGHT SKY
With it being so close to Solstice it took what felt like forever for the sun to go down, but once it did the night sky revealed itself and it was spectacular. From the escarpment close to camp you could spy Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn along with the Milky Way with the naked eye. It was a good way to feel tiny.
A big thanks to the folks that continue to send gear for me and my crew as we continue on exploring and adventuring and capturing in our own way. Thanks to The North Face for their locals program and constant support, to Biolite for letting me pretend I’m Mark Watney and always staying charged up, and to Outpost Titanium for keeping my belly full and my pack light.