This time of year I am logging many hours a day in the office. Each day I try to escape into Acadia National Park for a few hours to climb or run and get my heart rate up. Today was a rainy and gloomy day and things in the office were slow. I closed the door and drove the few miles to the Huguenot Head parking lot. My plan was to run up to the top of Champlain and down the North Ridge and then back to the car. A nice mellow loop.
Upon arriving at the parking lot I found only two cars. This was surprising due to the proximity to town and the thousands of visitors mobbing the streets of Bar Harbor.
I began my run and quickly fell in to a rhythm of movement and breathing. The woods were grateful for the heavy rain and I was grateful for the woods. Heart pumping and sweat pouring I arrived at the summit of Champlain to find only one human. My friend Mark, an avid climber and a local guide. He had run up a different aspect of Champlain. He is training for an upcoming trip to the Sierras and had intentionally filled his backpack with heavy items. We chatted for a bit and continued our separate ways. The fog was just beginning to lift and I could barely make out the Schoodic Peninsula and the Porcupine Islands. The birds were chirping, the rain eased; it was amazing!
Half way down the North Ridge I could hear someone running up the trail. It was my friend Steve; a climbing instructor based in Portland. He too was sweating and breathing heavy and pushing himself up this amazing mountain. He too is an avid climber.
I continued my loop and made it back to the car. I had seen only two people on my run and they were both climbers. All three of us ran up this amazing mountain via three different trails. We were the only people on the mountain!
This got me thinking about how amazing climbers are and how willing and eager they are to get outside and engage in the natural landscape. Rain or shine climbers are doers. They are optimistic and motivated. They are generous and they are wild. The most powerful experiences I have ever had have all been through climbing, and the best friendships in my life have all stemmed from climbing. Climbing makes people better! An intangible and formidable power stems from this lifestyle and brings out the absolute best in people. I see it everyday as a guide introducing people to the sport but also in unbelievable and random experiences like today on my run.
I love climbing and the incredible community that feeds upon it and is built around it. I am grateful!