September 1998. My Aunt and Uncle used some sort of magic to convince my mom and dad to let me miss an entire week of school for a trip. I had never been allowed to miss even a singe day unless I was super sick, so I have no clue how on earth they managed it. Regardless, I found myself in the back seat of my Uncle’s F350 dually with the horse trailer and three horses being pulled behind as we headed towards Acadia National Park in Maine.
It was a trip of a lifetime.
18 long hours of hauling later we arrived at the barn where they had rented three stalls for the next 5 days and then we headed to our rental in the woods only a few miles away. The house was massive with 4 stories. I still remember the A frame construction, the kitchen being on the second floor and my own room on the 4th up a winding metal stair case. We were sharing it with a boyfriend/girlfriend couple who brought mountain bikes and a husband/wife team who brought their own horses, both couples were friends with my Aunt and Uncle and we rarely saw them the entire week.
Each morning we would wake up before the sun did and head to the barn. Most days we would not return until the sun had set again. The trails were perfection too. Wide open ancient carriage trails built by the Rockefeller family that wound around pristine lakes the color or turquoise, ran along ridge lines and dipped into valleys. Our rides were a mix of walking, cantering and long racing gallops. I wish now that I had a Garmin back then. I know we had to cover close to 250 miles that week.
A couple of days we either started or ended late. One day was spent up on Cadillac Mountain watching the sun rise. It is the first place the sun touches in the US each morning. The other day we ended early and went into Bar Harbor. Here my Uncle had bought us tickets to ride a glider plane. We barely squeezed inside the tiny cockpit and at first I thought about bailing. However soon we were soaring high tethered to the plane that would eventually let us go. When it did, my heart skipped a beat but our pilot knew his job and soared our engineless plane safely back to the ground after about an hour floating high above.
After that we went to a local seafood restaurant where I experienced my first lobster fresh from the ocean.
The entire trip was like a dream. A great horse under me, beautiful scenery and the love of my Aunt and Uncle. It is a trip I won’t ever forget.