I vividly remember the last hike that my husband and I did before our twin sons were born. I was about 3 months pregnant and blissfully ignorant of the fact that I was carrying two babies instead of one. I was desperately trying to be one of those pregnant warriors who pursue activities like spelunking right up until they feel the first pangs of labor and rush off to the hospital only to emerge the next day ready for a good rafting adventure.
So anyway, we did a nice six-mile hike up to Apple Pie Hill, in the Pinelands of South Jersey. It was a beautiful fall day, crisp and warm with perfect cool breezes that came at just the right moments. We spent a good deal of time that day talking about how we would still do these things with a baby: just strap ’em on the back and change diapers on a bed of leaves. It would be just as much fun, but with a dash of baby-magic thrown in. Cue pre-parental sigh.
After that day, things went downhill quickly in the activity department. A couple of months more into my twin pregnancy and I could barely make it up the stairs, much less embark on any kind of hike. And then the boys were born and activities just sort of became complicated. While we were brave enough to travel quite a bit, for some reason we shied away from any serious hiking. We found different things to do when we visited the Blue Ridge Mountains. We took a shuttle up to the wolf preserve at Lakota. We picnicked at the Delaware Water Gap instead of hiking up to High Point.
So while we have had many amazing experiences with the boys this summer, the most significant ones for me were all the times that we strapped the boys into our hiking backpacks and hit the trails. Acadia encouraged us to do this. It is one of our favorite places on the planet, and there was just no way that I was going to experience it from a car. Or from a crowded vista looking out at Thunder Hole. I wanted the real Acadia experience. I wanted to hike.
So the first hike we did in Acadia was the Great Head Trail, right off of Sand Beach. This trail is listed as ‘moderate’ and it definitely is full of rock scrambles and uneasy footings. At the risk of slipping onto the corny side of ebullient, it was the perfect thing for us to do on our first day in Acadia. My husband and I both felt so empowered and joyful at the end of that hike and I know why. We had just done something that we use to do all the time before we had kids. And it was just as much fun. But even more so. Because there was a little bit of baby-magic thrown in.