By Sofia Vanoli, Contributing Writer
A timid sun shone for the 20 UMF students who participated in the annual trip to Acadia National Park Sunday, April 23. Mainely Outdoors hosted this annual excursion for the fourth time, this year with the largest number of participants to date, including five international students and a foreign professor.
James Toner, Director of the Fitness & Recreation Center and leader of the trip, said that it is surprising that many people have never been to a National Park before. “The Acadia trip is a special one as it provides an opportunity to visit our State’s National Park and all of its unique features,” Toner said. “It is particularly popular for international students.”
After a two and a half hour ride, the three school vans were filled with excitement and we were all ready to start the adventure. Some of us, who did not do any prior research on the park, thought we were surrounded by a big lake – or it might have only been me.
The Atlantic Ocean washed the coasts of Mount Desert Island, where most of the park is located. Brown sugar sand, dark green seaweeds and kelps, and courageous waves crashing on the beach were our first breathtaking scenery at Sand Beach. “What a creative name,” Patty Smith, senior and one of the three trip leaders, said ironically. Group pictures and funny poses took place with a still overcast sky.
After a short but fun hike on a rocky hill covered with white birches and green pines, we got a better view of the ocean which made me wonder how far home was.
Thunder Hole was our next stop. You could hear the sound of the waves smashing against the rocky coast and emitting a loud roar when booming into the cave of the Thunder Hole. Toner’s first rule is ‘safety is a priority,’ so he made sure that the group was careful when watching the waves crash forcefully. But nature made sure that our experienced trip leader got soaked by a bold wave that splashed next to him.
Driving to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the sun started to shine for us. Rays of light hitting the islands and an endless view were the protagonists of our photos. This was the best spot to finish our adventure.
Eva Schneider, French Language Teacher Assistant, took this opportunity to visit a National Park and to know more about Maine. “I was amazed by the view from Cadillac Mountain and I loved being at the top of the mountain,” Schneider said.
It’s no wonder why this is such a popular trip and fills up every time. Toner said, “A wide variety of programs were offered with a good response to nearly all of them.”
Some senior students joined the trip to take a break from their capstones and graduation responsibilities. “As a senior I wanted to make multiple trips and embrace the opportunity,” said international and global studies major, Sarah Gould. “I’m glad I came with my friends and enjoyed the fresh air and the sun instead of being locked up in a room.”
The trip was an exceptional one with different landscapes in the same area, something you do not want to miss if you are new to Maine. However, some of us wished we had hiked the wooded areas where trails disappeared between the trees or climbed the rocky mountains the park has to offer.