My real Mainer actually started out as two people, but after 60 years together they are certainly one real Mainer now.

My mother said it was love at first sight – and those of you who know him agree that love must be blind. They married, raised four kids and worked hard all their lives. When their last child moved out, my mother was bored, so I took her hiking in Acadia. My father saw no reason to go traipsing through the woods, so he stayed home.

My mother fell in love again after the first trail. It took a little more to hook my father. His first was the Gorge Path Trail – near the top, he stopped to have a cigarette and told her how much he hated hiking in no uncertain terms. She just pointed up and said, “That’s the way to Cadillac.” He said they could just drive, but then he saw a trail marker, then the next, and he followed those markers up over a boulder-strewn mountaintop – and that was that. At the top of Cadillac he bragged to all the people who had driven up how he had climbed the mountain himself.

At first they camped out with a mattress in the back of their covered truck. Eventually they graduated to a small camper surrounded by other family members in tents and campers. As more family caught the Acadia bug, we explored every trail on Mount Desert Island and spent many nights around a campfire telling family lore and holding sleeping children in our laps. Now those children make their own way to our special Maine place.

My parents have now hiked every trail, including the abandoned ones, and found my father’s relatives in local graveyards. In their late 70s and 80s they still enjoy biking and driving around to all their favorite spots where they tell stories of who was with them and when.

We joke that we’ll scatter their ashes from one of the mountains, but they haven’t agreed on which one yet.

Until then, just ask them if they know Acadia and be prepared to sit a while, a long while, and listen. Then they’ll convince you to drive up there with them as so many before you.

They have shared so much in 60 years. But hiking and Acadia gave them adventures to share for their lifetime and ours.

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