Monday, October 17, 2016

Maine: August 2, 2003

A continuation of the cross-country adventure I shared with Ben during the summer of 2003....

Day 57--Saturday, August 2, 2003

Our alarm went off at 4:00.  Ouch.  We rushed through showers and trying to pack up the room, only to discover that we didn't have time, so we left our stuff in the hotel room and drove through the pre-dawn fog to Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain.  We followed two other cars up, which proved to be a very good thing, because I'm not sure we could have negotiated the thick fog otherwise.

We arrived on Cadillac Mountain at 5:15 exactly by the Jeep's clock.  Let's Go had told us that those standing on Cadillac Mountain would be the first in the United States to see the sunrise each day.  The park rangers had told us that 5:15 was sunrise time for today.

Right as we pulled up, we were greeted by the sight of a man in traditional Scottish garb and carrying bagpipes.  "Got to get up pretty early in the morning to put on that get-up and get here by now," I muttered.  As we got out of the car and started walking toward our best guess of where the mountain's edge would be, he began playing.  It was eerie and surreal, hearing the sound of bagpipes coming out of the fog, knowing that their player was out there but not able to see him.

We found a small trail that would take us in a circular path around the top, so we followed it, hoping to see something worth noticing.  Due to the intense, thick, cold fog, we could not see the sunrise.  We did see the clouds lightening up in one direction, so we assumed that was where the sun was coming up.  It wasn't pretty, but it was definitely impressive in an eerie sort of way.

As we rounded the last bend of the path, the bagpiper was right in front of us.  So was a minister.  So were a young man and woman who were being married on top of the mountain at sunrise.  We moved as quietly as we could around the ceremony.  Other tourists had gathered on top of the mountain to watch (only thing going on up there with no sunrise!), and as Ben and I headed back toward the car, the bagpiper broke out into "Amazing Grace," the crowd began to cheer, and we assumed the ceremony was over.  It was a neat idea, getting married on the mountaintop in the first sunrise over the US, but it's too bad the weather didn't cooperate for them.

Ben and I returned to the hotel and decided that we just couldn't handle more life without sleep, so we promptly crawled back in bed, to be awoken by the maid about three hours later.  We finished packing up our stuff, which included every available container being filled with water, and got on the road to Limestone.

Like yesterday, signs all along the road spelled out messages to Phish fans on their way to the concert.  I was very uncomfortable at the idea of camping at the concert--there would be no showers, only port-a-potties for bathrooms, and relatively no quiet.  Ben, being the wonderful boyfriend that he is, located an Aroostook State Park about a half an hour from our concert destination, and they had plenty of spaces left, so we pitched our tent in the relative quiet there before heading to Limestone and "IT."

We had timed our day well.  In spite of the extremely long walk from day parking to the stage, we got there and got set up shortly before 5:00.  Even though signs proclaimed that no chairs would be allowed in the concert, no one stopped us as we carried ours in, and after I looked around at the many illegal substances that other people had carried in, I realized that we were not the biggest concern out there!

The concert was supposed to start at 5:00, but it was closer to 5:45 by the time Phish came out and began to play.  The first set was good, starting with "AC/DC Bag."  Our chairs were set up behind a gravel road that ran through the concert site, so even though we couldn't see the stage, we had plenty to look at as people wandered up and down it in search of food, souvenirs, and less than legal items.  I was particularly amused by watching a hippie guy in incredibly good shape dance off to the side of us.  While I have seen many people dance to Phish, this was the first guy that I felt turned it into an art form, full of grace and energy and precision and joy.

I was also amused by an older man juggling three round silver balls behind us.  I spent some time noticing a woman in front of us who was dressed in a child's "Maine" t-shirt and looked awfully young to be at a concert like this, until she took off her sunglasses and revealed eyes ages old, proving her to be closer to 30 than girlhood.  People of all sorts wandered by, from well-dressed people wearing VIP passes to a guy dressed as the Simpsons' Disco Stu to a girl wearing nothing more than a variety of beads as a bra.

The set break between the first and second sets seemed to be awfully long, made even longer by the fact that an old man came to sit next to us and proceeded to ask us all sorts of questions and offer much unsolicited life advice.  I'm afraid Ben got the brunt of that, since he tried to be polite, whereas after a while, I simply buried myself in my book.  The man's daughter, who didn't look very happy, came and sat by us too, until they moved early on in the second set.  I wrote some postcards while listening to the music.

Our food for the day had been pretty slim (bread and butter for lunch and shared Subway for dinner), so I got pretty hungry, but we had neglected to bring in any money.  I was also quite thirsty, but I refused to drink anything because I already had to be pee and refused to use the nasty port-o-potties.  Ben got tired too due to our long day, and we left before the third set but got to listen to it on a live radio station on our way back to the campground.

I would have thought the night would be peaceful, since I was exhausted, but I awoke during the night to the sound of terrified screams coming from the woods, followed by intermittent sobs.  I couldn't fall back asleep for a long time after that, listening intently for any minor sound outside our tent, absolutely sure that we were about to be attacked.  Too many Raymond Feist novels lately, I guess.

25 / 40

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