Letting Go.

This weekend, we went camping at Acadia National Park.

I was nervous about the weather the week before. Looked like the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy and windy on Sunday, and I didn’t relish the idea of camping in rain AND cold. But then, a few days before we left, the app was showing it would be clear all weekend. Yesssssss.

It’s been a while since we camped, and I probably packed a bit much. I didn’t want to spend money on groceries up there, so I packed as much from home as possible. And as Jeff was putting stuff in the car, he mentioned that we were running low on space. I stood in the mudroom, looking at the jackets I had packed – winter jackets for Owen and I, extra fleece for layering – and decided against ALSO bringing rain gear. I even checked weather underground again. The app said it would be nice all weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, we saw a sign at the campground that said rain on Sunday.


The weather report changed, and Matthew was heading for us. 50 degrees with lots of rain.

And we had no rain gear.

Five years ago, I probably would have forced my family to pack up and head home.

I’ll be honest: I SO WANTED to go home. Without rain gear, we couldn’t hike. The rain would send all the tourists there peeping at the leaves into the restaurants and welcome centers and onto the Park Loop Road and it would be trafficky AND cold and raining… and we were sleeping in a TENT and cooking outside and OMG I just wanted to be home in my house baking and puttering and watching football while chili cooked in the crockpot and then sleeping in my own warm, soft, comfy bed.

But Owen and Jeff didn’t want to go, and I recognized that it would be really unfair of me to make them leave; I’d be putting my own comfort above their desires, and really, that’s kind of selfish.

So we stayed. On Sunday morning we went out to breakfast and got some cheap ponchos at the Rite Aid in town. We changed up our hiking plans when we felt the wind at Jordan Pond and basically spent the day in the car, driving around the island, getting Owen his National Park stamps for his passport. We went to Thunder Hole, Owen’s favorite place, multiple times. We went to Northeast Harbor for coffee. We spent $2.00 each for a warm shower in the afternoon. We went out to Bar Harbor for dinner. And then we went back to our tent and played cards until we were ready for sleeping.

And holy shit it was cold and loud overnight. Both Jeff and I kept waking up to make sure there wasn’t water in the tent – there wasn’t – and then when the wind blew through, it sounded like a plane or a freight train. Owen was up a couple times overnight because he was cold, until I convinced him to put on a fleece and gloves inside his sleeping bag.

The next morning, we huddled inside our sleeping bags for warmth and laughed about how silly we looked. And then we broke down the campsite, got back into the car, drove the Park Loop one last time, and then headed home.

It doesn’t really sound like much, I know. Kinda like a first world thing: Gee, I’m so proud of myself for sticking it out! We basically spent the day in the car and in restaurants – it’s not like we were really roughing it.

But I can tell you, the decision to stay, for me, was not easy. I was mad that I didn’t bring the gear with us, mad at Jeff for telling me we didn’t have space in the car which CAUSED me to make the decision to not bring the gear with us, mad that the stupid weather app was wrong which made me feel like we didn’t need our rain gear, mad that we were spending more money than I had budgeted because we didn’t have our rain gear, uncomfortable and cold every time I stepped out of our car because I didn’t have my rain gear.  I wanted to go home ALL DAY on Sunday. And I fought the urge to buy more rain gear at the multiple stores in town so we could actually hike and warm up that way.

Hi, I’m Karen, and I’m a control freak.

As I got home and was uploading pictures to Facebook, I realized that in all of them from Sunday, we are actually having fun.

It was cold, yes. And wet. And windy. And did I mention it was cold?

But letting go of my idea that camping HAS to be comfortable in order for us to have fun is a good thing, too.

So yes, I’m really glad we stayed.


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