Having a senior moment

      Last week I went on my first hike that did not involve walking our dog in the surrounding woods where we live since I returned from my 2015 thru hike last September. It felt so good to get back outside and on a trial. It’s about time I started taking off some of the extra “fluff” I put on around the mid-section after my return.     I was joined by my friend, Sharon and her feline buddy, Ellie. It was her Idea to take a drive to the coast and hike Jordan Pond. In fact, it was her idea to hike the A.T. in 2015 but she was unable to. I went anyways. 

     Jordan Pond, located in Acadia National Park is a small body of water formed by the Glacier. The water is crystal clear and used as a water source for a near by town. The trail around the pond is a flat, short 3.5 miles of a smooth, gravely bed on one side of the pond and a rustic, split log boardwalk on the other side. An A.T. hiker’s dream! We were not out for any strenuous or challenging hike, just a leisurely day in the sun. First true nice day of spring we have had.

     We took a side bar part way around the pond to climb up South Bubble, a beautiful rock formation on the southern end of the pond. It’s sister peak is North Bubble. This wasn’t in our original plan. South Bubble ascent is a scant 400 foot elevation climb, but it is pretty straight up with rock steps, and a section of scrambling we were unable to do because of the Ellie. We will return another day to tackle that. Even though we could not continue, we were pleased we went as far as we did. The view was stunning back out over the pond and as far as the eye could see out over the Atlantic.

     While we were climbing up we stepped aside for an elderly man and his son to pass. The senior man’s name was Fred, and he was 92 years of age. He didn’t look a day over 70. The duo had hiked from the far side and were doing the 1.7 mile loop. 92 years old and he was out doing this short, yet moderately challenging hike. A family of four tourists were also out. They were a very nice mom, dad, brother and sister family enjoying what Maine had to offer. As young and as fit as they looked on the outside, they had to stop several times and rest. They did not even attempt the rock scramble. They didn’t even have a dog as an excuse. At one point I thought the dad was going to keel over on the spot. they still were smiling and enjoying their hike as challenging as it was for them. But the heart of this almost century old man was full of life. Each of his steps were methodical and purposeful but it did not slow him down one bit. It was inspiring to watch him.

I learned 4 things today and I wasn’t even trying. 

1) Don’t be afraid to take that side bar for the extra view. You never know what you will see. Things don’t always have to go as planned. Sometimes it’s the unplanned agenda that has more to offer then the scheduled activity. 

2) Age doesn’t matter. It’s all about heart. When the dream is big enough the facts don’t count. Even if you look 15 years older then you are. I mention this because when purchasing my season park pass for this day the clerk pulled out a senior card. I declined the $10.00 discount and corrected her of her error. 

3) Take time to meet and greet others. It will make your experience that much more enriching. We are all so busy with our heads down and thumbs tapping away on our phones we forget about the people around us. 

and last but not least

4) Even when things are tough and you can’t go on, smile and enjoy what you can.
Happy Hiking

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.