As our time in Acadia came to a close, Steven and I promptly made our way up near Mt. Katahdin and stayed at a hip camp about an hour and a half from the state park. As we were rolling into the only small town that we had seen for miles, a small Amish farm caught our eye and we pulled up. We were in need of some more fresh produce, that we had planned to get at a small grocery store not far from the farm. It was like two kids in a candy store, I pulled up a bunch of beets and hollered over to Steven “Look! It’s one of your favorites.” To which he replied “oh my god. Look! They have watermelon!” We filled up my handwoven basket with onions, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, and a pumpkin. We were stoked on how cheap everything was and that it was homegrown and the hands that were taking our cash were the same hands that had been digging in the dirt earlier in the day.
I am not super familiar with the Amish way of life, but I found their culture and lifestyle intriguing. It made me think about how far from our roots we have come and how disconnected we are from our local communities and our source of food. All of the children on the farm were assisting their parents with household chores, there was no machinery on the land, and they do not drive vehicles. They still use carriages to get around, were raising goats, and were wearing clothes that they had made themselves. They told us that they make their own butter, desserts, breads, soaps, and baskets. What they make in excess, they sell to those who drive by their farm. How can we incorporate more ways of living in the modern world that reflect our basic need to provide for ourselves by simply surviving? In my view, we could all spend a little more time outside (rain or shine, cold or hot, snow or sunshine). We could also cook more meals with local produce, grow our own food, or ferment foods for preservation. I believe we could spend more time learning new skills that give us the opportunity to help those around us rather than our time being spent consumed within a screen.
Once we gave our thanks to the family, we were on our way to our hip camp in the middle of nowhere, it was hidden on a big field with the most beautiful trees, with a back drop of the mountains. It was nice to settle into the pulse of nature once again and the feeling of being completely in solitude filled me up with a nostalgic sense of inner peace. We were relieved to have such a big, open space for our dogs to be able to roam around on without getting tangled up or worrying about the bugs present in the forests. So, we decided to let the dogs free roam off of the leash. Not to our surprise, our Shiba Inu, Promo, decided to high tail towards the trees across from our campsite. Not far off from his tail was Jazzy sprinting in excitement to see where he was going. The moment that I saw them take off, I went sprinting barefoot in the rough field that lay in front of our campsite. As soon as they made their way into the trees, I knew they would be gone for some time. The forests surrounding the land were thick and filled with ground cover and trees nestled into one another.
The moments of peace and bliss were lost as the reality of our dogs being gone for the night settled in. Steven and I sat down with one another and sent out our prayers for the safety of our dogs and their return to us in due time. Both of us were feeling more confident after we felt that our prayers had been heard. We spent the evening preparing some dinner and stoking the fire to keep us warm as the sun started to disappear behind the mountains. Our campsite host came down to greet us and brought us more firewood. We got to talking to him about our trip and asked for recommendations about where to go hiking. We found out that he was a park ranger and he told us about Mt. Chase, a beautiful summit that was only two miles away from the house. We talked about losing our dogs on his land, hiking, gardening, cooking, and canning. He prepared us for the rain that was to come and told us that Maine has been in a drought, that we soon caught onto as we were stoking the fire. We said our farewells and he went on his way. As soon as the evening set, the dark vastness appeared before us and it seemed as though time jumped forward a couple of hours with how little light pollution there was. I have never witnessed the stars radiating such a powerful light and telling such an epic story as I had that evening, sitting on the ground close to the fire. We were able to appreciate the different colors of the milky way and I was recognizing constellations that were unfamiliar to my eye. I felt like I was calling in the historical energy of the western cowboys who would rest their bodies at night against a hot fire and spend their evenings in deep reverence to the moonlit sky.
The following morning, I awoke no later than 6AM and was out of bed with my shoes on ready to see if my dogs had found their way back nearby. As I walked the circumference of the yard, I was with no luck of finding the dogs. When Steven and I had both made it back to the campsite, we decided to get in the car and drive up the street to see if they had made their way towards the road. As we start to lose hope that they were on the road, we decided to turn around and head back to the campsite. We noticed that something did not feel right with the car and heard an unfamiliar sound coming from outside of the door. At this point, the rain had just started to come down with more force. When we got out of the car and checked to make sure everything was okay, I noticed that the rear passenger tire was flat. I was ready to cry, everything felt like it was going against us. We had to pull all of our items that were packed in the back of the car out into the rain to grab the tire replacement kit. Once we got the tire changed, we headed back to camp to change into dry clothes and to obtain enough service to find the nearest car shop to us. When we pulled out of the driveway, we headed the opposite direction than we had turned when we were searching for the dogs because that is the way we needed to head in order to get to town. Just as we were about a half mile down the road, I see promo shoot of the trees in the front of someone’s lawn. I yell to Steven “STOP!” and I instantly open the door before we are completely stopped and jump out. I slowly and carefully walk towards Promo so that I do not scare him, and I gently call out his name. He looks over at me and as soon as he recognizes the voice, he puts his ears back, wags his tail and runs to me. Once he gets to me, he begins to lick my face and that is when I see Jazzy run out from behind the trees in excitement to have seen me again.
I do not believe that there are any coincidences that occur, merely synchronicities that exist in order for us to see the ways in which we are always being divinely guided. Especially when we ask for assistance and allow the future to unfold in its mastery. Had we not of gone through our car tire going flat, the time it took for us to change the tire and the decision we made to go to town and get our tire fixed, despite our dogs missing, then we would have never drove down the road at that exact moment that I saw our dogs in the trees. It was a miracle and one that needed us to face more tests in order for us to be granted the prayers that we had wished upon. But the higher power had more in store for us. As we arrived to the car shop, Steven went inside to tell them what work we needed done to the car. While he was in there, he also found a pair of taillights that would work perfectly for our missing taillight to the camper. We were able to knock out two birds with one stone and everything was feeling like it was starting to piece back together.
I was really beginning to grapple with the understanding of why we must inherently experience pain as a conduit to our happiness. From the experiences that I have had on this trip, I have come to understand the distinction between pain and suffering. The more trust that I have put into the higher power to guide me in ways that it sees fit, the more that I have begun to trust myself and the strength that I have to get through any situation. Pain is a necessary experience that we go through in our human experience as a way to show us how our choices affect ourselves and others. Suffering is the cause of our attachment to the pain and is often caused by our willingness to control certain situations or our inability to let go of others. We must learn how to let go of the situations that we cannot control, like getting a flat tire, and focus on the things that we can control, our reaction or choices that we make in response to getting a flat tire.
Despite our change in scenery, the rain was still following us. We were faced with the elements once again and decided to put our creativity and resilience to the test. We set up a make shift tent ou of a tarp that hung between our car and the camper to keep us dry enough to cook some dinner that evening. The following day we were met with clear skies and no rain, at least until the evening. We decided on catching a close mountain view to our campsite, so we made our way up to Mt. Chase. The hike was difficult and a steep climb, most of the trail was underwater from the recent bouts of rain. The summit was gorgeous and the views stretched for miles. Our experience was quickly ended by the quick change in weather, once again we would be spending our time out in the rain. We hurried down the mountain as quick as we could before the rain really started to settle in. We made it about a quarter mile before we were drenched by the rain. To our surprise, it wasn’t a long pour and was finished off by the time we made it back to our car. Once we had made it back to our campsite, the host had come out the greet us and bring more dry wood so we could prepare a fire. We gifted him a fresh jar of blueberry vinaigrette that we had just whipped up and he returned the favor by fetching us some fresh garlic and garlic powder that he had grown in his backyard. Gifts are such a beautiful way to show your appreciation and a great way to build connections with others.
As the night started to settle in, I was beginning to feel the weeks’ worth of hikes that we had been racking in on my body. I started to feel exhausted and slightly over the continual endurance with the rain. I didn’t feel like meal prepping for the following day that we had planned to hike up Mt. Katahdin. We had been warned by our campsite host that we would need to be there early if we wanted to have the opportunity to climb up to the summit. We were already about two hours out and that would require us to wake up around 4AM to get prepared and be there on time. Unfortunately, we did not wake up in time to get to the state park so that we could reserve a parking spot for the summit up to Mt. Katahdin. To our surprise, the incline and total length of the loop was comparable to a 14er. We had severely underestimated the amount of planning and prep that would have been needed to complete the hike. We asked the rangers for some other recommendations that they had in the park for a nice climb and some incredible views. Since we weren’t planning on spending the day on the trail anymore, we decided to stop in the parking lot and eat breakfast. As we were finishing up, a couple of other hikers had arrived to the destination and were preparing to head onto the trail.
(Pictured is us with John...the sun was bright!)
We stopped to talk to one of the men that had pulled up, we found out his name was John and that he owned a campsite nearby that he had come to tidy up. We talked about his family and wife, the wonderful healing benefits of spending time in nature, and country living lifestyles. Steven and I mentioned our career paths and our dreams of building a retreat area on our land out in the country with an organic farm while homeschooling our children. John appeared to resonate with our goals and told us that he is a chief police officer in a city about four hours south of where we were and has always enjoyed spending time immersed in nature as a way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city life with four kiddos and a wife. We then said our final words before hitting the trail. As Steven and I walked into the trail, we were feeling light and energized after our conversation with John and had already forgotten about our misfortunate plans to climb Mt. Katahdin.
As we had made it to the summit of the hike, John had quickly made ground on us and met us at the top. He gifted us a challenge coin, a medallion that was commonly used in the military and also civil organizations to award membership or to recognize an achievement that someone had performed. John stated “meeting you two has been so refreshing, you guys give me hope for the future. I want you to have the challenge coin, because I know you guys are going to do great things and will be able to pass it down to someone else someday.” We were met with awe and deep gratitude, riding the waves of confirmation that we were exactly where we needed to be in the right moment. We spent the rest of the hike talking to John and getting to know him better. Meeting him was the perfect way to end our stay in Mt. Katahdin. There are some people that you meet in your life and they give you the impression that this big, overwhelming, confusing world isn’t so bad after all.
We woke up bright and early the following day, packed up our camp, and made our way to our last destination in Maine—Mt. Blue in Weld, ME. The closer that we got to our destination, the more rural that everything started to feel. Once we arrived to our Hip Camp, we met Annette and Dusty at their pavilion where they were sitting around a fire, roasting a chicken and drinking a couple of beers. They showed us where we would be camping and as soon as we saw the spot, Steven and I became elated. It was beautiful, private and close to the river that ran by the backyard. There was a mowed, open lawn that lay right beneath a little hill where a couple of chairs and some trashcans stand. The firepit had a huge grill that was laying over two bricks with a wall of rocks surrounding it. We were in heaven! We were able to hang up our hammock and our slackline, lay out our mats and get all of our cooking utensils out. We headed up to the pavilion to introduce ourselves and get to know our hosts. They were inquisitive, laid-back, and down to earth people. Annette told us that she was an organic farmer, was running a café with an Inn, and was making her own soaps and canned goods. First off, what freaking bad ass! Secondly, she was rich in experience and was doing what she loved. I believe that once we find our passion, especially one that sustains life, it is easy to flow in the productivity of it all. It becomes your journey, masterpiece, work of art, unwavering dedication, and a piece of your heart. It is your gift to the world. Annette and Dusty were kind enough to invite us to stay around and eat dinner with them.
The following day, we rested and snuggled into our nook of their land and just sat in peace with the river and the sun. We meditated, I read my book, we played on the slack-line and listened to music. It was just the day we needed after spending multiple days in the rain. The next day, we were rested up and ready to take on Mt. Blue. The drive was gorgeous and I was beginning to pick up on the subtle differences in community here than in other parts of the United States. In Maine, there are multiple roads that run through the land in one direction. There is a linear feel rather than a quantum feel. For example, in the city you can go forwards, backwards, and either left or right on any street (for the most part) versus in the backcountry where you go in the same ways you that you come out. I believe that this makes it easier for people to drive past your house often, there are not many people that live in these parts, but a lot of them have self-sufficient households that provide to the community their excess. It is a great way to keep the food rural and local. In some ways, it felt like we were going back in time. When we arrived to Mt. Blue, we were quickly met with a steep incline very comparable to Mt. Chase. The views at the top were sublime and comparable to our times spent in Acadia. Our bodies were synching into the rhythms of these uphill hikes and we crushed the hike in about an hour and a half. We decided on some relationship gratitude and then we made our way back down the mountain.
Afterwards, we decided on visiting Annette’s land named NoView Farm that is located near Andover, Maine. It is also the home of her Inn and café: ‘Gone Loco!’ We were in awe at the beauty of all the colors present in her garden and intrigued by the companion planting design. Steven quickly found the apple tree and filled half of our bag with them. We then gathered up some tomatoes, kale, peppers, basil, and parsley. Annette recommended us some local dairy products not far from her farm. Goat cheese is one of my favorite dairy products and Annette was raving about Moondance Farm, owned by Laurie, who sold local goat cheese, milk and yogurt. As we set out to grab the dairy products, we ended up driving to the wrong location about 45 minutes out of the way. I had been fasting in the morning and planned on eating in the afternoon after we had got our produce from the farm. When I found out that we had driven farther away and out of the direction of our campsite, I was HANGRY. I totally whipped out a full-on attitude and gave the silent treatment in response to my frustration. Little did I know what was about to unfold. Originally, we had planned to leave some cash in the little jar next to the refrigerator with the products, but the higher power had another plan for us. We ended up getting to their house at the end of Laurie’s horse lesson and her husband had just arrived home. We had just been asking about where to get some local meat from and Laurie’s husband had just stopped by a couple’s house about 15 minutes down the road with some fresh ground beef.
We got to talking to them about our travels and recent adventures in Maine. We told them that sourcing our food locally and organically is important to us and that is when Laurie asked if we wanted to tour the farm. When we made our way down to their barn, we got to meet each of their horses. They showed us where the goats stayed and explained how they operate their dairy production. Both Laurie and her husband were inquisitive, playful, and kind souls. Meeting Laurie was a confirmation that I am on the right path, as she explained that she was familiar with Wim Hof breathing techniques and had been looking into plant medicines to connect deeper with her mind, body and soul. That is when I explained to her that I was a Quantum Health Coach and I help people to achieve states of consciousness that can be found in plant medicines by practicing meditation and shifting your mindset. We talked for a while about our individual experiences for some time before making our way to the house to try some fresh goat milk. We asked them what their favorite meals were and ended our visit with deep gratitude for their generosity and time to show us their place. It was truly special and touched each of our hearts.
Maine is such a beautiful place and filled with so many beautiful people. Maybe I just ran into the right people, but spending time there left me with so much hope for our future. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to have the opportunity to travel, meet people, and spend time getting to know myself better. Through all the experiences that I have shared in this short period of time, I am learning how to find the silver lining in every situation. There is always something to learn, to be grateful for, and to appreciate.
If you’re interested in any of the hiking trails we have completed, the businesses we have supported or the Hip Camps we have stayed at please email me and I will get in contact with you. Wishing you the absolute best.