Let’s Talk About How I Almost Died in Bar Harbor, Maine
My husband Steven and I just celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We wanted to go somewhere cool to celebrate so we booked an Airbnb in Bar Harbor. The plan was to spend the weekend eating delicious food, walking around the cute town and embracing our new hobby, hiking.
We were browsing the app Alltrails and trying to map out which mountains we wanted to conquer. We came across one called the "Precipice Trail" which was labeled "difficult". For some reason that didn't scare us but it totally should of. Perhaps we should have thought twice when we saw the giant Caution sign before we got on the trail. The sign warned us that the mountain had very steep areas and was even vertical in some spots. It also said that some areas are shear which means there is nothing to protect you if you fall. But hey, we just bought hiking boots from Kittery Trading Post! We looked the part!
There were a few factors that contributed to this being a terrible idea. First, and most importantly, we are not experienced enough hikers to take on a hike of this magnitude. Secondly, it was a rainy day which made the ladders we were climbing and holding onto for dear life extremely slippery. This photo doesn't really do it justice but this is what we were working with:
If you missed your footing or slipped on one of these iron rungs it would not result in a twisted ankle. You would fall 60 feet down and not survive. That was the scariest part. A 22-year-old girl from Barnstead, NH, slipped and fell on this trail in 2012 and it resulted in her passing. It was the first fatal accident on the trail in 27 years.
I had three panic attacks during the hike and my husband was an absolute angel. He calmed me down and reassured me that we were going to be okay. He later told me that he was scared too and it was the most dangerous hike he has ever done but he wanted to keep it together for my sake.
At the end of the day I am glad we completed the hike. Not because there is any shame in turning around but because at the summit we learned about an easier trail we could take down. Therefore, we didn't have to climb the death ladders again! This is me after I heard the news that I was going to live to see another day:
The next day we hike the Beehive trail which normally would have made me feel a little nervous but since my brush with death the day before I was scaling those iron rungs like a confident monkey woman. For the record, this trail is also labeled "Difficult" on Alltrails and it is nowhere near as treacherous as Precipice. Perhaps there should be a next level up.
I am certainly not recommending hiking a difficult mountain before you are mentally or physically prepared. However, in those moments where you have no choice by to persevere, real growth can happen.