The writer and native Mainer shares a light-hearted tale of skiing without a map around the mountains of this national park.

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, SOUTHWEST HARBOR, MAINE, UNITED STATES - 2010/10/12: Hiking path through the woods, Acadia National Park. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Credit: John Greim

Every time I’m in Maine, I drive past the lobster shacks and the live lumberjack show and the various other ticky-tackinesses that line the road leading to Acadia. When the mountains burst into view, I always think, It looks like Norway! Acadia features an actual fjord, the only one on the East Coast, so clearly I am not alone in seeing the similarities. Eighteen years ago, the Maine Geological Survey downgraded the fjord to a fjard because, in the words of an Acadia fan site, it “lacks the extreme vertical topography and the oxygen-deprived sediments” of the Norwegian fjords. Fjord or fjard, I once went cross-country skiing there with a friend. We didn’t bring a map or really any food. At a certain point, we got lost. We ran into a leathery-faced skier with two braids and killer thighs. “Which way to get home?” we asked. “That way!” she said, and flourished a pole. She sprinted away into a self-generated blizzard kicked up by her feet. We skied “that way” for several miles, cursing our fate, through terrain that did not lack for extreme vertical topography, even while enjoying view after stunning view of the ocean. Never trust a woman with braids, we concluded, still happy that she’d sent us on such a beautiful, wrong path.

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