ACADIA NAT’L PARK — More than once during their quest to visit all 59 of America’s national parks in 59 weeks, Darius Nabors and Trevor Kemp asked themselves what on earth they were thinking.
Now that it’s over, Nabors said Monday in an interview with the Islander, he would happily do it all again.
“Yeah, I would drive the car back to Cuyahoga [National Park in Ohio] and start over,” he said.
The two friends began their journey there in June 2015, with the plan to finish in Acadia 59 weeks later, as the National Park Service was celebrating its centennial.
Of course, this year also is Acadia’s centennial. But Nabors said they weren’t aware of that when they began mapping out their journey. Rather, it was a matter of geography.
“There aren’t that many parks on the East Coast,” Nabors said, noting that the closest to Maine is Shenandoah in Virginia. “So, it made sense to have Acadia as either one of the first parks or one of the last.
“When I heard this was also the hundredth [anniversary] of Acadia, it seemed only fitting that we make this our final park,” Nabors said.
The pair gave a slide show presentation August 25 at Atlantic Brewing Company in Town Hill. The brewery, which made space in one of its production buildings for the event, gave out samples of their special edition CentenniALE brew. The event was co-hosted with Friends of Acadia, who organized a door prize raffle.
He said that among his favorite national parks – aside from Acadia, of course – are Yosemite in California and Zion and Capitol Reef in Utah.
But he said each park has something unique to offer.
“There are times when you feel like climbing a mountain and you want it to be kind of scary, so that’s when you go to [Grand] Teton,” he said. “There are other times when you just want to go for a nice hike for four days, and that’s the Smokies.”
Nabors said he wants to write a book about the 59-parks-in-59-weeks adventure. But he doesn’t want it to follow what he said is the usual pattern.
“In a lot of nature books, there is something wrong with the main character – they went through a divorce or they have a drug addiction – and then they go to nature, and by hiking the Appalachian Trail and sleeping in the woods, they discover that life is good, and they return to society a whole and healed person,” he said.
“I think that is deeply unhealthy because what you’re saying to people, in essence, is that it’s not OK for you to want to go and hike and spend time outdoors unless you’re weird or there’s something wrong with you. And for me, if you would go and do those things, then you would probably avoid the divorce or avoid having horrible things happen to you.”