SOUTHWEST HARBOR—Mia Sawyer has hiked all 26 peaks of Acadia National Park for the second time in a year. This time she raised funds for guide dogs.
“I have always been interested in seeing eye dogs and how they are trained,” said Sawyer, who set a goal of raising $1,000 for Guiding Eyes. “We hit that before I started hiking.”
Last June, just a few months after the pandemic changed the landscape of life for most, Sawyer decided to hike all of the peaks in the national park.
“I’ve lived in Southwest Harbor all my life and I realized I hadn’t hiked every mountain and that needed to change,” she said.
Despite dodging black flies and mosquitoes, she completed the feat in 30 days.
“I wanted to do it again,” she said in a conversation with the Islander. “I had a blast doing it last year.”
This time, when she started out on April 2, Sawyer was joined by her brother Nayan and her father, Lunn. “It was really great spending time outside with my brother and my dad,” she said about the challenge that wrapped up on the first day of May.
“We did the last six on Saturday,” Sawyer said, listing off the lineup of Cedar Swamp, Penobscot, Sargent, Parkman, Gilmore and Bald mountains.
“I did 26, my brother and dad did 27,” she said. “I had blisters from the day before, so I took the day off.”
It wasn’t always easy, according to Lunn.
“We found many days most of us didn’t want to go, in fact most days,” he said. “At the end of the day, we were really glad we went.”
There were a few other challenges but the group was determined to achieve their goal in a month.
“Lining up with the weather was interesting,” said Sawyer. “Four days in a row was the longest we took off… Keeping the motivation up to actually do it were some of the biggest struggles.”
“Some of the trails don’t have great views,” added Lunn. “You do all this work and then don’t see anything.”
But most of the outings were done in a reasonable amount of time. Their longest day of hiking was the last one when they tackled the six peaks. According to Sawyer, it took four hours and fifteen minutes from car to car with about three hours of hiking.
At last count, Sawyer had raised just over $1,700 for Guiding Eyes, an organization based in New York that trains dogs to be guides for those with impaired sight. She has moved her goal to $2,000 and donations can be made directly to the organization through the following link: give.guidingeyes.org/Member/MyPage/4635829/Mia-Sawyer.
Inspired by her recent achievement, Sawyer has decided to try her hand at a half marathon.
“I signed up for the half marathon,” she said, referencing the Mount Desert Island Marathon’s race in October. “The hiking has gotten me into shape that I feel like training for it won’t be as hard.”
On the other hand, her dad found a different inspiration.
“It inspired me to take naps,” he said.