Something Amazing! – October blog post by Maggie
Yesterday was Maine Adaptive’s day in Acadia National Park; specifically at Eagle Lake. About twenty trained volunteers showed up, with equipment, to help those with physical challenges enjoy outdoor activities and learn to kayak and ride bicycles. Yes, that’s right, they’re all volunteers who give up their free time and seem to love what they do. They train in adapting bikes, kayaks and skis to those with missing, or impaired, arms and legs and then they accompany them along the trails, on the lake or down the slopes.
This student doesn’t walk well and has been unable to access the fabled carriage roads that crisscross Acadia. Yesterday I could! Two amazing kind and careful volunteers, Craig and his wife Joan, fitted me with a recumbent bike, made sure it was adjusted correctly, and then set off with me on the trail around the lake. My friend Jackie, able bodied, came along too on another bike and snapped pics all along the way.
The ride was incredible! It was a beautiful fall day with sun filtering through the trees and sparkling on the lake. The trail winds along the shore; about fifteen feet wide with a fairly smooth gravel surface, there are a few other cyclists and, occasionally, rumbling horse drawn carriages with passengers dressed in 1920’s period costumes. We weren’t sure if we were allowed to, but we did the whole lake circumference, all 4 1/2 miles. In the latter half of the trail there were some hilly sections where Craig had to help me a little, not much, but these were made up for by long freewheeling downhills which were exhilarating! By the time we reached the parking lot where we’d started we’d been cycling almost 2 1/2 hours and though I was a little tired, I felt like a whole new world of fun had opened up for me.
I think I talked a little in my last blog about finding new MS friends up here. Well, I met another MS cyclist at this event and she told me about another MS group fairly near me that has an active exercise focus. I think I’m going to join them!
Lastly, I’d like to give a big shout out about Maine Adaptive. They really are an incredible group that is opening new worlds for people who thought they couldn’t enjoy life any more…In this country that seems so troubled sometimes, it’s really good to know there are people out there who care enough to give up their free time to others without political or religious labels.