Hello Everyone and welcome back. Today I have Part 2 of our Maine trip, mostly about Acadia NP. I did forget to add our rainy day adventures in the last post, Part 1, so I’ll add it here.
On Thursday, it started raining mid morning and continued all day. So, my daughter and I had a crafty morning. Part of Sunday’s outing was visiting the craft fair in Southwest Harbor. A booth was selling wool applique trinkets, but also had kits made up. We bought two of the kits, and we made the pinecone sachets Thursday morning. The kit came with the pearl cotton, wool that was already cut and the lavender sachet insert. The lady had needles for sale, so we bought a package of two so we had everything we needed. I had a fun time crafting with Emily.
That afternoon we went to a small natural history museum at the College of the Atlantic located in Bar Harbor. The college is a very small school with one degree, Human Ecology. From the exhibits, it looks like the students spend a great deal of time doing field studies at all times of the year. Even though the museum was small, it had a lot exhibits and information about the area.
Acadia National Park is located mostly on Mount Desert Island and has mountains, rocky shorelines and lakes all within the park borders. It is a beautiful area. One thing to know about the park though is that it does get busy. We were there in mid September, between the end of summer travel and before leaf season. There were lots of visitors during this time, but not overwhelming. I can’t image what it must be like in the summer. Our first stops at most National Parks is the visitor center to get the highlights of the park. We did that on Sunday morning before brunch and bought a detailed park map and a few trinkets.
On Monday, we decided the day would be spent following the Park Loop Road and going to the top of Cadillac Mountain. You do need to have reservations if you are driving to the top from the spring through fall months. A popular time to go is for sunrise, but we got reservations for 11:30 on Monday. Acadia has a Nature Center and Wild Gardens at Sieur de Monts. We were there when they opened on Monday. The Wild Gardens had a section for each of the native plant habitats in the park. Because of the terrain of the park, the vegetation is very diverse. From this area, you can also start several hikes.
Our second stop was Sand Beach. This is a very popular area and you do need to be there early to find parking. From here, you can start many hikes, from easier to very difficult. For us, this was not a hiking day, it was see the park day. The coastline is beautiful as the rocks descend down to the water. As we continued the drive we saw many views of the coastline looking out over the Atlantic and different parts of the island. After reaching the southern end of the road, it took a turn into the interior of the park. From here, you crossed the Carriage Roads and could see how dense the forests were. We didn’t have time to explore the Carriage Roads, but if we ever go back, I would like to do them.
We made it to Cadillac Mountain within our reservation window and drove to the top. We went to the Visitor Center there and then had lunch. Our plan was to eat while overlooking the view, but it was cold and windy so we had our picnic out of the back of the car. After that we spent over an hour walking around and enjoying the 360 views of the park from the top.
Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard and at certain times of year is the first place to see the sunrise. If you are a hiker, you can hike to the summit without reservations.
Speaking of sunrise, I told you in Part 1 that sunrise was a bust. We thought Wednesday would probably be the best day based on the forecast, but as we woke early to go to Thunder Hole to watch it, it was mostly cloudy. But we went anyway. We left our cottage at 5:15 AM to be in place for sunrise about 6:15. We watched what little there was for about 45 minutes. I think there was a fog bank out in the Atlantic which prevented us from seeing the sun come up over the horizon.
We hiked Gorham Mountain after sunrise and had a picnic breakfast this time. The trail going up and part way down was mostly hiking on the pink granite. There were a few places that you had to do a little bit of scrambling.
I think we had the prettiest views in the park on this hike.
We are near the top here, overlooking Sand Beach. The summit was on the inland side with views of Cadillac Mountain, but it was covered in clouds. The hike took us on a loop up and down the mountain, then back by Sand Beach and Thunder Hole along the Park Loop Road trail. It was about 3.5 miles and the summit was at 525 ft. There are so many hikes in this part of the park that it was hard to choose which ones to do. We could have hiked around the point on the other side of Sand Beach, but since we were up early, we thought what we did was enough for the day. We went back to the cottage for lunch, then did a little shopping in Southwest Harbor that afternoon.
Jordon Pond is a must see part of the park. That’s where we had the popovers and tea on Friday after our hike. It was the coldest and windiest day yet.
The Jordon Pond Path goes around Jordon Pond and is easy on one side and much more difficult on the other even though it is flat. Those are the Bubbles at the end of the lake, which can also hiked.
We started on the easy side at the Jordon Pond House. As you can see, this part was a groomed trail, although very wet after the rain the day before. It was easy walking and had pretty views of the lake.
After walking around the far end of the lake, it became a hike instead of a walk. The first section was nothing but boulders and rocks to walk across, at least half a mile of those before getting on the very narrow boardwalk. It was hard to get pictures of the rocky section because of the difficulty and the number of people we were starting to run into. The boardwalk was only wide enough for one person, but did have landings periodically to stand to one side to allow others to pass. It was very pretty walking through the forest.
There are so many places to hike in the park. If you are a real adventurous hiker, there are ladders and rungs and the sides of mountains to hike along. We decided that wasn’t for us.
Friday afternoon was spent packing for our trip home, but we did cap off the trip with a pretty sunset.
This was a great trip and this part of Maine was beautiful. We have enjoyed all of our National Part trips and our next one is planned next May for Yosemite and Sequoia. I am already looking forward to that trip.
I hope you enjoyed the travelogue and thanks so much for stopping by.
So enjoyed hearing about your time with your daughter and all the hiking and touring you did – even some crafting :)! I’m in awe at all the ‘miles’ of hiking you did. Loved seeing all the wonderful pictures and views you accomplished in seeing – beautiful!
Thank you, Sigi, it was a beautiful trip!
Lovely photos. Maine is definitely on my visit again list.
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