Our stay in Acadia National Park has been great! The hiking is like nothing I have done back in Michigan. Pat and I hiked around South Bubble Mountain, and along the coast near Sand Beach as we described in earlier posts. I hiked with a Ranger-led hike on Beech Mountain (in the rain) and Pat and I also hiked to the top of Cadillac Mountain and over Pemetic Mountain. It is certainly not like hiking at Rose Lake State Recreation Area!
We got our kayaks in the water in Thomas Bay, just north of our campground. We launched as the tide was going out and it was interesting to see more and more of the coastline appear as the water receded. The weather that morning was terrific and we had a picnic lunch on a small island. The water was as clear as tap water and we saw a couple of crabs scooting along the bottom of the bay. There were cranes, seagulls, and cormorants all around the shore of the bay.
The best morning we had was the day we saw the sun rise from Cadillac Mountain at 6:25 am. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the eastern seaboard and when the sun rises, you are seeing the first sunrise in the continental United States – what a sight!
Not everyone realizes this, but Acadia National Park is on Mount Desert (the last part of a meal, not an arid, sandy place) Island. However, there is another part of the park across Frenchman’s bay on the Schoodic Peninsula. Much of the park there is the Schoodic Education and Research Center, one of 20 National Park research learning centers across the country. While there are hiking trails there, the best part is going out to the point. The beach is slabs of volcanic granite with seams of volcanic lava called diabase dikes between the pink granite ledges. Even on a relatively calm day the crashing of the surf against the ledges is a sight to see!
On the days when the weather wasn’t the greatest we rode the Island Explorer, a fleet of busses that offer a free rider service throughout the entire island. It’s a great way to see the sights and not have to worry about being distracted from your driving.
Bar Harbor is named after a sandbar that connects the island mainland to Bar Island. At low tide you can even drive across to Bar Island. We took a short hike across to Bar Island on a rather rainy, foggy day. There were cruise ships in the harbor that looked like ghost ships as we watched them through the fog. Bar Harbor is your typical tourist town, but in a quaint, attractive way. We wandered through town on a couple of occasions, as well as having dinner in town a couple of times.
It has been a great time and I wouldn’t mind coming back here again sometime, possibly as a volunteer so I could lead hikes instead of just going on one.
Monday we pull out and will spend about a week traveling to Raleigh, NC to spend some time with Elisabeth. We plan to pick up a set of Honda generators so we can “boondock” where we don’t have electrical hookups, and visit the battlefields at Gettysburg and Manassas on our way to Raleigh.