Saturday, October 12, 2019

Acadia National Park

During our recent family visit to New Hampshire we decided to take a jaunt over to Bar Harbor, Maine.  Although we lived in northern Maine years ago while I was serving in the US Air Force, never had the opportunity to visit the coast.  It is such a great area; glad we finally got to see it.

Our primary objective for the visit was to do some hiking in Acadia National Park.  Don't get me wrong, Bar Harbor is a great place and well worth the visit alone, but for us, the hiking in Acadia was the attraction.

Size wise, Acadia (47,633 acres) is on the smaller side of national parks.  It's 'tiny' compared to Yellowstone (1,217, 403 acres) and the Grand Canyon (2,221,766 acres).  Regardless of size, we found the hiking there more challenging than expected.

We arrived at our Bed & Breakfast late afternoon, too late to go hike so we walked around Bar Harbor for a while.  Everything we had read was true, it is a quaint little town.  The thing that caught our attention quickly though, the amount of people.  It was crowded, even in mid-to-late September.  However, by 6:00 PM, the crowds seemed to have disappeared.  What we soon discovered, a lot of the people walking around Bar Harbor were from the cruise ship that was anchored near by.  Apparently there is a different cruise ship there each day bringing tourist dollars into the local economy.

Day two, after a great breakfast at the B&B, headed for Acadia.  Although they have a free trolley/shuttle that will take you to the park, if it's earlier in the day, parking is not an issue in the park.  The park ranger in the downtown Bar Harbor station suggested we drive.  We also asked the ranger for suggestions on where to hike (so many trails!).  He gave us a map and suggested the Bowl, Gorham Mountain, and/or Great Head trails.

After parking, took a picture of hikers on a nearby mountain.  Jokingly, told my wife this is where we'd be hiking :)

Click on picture to enlarge to see the hikers on the Beehive Trail
The trail in the picture is the Beehive Trail, the park ranger did not recommend this one for us.  Yes, I know, what a surprise :)  We made our way to the trailhead for the Bowl Trail and began our hike.

Boulders and rocks, a lot of boulders and rocks.  Glad I had my hiking poles.

 Looking ahead, uphill, on the Bowl Trail  
 Looking behind, downhill, on the Bowl Trail  

The Bowl was a nice hike.  It connected to the Gorham Mountain Trail on the way back so we opted to hike it.  It had a western exposure and with that came some incredible Maine coast views.

 Views coming down Gorham Mountain 

The next day we decided to drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain and hike out and back on both the southside and northside.  Great hikes and just like the day before, more challenging than we thought they'd be.

From the northside we could see all of Bar Harbor including the daily cruise ship.

Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain 

On our last night, no trip to Bar Harbor, Maine would be complete without...


It was great hiking in Acadia, we will go back again.  Maybe next time...  the Beehive Trail?


Retirement Confidential said...

My husband is from Houlton -- I assume you were in Presque Isle? Acadia is great. Sounds like a wonderful trip. My favorite things from Maine are chocolate coconut donuts, lobster, whole-belly clams, steamers and the red hot dogs in the natural casing. If you get to Baxter State Park next time, be sure to read Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler. It's a great survival story.

scott said...

Houlton, I remember it well, that's where I95 stops! Was stationed at Loring AFB, sort of in between Caribou and Limestone. Loring, although unappreciated at the time, was a great duty station.

Will add Lost on a Mountain in Maine to my reading list - thanks!