Acadia National Park, Maine
This park changed my life.
On this trip, I’ve been visiting towns that I have vaguely heard of before, but never really realized why. Bar Harbor is one of those towns. I never really understood why people went to Bar Harbor, it was just a place that people visited. Now I know that Bar Harbor is one of three towns that Acadia National Park surrounds on Mount Desert Island in Maine.
|Brunswick is about 2.5 hours south of Acadia National Park/Bar Harbor|
I also loved this quick side trip because it was quite random. We decided to go just a couple days before we went. We ended up camping on the lawn of a friend of a friend who also happened to be the sister of the woman who hosted our third garage sale. Let’s just say, the internet is amazing.
We were only in Acadia National Park for 24 hours, but we packed in a week’s worth of adventures. No, we did not sleep very much! Haha!
Acadia National Park has over 125 miles of hiking trails, 45 miles of carriage roads, two swimming beaches, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, and all sorts of wildlife.
Our first hike was up Beech Mountain, a climb of 839 feet and considered a moderately difficult climb. It was about 2.25 miles round trip. It took us about 3 hours to hike this trail.
I’ve never hiked a trail like this one before.
First of all, there were no mosquitoes. What???? We wore no bug spray. None. Even when we were in the forest near streams of water at dusk, no mosquitoes. This place is magical.
Second of all, we had to climb! I’ve never climbed a mountain before. I was exhausted by the time I got to the top. And I work out regularly!
Despite the difficulty (or maybe because of the difficulty) of the trail, I fell in love with hiking. I love the quite of the forest and the breathtaking vistas at the clearings.
I love stopping along the way to find little treasures, like the famous wild Maine blueberries. Fortunately, it was OK to pick and eat this delicious little berries. They were EVERYWHERE.
Our second hike was up Champlain Mountain, a climb of 1058 feet and 2.6 miles long. This time I had a better idea of what to expect. Still, some places were straight up or straight down!
It took us 90 minutes to hike up and about 60 minutes to hike down. This was a beautiful hike with 360 panoramic views at the summit.
|The Bowl looking up at Champlain Mountain|
|Partially up Champlain Mountain looking down on The Bowl|
|Top of Champlain Mountain|
|Top of Champlain Mountain looking at Bar Harbor (the far town near the water)|
Cadillac Mountain may be the most famous summit in the park, but I think Champlain is the most fun to hike up. I was also stoked that the free shuttle bus picked us up along the road and drove us back to our car after we had finished our hike. My legs were so wobbly!
Cadillac Mountain is usually the first place in the United States that sees the sun every day. I had to see this for myself. So, we got up at 4 a.m. and drove the 30 minutes from Southwest Harbor to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. It was a little cloudy/foggy, but I think that made the sunrise even more beautiful.
Carriage roads are gravel roads that were originally built to be scenic horse carriage rides. Now, they are used by horses, hikers, runners, and bikers. We biked around Eagle Lake on one of these carriage roads, which was about 6 miles long.
The tiny island towns of Bar Harbor and Southwest Harbor are adorable. We walked around them a little bit – the Southwest Harbor library was particularly quant.
Acadia National Park introduced me to mountain hiking and got me hooked. So much so, that Martin and I are planning a week-long hiking trip through the Appalachian Trail.
We are hoping to hike 50 miles starting at Doves Point and ending at Damascus. This stretch is mountainous and follows the Tennessee-North Carolina border. I’m a little nervous about it. Will I pack enough food? Will my pack be too heavy? Will I get hurt? Will we get lost? Will it rain the whole time? Will I have fun?
I don’t know the answers to those questions, but I’m willing to find out!