The One With Acadia National Park

Reggie and I followed the path to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak in Acadia National Park. The term mountain is relative, of course. At about 1,500 feet (460 m), I know many of you would call this more of a large hill  Still, it’s tall enough that the wind swirls every which way and the temperature drops a few degrees at the summit. And it affords terrific views, like this one.

Cadillac

The top of Cadillac Mountain — Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park near along the Maine coast, is spread over three islands with the largest part of the park on Mount Desert Island (confusingly pronounced des-sert by locals).

The island is dotted with lakes and ponds. There is an easy trail that rings Jordan Pond, below. I took my time strolling along the path until a Boston terrier, who wheezed like an asthma patient, passed me. Then I knew I had to step it up a notch.

Jordan Pond

Early morning at Jordan Pond

Otter Point

Otter Point. I did not see one otter.

The most unique aspect of the park is the carriage road. John Rockefeller, Jr. financed and oversaw the creation of the carriage road and stone bridges between 1913 and 1940. Rockefeller wanted to ensure safe passage for horses without encountering any cars, so he created about 50 miles of roads and 17 bridges, which he then gifted to the park.

Despite previous experiences to the contrary (remember the incidents with the Goddess Pele and the Everglades?), I promptly decided I was going to rent a bike for a day and pedal the carriage road. Luckily this time I returned unscathed, though a close encounter with this snapping turtle nearly left me minus one digit. (Do not let anyone convince you turtles are s-l-o-w.)

Bridge

IMG_2296

I did encounter more placid wildlife. Below is a double-crested cormorant in his signature wing-drying pose. He is perched atop a beaver lodge built on a marsh pond. The beavers were not home.

Cormorant

At the southern end of Jordan Pond, there is a clearing in the trees which makes a great resting spot for bikers and hikers. In the distance you can see a set of peaks, both of which offer reasonably steep hiking trails.(People have a lot of fun names for these peaks. Feel free to leave your guesses in comments.)

Bubbles

In case you needed it, here is a close up. I tackled the peak on the right. It is about two miles from the pond to the top, winding in switchbacks. Some parts of this trail were more like rock climbing than hiking where I had to hoist myself up hand over hand around boulders. Heart pounding and sweating, I stopped for a water break. Around the bend came an older couple, fresh as daisies.

“Did you hike the trail?” I asked, a bit surprised given the difficulty level and their arthritic hands.

“Trail?” the woman said. “We walked from the parking lot about a quarter mile down the road.”

“Yeah, thanks for that.”

Bubbles 2

That hike warranted a treat. It was time for popovers! Popovers are light rolls, nearly hollow inside, and served with jam and butter. They are a specialty at the Jordan Pond House.

Popover

There is one beach in Acadia National Park, named, appropriately enough, Sand Beach. While most of the coastline is rugged and rocky, this is the spot with easy access to the ocean. Reggie enjoyed the sand, but would not venture in the water. Not even one paw.

Reggie-Sand Beach

Have you been to Acadia or Maine? Did I miss anything? 

Have a great weekend, everyone! 

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31 comments

  1. I love your reward for all your hard climbing. 🙂 Don’t you love when you pass people during the upward climb who make it look effortless? I always love the couples carrying babies and small dogs like they’re going out for a little stroll. 🙂

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  2. I love all of your images, but of course, you saved the best for last! Those twin peaks are very thought provoking! No way would I have attempted to hike, either, but I would have been on the outlook for an escalator. That popover looks delicious. Was it served warm?

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    1. About half-way through that hike, when it turned into more of a rock climbing situation, you bet I was looking for the escalator. The popover made it all worthwhile. It was indeed served warm by a young man from Poland working as an intern for the summer.

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  3. Lovely photos, Jackie! A dear friend who just finished thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail — she reached the summit of Maine’s Mt. Katahdin one week ago, having started in Georgia in late March — lives in Blue Hill and hikes in Acadia all the time. She used those hikes to train for her 2000-plus-mile journey. I am in awe of her, and you, for conquering great heights one step at a time.

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    1. My favorite time spent in the park was sitting on the top of Cadillac Mountain, watching the hawks riding the thermals. The sky was a beautiful blue and the hawk’s dark feathers contrasted beautifully. So serene! i hope you can visit someday soon.

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  4. Duuuude that popover looks awesome. Well-deserved after that hike! But I’d probably have one just because I woke up. 🙂 I’m loving those pics the Jordan and Otter points … Duuuuuuude those are the kind of places/moments I dream about when I’m trying to mediate and find my Namaste moments. Buen Camino my friend 🙂

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