Our Maine Event: Acadia National Park

3 08 2017

 

Today we reached the main (Maine?) goal of our trip.  I had always heard of the beauty of Acadia National Park and was eager to experience it for myself.  It did not disappoint.

7/11/17 Day 5: Drove to Acadia National Park.  550 mi/10 hrs.  Cabin at Hadley Point Campground.

During our last night in the Catskills, a soft rain shower pattered against our tent, but we stayed dry and cozy.  Stuffing our wet tent into the car, we ate a quick breakfast of cold boiled eggs and fruit and headed up the coast to Maine.  Just before reaching Mount Desert Island, we pulled over at a small grocery store to stock up on ice, fruit, eggs, and other essentials.  We smiled at each other when a local resident reached around our cart and said, “Excuse me.  Just wanted to get this candy baah.”  I held back from saying, “Y’all shore do talk funny!”

No tent for us this evening; I had reserved a cabin with a real bed and a real bathroom.  One of our greatest reservations about tent-camping had been the need to relieve ourselves during the night.  To that end, Brian had brought along a small cup with a lid, which we named the Cup of Shame, that he placed between our cots each evening.  We never had to use it, but it took considerable self-control.  For the next three nights, we were Living in the Lap of Luxury!  Even here, though, two quarters were needed for a seven-minute shower.

7/12/17 Day 6 : Acadia National Park.

The bakery-fresh English muffins we bought yesterday made a breakfast I am still salivating over.  Toasted with butter on both sides on a cast-iron skillet, inserted with scrambled eggs and melted cheese: pure yum.  Other than a drink here or there, we had not yet eaten a meal out.  Before leaving, I had cooked up about ten meals worth of meats: ground beef, BBQ pulled chicken, taco-seasoned beef, etc.  Frozen in Ziploc bags, these made cooking fast and easy on our camp stove.  Lunches were also easy: cold boiled eggs, fruit, veggies and humus.  Breakfasts?  Egg burritos.  So the egg and cheese muffin this morning was a real treat.  It’s the little things.

 

Cadillac Mt 4

Before The Hike: from the top of Cadillac Mt. looking down on Bar Harbor

But Cadillac Mountain in Acadia was not one of those “little things.”  The biggest mountain on Mount Desert Island, it was to be our first conquest.  And it was a hard-fought battle.  Our first mistake was starting at the top.  We couldn’t find the trail head at the bottom, so we drove to the top, looked around, and decided to do the hike in reverse: down, then up.  Now, I know better than to kayak downstream and then have to fight my way back up, and I should have known better than to do the hike this way.  But it was rated as a “moderate hike” of only two miles.  No biggie.

Cadillac Mt 7

So we headed down around 10:00, just as the day was warming up.  Beautiful vistas of Bar Harbor rewarded us at every turn and the smell of evergreens invigorated us.  Small children tripped around the mountain path, followed by ladies in designer outfits and 90-year-old gents.  I could almost hear bluebirds singing merrily as they flew in circles around our heads.  By the time we reached the bottom, though, we were flushed and our knees ached from climbing down and over rocks. Worse still, we had already drunk half of the liter of water we brought with us.  Which was Mistake #2: not bringing enough water.

Cadillac Mt 12

The day had warmed up into the mid-80s as we started back uphill and we soon realized two things: there was a dearth of shade on the trail, and our water was not going to last.  If we had had one or the other, it would have been a different story, but with both, the outcome looked grim.  Brian fell behind, and when he finally caught up it was evident that things were not going well.  We stopped to “admire the scenery” every time there was the slightest bit of shade; even still we were feeling the pinch in a big way.

 

Cadillac Mt 14

Admiring the view: Bar Island and the Porcupine Islands in the distance

 

The chirping of bluebirds had been replaced by the heavy panting of a couple of dodo birds who should have known better.

Obviously, we made it, and with few ill effects in spite of all our internal dire predictions.  By 2:00, we were back on top of Cadillac Mountain, consuming bottles of water from our cooler. And my cell phone app told me we had walked 4 ½ miles.  Apparently, the sign for the “moderate” hike only listed the one-way trip.   Yet we had done it.  We had conquered the Mountain.  And learned a thing or two.

But that wasn’t the end of our explorations.  Back in the car, we drove the Loop Road, stopping at the Wild Gardens of Acadia to see pitcher plants, jack in the pulpits, and many other native plants.

We toured the Abbe Museum (blowing right past the sign that said $9 each) and then walked a mile on a boardwalk to nowhere and back.  We (okay, I) clambered over rocks at Thunder Hole, explored Sand Beach (it’s got nothing on SC beaches) and walked around the edge of Jordan Pond.

By the time we returned to the cabin, it was 7:30 and we had walked well over 8 miles.

Neither of us had trouble sleeping that night.

7/13/17 Day 7 : Bar Harbor.

Another day, another adventure in Maine.  Without really any plan in mind, we rode the free shuttle into Bar Harbor.  After muffins and coffee at a side street bakery, we booked a half-day kayak trip in the harbor.  We paddled in tandem sea kayaks, stopped to explore the shoreline on one of the Porcupine Islands, and spotting cormorants, porpoises, and one bald eagle high up in a tree overlooking a cliff.

IMG_6149

But the real adventure was the shuttle ride back to camp that evening.  A large, loud, and boisterous family took up half the bus.  Based on their behavior and speech, we figured they must be from New York.  Probably the Bronx.  Wherever they were from, they were having a great time, although probably not making any friends with the locals as they hollered “BAAAA HAAAABAAAA” over and over out the windows.  The ringleader kept his family in stitches as he did impressions from various movies in a booming voice, throwing out vulgarities like candy at a parade.  Brian said it best when he told me in a low voice, “Well, we didn’t see any moose, but we did ride a bus with a family of jackasses.”

This being our last evening on Mount Desert Island, we decided we’d best eat some lobster or we would never hear the end of it back home.  So we drove down the road to a lobster pound, which I discovered is a place that serves lobster boiled in huge barrels outside.

1st and only lobster (2)

Never having had lobster, I sucked up my fears and sat down to a huge segmented creature with long antenna on my plate that only moments before been clattering around in a vat of water.  I read over the instructions on the paper place mat for as long as I thought I could get away with it, and then had at it.  I did my best, cracking legs, claws, and body, pulling out the meat and even sucking on the smaller parts as I had been instructed.  But when I got to the liver, that was it.  Green mush.  Not going there.

1st and only lobster 4

 

I have, over the course of my lifetime, tried to like shrimp and other crustaceans.  I have tried.  I just can’t.  Rather than trying to force myself to like something I just don’t, better to save it for those who do like it.  ‘Cause it just ain’t happening.

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2 responses

3 08 2017
kbfenner

Cadillac Mountain, another Eberhike for the books….

Gayle and Robbie had a Bouvier des Flandres, a big charcoal colored dog that looked like a human in a Muppet costume. Tartuffe was off leash and running ahead as we headed toward Thunder Hole. Gayle heard a woman, in terrifed tones, say, “Omigod, it’s…a bear!”

3 08 2017
eberteach

I can just imagine!

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