A Trip To Acadia
Acadia National Park
It is hard to tell when I first learned about Acadia. One photo here, one mention there, and, eventually, it came to the point, when I was consciously gathering information about the park. Soon, that evolved into an idea of going there and experience the place in person.
The journey from Northern Virginia to the Schoodic Point took me longer than I anticipated, and after almost seventeen hours on the road, I found myself in the darkness of the night, on a rugged, rocky shore of Atlantic Ocean, listening to the sound of breaking waves somewhere beyond the reach of my flashlight. I stayed there overnight. In the early morning and was wandering on rocks in complete solitude. air and
A long time ago, lobsters were so plentiful that Native Americans used them to fertilize their fields. In colonial times it was considered a poverty food. Until early 1800s lobsters were gathered by hand in tidal pools along the shoreline. Things have changed since then: lobsters are delicious meal now, and modern technologies have replaced the hand-harvesting. In morning hours you can see catchers' vessels sailing along Schoodic Peninsula, or at least hear them in a dense fog.
Fog is a usual thing in Acadia. Depending on the season chances to witness this weather phenomenon vary, but most opportunities fall to August. During this month it is so common that locals sometimes refer to this time of the year as the Fogust. It is enchanting to stand atop of the Cadillac Mountain and watch a white blanket rolling over the Frenchman Bay, or walk by the ocean shore and witness that up close. The shore option became my experience and left long-lasting memories. It is so calming to see the white wall moving above the ocean wiping off the horizon line, making the scene around you absolutely boundless, but not infinitely distant.
Fog, Schoodic Point
The primary route through Acadia on the Mount Desert Island is the loop road that connects park's lakes, mountains, forests, and the coast. This scenic drive has several parking areas and pullouts, where you can stop, enjoy views, and, where posted, read interesting facts about your surrounding. Most of the road is one way, and there is a fee collected at the entrance station.
Park Loop Road
The scenic Ocean Path Trail meanders for approximately two miles from Sand Beach to Otter Cliff. It provides fantastic views of the ocean and the coastal line. I had little time to explore it properly and put on my to-do list for the next time.
Ocean Path Trail
Jordan Pond is a glacier formed tarn and is one of several lakes in the park. Trails, a carriage road, and the park's loop road provide easy access to any side of it, giving a lot of opportunities to enjoy views. But the location on the South is famous for its background: two dome-shaped mountains called South and North Bubbles.
Bass Harbor Head Light
My have-to-see location for the evening was the Bass Harbor Head Light - a small, charmingly photogenic lighthouse. Due to its popularity, it has been pictured in all imaginable ways and different weather conditions by hundreds of photographers. Still, I hoped to find my interpretation of the scene. I arrived in well before sunset, but the place already looked like a nesting ground: photographers were everywhere on nearby rocks. The high tide pushed them closer to each other limiting the space even more. Only fifteen minutes later I found a little free spot under cliffs and took a long exposure that I now enjoy so much.
My experience with hiking in the forest was quite brief, but very enjoyable. It happened by accident when I got confused by notes on the map, that a ranger made a day earlier when explaining how to get to the Waterfall Bridge. I stopped at the wrong parking lot, took a wrong trail and, eventually, I found myself surrounded by balsam firs. The trees exuded a fragrant aroma that made me slow down and leisurely stroll among these and conifers and enjoy the smells in the air.
A network of 57 miles of Carriage Roads is an excellent way to enjoy the park's woodland. The construction was directed and financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., whose primary goal was to create a system that would highlight the beauty of Mount Desert Island while staying in harmony with the environment. Roads repeat curves of the landscape as much as possible, but in many spots, there was a need for a bridge. According to the National Park Service, there are 16 stone bridges, all of a unique design. Some of them are very photogenic. I had two in mind: Hemlock and Waterfall bridges. I put them on my list for the time when the sky is clear, and the sun is high, hoping that the surrounding forest will diffuse the light and help with a compelling photograph. The Hemlock Bridge looked promising. The dappled light was quite pleasing, and I managed to frame a beautiful, warm scene of the place.
In the afternon I decided to have a little break and walk along Eagle Lake - another natural tarn and a popular place for those who enjoy spending time in a boat. Swimming in the lake is prohibited, as it is also a source of water for local towns.
Old Stump near Eagle Lake
Blue Hill Overlook
While having many places where you can watch a sunrise, Acadia cannot offer similar opportunities for a sunset. Most land with an open view on the West is privately owned, making it off-limits for public. But there are still a few places where you can enjoy the setting sun. One of them is the Blue Hill Overlook, located not far from the Cadillac Mountains Summit. I came there right before the parking lot started to fill up quickly by arriving visitors.
It is something special to stay on the top of a mountain and look up into the dark sky, full of stars and with the Milky Way spanning from one horizon to another. Acadia is a great place to experience this, especially on the Cadillac Mountain summit, that provides a 360-degree view.
Staying overnight at the Cadillac Mountain is a good idea if you want to be the first in the continental United States to see the rising sun. This fact and the accessibility of the summit make it surprisingly hard to find free spot in the parking area, despite its impressive capacity. The hosts of the campground where I stayed, advised me to get here early as the parking lot could be full a few hours before the sunrise, by those who are not lazy enough to wake up at 2:00 AM. I decided to be lazy a bit, yet to ensure a spot for my car. So I simply spent the night at the back seat and emerged from there with the first light.
At the time of my visit I knew nothing about islands, visible from the Cadillac Mountain and read some information only upon the end of my trip. Now I know, that Islesford is a picturesque harbor town, with spectacular views of the Mount Desert Island, and that one can get there by a local mail boat or a tour boats from Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor. It has a museum, operated by National Park Service, several quaint shops, galleries, and artisans.
Islesford and Cranberries Isles
I left Acadia on the third day of my trip. I was happy with with my new experience, but I already decided to come back to explore things that I missed this time.