Sunday, October 15, 2017

Maritime Maine | Acadia National Park 2017 part I | Maine

Seal Harbor Beach - went to roam around while some more adventurous friends went swimming

It's been quite some time. I had a few adventures and mini-adventures over the summer and autumn that I wanted to blog about, but I think this one beats them all out. After a tough cardiology module, I got out of Boston with some classmates to experience Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor in Maine. We camped two nights in an admittedly very comfortable "campground," saw beautiful Atlantic coast, and nabbed some of the coolest hikes I've ever gone on.
Part I will be the scenic stuff, while part II will be the hike reports. Short, but very sweet.

Even more kelp

From Boston to Bar Harbor


Acadia National Park is located on Mt. Desert Island, a large island shaped like the anterior and posterior pituitary glands off the Atlantic coast of Maine. The most notable town on the island is Bar Harbor, which we visited briefly for a pricey dinner on our second night. The road from Boston to Bar Harbor is about 300 miles and 5-6 hours away depending on traffic. On the drive up, we passed through a town founded in 1643 (???) for gas, Portland (location of Maine Medical Center, the only level I trauma center in the state of Maine, compared to the six in Boston), Augusta (the capital), and Bangor (birthplace of Paul Bunyan).

Other remarks about Downeast Maine: (1) they take their outdoors extremely seriously, (2) they take their lobster extremely seriously, and (3) we drove past more antique stores or markets than I have seen in my entire life before this trip.

Really sick piece of driftwood
Our car got to the campground first and we set up as many tents and chopped as much wood as we could. Sun sets fast so far north. However, I say this after having read this blog post about a doctor's road trip through the Maritimes of Canada, which are substantially more northeast than Maine.

Acadia National Park

I've long wanted to visit Maine. Maybe I romanticize it a little bit in that it is perhaps the most wild of the New England states. Maybe it's because its bid for statehood kicked the Civil War into motion (among a great many other things). It has wild mountains and forests and sea coast. It has Katahdin. My boots come from Maine. Many things.

Acadia National Park has been described as the only national park on the East Coast that comes close to the grandeur of those in the American West. I think it's fair that it's the closest to grand that I've seen here, but not quite close enough. And perhaps it's because we visited just too early to see the foliage in its full glory. You'll see hints of red and orange in these photos, but I couldn't begin to imagine how beautiful it would all look later in autumn. Perhaps it's like that right now.

Brackish water

I think for the next post I'll add in what I packed for this trip. Any later in the season and I would have worried about being too cold at night. Anyhow, the text of this post is a bit rambly so I've tried to add comments about the places I took pictures of in the captions themselves.

At the top of Mt. Cadillac, which we drove to and did not hike - really interesting lichens!

That's it for now. Next up will be a post about the hiking we did in Acadia National Park. It's going to get precarious.

The view from Mt. Cadillac - I cropped out the huge cruise ships in the background

Sand Beach - relaxation before our afternoon hike

Sand Beach - full of people

Lots of rocks to climb up and over

This picture is quite deceptive - I'm about 30 ft above the shore