After deciding to leave Bangor, Sam, Steve and I headed south to Acadia National Park on the coast and arrived mid-day on Sunday. Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi and is nearly entirely situated on an island called Mt Desert Island - most people pronounce this Mt Dessert Island due to its French roots, but I think this is also a ploy to identify outsiders. April is part of the off season in Maine - apparently the 45 miles between Bangor and Bar Harbor (pronounced Bah Haabaa; located on Mt Desert Island) are guaranteed to be the longest 45 miles of your life in the high season. The off season also meant that many hotels and restaurants were closed; however, this was PERFECT for us.
We were planning on either heading to the campground in the park and sleeping in the car or trying to find a cabin somewhere near the park, but since it was still raining quite a bit and we hadn't seen many cabins, we stopped by a couple of hotels to price them out. The first hotel we stopped at was worthless, but the second, the Acadia Oakes, was VERY convincing. They showed us one room overlooking the ocean, and we were honestly not interested in paying the amount they were asking (we never perfected bargaining in Mexico), but as we turned to leave, they offered us another room with a kitchenette for $55 (high season price = $172). This turned out to be a fantastic decision. The room had a balcony that looked out over the ocean, a kitchen, couch, free breakfast (free breakfast ended the upcoming Friday, replaced by an $8.50 buffet) and access to an indoor pool and hot tub! So, we ended up signing up for three nights.
Our time in Acadia was really, really awesome. We spent the two and a half days hiking in the park, reading, swimming and cooking. In fact, we didn't go out to eat in any of the posh Bah Haabaa restaurants. Sunday night there was a huge storm that we could watch over the ocean from the warmth of our room with some coffee and tea. Having lived in Portland for the last several years, we're both quite accustomed to rain, but the rain out here is SO much more intense. I've never seen it rain THIS MUCH so many days in a row in Portland. And in Portland, people go out walking in the rain because it's more of a drizzle or mist - out here, a few minutes in the rain and you're SOAKED.
Monday it drizzled off and on, so first we drove along the 20 mile loop road through the park, then we stopped at Jordan Pond in the park to get a hike in. The rain had stopped and it was reasonably nice out. This hike was a 3.5 mile loop around the lake, and was really beautiful and fun. There were lots of cool bridges to cross, and due to the weather, lots of these crossings were fairly damp and treacherous (in other words, fun). There also was about a mile or so of boarwalk on one side of the pond that was really cool to walk along. After the hike we swam, cooked some chili and cornbread and read. End of a great day.
Tuesday was gorgeous and sunny. It was pretty warm, though the wind was pretty intense. We had heard that Tuesday was supposed to be nice, so we planned to do a little bigger hike. We ended up taking a breathtaking walk along the Cadillac Cliffs and up the flanks of Gorham "Mountain". The trail was all rock and boulders, which made it more of a scramble than a hike, but it was a blast! From the top of the Gorham "Mountain" we headed to a backwoods lake called The Bowl, then climbed up to The Beehive, then descended rapidly back to the ocean front trail. Really an awesome walk that I would recommend to anyone coming out this way. After the hike, we swam, made spaghetti and a salad and read. End of another great day.
And on Wednesday, we sadly checked out (after a rousing plate of french toast ala Sam). The rain was back, and we needed to keep moving down the coast of Maine. There are a few more towns that we want to stop at, and we're planning on hooking up with our friend Rob in New York City next Wednesday so we gots to head. After trying to stop at Pretty Marsh on the west side of the island only to find it closed, we cooked the remnants of our chili outside of the information center with only the car as a wind and rain shield, then headed down Route 1.
More soon . . .