Acadia: Cadillac Mountain and Park Loop Road

We spent the first three nights of our trip in Bar Harbor (or Bah Habah as all the cutesy merchandise in all the gift shops in the area calls it, although we never heard anyone actually pronounce it that way) for one reason and one reason alone: Acadia National Park.

If you didn’t already know, the one thing that Terry and I love doing together the most is hands-down, without question, hiking. When we first planned this trip we were hoping to do ALL THE ACADIA HIKES. Okay, not really, because with 120+ miles of trails that would take us a long time. But we were hoping to spend a good chunk of our time hiking, with the occasional lobster or blueberry dessert break thrown in. We both even bought new hiking shoes and everything. We meant business.

Then, as often happens, life threw a teensy weensy little wrench into the works. A few weeks before we left for Maine, Terry was in Atlanta for a few days, and brought home a nasty cold. Okay, NBD, colds clear up. And his mostly did, but the weekend before we left he went to a concert up in Cleveland and has been sick ever since (just adding this to the list of crappy things that have happened thanks to the city of Cleveland…). As we were driving through New York on that first night, I wondered if maybe this cold Terry had wasn’t bronchitis, because he was hacking up a lung pretty much non-stop. In addition to being extremely annoying (just keeping it real), this also limited the amount of hiking we were willing to do since being sick + colder temps than we were used to + higher altitude would be too much.

The good thing about all of this is that we hadn’t actually planned any hikes. One of us (me) has the tendency to over-plan and over-schedule out every minute of our vacations because I want to see and do everything, which is apparently not restful. So before this trip we did do a little research here and there, but went into it with no plans and no expectations. So when we decided it would be best to limit hikes to shorter distances so Terry could breathe, it didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything.

We talked to the innkeepers where we were staying and they highly recommended driving the entire 27 mile Park Loop Road that goes around all the major attractions of the east side of the park (this is the most visited side, by far). She also told us to make sure to go all the way to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard. So here’s a bunch of pictures from that first day.

Cadillac Mountain

IMG_20191005_101715471.jpg

This is the first overlook on the road up to the top of Cadillac. This picture DOES NOT do it justice. My exact words were “if this is all we saw today, I’d be happy.” 

IMG_20191005_103126715.jpg

The top of the mountain! Note all the islands out in the harbor

IMG_20191005_103136340.jpg

A panoramic shot from the same viewpoint as above

IMG_20191005_103308154_HDR.jpg

The water and the sky are both SO.BLUE

IMG_20191005_103634068_HDR.jpg

Terry learning or something

IMG_20191005_104019780_HDR.jpg

Another view of the harbor and some islands. Also note the little dots of fall color in the tree below. We missed peak foliage by a little over a week (but also missed heavy rains from Tropical Storm Melissa and a Nor’easter, so I can live with that)

IMG_20191005_103212426.jpg

Pics or it didn’t happen

IMG_20191005_105756410_HDR.jpg

At an overlook on the way back down the mountain. TBH we were looking for bathrooms, but hey this was cool too

IMG_20191005_105820598_HDR.jpg

I was trying to capture how cool the rocks and moss looked – the colors in person were just unreal

IMG_20191005_105736627.jpg

One last shot before we headed all the way back down to Park Loop Road

Park Loop Road

IMG_20191005_124305926_HDR.jpg

Fall colors and crystal blue waters

IMG_20191005_125029259_HDR.jpg

Somewhere in between Sand Beach (which was WAY too crowded for us to park anywhere near, which we were fine with) and Thunder Hole, seen while walking along the aptly named Ocean Path

IMG_20191005_125153478.jpg

Same as above, but with two clowns blocking the scenery

IMG_20191005_124709094_HDR.jpg

Taken from the Thunder Hole walkway. The innkeepers told us to check out Thunder Hole, and when we got there I was all like “what’s the big deal?” Waves are known to really crash into this inlet, which I’m sure is fun for unsuspecting tourists. But as you can see, the water was extremely calm that day. I’ve since seen videos of Tropical Storm Melissa battering Thunder Hole a week after we were there and holy crap is nature powerful

IMG_20191005_114831848_HDR.jpg

The Jessup Trail, which is apparently one of the most photographed things in the park. We just stopped at the nearby nature center to use the bathroom, and I asked the park ranger about easy trails nearby. This was part of a 20-30 minute walk that was pretty, but fairly crowded (I had to snap this picture quickly to make it look like we were all alone with nature!)

IMG_20191005_113825563_PORTRAIT.jpg

New England Asters, which, true to their name, can be found EVERYWHERE out there

IMG_20191005_131050217.jpg

Otter Cove, where the water pretty much looked like glass

IMG_20191005_131318276_HDR.jpg

Ferns and berries, both of which we saw at the Nature Center, and whose names I completely forgot. We kept seeing both everywhere too, so I suppose that would have been helpful information

And that concludes day 1! Travel blog posts are probably just as fun as vacation slide shows used to be 🙂