Monday, October 6, 2014

Quick Trip to Acadia National Park

My friend Gerri and I went north for a 3-day weekend in Bar Harbor.  The weather wasn't as cooperative as we would have liked, but we made the most of it.  Surprisingly, in spite of lots of fog, mist, and some rain, we enjoyed our first and last meals of the weekend outdoors!

We arrived in Bar Harbor just about at sunset on Friday.   Clouds were already rolling in, firming up the likelihood that the weather forecast was going to be accurate this time.  This evening turned out to be our only opportunity to see the Margaret Todd away from her dock and to catch a glimpse of the lighthouse before it disappeared the rest of the weekend behind the fog bank.

The Margaret Todd 
(151-foot, 4-masted schooner)

Egg Rock Light

We enjoyed walking along the Coastal Trail and checking out a lot of the downtown shops.

Coastal Trail

Margaret Todd at dock

Saturday I got up at 6AM to look for wildlife in the park.  As I drove past one particularly large, flat granite ledge, there was a beautiful, regal, healthy coyote sitting right in the middle of it.  I hadn't seen any other cars, so I pulled out my camera, backed up the road and prepared to try to catch a photo.  I should have put the window down before I backed up, though, because he ran off while the window was going down.  A beautiful sight, though!

I stopped at Jordan Pond and since it wasn't raining I took a short walk.  It was very foggy, but I did see a white-tailed deer quite near while I was here.  Besides these two sightings, the only other creatures I saw were red squirrels.

Jordan Pond

White-Tailed Deer

After breakfast, we drove the Park Loop Road and climbed Cadillac Mountain, which was completely socked in.  We stopped wherever there was any possibility of a view, and we also stopped at Thunder Hole, which was fun!

Beaver Dam Pond

view (looking up) near Precipice Trailhead

I guess every other time I have been to Thunder Hole, it's been low tide.  Thunder Hole at low tide just gurgled and burped, and we joked about it not being too great.  Gerri said every time she'd been there, it was like this visit.  There was a big "boom" when the wave hit the hole in the rocks and splashes back out.  There were occasional larger waves this visit that did splash across the walkway.  It was pretty exciting compared to my past visits!

Thunder Hole

Otter Cove

Common Loon

We dutifully climbed the access road to Cadillac Mountain, hoping there may be a break in the cloud cover and at least a bit of a view.  Here's the view from the top of Cadillac Mountain, looking out over the beautiful ocean, dotted with islands and pine forests!  Others were laughing and snapping photos, too.  It was quite the joke.  At least I have seen it on other visits.  It's a spectacular scene!

At 1PM, we had a reservation at Jordan Pond House Restaurant, which has been serving tea and popovers since the 1890s.  It used to be called a tea house but is now a restaurant.  In my mind's eye, I imagined a completely different setting, with china tea service and delicate popovers served to predominantly female customers.  Not so.  It was a noisy, zero-atmosphere restaurant where you plucked a warm popover from a basket while wondering how many others' hands had been reaching into the basket before and after you selected your popover.  The china was heavy cafeteria-style.  The food was good, but something was missing from the experience (besides the view which was again shrouded in fog).

Sunday I was up at 6AM again.  The weather was worse, with steady rain coming down.  This time I was literally the only person on the Park Loop Road!  Any animal with any sense was hunkered down somewhere waiting out the rotten weather.  But I couldn't sit in the hotel room during my only time up here!  So I enjoyed what I could of the park.  

We decided to take a ride over to Southeast Harbor and check out Bass Light, regardless of the weather.  It had been predicted to clear up and be partly sunny by noon, and we were thrilled to have the sun come out while we were in Somesville at the famous arched bridge.

Somesville Walking Bridge 
(the most photographed location on Mt. Desert Island)

again, after the sun broke through

Southwest Harbor

Bass Light

from the parking lot

This was my favorite view from the weekend.  Love it!

Of course, since the sun was out and the temp was 61 degrees, I had to stop at the Charlotte Rhoades Garden and Butterfly Park and see if anything might be flying.  Gerri gave me 10 minutes to look.  She wouldn't even get out of the car....too funny!

Charlotte Rhoades Garden and Butterfly Park

Cabbage White

American Lady

Our last meal took place on the harbor front, a lobster bake on the terrace of the Bar Harbor Inn.  A huge cruise ship was anchored just offshore, spoiling the view (at least in my opinion).  The lobster was sweet and delicious, and we had fun watching loons pretty close to shore and one other bird that I needed a guidebook in order to ID it.

Common Loon 
(still in breeding plumage)

Common Loon
(non-breeding plumage)

Black Guillemot


Oh, to have had just one more day, with sunshine, in such a beautiful place during peak fall foliage.  But it was not to be.  Good bye, Acadia National Park.  Good bye, Bar Harbor.  Until next time!

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