Acadia Vacation - April 20-23, 2021

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Rhody Seth

Active member
Dec 18, 2015
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Charlestown, RI
We spent April vacation up in Acadia. It was our first time in the park and now that I’ve completed all the videos of the trip I thought I’d write up our time there.

We stayed in Bar Harbor. Neither my wife nor daughter were interested in doing any steep hiking on this trip so that meant rising early to satisfy myself. Some loud girls in the hallway at 3 PM (early, inconsiderate sunrise seekers?) woke me up and I never really fell back asleep. So I ended up heading out even earlier than anticipated at 4:45 AM. I ran directly from the hotel to the Kubo Mtn Trail. The early start time worked out as I was able to enjoy the sunrise from the slopes of Dorr Mtn. Dorr North Ridge Trail featured lots of open slab sections which had great views. From the top of Dorr I could see the flash bulbs going off of those on top of Cadillac Mountain next door. I descended via Schiff Path and Homans Path – really impressive stonework on these trails and I’m glad I choose this way down. Got back to the hotel around 7 AM as the womenfolk were walking up. Success.

The Park Drive was open and basically deserted as it was early in the season. It was great. We first went to Sand Beach which had a dozen or so cars in the lot. Most of the people from those cars were just hanging out on the beach. We hiked the Great Head Trail and were pretty much alone again for the bulk of it. Incredible views from the rocky bluffs and my wife really enjoyed exploring these nooks and crannies. Now the parking lot was almost full and people were everywhere. Seems we had beat the rush.

We continued along Park Drive, stopping at Jordon Pond next. Gift shop was actually open (or rather they were in the process of opening) and we explored the clear pond briefly. Then we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain and joined the other tourists. Fairly busy up there and while sunny a bit nippy with the wind. Overall a fun first day. Great weather and Ezri did a lot of the recording on Day 1.

Day 2 I snuck out, not quite as early. This time I drove the short distance and hiked up Champlain Mountain via the Beachcroft Trail. More great stone work! More great open slabs! This is my jam. And another spectacular sunrise at the top. It was still fairly early so I threw around the idea of continuing along the ridge to the Beehive. But it was my wife’s birthday and I was concerned about getting back to late so I trundled back the way I came. (Should’ve kept going – I ended up getting back around 6:45 and woke both of them up. She was more annoyed that I came back so early. :p I can’t win!)

Amanda and I were excited to head out and explore but already the National Park was losing its luster for Ezri. When she heard we were going to a National Park she had visions of epic sights such as Yosemite or the geysers. Having been to the Whites plenty she was less impressed with the peaks of Acadia. So on Day 2 she hiked albeit grudgingly. First we took a trail/road to the Duck Brook Bridge and admired its stonework. This prompted Amanda to do some quick research and we decided to head to the carriage roads on the other side of the park and hike them to see some more stone bridges. Despite Ezri keeping to herself this was a fun hike and my wife was very happy exploring these bridges and streams.

The forecast on Day 2 was not great but the weather ended up being fine. Late in the day the rain finally came and strong wind as well. Made our hotel shake. We had a fine dinner in Bar Harbor to celebrate Amanda’s birthday.

We awoke to snow flurries on Day 3. Also freezing temps. Ezri was now completely over Acadia. We ventured out, first stopping at the Thunderhole (wrong time tide-wise) before heading to the other side of Mount Desert Island and checking out the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was a lighthouse but the stairs on the other side led to cool rocky outcroppings. Not letting Ezri’s moodiness bring us down she stayed in the car and we walked the Ship Harbor Trail. A flat trail that does a figure 8 by a cove, the low tide smelled something awful. Otherwise a fine hike through gnarled woods and more rocky shore. At times amongst the stunted trees it almost felt like you were high up in the Whites.

In the afternoon with the tide coming in we made a second attempt at the Thunderhole but it was still not Thunderholing. I don’t know tides but I’m guessing wrong time of the month or something. Then we ate ice cream for dinner.

The final day of our trip we awoke at 4:30 AM and made the drive back up Cadillac Mountain for the sunrise. Not as spectacular as the previous days, it was windy and pretty darn cold at the top. We made one last attempt to witness the power of the Mighty Thunderhole (denied) and then…drove home to Rhode Island.

All in all, a great first trip to Acadia. I enjoyed how empty the place was – we felt like we had it to ourselves much of the time. There wasn’t much open in terms of restrooms or visitor centers but with our hotel room so close it wasn’t a major issue. I’d love to return in other seasons but I can only imagine how busy the area gets in the summer and fall.

Heading there in late wife only does short hikes so I probably will wake up early on at least one day to do a bigger hike before she's up.
Heading there in late wife only does short hikes so I probably will wake up early on at least one day to do a bigger hike before she's up.

The nice thing about the place is that depending on how close you're staying it's very easy to get to a bunch of the trails quickly.