Here we go with another long trip report. Tried to keep this one shorter than our STP week report but it is hard to cram in a short description of a packed 6 days...
We had another fantastic week in Acadia this year. Stayed at the Mount Desert Campground which is at the head of Somes Sound (the fiord that runs up the center of MDI) right on the water. There are about 30 waterfront sites with tent platforms – some actually handing out over the water on the rocks. If you are looking for a place to camp on MDI it doesn’t get any better than this. Very short drive to most of the trailheads for hiking and the carriage roads for biking and you can drop the kayaks in from your campsite to paddle the harbor and the sound or keep it tied up to the 350’ long float/dock that gives access at all tides. Awesome place!! More info and pics here: http://www.mountdesertcampground.com/pics.html.
We were once again blessed with amazing weather. It rained a little the day after we arrived and after that we had 5 straight days of clear blue skies and 70 degree temps with nice cool nights. We got in at least one hike each day along with either a bike ride on the carriage roads, a paddle or both!
We planned to get some new hikes in this year and hit a few of the mountains that we hadn’t gotten to in the last couple of trips but we wound up doing many of our past favorites again (and weren’t sorry that we did – I could hike these trails many, many more times and not get tired of them). The best part about hiking in Acadia is that you have nearly continuous views almost everywhere you go. You can start at the base of a mountain, hike for 15 minutes in the trees and emerge onto the first ledges which just continue to the top. It’s like hiking above treeline in the Whites all the time except that the ocean and lakes are constantly in view on the horizon (or at your feet) and you are way less exposed if the weather turns (at least in that you can get down to shelter much quicker). Here’s a quick overview of each of the hikes and "other activities".
The complete online photo album is here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42/AcadiaAugust08
Penobscot Narrows Observatory
On the way up to Acadia we stopped at the new Penobscot Narrows Observatory (part of the new bridge to Bucksport). One of only 3 bridges like this in the world. Very cool! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penobscot_Narrows_Bridge
Observatory at top of first tower
Views from the top - Bucksport and the mountains beyond
Being only 20 minutes from Cadillac summit makes it hard to resist going to see the sun rise in the first place in the US. Getting there about 45-60 minutes before sunrise (about 4:30 this day) gives the best views. Sky is most beautiful before the sun comes up. Amazing colors this day when the sun went back into the low clouds right above the horizon 10 minutes after it came up. The pictures definitely do not do it justice - you have to be there.
Sky catching fire an 45 minutes before sunrise
The paddling in Somes Harbor is beautiful and it literally takes 5 minutes to get the kayaks in from the campsite. The harbor is protected and very smooth most of the time while Somes Sound has a nearly constant stiff breeze that keeps the water pretty rough and the paddling more interesting than we prefer in our open cockpit boats. If you hit the 60-90 minutes on either side of high tide you can paddle under the bridge across the road to a beautiful tidal inlet (which we managed to hit the timing for this year.
Tidal inlet under the bridge at high tide
Typical sunset on the cove from the campsite
There is no place better to ride bikes than the 50 miles of carriage roads in Acadia. Perfectly maintained and reasonable grades (even going up a couple of the mountains). The views everywhere are incredible whether in the woods or along the lake and pond shores (including the path high above Jordan Pond). We did 3 trips this year. 5.5 mile loop from Eagle Lake carriage road lot around Witch Hole Pond, 6.5 mile loop from the same lot around Aunt Betty Pond and the western shore of Eagle Lake and our favorite ride - a 12 mile loop from Jordan Pond House around Day Mountain, along Bubble Pond to the south shore of Eagle Lake and then down along the western shore of Jordan Pond. Spectacular views on this whole route and great places to stop on the shores of the ponds for snacks and lunch.
(continued with hikes in next post...)