Day 20 – Acadia Mountain

The forecast had called for rain overnight but we wake up to silence. No rain. Every time I rolled over last night, I listened for it in the trees and on the tent but it didn’t happen. The day is cool and overcast but the forecast says if it doesn’t rain in the next hour or so, we’re in the clear.

Car camping is odd. I remembered to sleep in some workout clothes, so I can just pull on shoes and go to the bathroom without embarrassing myself too much (although a quick look in the mirror shows my hair has gone crazy-muppet poufy in the humidity -that’s why I have hair clips, a buff and a hat).

We make breakfast using our small stove and pots, change into hiking clothes and catch the free shuttle to a trailhead. We are very glad for our map because our Acadia guidebook (a general book, not a hiking-specific book) talks about “strenuous, 2.6-mile” hikes. We’ve done strenuous hikes of that length – the Western Breach up Kilimanjaro comes to mind – but we’re not persuaded that the author’s idea of “strenuous” matches ours. Since we have our map, we can see that there are many more hiking trails than discussed in the book and we can hit the high points (literally and figuratively) that the book points out but we can also extend the hikes to a length that better suits us.

So up Acadia Mountain we go, at 700 feet of elevation in three-quarters of a mile we’re at about a 20% grade so we work up a bit of sweat despite the 60-degree temperatures and cloud cover. The views from the mountain are gorgeous. We can see water and boats and other mountains. I estimate that despite the energy it took to get here, we haven’t yet worked off our breakfast of instant oatmeal and a chocolate whoopee pie (bought in town last night).

We continue down the other side of the mountain, only just now realizing that we have left our hiking poles in the car. Walt and I love our hiking poles. They help on the uphill (your arms help propel you up along with your core and legs) and they are a tremendous source of security on the downhill. We especially would like them on this very rocky, steep downhill descent to the cove. Too late now.

The air is still unless we’re on a peak or a ledge so there’s very little cooling breeze. The hike isn’t long – we calculate about 5.5 miles – but there’s some 1,250 feet of uphill and the same amount of steep downhill. It’s so different hiking here than anywhere else we’ve been. The mountains are so short but they still offer beautiful views of water, islands, huge estates on Northeast Harbor across the cove, fishing boats and nearby villages.

There are wild blueberries along the tops of ridges and I swipe a few. Sun-warmed and sweet. Yum.

For all that we are in such a popular area at the height of summer, we don’t meet that many people on the hike; a few families coming up Acadia as we’re coming down to the cove and a few other people toward the end but not the crowds we would run into were it a nicer day or if we were on a more popular hike.

By the time we’re done, we’ve agreed to a plan for the rest of the day: take the shuttle bus back to camp, get towels and clean clothes, drive to the pay showers at the little nearby store before finding (an early) dinner somewhere.

Because the weather is clearing, after we’re showered, we drive down to Bass Harbor to see the lighthouse (old, not too big). We stop at a little dockside restaurant that the shower lady had recommended to Walt and enjoy our dinner on an empty, sunny patio. I tell Walt that anytime we eat dinner before 5:30, I know we’re retirees. But except for some trail mix and peanut butter crackers, we haven’t eaten since breakfast.

It turned out to be a very nice dinner and our helpful waitress answered questions about the lobster industry and tides.

We had a campfire and toasted a few marshmallows back at camp. We called it a day by the time it was dark.

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