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Acadia National Park

How we camped, paddled, and saw the first sunrise in the USA in less than 24 hours. . .

sunny 78 °F
View Weekend Trip to Acadia National Park on baecation2016's travel map.

The drive to Mt Desert Island was a long 3-4 hours from Portland! Well, that's my best guess as we stopped at Target to pick up a few items we had forgotten to pack and the traffic in Ellsworth was relentless!
However, the signage letting us know that Acadia was coming in 20, then 15, then 12, then 10 miles and counting got us go excited!
When we finally arrived, it was magical!
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Check-in to our campsite at Blackwoods Camp opened up at 12 pm so despite the traffic (by Maine standards folks, I know we are living in Boston so we got a little ahead of ourselves) we arrived just after 1pm.
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We were greeted by a couple of lady Park Rangers that informed me that my National Park Annual Pass couldn't be used for Acadia.
I thought I was doing myself a favor by purchasing it the day before, but it turns out the the handtag is necessary to have in-hand (or on-car) in order to prevent getting tickets at all the sites within the park . So, my online receipt was pretty useless for this trip and I purchased the Acadia pass for 30 bucks (if anyone wants to use it, it's good through 8/31!).

Upon arriving at our campsite, we pitched our tent and set up our hammock.
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For lunch, we ate tuna sandwiches and EXTRA Toasty Cheez-its (they are amazing, if you haven't tried them yet you need to re-evaluate some of your life choices then go eat some!) while we discussed the benefits of kayaking at Jordan Pond (people go there to take pics of "the Bubbles", formerly known as "the Boobies" but rarely venture onto the water) and we were immediately sold on the idea.
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Jordan Pond and it's view of the Bubbles was breathtaking.
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We paddled across to a sandbar and stopped for a beer.
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On our way back to the boat launch, we spotted Common Loons. These ducks don't do well in Maine; their babies cannot swim very well and when threatened the parents dive bomb under the water leaving their babies defenseless. That's why parents are always carrying their ducklings on their backs! So we heeding the signage call to keep our distance.
As we are young birders, we generally exercise caution and respect to our feathered friends anyway.
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Before heading back to the campsite, we walked around Seal Harbor hoping to see some more birds, but alas only gulls.
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After a dinner of veggie burgers, roasted garlic, and grilled corn we retired to bed pretty early knowing our pre-dawn drive to Cadillac Mountain was looming.
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As we had no cell or internet service, we surmised that sunrise would likely be in the 6 am hour and planned our travel time to the mountain accordingly.
The next morning, our drive up the carriage road was breathtaking in itself! It was also pretty neat seeing groups of hikers and hardcore cyclists trudging up the mountain while we lazily sipped on our cold brew coffees (I made them the night before in our French press coffee mugs, they came out pretty good!) in our pajamas.
There are no words for the splendor of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands for the first sunrise in the USA so I'll let my photographs do all the legwork:

The sunrise sequence:
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Views of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands:
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The Cadillac Mt store was closed so sadly we couldn't get our National Park Passport book stamped for this site.
Even more sad was that I briefly got cell phone reception and got a notification that Arizona SenatorJohn McCain had lost his battle with brain cancer (rest in peace).

We headed back to our campsite to eat breakfast and pack up our stuff.
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Check-out was at 11am and since there were only 1-night camping options during peak tourist season, our brief camping stint was coming to a close. We decided to bid farewell to the park with one last paddle.

Our next kayaking spot was Little Long Pond. The park adjacent to the pond is privately-owned and meticulously-maintained by the Rockefeller family, and is free to anyone who wishes to use it. We chose this site for the calmness of the water paired with the high number of bird sightings based on our Acadia guidebook. It is also one of the smallest ponds, and we knew we had a lot to pack in before our 5+ hour drive home that day.
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While we did see a juvenile Cedar Waxwing and a Eastern Phoebe, the birds weren't really too visible from the water. The pond was blanketed by a dog trail on one side and a forest on another (we could hear birds but not really see them).
I really enjoyed the little ecosystem of the pond containing plants with extensive roots and lily pads, frogs, and dragon flies.
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The last stop in Mt Desert Island was Bar Harbor. What a great town! We came across the Eden Farmer's Market and got coffee as well as some delicious goat cheeses to bring home. We also got a couple of "snack" sized cups of Maine blueberries. They are absolutely worth the hype! They are much smaller than conventional blueberries so all of the sweetness is concentrated into little spheres of what tastes like a fresh jam inside.
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Of course we had to experience some craft beers before leaving!
We went to Atlantic Brewing Company Midtown for some flights and lunch then to Finback Alehouse to close it out.
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Our time at Acadia National Park was super short, but quite memorable. It was a true weekend getaway, and we're so lucky to live in New England where we can state hop and do this on a regular basis.

I can't wait to return to Acadia with my park pass (perhaps for a mid-autumn hike up the Boobies, ahem Bubbles) or to Champlain Mountain/Beehive Loop or to Gorham Mountain or to Bubble Rock or to Precipice Trail or to or to Flying Mountain Hiking Trail Southwest Harbor or to Ocean Trail Bar Harbor or to . . . (you get the picture, Acadia is amazing!)

Claudia & Heidi

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Posted by baecation2016 12:39 Archived in USA Tagged park mountain national atlantic bar pond company long harbor seal jordan little maine acadia brewing cadillac

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