Acadia… Last Day

Today is our last day in Acadia National Park. We drive north through Manset, Southwest Harbor, and Somesville then southeast through Seal Harbor, and finally north again by Blackwoods Campground and through Otter Creek to connect with the one-way Park Loop Road that takes us to Sand Beach. From here we embark on a 4.4 mile round trip coastal trail, Ocean Path, that takes us past Thunder Hole and to the cliffs of Otter Point.

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Before leaving we spend time on Sand Beach with the dogs, again they are welcome because it is officially off-season. This beach is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. The waves confuse Casey and Murph still tries to drink the salty water. Jeff and I wade into the cold waters and watch a dog swimming back to shore from retrieving a ball. Jelly fish bob on the waves and a young man next to me retrieves a piece of floating trash, part of a marshmallow package. Jeff tries to submerge himself into the 50 degree waters but changes his mind. We leave happy and hungry so we place an order at Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound so that Jeff can drop the dogs and I off at the campground and he can go back and pick up our carry-out. We feast on lobster bisque, a crab roll, a fried haddock sandwich, French fries and a wicked Maine whoopee pie!

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I shower and go into Southwest Harbor to do laundry at the Village Wash Tub. When I return Jeff and I prepare soup with all the leftover veggies and chicken sausage we have. We drink brewskis and snack on leftovers and cereal. Tomorrow is an early morning for us since we have to be on our way by 10:00 AM, campground check-out time.

Acadia… More Sights and Wet Dogs

When I wake up I hear Jeff outside making a fire. Soon the smell and sound of bacon sizzling wafts into the RV. Next comes French toast, scrambled eggs and coffee. Soon we are sitting by the campfire and enjoying a hearty breakfast in the forest by the seashore. Today we decide to explore parts of Southwest Harbor by car and foot. First we take a side street to Clark Point where a passenger ferry travels to and from Cranberry Island. The Coast Guard is stationed here and a lobster pier along with serene and stately Inns.

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The next stop we opt for is Norwood Cove in honor of the city we once lived in in Cincinnati. It too is off a side street which leads to a tucked away trailhead to Flying Mountain and St. Sauveur Mountain. We get out to stretch our legs and exercise the dogs and discover we only have one plastic grocery bag to use to pick up after the dogs and of course Murph has a double poop walk! From here we travel further north to Echo Lake one of only 2 areas available for swimming. Four other ponds and 1 other lake provide public drinking water for island towns and swimming is prohibited. Luckily for us the dogs are welcome on Echo Lake since it is 2 days after September 15th, the cutoff date for barring dogs on the beach. Casey loves the water! Murph tries to drink it. Jeff and I wade like 2 little kids into the lukewarm basin.

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We head back to Seawall Campground and Camper Jeff grills potatoes in the cast iron skillet on the fire and burgers from yesterday on his newly purchased grill grate along with toasting some pretzel buns. Darkness descends and I drift into dreamland while Jeff cleans up and stargazes. I am still nursing my black fly bug bites. I have my best night’s sleep ever!

Acadia… Happy Trails

Last night was a wee bit warm to sleep without air conditioning, but we survive. Jeff wakes me up early to his slurping noises. He made coffee with his new percolator and it was hot but very weak. I think he needs to perk longer. At 8:00 we turn on the generator, plug in our electronic devices to charge and make coffee. We head out with the dogs to the 2 nearby trail heads. Wonder Land leads us to a magnificent rocky inlet with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the low tide tidal pools. We take a side trail and discover that we are surrounded on all sides now by water. The dogs enjoy themselves and are happy for a drink of water at the end.

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The next trail, Ship Harbor, is more back country terrain. We experience the beautiful seascape of the ocean pushing into the calm and serene harbor.

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The dogs are so tired after our hike that they plop into the back of the car and wait to hydrate until we get back to the RV. Jeff snacks and I prepare my power oatmeal to eat for lunch. By 1:00 we are in relaxation mode. Jeff reads and I continue writing the destination factoids for my online journal. I finally connect my hot spot Wi-Fi to my laptop, only to discover that my Verizon juice is too limited to connect. Jeff’s Cricket android serviced by AT&T, however, connects to the internet every time!

This is our first lazy day. I word process outside of the RV while Jeff goes to the grocery store to get 2 cans of beans for our 3rd make-ahead and freeze dinner, chili. He returns with charcoal, charcoal lighter fluid, fat wood lighter sticks, a bucket for the leaking grey water, some more firewood, the local newspaper, and the 2 cans of kidney beans. Jeff prepares a big pot of chili for dinner with grass fed ground beef and ground bison. We reserve a quarter pound of each to make burgers for tomorrow. The freezer has 2, 2 serving portions ready for other busy day meals.

Acadia… A Long Walk By Myself

I finally get in a power walk! I start out in the campground until I find a service road and decide to follow it. The scenery is beautiful and I am the only person walking through the sunlight dappled forest.

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Eventually I meet up with 3 National Park Service employees and ask them where the road heads. I learn that after 45 minutes I will need to make a decision to turn either right or left on Highway 102. A little later I encounter a woman walking her dog. She lives in the area and assures me that there is no right or wrong decision as to which way to turn after I end up at the marsh since the roads loop together.

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I feel so alive and free and filled with gratitude. How lucky I am that this is my backyard! Yes, RV living requires more time and energy, planning, preparing, setting up and shutting down. The pace is slower. We always have the dogs to consider. But it is worth it!

When I reach the end of the wooded road I decide to turn left, retracing my way back to Seawall from the direction we left Seawall yesterday. I have no idea how far I have to walk and I don’t care. It is a beautiful sunny day with a cool breeze and I stop now and then to take pictures that catch my fancy; an apple tree, a quaint church, lobster traps, marshes, the ocean, a wooden miniature house in someone’s front yard.

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At each turn of the bend I keep thinking I will see signs for Seawall Campground. Eventually I pass the lighthouse, the 2 trailheads and the picnic are by the ocean we passed by yesterday.

Jeff is waiting for me to dump the black and grey tanks and refill the fresh water. After a refreshing shower we sit outside sipping brewskis, Shipyard Chamberlain Pale Ale, a session beer. That means it is smooth enough to enjoy one after another. I have two before switching to wine.

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Jeff ventures off to a hardware store we discovered on one of our driving routes to purchase a collapsible hose, an axe, a percolator and a chamois for wiping out the compartment storing the water tank. He comes back with a haircut too! Oh, did I forget to mention that the handle for the grey tank is stuck in a half-way open position? Of course!

Jeff then picks up a carryout at Charlotte’s Lobster Pound and we devour a lobster roll, fried haddock sandwich, coleslaw, French fries and corn on the cob.

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Later, Jeff roasts hot dogs over the fire, the little fire that just couldn’t quite catch properly. Darkness descends, bugs bite me and we head inside to read, relax and sleep.

Acadia… Exploring

Today we take the car and dogs to explore our surroundings. We head out toward Bass Harbor stopping to take pictures of the ocean, noting 2 hiking trails nearby and visiting the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

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The Bass Harbor Head Light was built in 1858 and automated in 1974 with the red light occulting (darkening) every 4 seconds. A U.S. Coast Guard family currently lives here.

Since the 1800s more than 70 lighthouses have guided ships carrying granite, lumber and fish to distant ports and brought back ships carrying goods to Maine. There are over 3,400 miles of shoreline weaving in and out of craggy cliffs and cobble beaches along Maine’s rugged coast. Today lighthouses signal to lobster boats, schooners, tour boats and cruise ships. Each light has its own fingerprint of a unique light pattern and color. (from plaque at Bass Harbor Lighthouse)

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We pass through the smaller towns of West Tremont and Seal Cove before heading northeast to Somesville and the Park Loop Road via a slight detour in Bar Harbor. This town is the tourist mecca of Acadia National Park.

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The streets are crowded with people, restaurants and shops. We can only imagine what it looks like during the height of the tourist season! But wait, I soon discover that after Labor Day cruise ships dock for the day and these day-trippers fill the town. This reminds me of Venice with its daily influx of daytime ocean liner visitors.

The Park Loop Road leads us up to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the park.

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The views are awesome, especially with the clouds rolling in and out. The sun peeks through exposing a clear blue sky that catches the various shades of greens from the islands below and the splendid teals of the ocean. The white boating vessels add their clear crisp contrast to the scene. Small trickling wate really border the drive up and down the mountain.

I meet a couple from Lancaster County Pennsylvania who have been RVing for 27 years. I learn about an eco-friendly citron anti-barking collar from them. We exit the Park Loop in Seal Harbor and head northwest to Somesville again but this time we go south through Southwest Harbor where our campground, Seawall, is located.

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We cook our second make-ahead and freeze dish, Spinach, Quinoa Burritos, and enjoy the food, the company and the beautiful night music of Mother Nature.

Acadia… Settling In

Today we finally settle in and do laundry and grocery shopping. We pack the dogs in the car with our dirty clothes, laundry detergent and armed with 2 separate grocery lists. Jeff’s list is normal survival mode and mine is dinner ingredients for 3 make-ahead and freeze dishes.

The nearest laundromat, the Village Wash Tub, is connected to a bar. How clever! I run in and start 3 machines.

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While the wash cycles run, I accompany Jeff to the nearest grocery store to babysit the dogs in the car while he shops for the items on his list. He comes out loaded with green plastic grocery bags and we wonder how all of it is going to fit into the Scion IQ with the dogs in the back.

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Somehow it all gets packed in and Jeff drops me back off at the Village Wash Tub to dry our clothes.

Meanwhile he returns to Seawall Campground with the dogs to unload the groceries anywhere and everywhere. By the time Jeff, Murph and Casey return to the laundromat to pick me up I am almost finished folding dry clothes.

We all return to the campsite and then I venture out myself to return to the grocery store to buy all of the items on my list. The IGA has all of our items and I try my best to opt for healthy choices, but wow! This place is so expensive. Again, live and learn. Next time we will buy our food before settling into our campsite.

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Dinner is Cauliflower Kale Shepherd’s Pie. Jeff makes a fire in the campsite pit and we decide that we like S’mores without the chocolate layer. Did I forget to mention that I ate up all the chocolate while I de-stressed on our RV adventures? Once again we sleep comfortably with cool and fragrant pine breezes!

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About Acadia National Park

Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island.

mount deser island visit maine visitmaine.net

Some 25,000 years ago this island was part of the mainland continent buried under a massive sheet of ice. As the ice melted and recede a fjord was carved out and a 14 ton rock known as a glacial erratic moved 19 miles. Today this fjord is Somes Sound and the rock is Bubble Rock.

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bubble-rock tripadvisor.com.au

Melting ice flowed from the flattened mountain tops filling in the lake beds and the rising sea levels eventually created the island.

The first people to live here were the Wabenaki, People of the Dawn. They named the island Pemetic, meaning sloping land. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the Atlantic coast and the first place to see the sun rise in the continental U.S., hence the name for the first inhabitants of this land.

image acadiamagic.com  Photograph by Greg A. Hartford

In 1604 Samuel de Champlain spotted the peak of Cadillac Mountain from his ship and called this place the island of the bare mountains because he could not see any surrounding forests or hillsides. For the next 150 years no one actually settled on this island because there was an on-going conflict between Native Americans, French, English and new American Colonists as to who had rights to the land.

By the middle of the 1800s, painters from the New Hudson School visited Mount Desert Island to capture the beautiful landscapes on canvas. They enjoyed hiking from one scenic spot to another and were drawn to the simplicity of living here. Eventually their works drew an interest to the Acadia coast and soon more artists and intellectuals chose to journey here. The first steamboat from Boston accessed the island in the 1860s. In the 1880s a railroad brought wealthy visitors to the area who built cottages which were actually mansions with fifty plus rooms and a servants’ quarters. Two of these wealthy “cottagers” had the foresight to invest their time and money to preserve the natural beauty of what would later become Acadia National Park. John D. Rockefeller Jr. built 57 miles of carriage roads and stone bridges and donated thousands of acres of land.

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George B. Dorr donated land, blazed trails for others to enjoy the scenery and eventually became the first superintendent of the park. In 1919 Congress declared the area a National Park, the first one to be established east of the Mississippi River and the first one created entirely from private donations. (from YOUR GUIDE TO THE NATIONAL PARKS by Michael Joseph Oswald)