Acadia National Park
I didn't think I'd make it to Acadia National Park. I had already headed inland and making the trip seemed like a 50-mile back track. I was fine with it and had made my peace with saving it for "next time." So I was particularly delighted when the stars aligned and I met up with some friends who were driving down to Acadia for the day. I could keep my bike safe, not having to backtrack any pedaled miles and get to see another national park (I've been to so few).
Parking was a challenge, something I never experience on a bike. I saw one cycle tourist and several cyclists on road bikes going up and down the hills. Acadia is on an island, connected with bridges to the mainland. I ate my trail mix and drank half my water on the ride to the park. Oops. Luckily we weren't doing anything too strenuous and it was a cool, overcast day.
We started up Pemetic Mountain which has Bates Carins, erected by path maker Waldron Bates in the early 1900s. The trail markers consist of two large base rocks, a mantle rock connecting them and a smaller rock on top. The park works hard to maintain these carins and educate the public about not stacking rocks, destroying carins and following the leave no trace principles.
Some of the trail is exposed rock above the timber line. I ate a wild blueberry and saw lots of interesting moss and lichen. Climbing down the back side was a bit more challenging with some steep parts. We were treated at the bottom by a tiny garter snake, the only wildlife we'd see that day. We continued to hike up to the "bubble," a boulder precariously set atop the mountain by the glaciers.
We finished the day with an easy and beautiful walk around Jordan Pond, one of several lakes in Acadia: fresh water surrounded by land surrounded by salt water. It was clear with excellent visibility of the rocks below the surface.
One afternoon certainly wasn't enough time to explore all that Acadia has to offer. There are more challenging routes that employ ladders and metal rungs to help hikers up and down. There's the famous Cadillac Mountain and tons of hiking trails I didn't hike. I'm no longer obsessed with "doing everything." I won't hold my breath waiting to go back to Acadia. I'm thrilled I had the experience and I'd be happy to return one day.