July 20, 2008

Maine Part II: Camping in Acadia National Park

Following our night in Portland, we headed three and a half hours north to Mount Desert Island, where we camped in Acadia National Park for five nights. We stayed at one of the park's campgrounds, Blackwoods Campground. There are plenty of private campgrounds on the island, but they tend to be slightly more expensive and don't all allow dogs like Blackwoods, so this one was good enough for us. Unfortunately, the sites weren't as private as we hoped - in addition to the tent you can see in the background below, there were two other sites that we could see right into. Instead of waking to the lovely sound of birds chirping, we woke to the screeches of neighboring children. Kids were everywhere on this trip! We're not used to that, since our neighborhood seems to be populated exclusively by 20- and 30-something hipsters and old Polish and Italian folks.
Despite the lack of privacy, we still really enjoyed our camping venture. It didn't rain once! And it was warm during the day and mild at night! Which is good, because there is nothing I hate more than being cold and damp and unable to get warm while camping. The campground was indeed surrounded by pretty woods, and it featured a short trail to the ocean with a stunning rocky overlook.
Some highlights of our trip:
A drive up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Eastern seaboard. Unfortunately, it was bizarrely foggy and windy at the summit, even though it was sunny below, so all the hoped-for views were obstructed. We could have hiked up the mountain on another day, but we ended up being kind of lazy on this trip so we could relax, just doing a couple easy hikes and lounging around.
An easy hike around Jordan pond
Sitting out at Eagle Lake for an afternoon
The first time up the Ocean Path, I dropped my camera and we spent an hour furiously looking for it before finding it in the most obvious place. Don't you hate that?
The Ocean Path stretches along the coast for two miles, with gorgeous views. We had to stop at Thunder Hole, where big waves crash into a hole under the rocks, froth considerably, and create a booming thunderous sound. Pretty Marsh at sunsetI have to give a shout-out to this ingenious dog bowl. I thought Jesse was silly for buying it, but it's actually the best thing ever. We used it as both Spencer's food and water bowl, it's made of some kind of waterproof fabric so it dries out quickly, and it folds down into a small size that easily fits into a backpack so that we could stop and give Spencer water along hikes.
One thing I didn't like about this trip was all the time in the car. I knew it was 9 hours away, but I didn't realize how long that would feel, sweating it out in the heat in traffic and long drives. And I didn't realize we would spend so much time driving around Mount Desert Island. We didn't plan things out well enough, so we'd end up traveling to the other side of the island (which took half an hour) and doing the same thing again the next day to visit some other place over there, or going in circles, because we'd need to get something from town, like ice or groceries, but then would have to drop it off at the campground before going out again for a hike. The fact that the Park Loop Road only goes one way doesn't help the going in circles problem.

Acadia actually has a really fabulous free bus system, but sadly we didn't end up using it. The ranger told us dogs were allowed on the bus, but we still felt wary of bringing Spencer on it. We were also wary of having to transfer to get to our destination, and having to carry supplies back in the bus after shopping trips. I guess this is all our fault for being prissy, and I felt guilty about driving so much, but we still did it. Now that I'm back in the city, I don't want to see the car again for a while.
Other posts in the Maine vacation saga:

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