Downeast roadtrip day 5 – Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park is a wild and beautiful section of Mount Desert island. It has been part of the federal park service since 1916, and an officially-designated national park since 1919. It contains many unspoiled natural features – granite peaks, dramatic cliffs, lakes and woodland – as well as a network of hiking trails, carriage paths, and mountain roads to enable holidaymakers to enjoy the scenery.

hiking into Acadia

Aspiring to reduce vehicular traffic and congestion, the park also provides a free bus service, of which we took full advantage, covering quite a lot of ground over the two days we spent there. Our first destination was Champlain mountain, up a short and strenuous rocky trail to Huguenot Head and the blueberry-speckled granite of the summit.

granite and blueberries

The views were supposed to be spectacular, but as we climbed higher the mist rolled in off the sea, and by the time we reached the top all we could see were the clouds. Descending along the south ridge as the mist began to dissipate, we ate our sandwiches next to a lake (rather excitingly dammed by beavers, although we didn’t see any) and emerged from the woodlands at Sandy Beach.

beaver dam at far left, the hill we just climbed on the right

Following the path along the cliffs (along with several hundred other people), the views were spectacular but the greyness of the day persisted, and it began to drizzle just as we hopped on the bus at Otter Cove (where we didn’t see any otters, either).

Acadia cliff views

By the time we arrived at Southwest Harbor the rain was persistent, so we pulled on waterproofs and headed for the nearest coffee shop. We did manage a short look around, but were grateful when the next bus drove up. The plan was to go back to the motel for showers before going out for dinner, which we duly did, although in the end we needn’t have bothered showering as the rain was now torrential and we got soaked on the way to Geddy’s restaurant. A plate of fish and chips in the rain felt like a very English seaside supper, but we were both glad to get home again and finally dry out afterwards.

P.S. If you’d like to see any more photos from the trip (including some of both of us looking ridiculous in our hiking outfits) do have a look at my Flickr album – at the time of writing it’s as up-to-date as this post…

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