Active vacations: Acadia

So this is a little late, but I’ve been all over the place lately.  Moving the last few things out of the house in Amherst and saying a quick goodbye to my favorite things there: the farmer’s market, Rao’s cafe vanilla with skim, breakfast sandwiches at Cushman, the Notch.

A bad picture of one of the views from my hike, which took me about 1/8 of the way across the mountain range pictured in my header, from the left hand side.

I’ve been packing, cleaning, and caught up with a good friend I hadn’t seen in a while before it was too late.  So that’s why it has taken me so long to post about my trip to Acadia from the 13th – 15th (all photos courtesy of Kelly Boudreau).

When I was 12, my family went on a cross country road trip and visited a bunch of national parks out West, but our exploration of the natural wonders of the East has generally been confined to wherever we had races for skiing.  Consequently, I’ve been itching to go to Acadia for a long time, and tried to plan a trip with my brother a couple times, but both of us work a lot during the summers and could never synch up our schedules long enough to make it work.  When it comes to vacations, I always recommend choosing someplace that is conducive to maintaining an active lifestyle.  National parks are great because there’s always exploration to be done on foot, whereas a lot of tropical vacations often include little more than beach time and bar time.  Of course, any vacation can be made active, it’s just a matter of how self-motivated you are!

I didn’t know much about Acadia going into the trip.  I quickly learned that the park is located on Mount Desert Island, but doesn’t take up the whole thing, so there are several towns and has a year round population of over 10,000.  I was surprised!  When I realized that there was actual civilization on the island, I was immediately jealous of every person that has grown up there.  The whole thing is covered in gorgeous forests, mountains, lakes, and surrounded by smaller islands.  We stayed at seawall campground, pitched the largest tent in the world, nicknamed the Taj Mahal, and cooked over a fire when we arrived.

Putting on our camping game faces. Taj Mahal in the background.

After dinner, it was stargazing time – the sky was perfectly clear and I felt like I could see all of outer space.  The next morning, we hiked mount Bernerd.  It was really nice to have a hike longer than those around Western Mass.  I was definitely sweating by the time we reached the summit, and the cool breeze up there was perfect relief.  The view from the top, although slightly obstructed, was really cool:

The rest of Saturday was spent swimming at Echo Lake, which is bordered by beautiful pine-covered cliffs and mountains; and attempting to watch the sunset as the thunder began to grumble at us.

While standing here, we saw what we later determined to be Harbor Porpoises.  Bedtime was soon after sunset, and set our alarms for 3:30 AM so that we could be among the first people in America to watch the sunrise on Cadillac mountain.  Admittedly, we could have hiked to the top to make this more of a workout, but at 3:30, you’d have a hard time getting me to do much of anything unless there was a really good cup of coffee involved, and Taster’s Choice instant was not gonna cut it.  The view, however, was incredible.

You can see the sun just peeking up over the water

After recovering from the early wake up, we spent our last hours visiting all the must-see Acadia attractions: sand beach, the thunder hole, etc.  It was awesome!  I already have a to-do list for the next time I visit, which includes hiking precipice trail, bringing my bike, hiking Cadillac, and going on some early morning runs along the water.  There is a Fourth of July relay race around MDI, and an ultramarathon on Great Cranberry Island (one of the littler ones around MDI) so maybe I’ll have the good fortune to run one of those someday!

That’s all for now – the moving truck is coming later today and I’ve got some serious work to do.  Wish me luck!

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