Today was our first full day in Acadia National Park, and a rest day after a few long days on the bikes. Thanks to contributions from L.L. Bean, there is an extensive bus network that goes all over Mt. Desert Island called the Island Explorer. Seven different routes makes it possible to explore the park without getting in a car. They even have bike racks on every bus, so we can bike and ride easily.
The campers in the site next to ours, Steve and Donna, offered us the use of their sea kayaks this morning. We paddled out into Somes Sound, where the wind made paddling a little rough. We stayed close to land, visiting a sand bar revealed by the low tide that connects to an island that is home to nesting bald eagles. I think we heard the pair screaming more than we saw them. After turning back, we circled the island by our campground and tied up the boats. I’m more accustomed to canoeing than kayaking, and I found it more challenging being so much closer to the water, but I liked it a lot, and the sea kayaks are a great way to explore the shore. I worried a bit about dropping my camera in the water though.
More photos from paddling around Somes Sound:
Mount Desert Campground is a stop on one of the Island Explorer routes, so we caught a bus at the campground office and went to Bar Harbor. All the bus routes start at the Village Green in town, so we switched to another bus to take us to the visitor center. The Hull’s Cove visitor center doesn’t have a whole lot of exhibits, so we hopped yet another bus to take us on a loop of the western part of the park. The ride itself is lovely and a nice way to catch some of the scenic vistas of Acadia. We climbed off the loop bus at Sand Beach. This is a lovely swimming beach on a quiet cove, and was pretty crowded with people. The water is cold, so only the hardiest of children were in the water. The beach isn’t really sand, but fine grains of crushed shells and eroded rock accumulated over the millennia.
We hiked along the ocean path to Thunder Hole. We arrived at high tide, so there wasn’t much excitement, but when the tide is running and seas are right, spectacular noise is made by waves crashing in this narrow cleft in the rock. We hopped on the bus again to take us down to Otter Cliffs, for some great views to the east. There is some great rock climbing to be had in Acadia, and we watched a large group of girls finish off their day down below us.
By then, it was late in the day and we were feeling hungry. On the bus again to Jordan Pond House! Jordan Pond House is an Acadia tradition. Most people go just for the popovers and tea, but we had a full, and very late lunch. With popovers, of course, I enjoyed crab-stuffed flounder and Alan had vegetable risotto. Feeling better, we walked around Jordan Pond, which is truly picturesque. A bus ride back to town and then to the campground got us back just as it was getting dark. Mount Desert Campground sells ice-cream in the evenings at “The Gathering Place”, basically a lodge/hang out space, so we each had two scoops and made use of the wi-fi. Off to bed now, as we need to get up early to figure out where we’ll stay the next few days.
A few photos from Jordan Pond: