~Wednesday, September 8, 2021-~
Once we found out there was an opportunity to see the sunrise from the highest point in Acadia National Park, Cadillac Mountain, we knew this is something we just HAD to do. But so do a lot of other tourists. Apparently, to see this popular attraction at sunrise is all done by lottery now. There are only 120 parking spots up top so they have to limit ticket offerings to avoid traffic jams and make it enjoyable for everyone. You can only book 1 car ticket 2 days prior to your reservation and only at 10:00 a.m. You can bet I’ll be on my computer tomorrow morning, along with everyone else at 10:00 a.m. to nab us a spot. The last time we did something like this was the sunrise at Haleakala Crater on the island of Maui. So worth getting up for and an experience we’ll never forget.
Generally we wait a few days after our arrival to a new place, to start our exploring. Especially, if we have a good chunk of time in which to do it. We decided, due to the beautiful weather, to take advantage of doing a great hike with Sadie. And Acadia is one of the few national parks that allows dogs on many of their trails. The weather is expected to worsen on Thursday and Friday, so let’s go!
Today’s hike took us to Acadia National Park, to the tallest peak…...Cadillac Mountain, at 1,530 feet. We got super lucky in finding a parking spot near Sand Beach, on the main Loop Road in Acadia. I say lucky because there is only an 8-car section of parallel parking on the one-way loop road and that there was a spot big enough to fit “Hank”. It was meant to be. And the trailhead was right across the road. We knew it was going to be a steep ascend, and this trail doesn’t waste any time on that.
You start the climb right away. Nothing gradual about it. The elevation is pretty low considering many of the hikes we’ve been on in the western U.S. start at 7,000 or 8,000 feet. But, it’s the elevation gain and the mileage, and the terrain that make it easy or difficult. This was a difficult hike, kind of like last week’s Ampersand Trail, but wasn’t as steep. Cadillac is a 1,150 feet of elevation gain in 2.2 miles, one way.
There was some shade, but most of the trees were very short, likely due to very little soil and mostly granite in this area anyway. We ran into quite a few people along the way. One couple we met, I’d say in their early 70’s, from Asheville, NC, had just climbed up the southside which is 3.5 miles long. They decided to do both the north and south sides of the mountain, hoping to catch a bus or hitchhike back to their car at the end. Who knows, maybe we’ll be the ones giving them a ride at the end. It was nice to stop and chat with them a few minutes about Asheville, since this is still #1 on our list of places to move. They absolutely love it, though, many “outsiders' ' are snatching up a lot of their properties and driving prices up. Sensitive topic for a lot of people. But honestly, people are moving everywhere. In our travels, we’re discovering transplants from anywhere and everywhere, all relocating for different reasons.
Anyway, as we continued on, we noticed the trail actually parallels the Loop Road quite a bit, where one minute you are in complete wilderness, and the next, you’re only feet from the road. As we got to the top, it became windier with a bank of fog rolling in, in the distance. So, we had to hurry and get a few snapshots before our sun disappeared. What gorgeous, sweeping views from the top of Bar Harbor, Frenchman Bay, and the Schoodic Peninsula. It was the perfect spot to have a snack and just take in the scenery. The descent wasn’t too bad, but we really had to watch our footing. Thank goodness for hiking poles to put less strain on those knees. This late in the afternoon, we even met a few late goers heading up the mountain. Maybe they had plans to watch the sunset.
We thought a beer was in order, so decided to drive into Bar Harbor to check out the scene. The scene was crazy. So many cars, so many people. Downtown was packed. And with no luck in finding any parking, we decided to just head back to the campsite and have our libations there. I guess we thought the crowds would have eased up a bit after Labor Day. We’ll come back another day and do it all on a bike. We did manage to find a local grocery (with parking!) to pick up some fresh, wild salmon for our dinner tonight. Lemon sauce salmon, asparagus and “smashed” potatoes. We’ve really been liking this new way of making potatoes…..a nice change. 20 minutes of boiling and 45 minutes of baking. Delicious!!