Acadia is one of my favorite places to go. The park is enormous and has something to offer everyone. It has hiking trails of all levels and capabilities for the athletic among us but it also has a variety of stunning views you can either see directly out your car window or very easily access. If that’s not enough to tempt you there’s also a number of beaches both rocky and sandy and a few other attractions that lure the curious.
I have been to Acadia two or three times already, always off season, and I didn’t pay anything to get in because of this, but I guess I was either too early this year or they changed their policy. Some of the park remained free – like the drive up Cadillac Mountain, but by the time I got close to Thunderhole I approached a toll gate and had to fork over $25 for a week’s pass. That’s OK though, it was worth it.
This visit was a short one as I was busy socializing for most fo the day and only arrived at 2PM but I still packed a lot into a few hours! I especially wanted to drive to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to get a few nice foliage photos and enjoy the fresh mountain air. I was shocked how many people were here! But I guess when the weather is a freakish 70-some-odd degrees people are more likely to come out and enjoy nature at its finest. I stopped at several points to take a few snaps and enjoyed the summit as well as the Overlook at Blue Hill the most as far as the mountain went. I ended up shuffling out onto the bare rocks at the summit and enjoyed a bit of time just soaking in the view – which included all the colorful trees I could wish for, a delightful pond, a few islands off the coast, and unseasonably blue skies. It was hard not to stay here forever. Unlike many parks Acadia is open 24/7 all year long…. Obviously this means I must return once more… at night. The view must be amazing then! I wonder if you can hear loons or if wolves exist in the park…
Anyway, that flight of fancy erased from my mind I continued onwards, driving back down the mountain. On my way I had to stop the car to let a deer pass and took a shot out my car window of a second that was staring at me from a few feet away. I got one good snap before another car barreled by in the travel lane scaring them both off.
I wanted to see Thunderhole – which is this rock formation at the coast that makes a thunderous noise when the waves from the ocean rush through it. I have been told about it for years from all sorts of relatives ad friends and had yet to check it out… but first I passed Sand Beach, the main sandy beach in the park, and had to get out to amble for a bit. It was low tide. I had never been here during low tide. I must say all the exposed rocks gave it extra character! There wasn’t too many people there at this time of day, or year, certainly no polar bear swimming club to be seen, but there were a few families playing with nerf balls and kites. I’m surprised there weren’t any dogs – as they are allowed in the park.
After Sand Beach I came across something called Otter Point. Apparently Maine has sea otters. There were probably fifteen photographers here, all piled up in different points just waiting around.
“What going on here?”
“Otters.” I giggled, winking at a strange woman who was laughing with me. “They must be waiting for otters! I don’t see any, do you?”
Truth be told these people were probably all here to take advantage of the sunset which was closing in soon. It was a good vantage point for that – though not the best conditions today. It was a bit gray out.
After this I FINALLY found Thunderhole! I parked at the gift shop, which was afforded no electricity of any kind, and made my way towards the crowd across the street. Here there were railings out onto the rocks so I scrambled down, wondering if I would hear anything at low tide. As it turns out the rocks were making a little noise, not much, but enough to placate me. I took a short video. The day after this my great uncle told me there’s a louder more impressive Thunderhole somewhere else nearby that doesn’t have railings. Apparently several tourists a year get swept out to sea trying to find it. This didn’t deter me. Now I want to go back and find it!
Thunderhole was pretty neat but there was still the tiniest bit of daylight left so I was off to see what else I could see. I ended up at a small unmarked beach that was littered with shells, piles of seaweed, and a bunch of tiny tide pools that were alive with barnacles, snails, shrimp, and probably a number of other little sea bugs. There were two people here, a woman scouring the dry sands at the top of the beach and a man staring intently into the tide pools. I wondered what they were searching for so I asked the woman who was close to me. She was picking up tiny pieces of sea glass to make a novelty travel vial out of. She said being a national park you’re not supposed to take rocks or shells or anything natural so she decided sea glass would be best. I felt no remorse for the three tiny rocks in my pocket – one brilliantly orange, one dark red, one green. I made no mention of the two little shells in the other pocket. They were two amongst millions. I felt no guilt about kidnapping them whatsoever. Besides I am pretty sure the dude was searching for something besides sea glass. Was he a rock hound? Or searching for clams? I’ll never know because he was way too far off to ask. By now the sun had gone down to the point that scouring the beach or looking for other overlooks was pretty pointless so I headed home. It was however a gorgeous day and I had a whole lot of fun.