Acadia National Park

Trip Start Feb 15, 2010
Trip End Feb 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Wal-Mart (Ellsworth, ME)

Flag of United States  , Maine
Saturday, May 1, 2010

As the title may have hinted, I spent today at Acadia National Park in Maine.  The park is very large and covers land on a number of islands along Maine's coast with the bulk of the park being located on Mt. Desert Island.  The park's main features are tree covered mountains with rocky summits, stony cliffs overlooking the ocean, miles upon miles of horse carriage roads, and a single sand beach. 

My first stop upon entering the park was to the beach which was creatively named, Sandy Beach.  It seemed to be a popular stop and had quite a few visitors, but most stuck to the sand.  On either side of the beach there were trails that led along the narrow fingers of rocky land that stretched further out into the sea and created the barrier that allows the beach to form.  After wandering the trails a bit and taking a few photos from the rocks at the edge of the beach, I decided it was about time to go for a dip. 

So far on my trip, I've had the wonderful luck of encountering terrible weather every time I'm near a beach on the Atlantic.   I've waded into the water a couple of times, but thus far, have avoided swimming.  Today the weather was unseasonably warm, and I didn't want to miss my last chance to go for a swim before leaving the eastern coast behind me.  With that thought in mind, I went to change into my swimming trunks and made my way back down to the water.  Without hesitating, I trudged past the crashing waves and into the water, the nerves in my legs prickling at the sudden shock of cold.  I got to a point where it was deep enough and made a surface dive, plunging down into the chilled blue water.  By the time I broke the surface and stood back up in the water, my heart was pounding and I was literally gasping for air.  Some people apparently find this to be a horrible feeling, but I found it to be quite invigorating.  After making my way out and sitting on the beach for a while, I hopped back in, then out, and in again.  I continued to do this about six or seven times.  It was nearly impossible to stay in the water for more than thirty seconds because by then I would begin to feel numbness setting in.  As I was the only person actually going into the water that day, it drew a bit of attention from the others on the beach.  Those nearby inquired as to how cold I thought the water was and what it felt like.  I told them it felt great and refreshing but that they shouldn't take my word for it; they should try it out for themselves.  They just gave big grins and unconvincing excuses.  Something in their eyes told me that they all really wanted to try it, though.  Most of the day, just the younger children would run up to the edge and then try to outrun the water that chased them back up the beach, squealing when their bare feet were overtaken by the crashing waves.  I found out later that the water in that area was somewhere around 42-45 degrees that day, so just a few degrees warmer than most refrigerators.

I continued on the road leading through Acadia, stopping occasionally to check out various scenic points or wander a short way onto a trail (it was too hot for me to fully commit to a longer hike).  Eventually, I came to a point where the park road had been closed for construction, which seems to happen to me a lot.  At that point, the sun was beginning to make its descent and I decided to head over to another end of the park to try and photograph the Bass Harbor Lighthouse during the sunset.  I arrived at the lighthouse and made my way out onto the precarious-looking rocks, using my tripod as a makeshift hiking pole for balance and an extra point of contact while crossing the jagged and unforgiving landscape.  I set up on a cramped rock towards the water's edge and waited for the ideal light to come along, wishing I had chosen a spot where there was room to sit down.  A lot of clouds had started to move in towards the evening, but the sun broke through a few times and let me get a few pictures I liked.  After taking my shots, I quickly made my way back across the rocks and up to the trail before darkness set in.  Those rocks would not have been the best place to spend the night.

My next stop was to find some dinner.  My plan had been to find a lobster shack, but after three strikes of driving to restaurants and finding them closed for the season, I decided to throw in the towel on that.  I'm pretty sure lobster would have been just as exciting as crab for me.  I think I'm just not a fan of crustaceans, and I find exoskeletons to be a very disgusting way to design a creature.  With thoughts of dinner staring back at me from its eye-stalks fading in my mind, I drove onward to the small town of Millinocket for the night, and since they had no Wal-Marts within an hour's drive, I parked in the lot of a motel that was connected to a Chinese buffet.

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