Maine Road Trip: Acadia National Park (Day 2)

If you read the last Maine recap, you’ll recall my first day in Acadia National Park was cool and overcast. My second day was a complete 180 — an unseasonably warm 65 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. Lucky that I had planned my first ever solo summit hike for this day, and not the day before!

Main Road Trip Acadia National Park

I started the day very early with a drive over to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, which is technically a part of Acadia National Park, though not within the section with the loop road (it’s about a half hour away). It was fun to get out and explore more of the area, where I took the above picture of a cool dock (I’m assuming the tide comes in very high and this dock would then serve a purpose?)

Main Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Good thing it was low tide. As you can see, this angle of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is only accessible during low tide. The lighthouse is built right on the edge of a cliff, so you pretty much need to be in the ocean to see it properly. Navigating the rocks was not an easy task, but luckily there were a few other people there who pointed me towards the best route.

Main Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
 
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

(I have no idea how that dog managed to get out there with it’s owner, but I’m proud of him.)

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor

After the lighthouse I explored the area a little bit, taking a different route back. I found this idyllic little scene near a lobster hut (sadly closed for the season) (also it was barely breakfast time so it’s not like they would’ve been open anyway).

Maine Road Trip Somesville

The light was starting to get pretty harsh at this point as it approached 10am, but I had to get a stop in at the picturesque little bridge in Somesville before finally getting some breakfast.

Maine Road Trip Somesville

Maine Road Trip Somesville

Maine Road Trip Somesville

I forgot to mention in my last post, but Jordan’s is a MUST for breakfast in Bar Habor. I’m pretty sure I went every morning I was there. Treat yourself to the blueberry pancakes (made with wild Maine blueberries, of course) and you won’t be disappointed.

A note on solo dining: I know this is a lot of people’s biggest fear when traveling by themselves, because eating alone has this weird cultural stigma. But it really comes in handy at a place like Jordan’s, where most people are arriving in parties of 4 or more, but YOU dear solo traveler will be sat instantly as a party of one. Bring a book, and stop worrying about what other people think.

Full of delicious pancakes, it was time to conquer MY biggest solo traveler fear: hiking alone. (127 Hours was traumatizing.)

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

I had already decided to do the Gorham Mountain hike, because it was under 2 miles round trip with a great view from the summit. I was really lucky to get a parking spot in the small lot at the trailhead. The lot was packed, and yet I weirdly only saw a few groups on the hike itself.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain I had read that a lot of people make the mistake of stopping at the mountain’s false summit (this is actually where I ran into the most people), so I knew to keep following the cairns until I made it to the very top.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

While this was a pretty easy hike (for my skill level, at least), I was really proud of myself for getting over my fear of hiking alone. (For the record, I would probably only do moderately short hikes like this on my own. Too many variables to contend with on longer ones–especially in areas with no cell reception.)

By the way, in case you’re thinking of doing Gorham, the trail itself continues on past the summit to connect with the Bee Hive trail, which is a much more difficult hike. Just be aware of this, so you don’t accidentally continue on.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

After Gorham I wanted to go back to Jordan Pond and walk the loop trail. Full disclosure: it took way longer than I was expecting, and with having done Gorham earlier my legs started protesting long before I got back to my car. It’s not a terribly interesting trail, but you do get some cool views of The Bubbles, and the foliage was gorgeous. The warm weather really made this one worthwhile despite the pain.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond
 
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Sunset was shaping up to be a lovely one, so I knew I wanted to end my last day in Acadia back at Blue Hill. Since I still had some time, I drove to the Cadillac Mountain summit first to take in the easterly view.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

While I never managed to drag myself out of bed early enough to catch sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, I can imagine it’s beautiful. During the first half of the year, Cadillac Mountain is actually the first point in the US to see sunrise.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

With the sun setting and the wind picking up, it was getting pretty darn freezing up there. But I was determined to enjoy another sunset. I planted myself on Blue Hill with a book and 45 mins to go. By the time the sun started setting in earnest, I was an ice cube. But a happy ice cube, because look at that light!

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

I had only one more stop on my schedule this day. Can you guess what it was?

Maine Road Trip Bar Harbor Lobster Company

That’s right, a lobster roll from Bar Harbor Lobster Company. Perfect end to an excellent day.

Previously:
Day 1 and 2: Portland, Rockland, and Cadillac Mountain
Day 3: Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip: Acadia National Park

First full day in Acadia National Park! This day was pretty overcast, but it made for a great contrast to the incredible colors of the autumn foliage, so I didn’t mind one bit.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

As I mentioned in the last post, Acadia is super manageable. The park is set along a mostly one-way loop road, making it very easy to hit all the main stops. My first stop of the day was Jesup Path. It’s a short and flat hike, but I knew it involved a boardwalk through the woods so I was interested. I’m so glad I made the stop, because I was completely blown away by the scenery.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

The colors of the leaves were absolutely magical, and the cloudy day sent a gorgeous clean white light through the trees. As the hike was so unassuming, I actually had the area to myself for quite a while, making the experience even more special.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup PathMaine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

This jaunt down Jesup Path actually set me back for the day — I didn’t anticipate spending so long here! As you can see, it was well worth it.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

After Jesup Path, it was on to the Ocean Path. This path actually runs parallel to the loop road so it’s not really necessary to walk the whole thing (there are parking areas along the way for the main stops.) I was feeling ambitious though, so I parked at the start of the trail at the Sand Beach parking lot.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

I’m really happy I decided to walk the path. Though granted, it once again took me way longer than expected as there were nice little scenic turnouts every now and then to take advantage of the ocean view.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

After an absurdly long time (due to all my scenic detours) I arrived at Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is a natural inlet, where the strong surf crashes against the rocks with a thunderous noise. The seas were pretty angry when I got there, but weren’t quite making that iconic sound that day.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Thunder Hole

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Thunder Hole

As you can see from the water washing over the pathway, visitors really had to time their steps perfectly to avoid a wash out! I wasn’t too interested in soaking wet feet, so I kept a safer distance.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Thunder Hole

I continued down the path some more with no real perception of time or distance (my phone battery had died from the cold temperatures almost immediately), simply enjoying the beauty of Acadia.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path
At around 3 in the afternoon I got a little too hungry to continue, so I turned back for my car. But that was just fine, because I knew Jordan Pond House was still in my future. Jordan Pond House is the only place to eat within Acadia, making it quite the destination. My dad told me I absolutely had to have some popovers and lobster bisque, and I’d like to recommend the same to you. It was the perfect meal to warm me up after being out on the Ocean Path for hours. And the lobster bisque was BOMB.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond House

(Yeah, I was too hungry and finished everything before taking a picture. Believe me, you’d do the same.) I decided to take a short walk down to Jordan Pond after my meal; the longer visit was planned for the next day. The two round mountains shrouded in fog are known as The Bubbles — not a hike I did this time, but one that I apparently did as a child. Good for me!

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

I had planned to go up Cadillac Mountain again for sunset, but as you can see the fog was rolling in and there would have been no view. After some relaxation time at my hotel I drove back into Bar Harbor for dinner. I decided I’d make a normal human choice and not have my third lobster roll dinner in a roll, and I would like you to know I was FULL OF REGRET and did not enjoy my dinner as much as I could have. Let my mistake be a lesson: when you can have a lobster roll, always have a lobster roll.

Previously:
Day 1 and 2: Portland, Rockland, and Cadillac Mountain