Whew, glad we didn’t book an entire week here! It is so jam packed with all of us crazy tourists, it’s almost unbearable. When Dan and I were here for our honeymoon in 1994, we had a totally different experience. Of course, we didn’t have the two teenagers along, but more important, it was May and there was no one here. We knew we’d hit the crowds at some point this summer, and this seems to be the place. We’ve been lucky so far to be hiking and biking in relative peace. Not now!
Acadia National Park is still pretty cool, though, and well worth the hassle. We headed to Sand Beach first, so we could hike out to the point and get the full Atlantic view. Turns out that this little piece of land is the first in the USA to get the sun every morning, but we didn’t get up early enough to see it. Again, we have two teenagers.
The hike was beautiful, although I was a little distressed to see that it had been described as “easy” in the park brochure, and it was far from it. I felt sorry for all the older-than-me-folks who got wet crossing the little creek to get to the trailhead, only to find that they couldn’t go straight up the slippery rocks. We’ve had heavy rains off and on for the past few days, so the trail was muck and water and a slip-n-slide experience.
Cadillac Mountain provided a good view, too, but this time I didn’t have on everything in my suitcase. It had snowed on us in 1994! We didn’t hike to the top, just took the scenic drive with 5,000 other cars.
The park gets over 1,000,000 visitors a year, so L.L.Bean has helped by creating the best free shuttle system we’ve ever seen. There are 7 routes, with buses leaving each stop about every 1/2 hour. On other days we were able to ride from our campground all over the island, getting off and on wherever we wanted. Once again, I loved hearing all the different languages and was astonished to hear several people say they come back here every year. We were on buses with standing room only, tightly packed, smelly crowds, the restaurants and shops were packed, and still people come. Dan and I visited all the spots we’d enjoyed previously, and vowed to never come back. The rest of Maine is beautiful, what is everyone doing here?! I was sad that we added to the crowd.
Another good hike was to the top of Bubble Rock. We had hiked it before, but I didn’t remember it being that steep. I was clinging to the rock face at one point, after Nate and Eliza easily scrambled up it,not sure how to get one shaky foot to support the other. Dan and a couple other hikers were encouraging me to step, and I finally did. There’s a huge rock at the top that balances on the edge and we pretended to push it over, of course. It has a great view of Jordan Pond and was worth the hike.
I couldn’t help but contrast the two visits to Bar Harbor, 20 years apart. We were so naive then about what our marriage would be, how our friendship would endure. We had no idea then the challenges we would face. Would I have wanted to know then what was coming? No. I think not. We are so blessed. We had moments of pure peace and joy in 1994, and this time we did, too. I wouldn’t change a thing except the crowds.