Bar Harbor sunrise at 5am
On our second full day in Maine, we managed to catch a 5am version of harbor sunrise. This one was not as intense as the one at 4am on the previous morning, but it was quite lovely and iridescent. We loved the changing hues of the sky reflected on the calm water surface.
Acadia National Park
However beautiful Bar Harbor is, nothing we had seen in Maine so far could have prepared us for the rich, rugged natural beauty of Acadia National Park and for how much joy we felt there. All the scenes there seem to come out of such great adventure stories as The Lord of the Rings. We were genuinely thrilled to see the extremely rocky coastline, tall cliffs, the powerful waves beating huge slabs of protruding ancient granite rocks and large, randomly-situated boulders scattering along the shore.
On our first time there, we drove along the Park Loop road to try to get a general sense of the park’s scale and landscape. Everywhere I looked, I saw pine trees of all variety. There are landscape features of all sort here: mountains, lakes, fresh spring, marshland, even a sandy beach all surrounded by the mighty Atlantic Ocean.
While we climbed Cadillac Mountain and admired the view of the harbor along the way, David commented that this Maine trip could be considered Thailand 2.0. The reason for this comparison is that we had a most invigoratingly active time during our first year as a couple in Thailand. We climbed a mountain with our friend Ryan, traveled on a long train trip to Chiangmai in the North with our group of friends, went on a mountain retreat in the Northeast with our Anthropology professor Ted Mayer, and took very long walks together through cities, towns and villages everywhere we went. We were young, unencumbered with children, house or jobs, and simply tireless in our adventures as a new couple.
We had not known what to expect in Maine and had not planned out our activities beforehand, but this trip turned out to be our most active vacation in 20 years. We ended up climbing 2 mountains and took long walks everyday to explore Bar Harbor, Bangor and especially the different areas of Acadia National Park. As is the case from the very beginning of our courtship, my time with David has always turned out to be an adventure!
Early on our third full day in Bar Harbor, we went on the shore trail wrapping around Acadia to take a closer look at the geographical features of the coastline. We saw the “thunder hole” where the strong wave creates a booming sound when it goes inside a cave in the rocky shore. I was happy to see many kinds of pine tree as we walked. Pine is my favorite tree because they always make me think of the Christmas season, Christmas songs, and the freshness of winter snow.
The sounds of the Atlantic
At some points during our hikes, we would stop to listen to the sounds of the Atlantic’s waves beckoning out to us. The ocean seemed to want us to halt our conversations and quiet our inner din to take heed of creation and the blessings all around us. We would feel grateful for those moments, for each other as well as our life together, and simply for the gift of life.
Sieur de Monts Spring
On our last full day on Mount Desert Island, we visited the area composed of Sieur de Monts Spring, The Tarn, and Dorr Mountain. This area of Acadia National Park is a commemoration site dedicated to George Dorr (1853 – 1944), an American preservationist who created the park and served as its first superintendent.
The Tarn sits at the foot of Dorr Mountain. This is a marshland where the ecosystem is quite different from the rest of Acadia. The Northern green frog is one of the main inhabitants here.
This proved a much bigger challenge than Cadillac Mountain. We originally had not planned to tackle this mountain, but David made a navigational error and we ended up half-way up before we realized his mistake. At home, before the trip, the kids and we had watched The Last of the Mohicans together, so we were merrily reminded of the Indian characters in this movie while we scaled the side of this mountain. David called himself my Indian guide, but he was promptly “fired” from the job for not really knowing his way around and thus leading us up the mountain by mistake.
I sweated so profusely and felt so exhausted that we had to take quite a few breaks on the way up. Part of the difficulties were psychological and emotional: I was missing our children a lot and we were anticipating our return trip to Kentucky the next day. However, we were encouraged and compensated along the way by fresh, fragrant mountain blueberries which we enjoyed eating as breakfast.
Thank you for reading! Have fun exploring Nature!