Hey everyone! Quick update to our trip so far:
Yesterday: We drove for about 12 hours to get from Philly to Bar Harbor. To break up the trip a bit, we stopped at Waldon Pond in Concord, MA! For anyone who ever read Walden by Henry David Thoreau, you’ll recognize this as the pond where Thoreau spent 2 years living the “simple life”. The site of his original (tiny!) house is marked off.
I really loved Walden and have always found it pretty inspiring. It’s wordy, but he’s got some great advice in there about living simply and enjoying nature. My favorite: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.” Going here has been on my bucket list for years, and it was worth the short detour off the highway! We walked around the pond, which was a total of 1.7 miles. The trail was beautiful and flat, and I would have loved running on this trail although it was a bit busy with tourists. The leaves were starting to change up in MA, so the views were stunning! I can understand why Thoreau fell in love with this place. There were lots of other little trails to check out (you can hike to the site of his bean field) but we had to get on our way.
“The best things in life are wild and free” – Thoreau
Today: After sleeping in for the first time in forever, we talked to the owner of the cabin we’re staying in to see if she had any ideas on how to get into Acadia National Park. She showed us a map, and apparently there are tons of small roads that lead to almost all of the hiking trails in the park! We had given up on the idea of going to any of the eastern areas along the Park Road, but there is a road and short trail that can get us in to the coastal trails! The owner’s sister works for Acadia and told her that she saw a tour bus park on the side of Jordan Pond Road and then a group of elderly tourists walked down to Jordan Pond! And here’s the kicker: the people staying in cabin #7 told her that they ran into 3 rangers while hiking – but the rangers just told them to be careful and went on their way! We were so relieved that we wouldn’t get ticketed for hiking in the park illegally, but technically they can’t block off all of the hiking trails and if we park on the side of the public roads they can’t ticket us. Acadia National Park is set up with tons of access points to the hiking trails and carriage roads, so people just need to get a bit more creative with how they get to their hiking destinations.
We spent the afternoon driving around the island checking out the road closures and the possible hiking trail access points. There were a ton of people parked on the side of the road by all of the trailheads , so it looks like our hiking plans are back on! We also got to check out some new areas on the island which was an unexpected perk. We then drove to the west side of the island and hiked to the summit of Acadia Mountain. There was a flimsy sign stapled to the trailhead saying that the park was closed, but there were no barriers at all. Which was great, because otherwise we would have missed this view!
We actually hiked this exact same trail last year in the rain, and had no idea what the view looked like so we knew we needed to hike it again. We took our time on the trail because it is ridiculously steep on the way down! There were moments where I was literally screaming “This is insane!” as I wiggled my way down the steep rocky areas. Acadia’s trails are all beautiful but super steep! I definitely recommend doing this trail because it’s less crowded than others and you get a great view of Somes Sound and the ocean. After hiking, we drove over to Pretty Marsh Picnic Area on the west coast of the island to see the sunset. Everyone in Bar Harbor usually watches the sun set from the top of Cadillac Mountain, so I never thought about trying out a new viewing spot. The road was closed down, but after walking for about 15 minutes we reached a wooden staircase that led down to the rocky beach. The view was incredible and we’re so lucky that we got a chance to check out a new spot! And we were the only people there which made it really special.
It turns out that the park closure ended up getting us to check out new areas on Mt. Desert Island, and we’re excited to hike more new trails tomorrow! Stay tuned for more illegal hiking recaps!