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Acadia National Park 2007
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
filling car before trip
A month after giving our new camping equipment a try in Martha's Vineyard, we were off to give it a second go -- this time in Acadia National Park. This trip was with our friends and experienced Minnesota camping duo Elissa and Ben (their Acadia album). Elissa and Ben woke up really early to pick up and pack the Zip car, so we could get a quick start on our five hour drive to Maine.

This photo here is me by our Zip car at the gas station in front of our apartment. This is as far as we got before our first interesting part of the trip.
 
gas station
You see the hard-working sweaty guy there? Turns out his sister is from Acadia, and he really likes it there! So he starts pumping our gas and telling us all about the beauty, food, and culture of Acadia. According to him, Acadia has beautiful eagles nests which you can see from the interstate, fantastic lobsters that are incomparably better than in Boston, and lots of "arts and crafts and shit".

He was super nice to get us psyched about our trip, the only problem was that at the beginning of a trip everyone is pumped to get moving, and although he was talking quickly, the gas meter wasn't moving so fast. In fact, the gas meter wasn't going up AT ALL. No matter how hard I'd stare at that meter on the gas pump to try and indicate that HEY NO GAS IS GOING INTO OUR CAR, he just kept enjoying telling us great things about Acadia. Finally, I couldn't take it and I said, "um is the pump working?" "oh, I'm sorry; here I am talking and I forgot to turn the pumps on."

He turns on the pumps, and continues his Acadia promotion telling us about his sister's land, etc. And now the gas has begun to trickle into the take. And yes, I mean trickle. I mentioned this, and he said that the big tanks below the station must be almost empty. Another 20 minutes passed and our gas tank was certainly not full, but a 1 hr stop at the gas station across our street was long enough, so I told him I thought that was enough gas. He said "no, no, you're going all the way up to Maine, you need to fill your tank". However, the voices of Ilaria, Ben, and Elissa assured him that this was exactly the amount of gas we wanted.
 
gas station boston 2
After an hour at the gas station across the street, we got in the car and headed to Acadia.

We made great time on that fantastic North End, bottom-of-the-tank gas. Nothing could stop us
 
arbys
except Arbys.

We don't have Arby's in Boston. So when Elissa, Arby's addict, Cosgrove saw her mecca, she had to stop - despite it being 10AM. As an Arby's addict myself, I was happy to stop and get a giant Arby's Roastbeef.

Ben, the chivalrous knight, Cosgrove kindly ordered for Elissa. However, she didn't want what his chivalrous knight instincts told him she wanted, and this led to some temporary chaos at the drive-through window.
 
Maine interstate
But everything got sorted, and we were off to Acadia.
 
grasshopper Acadia
When we stopped at the park's visitor center to make sure we were headed in the right direction to the campground, we encountered our first glimpse of the Acadia wildlife.

a grasshopper
 
butterfly Acadia
and a butterfly. If we see this much before we even enter the park, imagine the spectacular nature (and arts and crafts and shit) that await inside!
 
campsite Acadia
We pulled the Zip car into our assigned camping spot
 
Toyota Matrix
and discovered that someone had given our Toyota Matrix a name.
 
zip car name
That's right, we had been riding in style in the SEXY PERV.
 
Ilaria J tent build
And then it was time for my favorite part of camping: putting up the tent.

Ilaria you hold the stake
 
Ilaria J tent build 2
and I'll pound it in.
 
Ben MIT tent
The tent was Elissa and Ben's, and it was the first time they'd built it. So we all decided an MIT student would be best suited to read the instructions and make sure the tent was assembled properly.
 
Ilaria and Ben organize tent
As soon as the tent was up, Ben and Ilaria, the two tiddist people amongst us, organized the tent (and since Ilaria was involved, they probably came up with a half-a-dozen rules to keep things neat and clean).
 
tent Acadia
We stopped Ilaria right before she broke rule #1: no #2 beside the tent.
 
picnic table Acadia
We put some food in our bellys and let Ilaria feed her map obsession for a bit.
 
Ilaria J hug rock
Then after a short hug
 
Ilaria J walk hold hands
it was time to
 
Acadia ocean rocks
embrace Mother Nature.
 
Acadia ocean rocks flowers
 
ilaria Ben Elissa
Initially, we were all stunned from the beauty of the scenery and happy to be out of the car and see something spectacular, so we just sat around on the rocks talking about how nice the park was.

But no matter how nice the scenery, humans get antsy and need to do something eventually.
 
Ilaria J Acadia ocean
Ilaria, myself,
 
Elissa Acadia with camera
and Elissa walked around taking
 
Acadia flower ocean
nice
 
Acadia red plant ocean
photos.
 
Acadia adventure Ben
Meanwhile Ben went
 
Acadia Ben climbs rocks
on a climbing adventure
 
Acadia Ben climbs rocks 2
and made his way towards the sea.
 
Ilaria climbs rocks Acadia
The rest of us climbed down a different way.
 
Ben climbs down Acadia rocks
Ben came over to join us, but lost his footing a bit and stopped his momentum just in time to prevent falling off a pretty steep cliff.
 
Acadia ocean
So while the rest of us continued down to meet the ocean,
 
Ben rests Acadia
Ben calmed his nerves for a bit and appreciated being alive.
 
green moss
I really like this bright green living stuff that I found on the rocks,
 
J thinks
but I have no idea what it was.

After that quick look at the ocean by our campsite, we hopped in the Zip car
 
jordan pond house acadia
and drove to Jordan Pond House -
 
Jordan Pond House
the only full service restaurant in the park.
 
Jordan Pond House Acadia restaurant
That's one heck of a nice place to eat. Be great to wake up and have breakfast here. It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so we snapped these photos
 
bubble rock sign
and went to hike our first trail: up to the bubble rock.
 
bubble rock view peak Acadia
Now you might be thinking, what's a bubble rock? That's what I was thinking too
 
bubble rock peak sign Acadia
when we reached the peak of the Bubble trail.
 
Ilaria bubble rock
Well think no longer: here's the bubble rock.
 
bubble rock acadia view
The Bubble Rock is this giant rock that sits precariously close to the edge of the mountain. I think it's been there since the last ice age, so it's pretty stable, but it sure looks like its ready to fall at any minute.
 
Ben sleeps bubble rock
Ben took a break on the rocks
 
panaramic view bubble rock peak
where we had one heck of a view.

And now I present a short photographic series: woman and the mountain.
 
ilaria bubble peak forward
 
ilaria bubble peak closer
 
ilaria bubble peak closest
 
ilaria bubble peak walk away
 
Ilaria rest tent Acadia
After our bubble rock climb, we headed back to the campsite to rest a bit before scouting the local town of
 
bar harbor nite
Bar Harbor for some dinner.

LSU was playing Virginia Tech, so I put in a request to eat at a place with a TV focused on LSU.
 
bar harbor soup
We didn't have luck finding such a TV, so we ate in the upstairs of a nice seafood restaurant.
 
Bar Harbor chowder
We had some chowder,
 
Bar Harbor salad
salad,
 
Bar Harbor shrimp
shrimp,
 
Bar Harbor fish
fish,
 
Bar Harbor J pork chop photo
and I had
 
Bar Harbor Js pork chop
a yummy pork chop (I know it was a seafood place, but I'm not big on seafood).
 
Bar Harbor restaurants
As we left the restaurant, we noticed that the bar next door had a TV with the LSU game on (how'd we miss that before?).

LSU destroyed Virginia Tech, so no worries.
 
Bar Harbor lobster
We left Bar Harbor to return to our campsite where
 
Ilaria J Joseph Mary
Mary, Joseph, Ben, and Elissa
 
night
went to sleep.
 
ben camping stove
The next morning, Ben got up early
 
ben lights camping stove
and quickly got a
 
camping stove fire
nice fire going on his new camping stove to make his lady-friend some
 
camping oatmeal
oatmeal.
 
Ilaria J kung fu
Meanwhile, Ilaria and I practiced our kung fu fighting and then
 
J hugs Ilaria after kung fu
made up after the battle was over.
 
IMG  5709
Then we all
 
IMG  8221
headed
 
IMG  8222
over to
 
thunder hole acadia
Thunder Hole (weird name, sounds like Beevis and Butthead making fun of the Thundercats cartoon).
 
thunder hole acadia tourists
Actually lots of people headed there with us, because at around the same time each day (based on the tides) there's the potential that a thunderous noise will come from these rocks.
 
thunder hole acadia foam
There's a small cave under rock that fills with water really fast causing the air inside to come out with a BOOM. However, we really only heard little belches while we were there.

What are the odds of a Thunder Hole and a Bubble Rock in the same park? Pretty unlikely, that must be why this is a National Park (and the only National Park in New England at that).
 
IMG  8239
How could we top the Thunder Hole?
 
J rocks
I topped it by making huge amounts of noise banging these two rocks together,
 
IMG  8249
while the planners amongst our group (i.e. everyone except me) decided
 
IMG  5724
we should
 
ilaria ben hike stairs
hike our way
 
ilaria ben hike stairs 2
over to the beehive trail.
 
IMG  8266
 
Ilaria stretch Acadia
When I saw these legs sticking up, I thought to myself "who's the excessively athletic person that thinks they need to stretch at the top of the mountain".
 
Ilaria stretch Acadia 2
Of course it was Ilaria.
 
IMG  8290
But this wasn't the peak of the Beehive,
 
peak Gorham Mountain
this was the peak of Gorham Mountain on the way to the Beehive trail.
 
omino
Ilaria sat next to a cairn (ometto or omino in italian [translated small man]). These little rock sculptures (often human shaped) are used as trail markers.
 
Ilaria J yellow leaves
Look
 
Ilaria J yellow leaves closeup
we match the trees.
 
IMG  5727
 
IMG  5728
The view from the peak of Gorham Mountain was nice,
 
Acadia beehive
but the trail up the beehive was calling us.
 
Acadia beehive sign
The bubble trail we hiked the previous day was an intermediate level. The beehive was advanced. This little sign here should give you a little more info about what your getting into with the beehive.
 
IMG  5743
It starts out simple enough;
 
IMG  5744
sure we can hike this "difficult" trail.
 
IMG  5747
But then it gets interesting. This part was Ilaria's least favorite part.
 
IMG  5748
But she crossed it just fine.
 
IMG  5749
And waited for the others to follow.
 
Elissa beehive
But for me this spot wasn't too bad, the drop was only 20ft or so.
 
IMG  8317
What bothered me was that as the fall got higher and higher, we never really got a flat section to give us room for error. You lose your footing and you've got a long way down.
 
IMG  8318
Sure the climbing was dead easy, because you have these metal bars to hold onto.
 
IMG  8319
But unlike when you rock-climb steeper cliffs, we didn't have any ropes!
 
IMG  8320
I put my camera away when I crossed that little bridge at the start of this climb and focused on not falling and controlling my fear of heights so I could get to the top in one piece.

Elissa took all of these pics. She's afraid of even traces of chemicals in our laboratory, but she's not afraid to dangle off the side of a mountain one-handed to snap some photographs. Humans are all different.
 
IMG  8321
Anyways, I'm very greatful for the photos
 
IMG  8323
so I can see
 
IMG  8324
that the trail was actually
 
IMG  8325
really beautiful. I mean that is spectacular, but the 3 feet ledge next to the hundred foot drop took away most of my feelings of wanting to hang out and enjoy the view.
 
IMG  8326
Eventually
 
Acadia beehive peak
we reached the top.
 
IMG  8327
And it was
 
IMG  5753
beautiful.
 
IMG  5751
But I had to find a rock and lie down for a bit to heal my nerves. It was fantastic to be surrounded by flat.
 
IMG  8330
Thankfully, climbing down was much easier. I think they should change the level of that trail from difficult to intermediate but dangerous.
 
Elissa Ben Acadia rain
Next we drove over to Cadillac Mountain. Unfortunately, the weather had begun to sour. Ben and Elissa went around quite a bit.
 
IMG  8350
Ilaria and I had a quick look and returned to the warm dry Zip car to relax.
 
IMG  8352
On the way back we stopped to take showers. The showers were pretty close to the campground and worked more like a washing machine. You put in 4 quarters, and you have water for 5 minutes. Unfortunately, you couldn't see any timer. So unless you had a watch, you had no idea how much time was remaining.

There was also very little dry space inside each shower to place your clothes. So each day, I'd take off my shirt, shoes, and socks to minimize they clothing I had to find a place for. Elissa told Ilaria she should do the same. Much to the enjoyment of some random guy in the parking lot
 
IMG  8353
Ilaria did.
 
IMG  8354
 
IMG  8356
We went back to the campground and got inside our dry tent. Unfortunately, this rainy evening was the day we'd already planned to have our super-duper campfire cookout with hot dogs, pasta, and smores (the timing was my fault, because I wanted to see the LSU game in town the day before).
 
IMG  5765
We killed time hoping the rain would go away by answering random trivia pursuit questions.
 
IMG  5766
Ben is by far the best trivia pursuiter amongst us.

But the rain just wouldn't go away.
 
IMG  8364
So we had to deal with it.
 
IMG  8365
Since the camping trip Ilaria and I had just taken to Martha's Vineyard had also been spent standing in the rain, I wasn't in the best mood for this meal.
 
IMG  8367
But thankfully lumberjack Ben came up with a crafty way to create some thinner starter logs from our large logs using the back of a hammer.
 
IMG  8368
And we had fire.
 
IMG  8369
In the middle of a heavy rainstorm,
 
IMG  8370
we had fire.
 
IMG  5770
And we also had hot dogs and pasta with rain-water thinned sauce.

Next time I go car camping, I think I'll invest in one of those large tarps.
 
IMG  8379
The next morning, Ilaria and I slept in. But Ben and Elissa got up early
 
IMG  8405
to watch the sun rise.
 
IMG  8407
They didn't have much luck with the sun. But in place they had an
 
elissa rise
Elissa-rise.
 
IMG  8411
Then little by little,
 
IMG  5773
we folded up the wet camping gear
 
IMG  5772
and placed it into the Zip car.
 
IMG  5774
All done.
 
IMG  8415
Before heading back to Boston,
 
IMG  8416
we drove the rainy streets of Acadia
 
IMG  8418
to have a peak at the
 
acadia lighthouse J
nearby lighthouse.
 
acadia lighthouse
 
IMG  8423
It was cold and rainy,
 
IMG  8425
but the flowers defied the ugly weather and were still pretty.
 
IMG  8430
The bathrooms at the lighthouse consisted of a toilet on top of a big, deep hole.
 
IMG  8431
But it was good enough for me.
 
beals lobster pier
Our final stop before heading back was Beal's Lobster Pier,
 
acadia lobster
which our Boston gas station Acadia expert told us
 
IMG  5780
had the best Lobster sandwiches.
 
IMG  5781
After taking our seafood sandwiches to-go, we drove back to Boston in the pouring rain, stopping at the outlets and at the Cosgrove's storage facility.

For me, it was a great trip, but I hope I can have rain-free camping next time, otherwise my outdoors instincts might go extinct.