Acadia National Park: Paddling Mt. Desert Island, Acadian Style

Everyone deserves a vacation.

Even those of us who live in a vacationland.
Ten years ago, the boyfriend took me to Acadia National Park.
It was our first hiking trip together.
Now we are vacationing here again.
Mount Desert Island and the Atlantic Ocean are still the same as they were when Rockefeller finished all of his amazing feats of trail engineering.
A journey back in time, if you will, when the joy of exploring the mountains was new and exciting and something that ladies did in high heels.
We did it barefoot
Barefoot amongst Blueberries.

now that i wrote that down, it sounds really dorky.
oh well.
Small ponds and large lakes lay nestled just off shore of the mighty ocean, picking up the coastal winds and knocking my little canoe around with ease. Our first paddle on Long Lake (the bigger one) ended up being a hardcore battle with whitecapped waters. I got spun around more than a few times on our way back to the boat launch. A very different experience than the jovial strolls to the summits of Precipice and Beehive that we had done just the day before. By the time we got to the turm around point, Vespi was fried. While we laid in the sun on the classic Acadia rock, she passed out in the shade of the pine trees.
Rain dominated the next day.
a calming rain, one that sounds fantastic when it hits the fly of your tent but chills you to the bone when you're in it. So we went and paddled the pond that ironically appeared on the cover of the L.L.Bean catalogue this month, the crown jewel of Acadia:
Jordan Pond.
With the fog sitting low, it was like we had gone even further back on that time machine, to a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
but as we approached the traditional family fishing spot, the clouds lifted just enough to expose the top of the Bubbles and that precariously perched infamous rock itself. Left atop the mountain by glaciers, it stands immovable - and don't worry, millions of tourists have tried. Even I have attempts to relocate this wonderous feat of nature.
Yet the Bubble remains.
A true testament of time that not even Rockefeller could have created.
Next day, it was on to Eagle Lake, which rests not so quietly between Cadillac and Sargeant Mountains. This valley creates a one way highway for the winds coming in off the ocean...I have never paddled so hard yet gone so not anymore before in my life. The bow of my canoe was dropping down almost into the waves - and at one point one did splash across the bow of the tiny canoe - but we made it back. Exhausted yet satisfied in what a trait of the original Acadian People: You wait until the conditons could be the absolute worst - wind, rain, cold - and then you do it!!
But let us not forget...we are at the ocean.
You can't help but enjoy all the wonderful things that has to offer :)
The final day, Vespi and I broke out the five fingers and went for a run. From Blackwoods Campground to the Summit of Cadillac Mountain via the South Ridge Trail. In less than five miles, you can run from sea level into mountain top desert, and experiencing all the different fauna in between.
It starts in all pine,
the tall black pine in which we were camping. The trail is littered with round white rocks and you feel like you could be in the Adirondacks. Then the rocks dissapear, only to be replaced by the rootiest trail system ever. Ten years ago, I was fascinated by these root staircases - even to take the cheezy self portrait while on them. Then, the solid rock begins to creep in underfoot. Gradually at first, oftentimes hidden beneath pine needles, but more and mroe frequent, until the once majestic pines have been reduced to overgrown bonzai trees by the mighty ocean winds. We are approaching the desert of Acadia.
But immediatly before we take that final step...a small pond lies safely hidden amongst the trees. One last glance at the forest, and we begin our journey with a few hand over foot moves and begin the final mile toward the summit.
But nature survives herer as well. Some of the same plants we find on the shores of lakes all through the Adirondacks, are also fond here. They are little - but they survive, almost flourish in the many cracks in the rock. They are survivors, Acadians, only doing anything when the adventur will be at its outmost difficulty.
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum & Vespi