Friday, July 29, 2016

The Acadia Diaries: Days 1 & 2

This Faint-Hearted Adventurer just got back from a  family vacation to Acadia National Park.

Overall thoughts on the trip: It was full of Ups and Downs, both Literally and Figuratively

Participants: Adventure Husband, Adventure Daughter, Adventure Dog, and me

Lodging: Our Pop-Up Camper, affectionately called Zelda (after the character in the Nintendo game of the same name.  Any guesses why?)

Zelda (and Kevin) at home in the driveway
Campground: Somes Sound View Campground

I'm not out to write a full-scale review of the campground, but I will say this: it was not our favorite.  Only one bathhouse for the entire campground, some distance from our site (down a steep hill, so we couldn't even easily bike to it, which would have made it more fun.) There were porta-potties, one rather close to our site (eww).  I am not a fan of these and only visited it once. The bathhouse itself was serviceable, but it should have been cleaned more frequently than once a day (at mid-day).

Our favorite Campground on MDI is, hands down, The Mount Desert Campground, where I have camped at least four times (maybe five?).  But the MDC doesn't allow dogs between July 2 and Labor Day weekend.  And we were not leaving Kevin behind for this adventure! Hiking is practically his favorite activity.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn't make a reservation anywhere until just a few weeks before the trip.  When that's the case, you take what you can get.  And we were happy to get something that would take we three,  Zelda, and Kevin.

Day 1 (Saturday): We spent the morning at home finishing our prep and packing--food, clothes, bikes, etc.  We didn't rush, figuring we had until 6PM to check in at the campground, but when 2:00 rolled around and we were still packing, we started to feel a little pressure.

The ride up: Uneventful.  Not too much traffic, got there in good time.

Obligatory on-the-road selfie with Kevin and Abby (photo credit: Abby)
First oops: Realized en route that we had forgotten pillows.  Stopped at Walmart (not my favorite choice), and bought pillows for $5.87 each.  These pillows proved remarkably comfortable.

Set-up: Somewhat hurried due to impending thunderstorms (that never came) and some challenges getting the camper level.  We totally need to invest in some sort of leveling device like this or this but we don't camp a lot and keep avoiding the $$ of such a purchase.  Sent Jon out to buy firewood and milk.  The campground charged $5 for roughly 7 little sticks of wood.  Myriad places along the roadside on the ride in sold more than that for $3 per bundle.

Dinner: Forgot salad dressing for pasta salad (oops the second).  Grill woes--our wee grill hadn't really been fired up in quite some time--seemed on the slow side, and we forgot to bring our grill brush, but we managed hot dogs and chips, plus an apple.  Could have been worse.

Photo credit: Abby (note attractive porta-potty behind us)
Post-Dinner: Began planning adventures for Day 2--a big hike, debated between Norumbega and the North Bubble (with a longer return plan than this map shows).

Sleepy time: Kevin slept in Abby's bunk, which pleased everyone (most of all, Abby)  Somewhat restless night for the adults--the camper bunks aren't exactly loft-y.

Kevin proved a delightful bunk-mate for Abby (photo credit: Abby)
Day 2 (Sunday): Our first full day and our biggest hike.
Family selfie over breakfast (hello, chins!)

Our trail is outlined in white.
Distance: roughly 4 miles
Breakfast: Cereal (Adventure Dad: Honeynut Cheerios; Adventure Daughter: Cheerios; Me: Froot Loops.  Hey. Don't judge me.)

Prep: Packed our adventure bags with map, sunglasses, snacks, bug spray, sun screen, first aid kit, Kevin's bowl, lots of water, etc. etc. etc.

Third Oops: Realized we forgot to pack Abby's sneakers. Of all things! Can't hike in flip flops, so she ended up with an awesome pair of Merrells (ouch to the pocket book, but gosh darn good shoes).

Hike: The North Bubble and Beyond

We scored a parking spot at the teeny-tiny Bubbles Parking lot--which was shocking after our delayed start due to the shoe-buying excursion.

Ups and Downs of the hike:

Up 1: The view of Jordan Pond from the North Bubble is delightful.

Up 2: It felt great to head on instead of turning around and going back down the way we came up (like everyone else who got to the summit when we did).

Up 3: There is a magical pine forrest along the shore of Eagle lake.

Up 4: Wild blueberries!

Down 1: The Eagle Lake Trail is listed as E (for Easy) on the map.  Part of it was indeed easy.  Other (long) parts included much climbing and scrambling over big chunks of granite.  This is super fun, but nearly a mile of that sort of scrambling after already walking nearly 3 miles, felt a little much.

Down 2: Kevin took an elicit dip in Eagle Lake (there is no swimming, human or otherwise, in Eagle Lake).  He only swam very briefly, but he found the glistening water too much to resist.  Sometimes I forget how young and impulsive he is, as he is usually so well behaved.

Photos from the Hike

Fun climbing on the way to the North Bubble Summit
Photo Credit: Abby!
At the summit of North Bubble (hikers in the background just went back the way we all came up.  Too bad for them!  Good for us--had the rest of the hike mostly to ourselves! They were a big, sprawling party.)
Jordan Pond view from the North Bubble Summit (photo credit: Abby)
Lots of photo ops
View of Eagle Lake (and of cute kid and cute dog)

Video of the magical pine forest (thanks, Jon!)
It doesn't exactly capture the magical essence of the place, but trust me, it was special!

Mere moments before Kevin's indiscretion
Post Hike

Everybody was pretty tired.  Back at the campsite we had ham and cheese sandwiches (I crave these when hiking for some reason).  Some of us were grumpier than others about how boring campsites can be.  (Hint: it wasn't Kevin, Mom, or Dad)

Made a trip to Bar Harbor to poke around.  But it was hot, crowded, and the same old stuff for sale year after year.  Was pleasantly surprised by the number of stores that allowed dogs inside.  Also pleased with Kevin's in-store demeanor. Abby bought a stuffed animal.  Is this a surprise?  No.  Also, we bought salad dressing, cheese, and a metal spatula (oops number four) at the Bar harbor Hannaford's.

Abby fell asleep in the car on the ride back to camp, and then snoozed for well over an hour in the backseat while we made dinner.  Had a nice meal of burgers and pasta salad, followed by a s'more for Abby.  I am an expert s'more maker, though I do not eat them.  (I just go for the toasted marshmallows.)

Acadia Diaries, Day 3: forthcoming.

1 comment:

  1. From Abby: I love it! Except that hint about who was being grumpy kind of gave it away! (what, don't judge me, sitting in camp chairs doing nothing for an hour is not my thing.)