Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Acadia National Park: Beech Mountain & Bar Harbor

Acadia National Park's seaside mountains attracts visitors from all over the world, but most tourists don't wander far from their cars. Beech Mountain (above photo) on the remote western corner of Mt. Desert Island is an excellent hike to avoid the crowds. At only 700 feet, it's more of hill than a mountain but still quite steep on the slick granite. Hiking boots are a good idea, but this trail is too rocky for hiking poles.

My husband and I woke early on Indigenous People Day (our town renamed Columbus Day) to hike before the afternoon rain. At sunrise, there was a cool fog bow over Bar Harbor. It's about a half hour drive from town to the trailhead (northwest corner of the parking lot).

On a clear day, the fire tower at Beech Mountain offers a panoramic view of Mt. Desert and the Cranberry Islands, but it was also quite lovely in the mist with peak foliage. Dense fog hid the sea.

Bright red maple trees and blueberry bushes still managed to flame through the misty evergreens.

The colors were all the more vibrant against the mist. 

From the open peak, the South Ridge Trail follows the granite ridge over lichen and descends gradually in switchbacks through a pine forest. The tall pines with dripping ferns, lichen and moss reminded me of the Pacific Northwest or Japan. There is such an interesting variety of terrain in Acadia, compared to other parts of Maine. Stopping frequently to take photos, the 3 mile loop took us about 2 1/2 hours. It was too wet to complete the Canada Cliff and Eagle Cliff loops near the base.

Since Acadia is nearly a three hour drive from home, we spent two nights at the Bar Harbor Inn, which has excellent views of the harbor and is close to the restaurants and shops in town. We met our son and his girlfriend, who hiked a more challenging trail in the rain, at Havana for a delicious dinner. I'd also recommend the Side Street Cafe for lunch or dinner in Bar Harbor, and you'll also want to browse in Sherman's Bookstore nearby. Luckily for us, the skies cleared on our last day. I'll share sunnier photos in my next Acadia post, later this month.

The foliage is also gorgeous back at home. This photo is from my regular bike ride, a seven mile loop from my house past farmlands and a tidal estuary. I love Maine in October!


Petra Pavlátková said...

Wow, that fog bow looks impressive, Sarah, I had never seen anything like that, and I love the red maple trees. I also love the last photo from your bike ride, those yellow lines on the road along with the white fence lead the eye right into the autumnal scenery!

Anonymous said...

Lovely photos. We were there, camping, two weekends ago.

thecuecard said...

Wow gorgeous photos! I'd like to visit Bar Harbor sometime -- I guess offseason is best, eh? I think my husband would be interested in the boating as well as the hiking.

Rose said...

So beautiful! My brother and sister-in-law visit Maine nearly every year. I think Acadia is where they usually go to hike, too. I get to enjoy their trips vicariously through all their photos:) I haven't been blogging much lately, but hope to get back into this more as the weather cools. Hope you are doing well!

Sarah Laurence said...

Petra, thank you! You have a good eye: that was the aim of my composition.

Charlotte, lucky you! We are fortunate to live close enough for weekend visits.

Cue, the busiest times are July, August, Labor Day, and Columbus Day week. It was surprisingly quiet in early June and nearly empty in April, but mud season is not as scenic or good for hiking. I'd like to return after a snowfall to ski the carriage trails.

Rose, so nice to reconnect with you! I'm not blogging as frequently as I used to, but I'm on twitter most days since it's faster. On my blog, I'm aiming for twice a month instead of every week. I'm devoting more of my time to novel writing. I'm doing well as one can be given the political and natural disasters. I hope you're well too.

Donna said...

I love your photos. You live in such a gorgeous state. Acadia has been on my bucket list for awhile. I'm looking forward to going there someday!

troutbirder said...

Oh how beautiful! And we missed it all as our camping trip to the Maritimes included some planned stops in Maine. The east coast was beyond sweltering and New England overrun with people feeling north. Acacia was bumper to bumper on the loop road and we couldn't find a place to picnic even on the grass if parking had even been available. Oh well maybe next time....:(

cynthia said...

Oh my gosh, Sarah, stunning, stunning photos.