Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sunrise In Acadia

And there it is! Finally. After a very wet day spent driving around Park Loop Road and running around Eagle Lake and another reading at the park and hanging out at the Maine Grind (excellent coffee shop, for coffee, soup, a working atmoshphere, and very friendly sevice even) in Ellsworth, I was about ready to give up if it didn't clear up soon. But it did. And in a big way. I'd never experienced winds so strong while waiting for the sun to appear on top of Cadillac Mountain, the first place it is visible inside the continental United States. Whatever front had moved in had cleared everything out in a hurry. And apparently was still in a hurry. A big one. But it didn't matter. Because on this day I was among the first in the country to see the sun as it popped up out of the ocean, shining bright and glorious.

With the previous days being shrowded in mist and fog, it was a huge relief to see things clear up quicker than expected.

Though it takes more than a rainy mist to supress Acadia's beauty.

This bridge next to the Fort Knox Historic Site on the route to Acadia National Park from the White Mountains of New Hampshire is very reminiscent of the Zakim Bridge in Boston.

Now that the weather was good, it was time to break out the bike! With over 45 miles of carriage trails to bike on, the best, and only way, to see the vast majority of the park, is by bike. And with the packed stone and gravel carriage roads, a hybrid bike, is the bike of choice.

However, if you have it, a cyclocross bike seems almost tailor-made for these roads.

Bubble Pond is a great starting point to jump right on the carriage trails for either a run around Eagle Lake or for the start of a bike ride. When I arrived at 8am, I was the first person there, however, after a short nap (1 hour), the parking lot was full, so be prepared to have to drive further down the road for parking.

The carriage roads allow exploration of so many lakes and beautiful areas that aren't able to be viewed by car.

Such as this falls here which is one of many on the island.

The path is wide and lined with trees, but watch out for all the pine needles on the road during steep descents.

Much of the roadway is nice, short, steady climbs leading to amazing mountaintop-esque views followed by descents best taken carefully.

The ocean is almost always visible in the distance.

Signs help keep you from getting lost, but having a map, or even better, a gps (phone), is a must.
Wait a sec... Around Mtn? But, I want to go UP Mtn!

For a short, easy route, Jordan Pond here is right next to Eagle Lake allowing a figure 8 to be done around each following a fairly easy path.

All in all, biking Acadia is definitely the way to go. One of the coolest rides I've done, and for most of it, I was all alone, undisturbed, as I climbed and descended around and around the various forested areas of the park. Of note though; the trails at the very bottom of the park leading out to the ocean, are all private and are off limits to bikes. So be very careful NOT to travel on them. They are easy to spot as they are all soft grass and very narrow. And also perfect for a cyclocross bike... The people on their high horses were not happy...

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