Day 8 – Monday, June 11th
After having our first incident-free night in a tent, we woke up with a stronger sense of “we can do this!”. We packed up our campsite and headed towards our next campsite on Mt. Desert Island (the home of Acadia National Park).
In case you’re interested in purchasing a 12 person instant tent, here’s a video of me taking it down by myself. I was curious how long it would take.
Our intention was to arrive at our next campground a good bit earlier than we did at our previous two. However, we did have a couple of planned stops to break up the time on the road.
The first stop was supposed to be Owls Head State Park, to visit another lighthouse. We punched in the address on our GPS and off we went.
Things seemed a little fishy when we drove through Camden, Maine, which was supposed to be our second stop of the day. As we pulled in at Camden Hills State Park our GPS proudly announced, “You have arrived at Owls Head State Park!”
Good one GPS! You got us this time.
Nevertheless, (which is a triple compound word and also helps me segway into talking about Camden Hills) we went ahead and decided to drive up the Mt. Battie Road in the park. We were blessed with yet another beautiful day for taking in God’s creation.
Mt. Battie video: Mt. Battie summit
The boys particularly enjoyed going up in the Mt. Battie Observation Tower.
We ate a picnic lunch on top of the mountain and then set off for our next campground. After making a much needed grocery stop, we arrived at Smuggler’s Den Campground in Southwest Harbor, Maine.
We did find it kind of weird setting up our campsite while the sun was still out. One other thing I will say is we have really enjoyed having an electric skillet on this trip. So far we’ve made pizza, hamburger helper and pancakes. From what Shannon says, it is like night and day compared to using the hotplates for everything last summer.
Day 9 – Tuesday, June 12th
Our first full day on Mt. Desert Island was one of my most highly anticipated days of this trip. I was excited for this day back when we were still in the planning stages. Why, might you ask?
Acadia National Park!
According to National Geographic, Acadia was the 7th most visited national park in 2017. Behind only parks like Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain.
The first thing on our agenda was going to Thunder Hole. I had heard high tide was the best time to go. We checked the tide schedule and planned to be there just at the peak of high tide.
Well……it turns out high tide isn’t the best time to go. It’s actually better to be there a couple hours before high tide when the tide is still coming in. Don’t get me wrong. It was still very pretty. Just wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. Our plan is to come back tomorrow, a couple hours before high tide.
We spent the majority of the day on Park Loop road which winds it way through the most scenic areas of Acadia. After Thunder Hole we stopped at Jordan’s Pond for a picnic lunch. We found a neat spot on the rocks with a beautiful water view.
We drove the entire Park Loop road while the boys napped. We simply took in the scenery in absolute silence because, as I’ve mentioned before, you don’t mess with nap time.
Next we decided to make the drive up Cadillac Mountain. It’s height of 1,529 feet may not sound impressive, but the surrounding landscape being rock-covered mountains and the Atlantic Ocean makes for some breathtaking views.
We knew the forecast was for high winds this evening through the night. When we made it to the top of Cadillac Mountain the wind was intense! Here we are standing on the summit.
Summit video: Cadillac Mountain Summit
Here are some other pictures we took during the half mile summit trail.
The drive up and down the mountain was actually pretty mild. There were many places to pull over and take in the views. I took a video of our trip down the mountain. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Here’s the link: Drive Down Cadillac Mountain
After descending the mountain, we drove through the streets of Bar Harbor to get a preview of what tomorrow might hold. We then headed back to campsite for dinner and SMORES!!!
Day 10 – Wednesday, June 13th
Our morning started much earlier with us trying to catch the tide correctly at Thunder Hole. My goal was for us to be at Thunder Hole exactly 2 hours before high tide which was 10:55am. We made it there right around 9:00am. We still never experienced the “thunder” but the waves were more active and watching the them crash on the rocks was fun for all of us.
It really is difficult to describe how beautiful the landscape is in Acadia National Park. To give you an idea, here are some pictures from random pull-off spots that don’t necessarily feature places to visit.
After finishing at Thunder Hole we decided to drive up Cadillac mountain again just for the fun of it. Once again the weather cooperated and we took full advantage. We at a picnic lunch at the summit.
While the boys napped in the car, we stopped at Cooksey Drive Overlook just outside of Acadia. The view of the water wasn’t visible from the road. This is what I found after walking down a short trail.
From Cooksey we drove to the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse at the southern tip of Mt. Desert Island. We learned there is a United States Coast Guard family living at the lighthouse, which is why you aren’t able to go inside it. We settled for seeing it from the outside.
There was also a trail that lead down to the rocks where you could get a view of the lighthouse from below.
We took some time off from being in the van and hung out at the campsite for a while. Shortly after, we headed back out to see the sights of Bar Harbor.
We were able to walk the streets, visit the shops, eat dinner and grab some ice cream. It is a neat, touristy town with a nice main street section. Finding a parking spot can be a challenge, even on a Wednesday evening. I was able to perform my second parallel parking job of the trip. I felt just as uncomfortable doing it as I did the first time.
One last thing before we close out our time on Mt. Desert Island. I wanted to give you guys an update on our attempt to spot a license plate from all 50 states during our trip. Here’s how we’re looking so far:
We are missing eight. Arkansas and Nebraska are kind of surprising. Not surprising at all, we haven’t found Alaska or Hawaii. I’ll let you know if we find any others in the coming days.
We have completely enjoyed ourselves so far and are looking forward to traveling farther north and east through a few Canadian provinces.
Until the next adventure!!