“Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As often as you can. Sometimes ALONE.” – Unknown Author
I knew Acadia National Park, Maine was far. Very far. That’s why I hadn’t made it up there in the past 3 years living in New England. So when I decided to finally go hike it for a week, I knew I had to properly plan my road trip getting there. Long drives don’t need to be boring, or exhausting, or a burden. They just need to be properly planned, with plenty of stops on the way for coffee, surfing, sight seeing, hiking, and bio breaks 🙂
I prefer to wake up really early for trips, pack everything the night before, and just get ready and go in the morning. “Prefer” being the keyword. Truth be told I love sleeping in. But I also love dawn patrol (read surfing at sunrise). It is a very special feeling on the East Coast to be in the water when the first rays of sun hit its surface. So having in mind that I was driving up north and passing by York, ME, I had to stop by Long Sands Beach for sunrise and a quick surf session. Oh how I hated my alarm at 4am…but not as much as I loved myself at 8am when I was out of the water all blissed out, salty and wet, and pleasantly awake in the gentlest possible way.
Next stop: coffee! I had been to Boothbay Harbor, ME in 2005 when I worked on a sailboat at a regatta there. I remember it being a cute little coastal town so I decided to stop and revisit it on my way up to Acadia. I did my research in advance on coffee shops and Red Cup Coffeehouse came up as everyone’s favorite on Yelp. Now I don’t blindly trust Yelp at all times, I do pretty intense and detailed research of the places I want to visit when I travel, I check TripAdvisor as well as the Local Patch/newspaper if one is available. All sources pointed to the same favorite, so Red Cup it was. They have awesome drinks and yummy food, great art on the walls and coffee table books to peruse. I may have had a second coffee on the way back to the car…for “on the road” ya know.
Iced coffee in hand I was ready to explore the town. I checked out a few super cool galleries – one of them had incredible glass works of the ocean floor as well as very colorful illustrations of flowers. If I had a house I would have loved to purchase one of them. I walked into a couple of shops to see locally made goods and of course smell the candles and soaps (#ihaveasoapproblem). I crossed the pedestrian wooden bridge over the harbor, took pictures of colorful kayaks, admired a couple of gardens with wild and not so wild flowers and after an hour or so in town was back on my way.
A friend of mine recommended I stop in Camden, ME and hike Camden Hills State Park. She had enjoyed tremendously the view from the summit and so did I. What she forgot to mention before I left is that she drove all the way up, while not knowing that was even an option I chose the steepest but shortest trail and I hiked up. (Ah, Dawn, I still love you my dear!) I took Mt Megunticook trail to test the legs and make sure they still work before putting them thru a week of hiking. The trail is more of a 30min walk in the woods than a real hike. Ocean’s Lookout lives up to its name and offers a beautiful scenic overlook of the harbor below. I battled strong wind gusts and after a number of failed attempts achieved a crooked tree yoga pose for a picture. Because Laura of Backcountry Yoga has taught me to always do yoga on mountain tops when given the chance 🙂
Last stop was finally Acadia. Arrived in Bar Harbor after 8pm, inn had almost closed by the time I checked in. I’m famous for planning too many things in one day, being outdoors for the longest hours ever, and exhausting my travel companions. And no, I never have food, but I always carry extra water. Trust me, you won’t starve to death, we live in the US after all 🙂
First impression driving onto Mount Desert Island (MDI) was the amazing sunset behind me and the raw, rugged landscape of pine trees, angry ocean water, and cliffs. I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest / British Columbia but that’s what I imagine it looks like!
And here is a famous outtake: my travel buddy performing a detailed bed bug check 🙂 When you travel a lot you know you MUST always check for bedbugs before you jump in the bed. You also check the hotel on a bedbug registry online to make sure they haven’t had any incidents reported at least in the last one year, preferably ever.
Oh well, that was supposed to be a short blog…nevermind…hope you enjoyed it!