The weather is back to perfect – about 75 degrees and sunny with a gentle breeze. This is Maine to me, and I love it. We had an easy morning of reading and talking, with blueberries first and later eggs over easy for breakfast.
The Labor Day weekend starts today. That means big crowds – and we noticed the beginning influx of long weekenders yesterday. So we’re planning accordingly.
Acadia and Bar Harbor are becoming more and more popular. The newspaper said that the crowds for the July 4th weekend were the biggest the island ever had. I thought this area was something big when we first started coming. There were crowds, but nothing like other vacation places – and nothing like my childhood and young adult haunts of Wildwood and Avalon.
These past few years it’s been changing – at least for the weekends – even though this time of year is considered the beginning of “off season.” Maybe it’s because many of the cottages are willing to rent by the weekend instead of full-week-only rentals. So that encourages more weekenders.
Some year I’d like to stay long enough to see the fall changing of the leaves. It’s started already, but it’s one tree here and there. I’ve seen pix of the fall, and it looks like it could take your breath away.
Since we knew most of the Acadia hikes would be crowded, and parking at Jordan Pond House would be impossible, Joseph picked the Day Mountain Carriage Trail for today’s hike, which starts at the Wildwood Stables. It’s a big one for carriage rides and people on horseback. Not so much for hikers. The book isn’t very encouraging either – says it’s a “dusty trail” and not used much for just walking. But I don’t think it’s more or less dusty than any of the others.
It took us a long time to get there because, for some strange reason we missed the Acadia Park entrance. We ended up driving almost to Bar Harbor, got on the Park Loop Road at Sand Beach – 7 miles from the stables. Once on it, I was stunned by the traffic. I’m not sure I ever saw the loop road so crowded. The lot at Sand Beach was full, and there must have been a hundred cars parked on the road – maybe more – making the two-lanes-one-way road a single lane. Also, because it’s near Thunder Hole, the tour buses were also clogging up the road. It would have taken forever to drive the loop road with all the holiday weekend traffic.
We got off at Otter Point and back on the highway. It was only a few minutes to the entrance of the park, and a few minutes more to the stables. We were able to find a parking space, took a little time to add some sunscreen and we were on our way.
The trail is mostly uphill – 1.4 miles on the east side of the mountain. Not easy, but also not particularly hard with today’s weather – something several of the horseback riders who stopped to chat with us also commented on. And it’s very pleasant.
Joseph and I stopped at the halfway spot. The summit would have been another 1.5 miles up – and we weren’t up for doing it. It’s a great one for bikers, and we saw a lot of them.
So we sat on a boulder, ate some nuts and drank some water, and started back around the mountain. It’s downhill for the first half, but uphill for the second part. By the time we finished and headed back down to the stables, we were ready for dinner.
On our way home, we stopped in Northeast Harbor to get some dessert – carrot cake, macaroons, brownies – to add to our [what Joseph calls soul food] dinner of chili dip and fresh corn. Ollie was joining us and it’s always fun to chat with him. I warned him that it wasn’t a gourmet meal, but the point was getting together.
Still, Ollie loved the chili dip – cream cheese, topped with chili, topped with cheese and microwaved into one of the best kinds of comfort food, served with chips. Something he can make himself on a busy cottage weekend or a cold winter night. And, when I put out the dessert and he said carrot cake was his favorite, I was tickled.
We talked about Mt. Desert, the cottages, our experiences this past week, his new sweetie Gayle – who is coming in to visit soon – and different hikes. It was a good time!
Another good day!!
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Every year, for the last 19 years, I trek to Maine. Find out what keeps me returning year after year in The Maine Diaries.