mi / time / mph avg. / ft. climbing
Staying at Mount Desert Campground
The rain started at 6am, exactly as forecasted. Luckily the forecast had improved, and the afternoon was supposed to have a dry period before the rain returned again. It actually gave us a chance to “sleep in” in the tent for the first time ever, and we both seemed to do so for the next couple of hours despite the patter of rain on the tent.
The rain stopped in perfect time for us to get up and catch the first bus to Bar Harbor. There is a free bus service that runs several routes around the island, and it’s really helpful for touring cyclists wanting to visit the vast park without killing themselves on the hills, especially since it has a stop right at the campground.
We got a chance to wander a Bar Harbor packed with tourists from a cruise ship out in the bay, and I had a hard time discussing the day’s plan with Rett as she was continually distracted by things in the shop windows we passed.
We hopped onto another bus that would take us in the general direction of Jordan Pond, and the Jordan Pond House, a place I figured we could take shelter in for a while if needed. We got off a little earlier, at the Bubble Pond stop, and I figured we’d scout out which of the many routes we’d take to Jordan Pond. There was only one other couple at the trailhead, who had also taken the bus, and as we exchanged cameras for reciprocal portrait-taking, we found them so easy to talk with that we could have been stuck at the trailhead for another couple hours if no one had snapped us out of it.
Their names were John and Lauren. We ended up spending the whole day with each other, and it was excellent. On a “day off” at Kelly’s Island on our last tour, we similarly met a couple that we hit it off with, and the experience was just as unexpectedly valuable this time too. Rett and I probably do abnormally well spending 99% of our time exclusively with each other, but adding some other people to the mix is like adding a new spice to a recipe that you mistakenly thought you had perfected.
Rather than just winging it like us, John had wisely talked to a ranger about the best trails in wet conditions, so we happily followed them up the north ridge of Pemetic Mountain and down the south ridge. Though it never rained on us, the only view from the top was fog roiling over the ridge like that from a mountain-sized dryer vent. But it wasn’t a complete bust, as the fog lent its own beauty to the rocky woods on the way up and down. And at least it wasn’t raining!
We ate together at the National Park’s Jordan Pond House, famous for their tea and popovers. We went with blueberry lemonades instead, but let them railroad us into the popovers. Should have resisted, because $5 for a hollow hunk of dry bread is not exactly hiker food. Maybe if they filled the hole with cream cheese or something.
We decided to just hop the next bus back to Bar Harbor, resigned to the fact that we’d only get to see the mountains-and-lakes features of Acadia this time, and the ocean aspects would have to wait until our next visit. But at the last minute, I discovered the right bus connection that would allow us to see the salt water too. Which was especially lucky, since on this supposed rain-out day, the stupid sun was even coming out through the fog! This time John and Lauren decided to follow our lead, so we called our debts even. We probably could have spent a lot more time exploring all the nooks and crannies of the rocky Ocean Path, but just getting the overview was worth it. We ended up doing over 9 miles of hiking, sounds about normal for us on our “off” days.
We made it back to Bar Harbor, said our goodbyes, and Rett and I were back alone together to have a fairly fancy dinner at Blaze, followed by some delicious foodie-flavored ice cream. After nearly 12 hours away from our tent and bikes, the last bus running dropped us off and we navigated back to our campsite in the black night. Good thing Rett suggested to bring the headlamps 12 hours earlier!
It was well short of a perfect day at Acadia, but still quite a good one, and far better than what the previous day’s forecast predicted. We would have been fools to change our plans and shift dates around. So what is the point of all this weather technology in our pockets? Does it actually make things better, or does it just make us needlessly scared? Would we be better just dealing with whatever happens when it happens? We’ll see, I guess; tomorrow’s rain prediction is worse than today’s.