As soon as the sun was up, so were we, albeit lazy about getting on the move; taking our time brushing our teeth, and packing up the car. We started the drive from Portland to Acadia National Park. We stopped in Bangor and had lunch at the Fork and Spoon, decided to walk up and down the main street and found a little spot that made some great coffee. We were very much taking our time, blessedly unaware of the camping enthusiasts we were about to meet. Being novice campers, we had no idea about seasons or timing, which places were better to camp than others, we just hit the road and hoped for the best.
When we arrived in Acadia, we did the same thing – fly by the seat of our pants! We drove through the town loving every minute, meandered through the gorgeous landscape of the park visitor center, and promptly discovered that like the Mountainous Central States, Maine brought a substantial camping base. Panicked, we hopped back in the car and drove back through town searching for an available campground,or vacant hotel. Checking our apps and making phone calls. Every. Single. One. Was. Full. As we crept further out of town, we found one with first come first serve rules. We combed the campground and claimed one of the last spots, of a campground with 150+ spaces. Joe backed in, and ran for the campground pay booth. I pitched the tent. Can’t say it’s yours, if it’s mine!
By the time Joe got back I had managed to have the entire tent standing. We decided to spend 2 days in Acadia, so, after setting up the tent for the night, we basked in the warmth of fading afternoon sunlight. Hunger had seeped its way in to our bellies, and we decided to try Garlic SPAM and wild rice. Sitting in our camp chairs, drinking Corn vodka from Smoky Quartz Distillery mixed with Lemonade, in our last moment campsite, we were very, very, happy. ….Waking up the next morning at 4:00am not prepared to go to a sunrise on a mountaintop, I was very not happy.
Acadia National Park is very famous for their photogenic mountain top – Cadillac Mountain. On a poorly executed whim, we stumbled amidst the darkness for a very long time, and then managed to get ourselves shoved into the car and off to the park… almost. Basically we made it to a tiny little cut out on the side of the road, a real nowhere place, and we opened our chairs and watched the sunrise. We watched the tide flow in, and we watched as another beautiful summer day began. Truth time – it did not feel like summer – it was cold! But, it was beautiful.
We watched the sun come all the way up, and we drove back to our campsite…. and went back to sleep! I know, I know! But it was just a little nap, and I needed it. Once we woke up we decided it was time for a legendary thing – Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast. An INCREDIBLE place that offered a seriously unreal gluten free menu, and a serious wait time. But honestly, the 45 minutes was worth it. They leave the pot of coffee in a warming pot on the table. And they believe in incredible food. Most importantly, this was my first ever Eggs Benedict. I left a true believer in the power of a perfectly poached egg and masterfully made cheese sauce. We split an order of massive fluffy pancakes and polished off a pot of coffee. After praising every person we could praise about our unbelievable breakfast, we made our way to Acadia to explore the park.
We traveled the park loop road and admired the unique spaces that were carved out as tourist attractions. We admired the sand beaches and the otter cliffs, and we climbed over some seriously craggy rocks to get to Thunder Hole. We then drove around and up to Cadillac Mountain, we had been on the fence about waking up the next morning for the “Real Acadia Sunrise” which happens on Cadillac, but after reaching the peak of the mountain, we knew we had to come back to see the sunrise. After taking in our fill of the beautiful landscape, we headed back down the mountain to go back to our campsite. It was at this point that we realized it was too hot to want to cook a hot dinner, and we were trying to be good about eating too many big meals in a day, after much deliberation, we settled on walking to a nearby ice cream shop, and having milkshakes for dinner. Adult Life. We spent the rest of the night sitting in our camp chairs, watching the fading light. Once the sun set we prepared for the next morning’s quick departure from the site, and went to sleep.
Our alarm went off, we got dressed, detached the tent, and set off. (Much more fluid compared to the morning before) We rolled through the quiet town and made our way to Cadillac. When we pulled into the parking lot, we were one of three cars. We pulled out our chairs, set up a spot, and waited. Time went on, people gathered, clumped, and blocked camera shots, so; we moved. And then we watched, and then more people came. They brought with them noise, and garbage, and general rudeness. In the stillness of this beautiful natural wonder, a thoughtless woman opted to play the Celine Dion Song from Titanic.
Now, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the stick in the mud, but I didn’t sit in a car for all these hundreds of miles to listen to your tinny, shitty, cell phone play a watered-down version of a love song while I’m watching the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness unfold before me. Thankfully, the song ended and we were spared an encore. Just in time for the sunrise to be over, and for daybreak to be official. In that moment, Joe and I turned around to see the sea of people who had gathered not so silently behind us. Scores of people in heavier coats and their folding chairs littered the mountain and were snapping pictures of the daybreak. When we made it to the parking lot it was overflowing and cars were lining the side of the road leading up to the lot. Grateful that we had prepared ourselves and gotten in early, we made our break for the bottom of the mountain. We opted for another nap before breaking down the tent and moving off to our next state.
While driving the country, you happen to see things. It’s an undeniable consequence of travel. However, while you’re traveling you’re hardly ready to see what you do sometimes. Case in point, traveling down a highway in New Hampshire, there were two boys driving a tractor, that contained two other boys, drinking from red solo cups, inside the scoop piece of the machinery. For a brief moment I was flabbergasted, but the “cheers” motion the 2 boys made in the scoop, made me raise an eyebrow and shrug my shoulders. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. We continued to Lincoln, New Hampshire where we opted to stay in the Franconia Notch for the night. Adorable little motel, that had a beautiful and peaceful river running through the back. It was going to be a torrential downpour, and we needed our energy for the adventures of the next morning. After all, it’s not every day you get to fly thought the air.