Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Road Junkies 0 Comments

MAINE COURSE, Chapter 5.
Day 6.  Acadia National Park

Cue Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins:
♪ The rain in Maine is giving us a pain. ♪
♪ The rain in Maine is driving us insane. ♪
♪ Here comes rain. ♪
♪ Rain again. ♪   
♪ Our pleas for sun in Maine have been in vain. ♪
♪ The rain in Maine will send us to a plane. ♪
♪ We've got rain. ♪
♪ Rain can't drain. ♪
♪ The rain in Maine, it has become our bane. ♪
Admittedly, that is a bit of an exaggeration.  We have had plenty of sunshine since we arrived in the Pine Tree State on Thursday.  But somehow our planning to visit Acadia National Park triggers rain on the day we want to visit,  Today was no exception.  When we awoke just before 6:30 and saw that another massive rain system would move into the area by 10:30, we scurried to get dressed and get to the park, hoping to make a few stops before the precipitation began.
Sand beach, Acadia National Park
Upon entering the park around 8 a.m., we started off on the loop road and shortly arrived at Sand Beach, one of the few cold-water shell-based sand beaches in the world, according to the interpretive sign.  Unlike Gulf coast beaches where the sugar white beach sand has a heavy quartz content, this sand's primary ingredient is broken shells.  Though the sand appears to have a uniformly buff color, a closer examination reveals a complex mix of organisms and colors.
A handful of "sand"
Next stop along the loop was Thunder Hole, a rock formation whose small cavern stirs up the right combination of wave action and air pressure to force sea spray high into the air.  Most active near high tide or during storms, the blowhole was pretty quiet when we were there.  But some flowers nearby offered a pleasing contrast to the stony shoreline.
Flowers in bloom near Thunder Hole
Just a short distance farther on the loop road brought us to Otter Cliffs.  Rising more than 100 feet above sea level, the pink granite cliffs jut dramatically into the ocean and take a constant pounding from the crashing waves.  Adjacent to the loop road, Ocean Path at the top of the cliffs affords beautiful views of the dramatic scenery.

Otter Cliffs
By the time we hiked the Ocean Path a ways and returned to the car, the plump gray clouds were drooping lower as we stopped briefly at Jordan Pond.  With a drizzly wind blowing, we decided against a hike around the lake and moved on to Cadillac Mountain.  As we expected, the fog had enshrouded the mountain and the scenic lookouts offered up little to see but mist, though we did find a letterbox on the way back down.

Still too early for lunch, we decided to look for a few letterboxes hidden at Brookside Cemetery in tiny Somesville, the earliest village settled on Mt. Desert Island.  The cemetery was exactly what the name implies, a lushly green setting, generously shaded by stately trees, with a crystal clear brook cascading by its southern boundary.

Brookside Cemetery
As often happens, the clues for one of the letterboxes told an interesting story.  This one was about the alewife, a type of herring that migrates from the Atlantic into the freshwater Somes Pond near the cemetery to spawn.  The letterbox was hidden near a fish ladder installed to help the alewives transition from the swiftly moving brook into the pond.

Fish ladder
Light rain was falling most of the time we were in the cemetery.  Looking for letterboxes during a shower, we don't mind; hiking on granite trails, we'll wait for better weather.  With a steady downpour by the time we returned to Bar Harbor, we stopped for lunch at Side Street Cafe again.  Despite the fact that the restaurant was extremely busy, the food and service were both quite good.

Rain drove us back to the hotel this afternoon, where we did a little planning, hit the laundry room and relaxed.  After three days of soggy Acadia, tomorrow we're moving on to Augusta to check out the Maine State Capitol.
Ocean Path at Otter Cliffs
Brookside Cemetery had some gorgeously detailed cast iron monuments.