Maine – Day 5: Sunrise atop a Mountain, Hiking, and an Old Friend

brittanyannswanson@gmail.com   September 19, 2015   Comments Off on Maine – Day 5: Sunrise atop a Mountain, Hiking, and an Old Friend

So pretty much everyone I talked to said I HAD to go to the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park to see the sunrise while I was in Maine. So, despite the fact that I stayed up way too late and would have to get up at 3:30 a.m. to make the drive from my Couchsurfing host's place, I decided to check it out. After all, I was told it's the first place to see the sunrise in the whole country, which is pretty freaking sweet. Though, according to the Acadia National Park  Cadillac Mountain website, that's only true from October 7- March 6. Oh, well, it was still pretty awesome.

I was so exhausted from my lack of sleep I nearly dozed off as the sun came up. After I sat for a while and enjoyed the view I decided I'd better go take a nap before it got too hot outside. It was only like 6:40 a.m. so the Visitor Center for the Park wasn't open yet and I really had to pee. I had passed a Walmart on my way in, so I decided to head back that way, get some food for the hiking I would do, use the restroom, take a nap, and then come back when the Visitor Center was open to get my park pass and continue my day.

When I work up from my nap I went to McDonalds to use the internet . I ended up being pretty productive, minus not being in the mood to write the previous day's blog post because I was too excited about the present day. I learned that there's a National Parks Interagency Annual Park Pass for only $80. The pass is a total steal since it will give me entry into all the National Parks and it would've cost me $25 just to get into Acadia for a week! Score!

I chose to start my Acadian adventure near Sand Beach and then wander down toward Thunder Cove. A walk along the Ocean Trail with some detours onto the cliffs provided some pretty spectacular views:

View from Ocean Trail looking toward Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, ME.

View from Ocean Trail looking toward Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, ME.

Thunder Cove turned out to be a bust. Thunder Cove is supposed to be a place where it sounds like thunder when the tide comes in (or goes out? I'm not really sure). There were a ton of people there and the tide wasn't right for it to be making any cool thunder sounds so I just kept walking. I walked along Ocean Trail until I reached Otter Cliff. There I had a snack, read some of The Alchemist, and watched some people rock climb. Then I headed back along the Ocean Trail to the Gorham Mountain Trailhead. Along the Gorham Mountain Trail I opted for the 15-20 minute Cadillac Cliffs Trail detour, which is basically a boulder scramble, and was awesome. The summit of Gorham Mountain is only 525' but it still offered some pretty stellar views. 

View towards the rest of Acadia from Gorham Mountain Summit.

View towards the rest of Acadia from Gorham Mountain Summit.

Once I hiked back down Gorham Mountain I seriously considered going swimming at Sand Beach to cool off. I even got as far as getting my swimsuit on before I talked myself out of it. I kept thinking about how cold the water was the day before and I just couldn't bring myself to do it again. So I rinsed off in the sink to cool down and then headed to my next and final stop for the day. 

I don't know what you know about Paul Bunyan, but to me he's kind of a legend from my childhood. Having grown up in Minnesota, I heard all about Paul Bunyan. Supposedly, he was born in Minnesota and the gist (from what I remember) is: Paul Bunyan was a giant lumberjack who felled trees all across America. He dropped and dragged his axe and that's how the Grand Canyon was formed, something along similar lines is also how the Great Lakes and all Minnesota's more than 10,000 lakes came to be. Or so I gathered as a child. I'm not really clear on how/why he did these things.

As a child, I'd been to the Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues in Bemidji, MN and so, for no other reason than nostalgia, Paul Bunyan holds a special place in my heart. Thus, upon learning Bangor, ME has their very own Paul Bunyan statue I had to check it out. Their statue is a little creepier looking than the one I remember, but nonetheless pretty cool and made me happy.

Semi-unintentional photo of Paul Bunyan standing on my head in an attempt to take a selfie sans a selfie stick.

Semi-unintentional photo of Paul Bunyan standing on my head in an attempt to take a selfie sans a selfie stick.

From watching the sunrise over the ocean and seeing stellar views of Acadia National Park to hiking up a mountain and visiting an old childhood friend, Day 5 in Maine was pretty solid.