Lighthouses, Sand Bars and Sunsets


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North America » United States » Maine » Bar Harbor
September 16th 2013
Published: July 7th 2017
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Geo: 44.3875, -68.2044

Today started out as another cold and drizzly morning. I did not have any real plans and decided to head to the southwest portion of Acadia and the Bass Harbor Heat Lighthouse. This lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard and has a family living at it. This means you have to stick to the path and observe all the signs about private property. The light probably isn't something you would need to go out of your way to see, but there are other walking trails in this portion of the park. I started on the Ship Harbor walk, but the sign a little ways in said "Now entering the back country" and had no indication of how long the trail was. Being by myself, I turned around as I was not prepared for back country hiking! You do drive across a natural seawall if you enter off route 102A and it is a very pretty area and probably a nice place to watch the sunrise.

I went back to the visitor center parking, took the bus to Jordan Pond, did some shopping and then headed into Bar Harbor. By then it was a little sunny and not too cold for walking around. I had lunch at a place called Testa's. The people at the table across from me all ordered the lobster and it was fun to watch them attempt to eat it. I had the fish sandwich and it was ok. After lunch, I decided to walk across the sandbar to Bar Island. The safe times of the day were from 12:30 – 4:30. If you don't come back by 4:30 then I guess you are stuck there until the next low tide which is probably the next day! There are lots of small puddles of water on the sandbar, but mostly empty shells and snails. I was looking for something exciting like a starfish or sea urchin or small whale, but nothing. I think a more rocky shore area would be better for that. The sandbar itself is quite wide and you end up with a lot of area to yourself. The guy at the information booth said there were some hiking trails on the island, but I did not make it all the way there to check them out. I wanted to walk on the shore path while it was still nice out. This is a one mile gravel path that begins just off the pier by a restaurant called the Reading Room. There are several large houses along the path, which are mostly hidden with fences and shrubs.

At this point, the wind picked up considerably and the temperature dropped. I decided it was time to head back to the Village Green to catch a bus back to the Visitor Center and my warm car! I checked in with the helpful staff at the information desk about the best place to view the sunset. The lady recommended the lookout just before the summit of Cadillac Mountain. We both hoped it would clear up!

I made a brief stop at the hotel and picked up a small pizza and made my way to the overlook. Sunset was scheduled for 6:41 and I arrived at 6. There weren't many cars in the parking lot and most of those cars still had their occupants inside. I found out why when I stepped out of the car and into the biting wind. According to my car, the outside temperature was 52, but it felt a lot colder! I sat in the car until about 6:20 when I headed out to find a good spot on the rocks. There were a lot of people with their fancy tripods and filters and also people there with just their cell phones. Everyone was snapping away as the sun slowly sank towards the horizon. It moved very slowly until the last few seconds when it quickly sank out of sight. I was hoping for a more vivid color display but what I saw was nothing to sneeze at. It took a bit to warm up after and then I joined all the others on the descent down the mountain. Cadillac is also the place to be in the morning when the sunrises, but I am not going to do that tomorrow. Temps overnight are supposed to get down into the mid-30s and sunrise will be a lot colder than sunset!

As I get ready to leave Acadia, I would like to point out how clean the park is, how efficient the Island Explorer shuttle service is and how friendly everyone is. Signs in the park were very clear and pull offs were plentiful. I highly recommend utilizing the shuttle service and visiting opposite the busy months of July and August. I also recommend taking the time to slow down and enjoy all the beautiful hiking trails and amazing scenery that makes up Acadia National Park!

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