Switchback Kids: Rainy Days inside Acadia National Park


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Usually when a camping trip combines nights in the 30s with multiple days of rain, it doesn't have a happy ending, but that wasn’t the case for the Switchback Kids. The adventurous couple with ambitions to visit all 59 US National Parks is back with another trip update. Despite facing bad weather, their visit to Maine's Acadia National Park was a beautiful experience. Below are Cole’s words about their exciting adventure in the Pine Tree State.

1. Park loop road

Appropriately, our first activity at Acadia was to use our fēnix 3 to determine the sunrise time and get the first peek of the sun in the U.S. from atop Cadillac Mountain. Our first hike was the precarious Precipice Trail and we were instantly blown away. The views of mountains meeting the ocean and fall colors covering the islands were incredible. Plus, the cliff ledge traverses and rock scrambles with metal rungs made the climb to the top more than exhilarating. My fēnix 3 told me we had climbed 850 feet in 1 mile. Our next stop was Schooner Head, where we walked along the rocky coast to discover a huge cave hollowed out by the surf. From there we hit park favorites like Sandy Beach where tons of people would gather in the summer to enjoy the parks only sand beach. But there was no chance anyone was getting in the water the day we were there! We continued strolling along the Ocean Trail to Thunder Hole. This is a unique hole in a coast-side cliff where, when the tide is just right, it sends spectacular plumes of water shooting into the air. Unfortunately when we stopped by it made little more than a gurgle. After climbing the final Beehive Trail, we wrapped up an incredible, but long, first day in Acadia. 

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2. Quiet side

The next day we navigated our way to the less-visited eastern side of the island. Having our nüvi was clutch in Acadia because there are separate areas of the park and the patchwork of windy roads is quite confusing. Once there we took the scenic Ship Harbor Trail out to the ocean edge where we explored dozens of tide pools in the hard coastal rock that were full of creatures and seaweeds. After lunch with an ocean view at Seawall Picnic Area we headed to Beech Mountain trailhead. Since Elizabeth was feeling like some reading relaxation time she cut me loose to climb up to the gorgeous views of Beech Mountain and check out the vast network of connecting trails beyond. I planned out my loop on the map and then used the GPS on my fēnix 3 to track my hike and make sure I got back to the car by the agreed on time. In 2.5 hours I ended up with an exhilarating 5.4-mile loop.

3. Bar Harbor

One afternoon we ventured into the quaint seaside town that neighbors the park called Bar Harbor. For lunch we ate a local favorite fresh from the sea – a genuine Maine Lobster Roll. Then we hiked a half-mile out to the park's Bar Island. We used our eTrex 35t to search for EarthCaches on the island (the park's natural equivalent to GeoCaches). The path is only possible for a 3-hour span around low tide when the sand bar appears, so our timing had to be perfect!

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4. Jordan Pond

For our final day at Acadia we saved the most popular are, Jordan Pond. We braved the rain for a little 3-mile loop around the edge of the picture-perfect pond and even opted for a 1-mile extension to climb one of the two mountains called The Bubbles. We also wandered down Jordan Stream Trail to scope out the island's famous cobblestone bridge and carriage roads from the days when Rockefeller Jr. Was preserving the park for his summer vacations. After all that walking, we rewarded ourselves with some of the Jordan Pond House Restaurant's famous popovers (airy croissant-type things). Our vívofit 2 read just over 22,000 steps.

Even though we had to fight the rain and cold of late-fall Maine, Acadia topped our list of gorgeous park scenery. Elizabeth has already fantasized about buying a vacation home on the island. And whether or not that happens, one thing I know for sure is that we will be back.

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The US National Parks attract outdoor adventurists from all over the world. The Switchback Kids will be experiencing most, if not all of them. Learn even more about their one-year adventure here and stay tuned for another post from Cole and Elizabeth in the following weeks. Don’t forget to share with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and use #HaveNoLimits.

The post Switchback Kids: Rainy Days inside Acadia National Park appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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