Weekend Adventures – Acadia National Park (in winter!)

Recent months have found me quite busy with work, life, and preparing for and going on a few epic adventures, so I have been neglecting my blog. Now that some of the craziness has died down (just got back from a trip that I can’t wait to share!), I have a bit more time to sit down and document these adventures. To get started, I’d like to share a weekend adventure Mike and I took back in February (I know, this was so long ago). What better time than halfway through spring to share a winter adventure!?

At the end of last year, I decided that I wanted to start enjoying more outdoor activities, even in the winter time. Why stop enjoying the outdoors just because it is cold and there is snow on the ground? With the proper equipment and knowledge, you can have just as much fun outdoors on a winter day as you can at the height of summer! So I checked out almost every winter outdoor book my local library had and got to reading. I also started reading a few blog posts about outdoor winter activities and stumbled upon this article about visiting Acadia National Park in the winter time. I was sold before I even finished the article. I booked a hotel room within the same day.

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Our timing was about a week off, because the weekend we were there it was sunny, in the 40s-50s and the prior week had been warm. So by the time we got up to Acadia, a lot of the snow had already melted. However, there was still plenty to keep us busy and we had a lot of fun exploring the nearly empty park.

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An empty Park Loop Road – which is typically swarmed with vehicles in the summer months

We drove up on a Friday night after work, getting to our hotel just outside of Bar Harbor pretty late at night. We woke up the next day to a thick fog and decided to wander around Bar Harbor before entering the park in order to allow some of the fog to burn off. I should mention that almost everything in Bar Harbor closes during the winter, and it essentially becomes a ghost town. It was pretty cool to experience it without the swarm of summer tourists.

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A foggy morning in Bar Harbor, ME

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This is one of the busiest roads in the summertime

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After a few hours of wandering Bar Harbor, finding a cute cafe (Choco Latte) that was open and playing a game of chess, we continued on into Acadia National Park and drove the part of the Park Loop Road that remains open in the winter (most of it is closed in the off-season). Fortunately, the part that remains open has a lot of the iconic sites in the park, such as The Beehive, Sand Beach, and Thunder Hole (unfortunately we didn’t time the tide right, so it was a little underwhelming).

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Empty roads
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Schooner Head Overlook
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Sand Beach
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Snow on Sand Beach
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The Beehive as seen from Sand Beach
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Near Thunder Hole
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Along Park Loop Road

Once we had our fill of the sights along Park Loop Road, we strapped on our snowshoes and shoed around Jordan Pond, perhaps the most iconic pond in the park. Some parts of the trail actually had no snow, so we had to carry our snowshoes. Following snowshoe tracks from prior snowshoers, we found ourselves on the pond at one point. Luckily this was on the side that got less sunlight, so we didn’t fall in. The going got pretty tough at one point because the snow was getting soft and we found ourselves one hip deep when the snow gave out. It was still a lot of fun, and during the whole snowshoe, we only saw one other person out on the trail, so we basically had the pond to ourselves!

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Jordan Pond, covered in snow, with The Bubbles in the distance

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Along Jordan Pond Path
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Signs of wildlife!
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Cracks in the ice

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Carrying the snowshoes
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I found the sign comical because of all of the snow

We wrapped up the day by finding an open restaurant in Bar Harbor and grabbing dinner before heading back to the hotel. The following day, which was even warmer, we hiked Gorham Mountain, which I’ll tell you about in my next post. 🙂

We had a lot of fun exploring Acadia National Park in the offseason. It had such a different feel than the summer time, mostly because there are dramatically less people.  I do wish there was a little more snow when we were there so that we could have done some cross country skiing on the carriage roads (which are groomed by a volunteer group when there is enough snow), but you can’t control the weather! I hope to make it back to Acadia in the wintertime to continue exploring this great park when no one else is there!

Happy Adventuring!

XOXO Dri

 

 

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