This Tesla climbed Mount Washington

Never used the brakes!

In my forty years of visiting and living in New Hampshire, I’d never driven up the Auto Road to the top of Mount Washington – though the “This Car Climbed Mount Washington” bumper stickers are ubiquitous. Today was a beautiful day, though, and Pam indicated she’d never been to the top of Mount Washington… so we went. As we passed through the toll gate we noted the Tesla Model Y battery was at 50%. We wound our way up the mountain, on extremely narrow roads with no guardrails and steep drop-offs on one side or another. The views were stupendous, but allowable only to the passenger! We reached the summit parking area with battery at 35%; it thus takes 15% of the battery to climb the mountain. But we earned most of it back! read on.

Summit of Mount Washington, after a drive up the Autoroad.
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Mount Pierce and Mitzpah Hut

View of the Presidential Range from near the summit of Mt. Pierce, White Mountains.

Back in New Hampshire, I spent the weekend at the Mount Washington Hotel in the White Mountains – with perfect weather and a grand view of the Presidential Range. Pam joined me for the two-night stay. On Saturday morning the day broke cool and clear so I headed a few miles down the road to Crawford Notch and headed up the Crawford Path. This path is the oldest continuously used mountain trail in the United States, dating to 1819. There were few people on the trail this early in the morning (7am), but that would soon change. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

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Acadia – finale

There’s more!

Thus concludes four lovely days in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine. In my recent posts I have shared stories and photos from my hikes and other activities. But not everything fit, so let me share a final photo gallery – distinct from photos in the other galleries, it is a mixed bag of scenery, activity, and food :-). I especially like the video of Boulder Beach where, if you listen carefully, you can hear the boulders rolling in the surf as it recedes.

Mount Desert town historical site – the selectmens’ building.
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Boulder Beach sunrise

A stunning location.

Acadia is well-known for sunrise and sunset views. Indeed, many people vie for reservations to drive up Cadillac Mountain for sunrise, purportedly one of the earliest sunrise views in the U.S. because of its elevation and far-eastern position in the timezone. But for the same reason, sunrise here is remarkably early: every day this week it has been between 4:50am and 4:57am, and that is later than it was on the summer solstice a few weeks ago. I am not interested in sunrise from the peak – indeed, I find it far more interesting to photograph scenery illuminated by the golden rays of the sun than to photograph the sun itself. After some reading, I learned that Boulder Beach, on the eastern shore, is a great location. It’s also only 10 minutes drive from my hotel in Bar Harbor.

I’m an early riser. Still, when the alarm went off at 4:00am this morning, it was tough to drag myself out of bed and prepare for the day. Out in the parking lot I fired up my JetBoil camp stove to boil water for tea – no place is open this early! – and headed south in the growing twilight toward Otter Cliffs. I parked at a nearby picnic area and walked over to the beach, with 15 minutes to spare before sunrise, only to find three other tripod-rigged photographers already on scene. It was none other than John Putnam, of JK Photography, whom I’d met a couple of days ago in his gallery over in Southwest Harbor. He was out here with two clients, sharing his wisdom and tips for sunrise photography. I’d seen his photograph of sunrise at this spot, back in the gallery, and it is awe-inspiring.

I explored a few different shot locations and exposures. The sun rose through some clouds, so the cliffs illuminated a bit late, and the clouds behind them never quite lit up. But it was a fine morning and I’m pleased with the result. Wish I could try again and again. See the photo gallery for more.

Otter Cliffs from Boulder Beach at sunrise; Acadia National Park.

After the sunrise had faded, I walked closer to the cliffs to find a seal swimming toward me, curious; it bobbed for a moment, then dove away to find its breakfast.

Ok, now it’s 6:00am. It’s starting to rain. What else will the day bring?

Jordan Pond peaks and popovers

Two loop hikes separated by a popover and ice cream!

Thursday I had a full day with no real itinerary, so I decided to head to Jordan Pond and climb some of the peaks beside this lovely, deep, clear lake. Arriving at 8am was the trick – although filling fast, the parking lot still had a few spots. I strapped on my trusty pack and headed out for the first of two long loop hikes – with a sweet lunch stop in between. Read on.

Sargent Peak, seen from Penobscot Mountain. Acadia National Park.
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Thunder Hole

Crowds and crashing waves.

By now I had come to understand that I was not the only one reading the blogs and guidebooks, and thus not the only one who knew that Thunder Hole is best visited in the one or two hours before high tide. And, of course, there is usually only one high tide during daylight/waking hours… so it’s gonna be crowded. Indeed, every parking area up and down the coastal trail was nearly full – but I snagged a lucky spot and walked a kilometer along the trail to join the throngs at the famous Thunder Hole.

Thunder Hole; Acadia National Park.
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Champlain Mountain

My goal for Wednesday afternoon was to climb another one of Acadia’s ‘major’ peaks, Champlain Mountain, and finish in time to roll around the island to Thunder Hole before high tide. So, after a quick lunch in Bar Harbor – lobster & Brie cheese panini (gosh, they put lobster in everything here) I drove out in hopes of a parking spot. Amazingly, this trailhead seems little visited, and I was soon striding along the rocky ridgeline toward this eastern-most peak. It was a relatively easy hike – unlike some of the brutally steep trails I’d encounter elsewhere in the park – and the views were broad and luscious.

David enjoys the view of Frenchman Bay from the summit of Champlain Mountain, Acadia National Park.
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Bar Island

Only possible at low tide!

It was raining gently when I woke on Wednesday morning in Bar Harbor, so I took my laptop to a cozy café for a couple of hours of catching up with my photo editing. Two cups of chai later I was heading back out with my camera, thinking today would be a good time to trek over to Bar Island – which is only accessible at low tide, by walking across the wide sandbar that connects it to the shore in the town of Bar Harbor. (This sandbar gives Bar Harbor, and the town, its name.) Somehow I thought I was being clever in picking this walk on this gloomy day, but several hundred other people had the same idea.

People stream across the sandbar to Bar Island from Bar Harbor, Acadia.
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Cadillac Mountain

The highest peak on the east coast.

For Tuesday’s hike I aimed at the main attraction – Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in Acadia National Park (and the highest peak on the east coast!) [NPS] [Wikipedia].  Even though we were now clear of the July 4th holiday weekend, the park was still extremely crowded – every trailhead and parking area was packed to overflowing.  I drove the park’s one-way Loop Road past several full parking areas, and looped back around to make another pass.  Ahah!  I lucked into one freshly opened spot in a parking area designed for four cars – as a bonus, my spot was in the shade. Read on for the full story and check out the photo gallery.

View of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from near the summit of Cadillac Mountain.
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Acadia Mountain

It’s good to be back.

I pulled onto Mount Desert Island for the first time in nearly 30 years, eager to return to Acadia National Park. When we visited before, the weather was cold, cloudy, and drizzly. This week looks to be sunny and warm nearly every day, and I plan to make the most of it – hiking, exploring, and learning to use my new Canon R5 camera. For my first outing, I headed toward the western half of the island – as the NPS guide rightly advised me, the popular eastern side would be extremely crowded on this sunny national holiday.

Hikers enjoy the view of Somes Sound from summit of Acadia Mountain, Acadia.
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