Nomadic Life – Week 16 – Acadia National Park

Nomadic Life – Week 16

A visitor waded across the stream to get a close up look at one of the Sea Caves in St. Martin. We watched him the cold water came up to his knee.

To start off our Nomadic Life – Week 16 adventure we drove to the St. Martin Sea Caves on the coast of New Brunswick. These are caves that have been carved out by the Bay of Fundy’s tidal flows. The spot has a swift creek flowing through it so even at low tide this makes the caves inaccessible for exploration unless you are willing to get wet or travel with hip waders.

Fundy Trail Park

Next, we happened upon the Fundy Trail Park to the North. We didn’t know this park existed. We saw a few overlooks listed on our hiking app and decided to check them out. The park has a few flower rocks. Its big draw, however, is a scenic drive along the cliffs, some of which was covered in the changing autumn colors which were really nice. My favorite was the Fuller Falls. The parks trail system in spots is very interesting. They have built ladder-like steps that are floating above the ground and attached via cables. Every few steps are anchored to the earth. It is an odd way to build a steep staircase, but it works for certain spots. If the park gets very popular I don’t see this solution working for large numbers of people.

The Reversing Falls

One of the many whirlpools formed during high tide at the Reversing Falls in St. John, New Brunswick.

We then headed south to the city of St. John to check out the Reversing Falls. This is yet another natural event shaped by the tidal flows of the Bay of Fundy. The river here is so large that it pushes back against the tides creating whirlpools. Apparently, the flow is so strong that sailboats can only pass between the two bodies of water at a perfect time between the high and low tide when the push of the two bodies of water is equal in force.

Back in the United States

This night we headed across the border and returned to the United States. The border crossing was uneventful and easy. The Canadian town of Saint Stephen runs right up to the St. Croix River and subsequently the border. On the other side of the border, we immediately found ourselves in the town of Calais, Maine. It was an odd feeling to pass between two countries but still feel like we were in the same town.

West Quoddy Head

The West Quoddy Head Lighthouse not only helps ships stay off the rocks it is the easternmost point in the United States of America.

The next morning we traveled to the easternmost point in the United States. West Quoddy Head is a small Peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and has a very iconic red and white, Where’s Waldo type striped, lighthouse. This is a very scenic spot and the state park that the lighthouse sits on looks like it would be a nice place to hike around. As it is mostly evergreen forest we took our leave quickly in search of more Autumn rich terrain.

On to Acadia National Park

The view of Acadia National Park’s Bubble Mountains across Jordan Pond.

We headed south, hugging the east coast of Maine as much as possible on a very scenic drive to Acadia National Park. We arrived in our countries first east coast park with enough time left in the day to hike around Jordan Pond and up the mountain known as South Bubble. I would highly recommend both activities when visiting the park, but know that the bubble trail while short is a steep ascent. We didn’t realize what we had gotten ourselves into until we were halfway up the mountainside. We had thought that “The Bubbles” would be a bubbling brook or something of that nature, not a steep mountaintop. For its part, the trail circling around Jordan Pond is very flat and easy.

First to the Sunrise

The next morning we did the one must do activity when anyone visits Acadia. We awoke way too early and drove up Cadillac Mountain in the dark to secure our spot for the sunrise. This is the first spot in the entire country to receive light from the sun each day. Those who venture here, and there are many who do, can say that they were the first to see the dawn of a new day. The views are also worth the trip.

When to arrive on Cadillac Mountain

As suggested by the park rangers we arrived nearly an hour and a half prior to dawn. There were people already on the mountaintop but we still had good choices for parking and setting up for the sunrise. The parking lot is located very near the top so the walkout is an easy stroll. By the time the sun finally rose the peak was packed and the parking lot was bursting with people who had parked along the road and in the bus lane. Since the buses don’t run this time of year I guess that is acceptable, but all that to say that if you plan a similar trip plan to arrive very early… It is worth it! The sunrise was gorgious. We were blessed with just enough clouds to give it interest without being obtrusive.

Jesup Trail

The Autumn colors in full swing on Jesup Trail in Acadia National Park.

After the sunrise, we traveled to the northeast of the park to hike the Jesup Trail. This is a short and very flat trail. Not the type of trail that we normally seek out, but this trail is covered in trees that turn all shades of yellow, orange and red this time of year. The forest here was set ablaze with the colors of Autumn and we timed it perfectly. This was a stunning Autumn hike. Perhaps one of the best we have ever found.

Cycling the Carriage Roads

The rest of the day was dedicated to exploring the famous carriage roads of Acadia. There are 57-miles of carriage roads on the main Desert Island. We choose to bike ride several sections within the heart of the park that took us on 20-miles of the trails. These are amazing scenic roads not available to motor vehicles. Along the way, we encountered hikers, fellow cyclists, and horse riders. However, it is astonishing how few people were on these amazing trails. The rest of the park teems with people. One ranger when I commented on the crowded nature of the park informed me that this, referring to the Autumn color change, was there busy season. Yet, on these famous wide and long Carriage roads painted in color by the Autumn leaves very few of the tourists could be found. I found this very odd.


In the afternoon the rains returned to the region and Jennifer and I sought out seafood in the town of Bay Harbor (Pronounced in the Maine dialect as Baa-Haba.) We found amazing seafood at a very reasonable price in the West Street Cafe. The lobster was on the menu in many forms as well as fresh fish and chowder. I love clam chowder and along with some calamari filled up. Jennifer had a seafood pasta full of lobster and other delicious seafood.

After our late lunch, we wondered about Bar Harbor poking our heads into many of there shops and marveled at the very reasonable prices. It seems like at the end of the season every shop was attempting to sell off its entire inventory prior before boarding up and heading south for the winter. We needed nothing and have no space in the camper so we enjoyed the simple nature of looking.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park is still in operation.

On Tuesday Morning we made our way to the southern side of Acadia to check out the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. We found the Bass Harbor campground still open. Not too many campgrounds remain open in the area despite this being Acadia’s busy season. It is very odd. Bass Harbor Campground had hot showers and what we thought was good internet (It was not) so we decided to set up here for a few days. Prior to settling in for the day, we hiked the Ship Harbor Trail out to the Ocean’s edge. We also visited the Seawall Area of the park. We then proceeded to struggle to work on the pour internet at the campground for the following day.

Acadia Mountain

The view from the top of Acadia Mountain is exceptional.

On Thursday morning we set out from the campground to climb Acadia Mountain to the north. This is a surprisingly rugged trail. It has little elevation gain compared to the mountains of Colorado, but the trail is very raw in its layout. It scrambles up bouldery obstacles in a narrow path on a loop to and from the top. The views from the top are stunning and well worth the effort, but we were in a hurry as this was a work day and we hadn’t allotted enough time for such a challenging trail.

A Cold Day for Work

The afternoon was spent in the camper working during howling 50-mph winds and biting cold temperatures. I can see now why many of the campgrounds are closed as I guess the proprietors figured the money wasn’t worth the risk of getting stuck in these kinds of conditions for the winter.

Friday was spent doing our chores and the work that allows us to live our nomadic life. It is hard to be such a gorgious place and have to do such necessary things. We are learning discipline as we all need time to rest.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. mark hyre says:

    great pictures and narrative.

  2. James says:

    Hi Jake, nice post. I love the shot from Acadia mountain and have to say I’m pretty jealous of the sheer variety of environments in the US. I love hiking and trekking here in the UK, we’ve plenty of routes. But sadly we don’t have vast ranges of mountains, deserts and everything in between.
    James recently posted…Which Is The Best Hiking App? Here’s My Top 5.My Profile

    1. NomadicMoments says:

      Thanks, James. We haven’t spent much time in the UK but hope to get there one day. There is just so much to see in North America.

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