A Date with Acadia National Park: Biking, The Beehive & Bass Harbor Lighthouse
Acadia National Park is an outdoor-lovers paradise. As I mentioned in my previous post, Dan and I recently escaped to the town of Bar Harbor for the weekend and dedicated the majority of our daylight hours to rolling, paddling and treading through the forested reserve, just outside of town. As a new ambassador to Backpacks.com, I used the opportunity to test drive the Osprey Anthracite 34 as a daypack and weekender. I toured Southeast Asia with a larger Osprey so I knew I was in good hands with the brand but was excited to take advantage of the Athracite 34’s portability and added amenities, not present in the larger trekking bags. For the flight up to Maine I stowed my laptop easily in the laptop sleeve, my clunky DSLR in the main compartment and utilized the smaller zippered compartments for my phone and wallet. With it’s modest size, it made for the perfect supplement to my standard carry-on luggage with space for everything I needed.
With a our time limited to a weekend, we rose at a yawn-worthy 6AM on Saturday in order to make the most of our full day. After a brief breakfast and cup of joe we made the short 10 minute drive from our hotel, Bar Harbor Grand Hotel (which I’d highly recommend!), and arrived at the Beehive trailhead. Beehive, or Beehive Cliffs Trail, is an intense one mile hike famed for its views and strenuous rock scramble.
Initially the trail required nothing more than sure footing through a rock-littered forest floor. Within 20 minutes though we found ourselves looking up at a steep rock-face that quickly offered some level of anxiety. The first hurdle was a jungle gym-like combination of rungs and rails, which elevated us above the tree canopy. On the rock face, the narrow path continued, seemingly skirting along the cliff edge. A remarkable view of the Sand Beach peninsula and the choppy Atlantic served as the backdrop.
(Sorry, low-quality iPhone shot here! There’s no question, I would’ve dropped my DSLR off that cliff.)
After working up a bit of confidence, we navigated the ledge and ascended further. At the top, as promised, the views delivered. From the pack we unloaded snacks and water and toyed with the idea of buying a summerhouse in Maine.
By the time we completed the trek, put our toes in the sea at Sand Beach, and meandered back to the car, it was nearly 10AM. From there we drove to the southeast peninsula to scope out Bass Harbor Lighthouse. Sure, I get the public’s general fascination with Lighthouses but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my main draw for the stop was to capture my own version of the famous landmark. Instead of visiting the lighthouse itself, we exited the far end of the parking lot and followed a short trail through the forest down to the coast. From there the view looking back at the shoreline and lighthouse quickly explains why it shot is the poster child for Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island (the island in which Acadia and Bar Harbor are located). With the stark contrast of the white lighthouse with the deep green forest and rocky coast plus the near-perfect display of the rule of thirds, it’s a sure-fire win.
(the beautiful little seaside path down to the lighthouse shot)
(having an awful day)
The afternoon involved a bike ride from Bar Harbor to Jordan Pond (another photography-driven destination) via Rockefeller’s rolling carriage trails. By the time evening rolled along we were famished and found ourselves knee-deep in tasty fish tacos at Finback Ale House. For some, this kind of sweaty dirty day isn’t their cup of weekend-getaway tea – not me though. As a whole, it was a perfect New England escape.
Throughout the day I used the bag as day back to store water, snacks, my DSLR, trailmaps, wallet and phone. The hip belt pockets ended up being perhaps my favorite feature – essentially a socially acceptable fanny pack, and were in the perfect location for grabbing my phone and snapping Instagram videos while biking (which thankfully didn’t result in any spills!).
- Favorite Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor Activities: Hiking Beehive, Visiting and Photographing Bass Harbor Lighthouse, & Biking the carriage trails to Jordan Pond (be sure to get a popover and blueberry crisp at the Jordan Pond House while you’re there!)
- I’m a new ambassador for backpacks.com which is super exciting since they have zillions of cool bags in their inventory for everything for every kind of journey, whether it be for conquering the Beehive or heading to class. Go check ’em out! 😉
Disclosure: I was given the Osprey bag seen throughout this post in exchange for an honest review – so that’s what you’ve got!