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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

National Parks

Hiking is one of my favorite cross training activities and visiting all of the national parks has always been a dream of mine.   But boy is the list long......

When a boyfriend at the time (now married like the rest of them, yes you can call me the female version of good luck chuck..) invited me to go spend the week with him and his parents in Jackson Hole WY, I packed my bean boots and headed to the mid west.

Packing for a ski vacation is quite tedious... especially when it requires four planes and traveling up and down the country because your plane is broken.....

The week was a blast and I only endured one threat of being sent home.  I learned to ski moguls, cried on a black diamond off the gondola, snowmobiled in yellowstone, talked with some cowboys, had a great time with some great people, and even hit a tree skiing.  One of the highlights was checking off National park number 1 - Yellowstone Park.

When one of my good friends Courtney brought up the idea of hiking Acadia, I couldn't say no.

We picked a date in September, invited our boyfriends, and took the time off work.  When September rolled around..... the boyfriends bailed.  At 24 and 25 we decided we were independent enough to try and endure the 7 hour car ride and challenges of hiking and camping with just us girls (and our two annoying pooches).  It was a great experience to be banished to a world of no cell phone service, far away from family and friends, enjoying the beautiful scenery and learning to be self sufficient.

We packed up Thatcher's Subaru and at 5am Friday morning we were headed North.  A few stops and a lot of scanning on the radio (and 8 hours later) we finally made it to our campground (Acadia is still 3.5 hours past Portland, Maine.... its far).   We managed to set up camp and proceeded to head into Bar Harbor to spend some cash and walk the dogs

Beautiful Bar Harbor, ME

 After buying countless souvenirs and taking 200 pictures, we returned to camp to start a fire and cook up some dinner.  Now let me stop to say yes, we set up camp (tent!), started a fire, and made dinner all on our own.  No one got food poisoning or lit themselves on fire.

Night 1: Bubba Burgers and Garlic Potatoes
Night 2:  Chicken and Veggie skewers with a salad

We sat in the dark, writing out postcards by headlamps, and called it a night at 8:30.... when did camping get so boring?  I guess when its just two girls a tent and two dogs you have to make your own fun.

We even found these nifty plastic wine glasses

 We woke up early and spent the day hiking and navigating the AMAZINGNESS that is Acadia National Park and we only got lost once- it was a miracle.  Our navigational skills leave a lot to be desired and we ended up coming down the wrong trail.  We climbed two different peaks (1,000ft and 500ft) and took in the views.  The hiking was quite rough, not the nice dirt trails we are used to here.... we spent a lot of time scaling rocks and walking along an occasional ledge or two... not much fun when you are terrified of cliffs/heights.

Top of one of the peaks 

Top of Cadillac Mountain

We decided to go to bed even earlier this night ( I think it was like 7:30 we crawled into our tent after a failed attempt to find boys to drink with us- when did camping become an old persons hobby?) 
so we could wake up early to watch the sunrise over Cadillac Mountain.  5am we grabbed the dogs,  champagne, OJ, cameras, and sleeping bag and watched the sun pop over the skyline at 6:15, enjoying our last hours in Maine and catching a buzz before 7am.

The drive home was slightly torturous, and holy cow does Maine like their bible thumping music (never set your radio on scan in Maine, just buy an Ipod connector thing).   On our way to Mt Desert we drove up Rte 1 and avoided the highway.  DEFINITELY the way to go.  Taking the highway back was a mistake that no amount of redbull could mend.  We made a pit stop in Portland ME because I was not leaving Maine without a lobster roll in my belly.  After some intensive research on the best lobster roll in Portland we settled for Portland Lobster CO where I had the most disappointing lobster roll of my life after a 40 minute wait.  Oh well bad lobster rolls are better than on lobster rolls.....and Dogfish Pumpkin beer can wash down just about anything.

We made it home around 5 and I immediately showered off the 3 days of grime.  I refused to unpack and sat on the couch for 2 minutes before my ADD kicked in and I decided to bake an apple pie and soak in the last bits of my weekend. 

 Why am I so weird ?  Who starts dicing apples after a long weekend and spending 7 hours in the car?

All in all....Acadia was breathtaking, the hiking was a challenge, I have a pie, and I am so excited to cross another national park off my list  (and I really need to go for a run...) 

Where is next?  
 I am thinking Badlands National Park ...


  1. Very beautiful photos! Yellowstone is the place to be whether you are planning for a summer vacation, guided hiking or tours and camping on your own.

  2. I need to try Yellowstone in the summer! I was there in January so while it was gorgeous, we missed out on a lot of the sights. I heard it is SUPER packed and a little crazy in the summer, did you feel overwhelmed by the crowds?


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