Road Trip to Acadia: Part Two

So like I said last post, we cruised on in to the campground a little after 10:00 p.m.  So glad to finally be there, but now we had to SET UP THE CAMPER. We are still newbies; I’ve only backed the camper twice and both times it was not pretty.  Now we have to back the camper into our campsite, in the dark, QUIETLY.  Well, no way that was going to happen.

Strikes against quietly setting up:

  • Our minivan’s brakes sound like a humpback whale having  a baby every time you touch them when backing up. For real, ask any of our neighbors. I cringe every time I back out of the drive.
  • I needed someone yelling at me from behind the camper to know which way to turn the wheel. Darkness = you can’t see where you’re going. Not sure if you knew that.
  • Car doors closing. Not quiet.
  • Beepy noise the back hatch makes every time you open it. Not quiet.
  • Flashlights, headlamps and lanterns all over the place. Not loud, but not particularly restful for our VERY CLOSE neighbors either.

After trying for a bit to back the camper in and basically wrecking the job, we decided it would be quieter to just unhitch the camper and let Justin and the boys muscle it into place.  PC (the owner of the camper) had told me, “Don’t be a hero. This camper is light enough to move with just one person.” In fact, he had pushed it out of his garage by himself.  With that in mind, we unhitched.

OK, two problems with pushing it ourselves:

  1. It was pretty empty before, but now we had added a substantial amount of weight with suitcases, additional camping gear, food and water.
  2. Before we had pushed it on asphalt; now we were pushing it on soft forest ground which apparently had received rain that day. And where it wasn’t soft ground, there were rocks.

Poor Justin. I’m scouting out the site like a HGTV host, trying to figure out where to place the front elevation of the camper in order to maximize our forest views, and he just wants to be done.  He and the boys push it with Emma and I guiding. They stop and we confer. I ask him to swing the front of the camper 90 degrees so that when we walk out of the door, we’re not facing the road. He is doing his best to honor my ridiculous request (made even more ridiculous in light of day in the morning when we realize that this campsite affords no privacy or wooded views, even if he could spin that camper like a top)  while pointing out that the camper does not simply PIVOT. I press my case, but he (and the camper) won’t budge.  So we lower the feet, carefully leveling front and side and begin to set up. Emma points out that the sides of the camper will not be able to extend fully because we’re too close to a tree on the back.  Rookie mistake. Back up go the feet, back on goes the hitch wheel, and we shove the camper the necessary few feet for clearance.  By now we are all sweating profusely, completely OVER IT and I’m sure all of Loop A is either quietly cursing us or laughing hysterically in their tents.

Free of pesky trees, we begin again to lower the feet of the camper, again levelling. I am so, so thankful at this point that our kids are all basically adults as far as being able to help with the set up and they are behaving admirably, given the circumstances.  We raise the roof (insert hand emojis here), pull out the sides, get the door dropped and in place, and we cannot get the little shepherd hook poles inserted that keep the frames of the two end beds in place.  It takes us longer than I care to admit to realized that we had switched the poles, and one was shorter than the other. Finally it’s all done,  beds are made, and we can sleep. I had really wanted to try sleeping in my hammock, so I set it up in the dark. I thought it would be cooler and less cramped than sleeping in the camper. I stepped up on a boulder and sat back into the hammock. I’m still not sure what happened, but the next thing I knew, the hammock had flipped and I was face down in the dirt, thankfully not cracking my head on the huge rock next to me. What a way to end the day! I completely ripped the mosquito netting while trying to extricate myself from the tangled web of hammock, zippers and branches, which probably made me sadder than tumbling onto the ground. Done and over everything related to trying to live life adventurously, I crawled over my husband already snug in the bed in the camper and tried to sleep. It was a little after midnight.

Interesting fact: the sun comes up incredibly early in this part of the country. Sunrise was around 5:15 a.m. while we were visiting, but the sky begins to lighten oh, around 4:30 a.m. or so.  It is incredibly disorienting (and more than a bit disheartening if you’d gone to bed at 12 am) to wake at daylight, walk to the bathroom, check your watch and it’s not yet 5 a.m. If I ever visit again, I will be sure to bring a sleep mask. And stay at a hotel. JK camping, I still love you, but we nearly broke up that first night.


The next day we eventually rolled out, made the trek to the bathroom, and gradually became high-functioning human beings again.


The kids loved having their hammocks.



Justin loved his hammock also, but did more snoring than swinging in it.


Will went for a run, and then we decided to go explore. There was a short walk from our campground to an ocean overlook.


The morning light through the forest was particularly beautiful. The forests of Acadia are very mossy and green and without all of the messy underbrush of our South Carolina woods. Really lovely.


We found the overlook, and the kids immediately went about trying to scare me half to death by crawling over rocks and looking for places to fall and break their little bodies in two. I breathed a prayer and tried to focus on the beauty of the sea.


And it was very pretty.

I drove into Bar Harbor (about 20 minutes away) to buy groceries and ice. Later that day, we decided to go on a longer hike, and plotted a course to get down to the Ocean Path via the Quarry Path and the Otter Cove Trail.


Otter Cove was really lovely and peaceful. The hike was easy; just enough to stretch our legs and get out for a bit.


Acadia National Park does a GREAT job of maintaining their trails. I loved the little plank walkways.


Emma spotted a cute little snake.


When we got down to the Ocean Path, it was remarkable to see how quickly the landscape changes along the shore. Our family had a great time with the stones at the beach in this section. People had stacked the stones to make these cairns. I know cairns are a bit controversial on public lands, but I think they added some man-made sculptural beauty.

IMG_7318Sorry, natural purists.


Jack could have stayed here indefinitely; it was like a huge granite stone Lego table.


Emma and Will both took some great pictures.


And Justin took pictures of them taking pictures.


The water was cold, cold! We went back up to Ocean Path and walked up to Otter Cliff.


It looks like Emma is getting ready to shove off and into the water below!


Cute Jackyloo. He loves it when I call him that.

From Otter Cliff, we backtracked to Thunder Hole (a rock formation where the waves will boom like thunder when they hit the rocks just right, but that day it was just a gurgle). And finally made it to Sand Beach. Sand Beach is popular because it’s sandy, but where we come from, all of our beaches are sandy, so I’m afraid we didn’t appreciate it as much as other folks there.


I guess if most of your shoreline looks like this, you’re pretty excited to see some sand.


At Sand Beach, we waited for the Island Explorer to pick us up and take us back to our campground. The Island Explorer is a shuttle that runs all around the island, and it’s a great free service funded by L.L. Bean (one more reason to love that company). We hopped on and were back at the campground soon, just in time for s’mores and a campfire before headed to bed.


A good first day in Maine!


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