Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

On the quiet side of Mount Desert Island

Saturday July 27, 2013
Site 730 Narrows Too
Trenton, Maine



Today we do a few easy things on the West side of the island.

It’s a lovely day today, high 79 and low of 61.  I don’t think it could be more perfect. 


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During our two weeks at Blackwoods Campground in the park, we did mainly things on the East side of the island.  Since it is a week-end and likely to have even more people in the neighborhood of Bar Harbor, we think we will go over to the west side of Mount Desert (dessert) Island which is known as the quiet side.  There just aren’t as many people over there since the crowds tend to congregate along the park loop road and around Bar Harbor.

We begin by taking a look at the other “swimming” beach in the park.  This one is at Echo Lake where the water is at least a tad warmer.


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David thinks Changing Rooms are cool.  I haven’t seen those since the 50’s and I wonder if they are vestiges of the early days of the area at the turn of the 20th century. He reports that there is room enough in each for an entire family.





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It’s fairly early in the day and the temperatures haven’t warmed up beyond the low 70’s yet but people are still here.  They seem to have a rubber mat or something for you to walk out into Echo Lake on.  I’ve never seen that before.




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While we are here, we take a look at the trailheads for the Canada Cliff’s trail and for the Beech Cliffs trail.   The former has a warning sign about iron rungs and ladders.  We walk a short way on the latter which seems like a lovely trail we may return to hike.





Just a little further on down Route 102, we stop in at the Carroll Homestead.


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Interestingly it is only open on Thursdays during the season.  I would have thought a week-end day would bring more visitors.  So today we just look around the grounds but cannot go into the house.  I hope we’ll be able to come back some Thursday and see inside the house.

Four generations of the Carroll family lived in this house built by John Carroll, an Irish immigrant, in 1825.

There is a nice trail from the parking lot through the woods to the edge of the property where the rock wall fences still stand.

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After the Carroll Homestead, we continue on Route 102 and when 102A cuts off to the left we take it around to the Seawall Campground. 

This is the other Acadia National Park campground that we were to have spent two weeks in until we had the battery and charging problems. 

We drive into the campground and look around.  There are 4 loops.  Loop A is my favorite but it appears to be mainly small trailers, popups and tents although I think bigger rigs could get into many of the sites.  Loop B is very small and all tents or small pop ups.  Loop C is where the larger rigs up to 35’ are and we see several sites we like.  Loop D is walk in tenting and if I were still a tenter, it would be my hands down favorite. 

None of the sites have any hook ups just as in Blackwoods.  But there are nice bath houses although no showers.  Showers are available at private concessionaires just outside the park.  We do find that here, unlike Blackwoods, we can get a 1X with 2 or 3 bars signal on my Verizon smart phone.  I am able to bring up the blog, check the weather and make a phone call.  Good deal!   Perhaps we will return here to camp either yet this year or the next time we are in Acadia.  This is a place we really love.  

I should have taken a few pictures of the camp sites for those interested.  I’m sorry I was so busy checking my phone that I forget.



We continue on around the loop road to our next stop, a trail called Wonderland.


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This is a short hike of just over a half mile to the shore.  It is a wide level path that first goes through a mixed deciduous and coniferous woods and then through a grove of pitch pines before entering a tall strand of spruces along the seashore.  The path then encircles a small peninsula , on each side of which is a beautiful little cove with pebble beaches, cobblestone seawalls, and ledges of granite shelving into the sea. 






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It’s a short walk but I get very stuck on the beauty of it.  David comments that he wonders how the trail came to be called Wonderland.  It became very clear as we experienced this wonderland of rocks, waves, and tide pools.



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I really could sit and gaze at scenes like this for hours. 

Although along the shore even in July you’d better at least bring a long sleeve shirt most days as the breeze is chilly.


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The tide is coming in but we are here in time to see some of the beautiful tide pools. 


There are many of them, all different, all interesting.

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Look at how clear the water is.  What do you suppose he’s trying to see more closely??

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Even the clouds are fantastic.
It’s just a perfect day!

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It is extremely hard to leave Wonderland but we have one more stop we want to make before heading back. 


Only a little further along Route 102A is the ship Harbor Trail.  Another short one, only 1.1 miles, that takes us hours to do.  :-))


The Ship Harbor Trail begins with a walk down a beautifully wooded path which arrives at the harbor, a sheltered little cove that drains nearly dry at low tide..


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We are really hungry by this point.  Time to eat!


We go straight to the harbor looking for a picnic spot rather than do the trail first.

We aren’t able to visit at low tide “this time” but we find a ledge on the edge of the harbor that is a great place to have our lunch since it is well into the afternoon by the time we arrive.


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Here is our lunch view looking across the harbor to the mouth.  We’ll end up on that gravel spur at the end of the day.


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After lunch we go back to the trail and there are two choices for the loop trail, the low road to the right or the high road to the left. 

We choose to do the trail counter clockwise which turns out to be a great choice.   We climb up to the top of the ledges through a lovely conifer forest with teasing glimpses of the ocean below.


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We reach the pink granite ledges and OH Boy, here we are in another wonderland. 


Only this time the wind has picked up and the waves are a bit stronger.   I must admit, I would love to see these shores in a storm.   We’ve had a fair amount of rain, but never a real storm…..yet.


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I don’t know where to look next to keep up with the waves crashing in every direction.  It is just so fantastic.


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Finally I just take a front row seat beyond the spitting gallery and enjoy the show.


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Eventually we walk on down the length of the ledges and find a Thunder Hole competitor. 


We heard the boom before we figure out where it is coming from.    It’s over there somewhere.



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I’m looking back over my shoulder when David finds it.  Well actually we find two of them.   This is the first one.


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But this is the better one.  We watch the water roll in, hit the back of the small “cave”, make its booming noise and rush back out only to repeat.   We stay here for quite a while watching before I think to get David’s picture.  Of course as soon as I stand up and bring out my camera, the waves slack off and I am never able to get a picture of the real boomers.   But this will give you an idea of the placid water and then at least some minor wave action.   I could watch these things forever I think.   Just amazing.

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Evening is coming on.

We really must be starting back around to finish off the loop trail.  It takes us off the rocks and through the woods.


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We arrive back at the gravel bar at the harbor mouth.  Looking at the calm harbor waters, you would never guess the wave action out in the sea itself.


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We leave the point going up the stairs and take the central path back to our car.

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These two hikes, Wonderland and Ship’s Harbor are very deceptive.  They are shorter than nearly any other hike on Mount Desert Island but they are full of surprises and if you are like us, they will take you hours to do and you may never want to leave.


  1. I think these are my favorite pictures yet. Just gorgeous. What a perfect day.

    1. Perfect is just the word Annie. It really was.

  2. Short hikes that can take forever is right up my alley at this point in life. I enjoyed both of them.

    1. So glad you enjoyed them Judy. Thanks for the comment. I like hikes up to about 5 or 6 hours - now that's probably about 5 or 6 miles at the rate I hike. I'm so busy looking. But the ones by the water with crashing waves are for sure my favorites.

  3. well, we've already been here almost a week, and only just drove the Park Loop Road yesterday. . .we did drive up to Cadillac Mountain. . .the views were just great. . .I think we will hike the two trails you talked about in this post tomorrow and perhaps check out Schoodic Peninsula on Friday. . .our next door neighbor said that was just great.

    It's so easy when we know we are here for a month to just lay back and take it easy with the sightseeing. . .but then we end up scrambling trying to cover all the bases.

    I will definitely be going back over all your posts for ideas. . .thanks for sharing!

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

    1. Janice, Where are you? I'd like to contact you but I don't do Google+ for reasons I've mentioned here before. So I can't comment on your blog or find an email for you. Can you contact me at RVdreamlife@gmail.com Sherry

  4. oh man... it is amazing. that thunder hole sound ... the smells and he waves and the clear water and the skies and the rocks/boulders ... nothing like it

    This was my first encounter with paid showers. When the hosts told me where I had to go to take a shower ... I thought that was certainly inconvenient! THEN when I got there... I walked ... what? they charge by the minutes? I never timed myself for a shower but I only had enough change to do the 4 minute time. Walked outside to get more change but they were not there or can't remember... anyway! wet ... shampoo .. hurry hurry hurry... jumping jeez!

    You find that rice burger place? you never answer comments either so I'll never know. I asked before ... it is a stand alone little blue building with umbrellas and picnic tables out front. I figured I needed a wild rice burger. gooooood

    What a neat thing ... a rubber mat

    1. Hey Carolyn, I haven't answered comments because it has seemed to me that folks don't go back and look at blogs a second time. Perhaps that's because I usually post my blog right before I go to bed and if I'm up early for a hike like today, then by the time I get around to answering the comments it's the next afternoon. I sort of feel I'm lucky they comment in the first place. If I look at the number of page views and the number of comments there is a BIG difference. BUT I did want to say that I didn't find the rice burger place. I've seen some restaurants that meet the description. It is in downtown Bar Harbor?? Do you remember if it is one of the main streets or a back street? I'll have to look harder.

    2. Someone made a post about comments ... forget who it was but a lot of people were rather adamant about not EVER going back to read comments or answer comments. different strokes... ha

      I enjoy them ~ obviously from my blog ~ they can almost become another post. love it. For favorite blogs, I'll click on the subscribe to comments thing when I comment ... even on RVSue's who has a bazillion comments and she answers each one. I really enjoy that especially on a specific subject ... anyway... I'll enjoy them for a while then just click on unsubscribe.

      I can not remember about the burger stand ... it definitely was not in Bar Habor but on the way to Acadia ... I can just picture it. Seems there was a cuve to the right and this cute blue building with umbrellas was on the left advertising Wild Rice Burgers.

      Just loved it and chatted with the owners. A really nice friendly couple. They are in Palm Beach in the winters and spend summers there in Maine. He's a chef at a country club there. This little burger shack is his hobby/dream ... she said he invented this burger ... has a specialty there at the country club.

      I don't mind lurkers at all. I am intrigued by the page views. I have Firefox and set it to not track my own, so when I answer comments ~ it doesn't count. don't know why that's important but somehow it is...

      Be fun if you did find that little place ... this was in 2007 so wow 6 years ago. They bought the little place from another couple so the 'place' has been there for a very long time... maybe it's something different now. As I've said, I was heading back that way until I made the final decision to come back here and squeeze g'babies.

      speaking of! here comes Charlie now! yay

  5. I love to watch an angry sea in a storm. The only place I've ever seen it was in Ireland, and the power of water just amazes me. I would get nervous even hearing about rungs and ladders - that means the climb is too steep for me! I love the quiet side by your description of it.

    1. Hi Gypsy, I lived in Virginia Beach about a block from the ocean on the north end and I would go down to the sea wall when there was a storm and just sit and watch and get drenched. Loved it!! The quiet side of MDI is my favorite too and I'd like to stay there the next time I come either at Seawall in the park or one of the private campgrounds if I can stay long enough to get a decent rate.

  6. This was a super great blog. Don't know how much better it can get. I felt my self sitting there with you watching the water. I could smell the trees but............. I couldn't taste your little picnic lunch :( That was a sweet picture.

    1. Oh Betty you are so kind. I just love that you feel you are with me. I'm sorry I didn't describe lunch. There wasn't much to smell. PBJ, some sourdough pretzle nibblers, some carrots and fruit. Maybe you could smell the cherries if I described them well enough. :-))

  7. Those great pictures make us wish we were back there. Some of them are virtually identical the ones we took:)

    1. I guess great minds think alike or this place is so gorgeous that everyone takes enough pictures to have one of everything! Thank you so much for the compliment. I wish you were here too.

  8. I would sit on the rocks and watch the waves, too. I tend to take my time on walks near water.

    1. Hi Teri, as you can tell, we take our time on all our hikes. 1mph is about our rate and even less if I just sit around and watch the waves like I did today. Glad to hear you are a wave watcher too.

  9. Absolutely fantastic! What a day you had. You captured the area beautifully in your photos too.

    1. Thank you for the compliment Susan. I'm so glad you liked it. It was fantastic. I'm happy to have you coming along with me and commenting. Since I don't do google+ I'm afraid I can't comment back.

  10. That one big flat rock almost looked like a headless Manatee. Very different. Your pictures were just gorgeous. I could almost hear the waves crashing in as I looked at them. So peaceful and serene the sound of water leaves you with.

    1. Tammy so good to hear from you again! Thank you for the compliments. I am so glad you enjoyed the pictures. Any water anywhere is just where I want to be. Some is peaceful like the harbor. Some is exciting like the rock ledges but it is all simply wonderful.

  11. I can watch water for hours and still be as fascinated watching the last wave as I was the first.

    1. Me too Nancy. I could stay and sit for hours. David not so much so if I stay really long it's usually when he is busy with something else. Hug for Jack!

  12. I could watch the crashing waves forever.

    1. Sounds like a theme here Gaelyn. I must have a lot of water lovers as readers. I'm glad to have kindred spirits.

  13. Love, love, love to watch the water crashing on the rocks!!! We'll be checking out Wonderland and Ships Harbor more closely - NEXT TIME;o( We'll be watching to see what other new hikes you discover:o)

    1. Wish you could have been with us Nancy. We're missing you two.

  14. Yes, that sounds like something for us to check out next time... and there will be a next time. I love Acadia!

    1. I definitely think you'd like these hikes and I'd love to go again and again so if we're around when you are it's a date! I love Acadia too!!

  15. Those are our "go to" walks here...easy enough for Chelsea to do, and beautiful scenery. I'm glad you found them :-). But you didn't try the bakery in Southwest Harbor!

    1. I knew there was a reason we should have stopped in Southwest Harbor. We drove right through and took 102A to Seawall. Next time for sure. Thanks for the reminder Karen.

  16. We love finding the small hikes that have big surprises. George has a hard time with longer hikes, but there are a lot of less than a mile trails to explore :)

    1. Hey Laurie! Acadia has several short hikes that would be good for George. And many others where it is easy to walk a while, sit on a bench and walk some more like around Jordan Pond.

  17. We hope to be traveling through this area for the Fall colors in October. Haven't been to Mount Desert Island for many years. Your blog will give us some really good ideas and the photos are fantastic!

    1. Welcome to my blog Lynda. Thanks so much for the comment. I'm considering hanging around for the fall depending on the temperatures. I think it would be just beautiful. Thank you so much for the compliments. I'm glad you liked the post and hope to see you here often. As you've heard me say before, since I don't do google plus I can only read the blogs of folks whose commenters are limited to other google+ers so they don't know I'm reading. Wish it weren't that way but........well no one wants to hear me rant about google.

  18. Thanks for taking us to enjoy your beautiful day :)

  19. Your photos and hike descriptions really make us want to go back to Acadia and spend more time.

  20. Acadia is just full of gems for a nature lover and especially on a beautiful, sunny, blue sky day like we had. Made me wonder how all this beauty that exists in the absence of the hand of man can be just sold for development in almost every other place on the planet. I am deeply thankful for the vision of those early rusticators and wealthy land owners who thought everyone should have a chance to see this, just as they did.

  21. Having lived on the beach for 11 years, I loved watching the storms send waves crashing on the beach.

    On the other hand, going out into the storms on a Coast Guard cutter had just the opposite effect... :cO

    How much more beautiful can Maine get? :c)

  22. Wow - gorgeous! I would have loved those trails! The water and trees are so beautiful! Wonderland seems like a perfect name for that walk. Great weather and such puffy clouds - perfection. And hearing the waves boom...that can be mesmorizing. What a day!

  23. Count me in as another one that likes to watch the crashing waves. That was a picture perfect day.

  24. That is absolutely beautiful scenery! The loop trail picture looking through the pine trees is awesome. Love the water and the waves. I have only seen tide pools in CA. and they are really fun- Sounds like you are having a great time!


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