We spent a lot of time in Acadia National Park during our week long stay in Maine. It’s difficult for me to write about and it was difficult for Bobby to develop our pictures. But, we feel we must write about everything that happened to us while we were there. The week began with amazing, beautiful family moments in the park. We were filled with joy and anticipation at everything the next year of our lives would bring us. We had planned a special photo shoot that would announce the coming arrival of our next baby. Halfway through our trip tragedy struck and the baby that was already so loved and so anticipated, passed away. I had a miscarriage amidst the adventure. The doctor assured me that nothing I had done, not the hiking, the flying, or the general exhaustion of the trip had been the cause of the loss but, that didn’t make the loss any easier to bear.
The AirBnB we had rented was a beautiful, charming cabin in a picturesque setting but it wasn’t super toddler friendly. A large, cast iron wood-burning stove stood in the center of the living space. Bookshelves, knick knacks, glass cabinetry, and sharp edged furniture made sitting around the house a stressful experience with Jack running around and narrowly avoiding injury at every turn. At the same time I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want Bobby to simply take Jack somewhere for the day and give me peace and quiet. The quiet was too much for me to bear in the throws of my extreme grief over the loss of our baby. We pushed on. We continued to hike. We turned to Mother Nature, the way we would to the family that so wanted to embrace us, but couldn’t because of our current location. Earlier flights home were full. So, we returned to Acadia day after day. The place we lost our baby. We took a carriage ride around the park. We did short hikes that offered beautiful views through the drizzle that stayed with us in our hearts and in the weather patterns. Jack, being only 14 months old, had no idea what was happening and remained his cheerful, outdoors-loving self. He marveled at the ocean and the bright, bold colors of the autumn leaves that hung around him and blanketed the trails we trod upon. We did many trails while there and I’ll go through each one as best as I can.
Our first day at Acadia was Columbus Day. The crowds were thick and, it turns out, is also the last day that the parks shuttle service runs. Tour busses, picture-takers, and distracted tourists clogged the roads around the more popular spots in the park. The sun shone brightly and the temperature was mild. We began the day by stopping at the Visitor Center. We bought a helpful map of the park and planned the day’s adventure.
We started off hiking the Ocean Path Trail. At 2.5 miles with only 268 feet in elevation gain this trail made for an easy morning with spectacular views. We parked our car at the Otter Point parking area and began by walking out to Otter Point.
From there the trail heads north following the shoreline, and sometimes the road. The crowds were still relatively thin at this point. We stopped at several scenic outlooks, including the area along the Otter Cliffs popular amongst rock climbers.
The park still hadn’t quite hit peak for its fall colors but they were stunning nonetheless. Jack enjoyed the busy trail, being the social butterfly that he is. He waved to all he met along the trail and continued to bring smiles and coos from all he encountered.
At 1.2 miles along the trail we reached the very popular Thunder Hole. This spot is known for the thunderous din and spectacular, sometimes 40 foot high, gushes of water. The sight is most impressive midway between low and high tide. We consulted the app, Chimani Acadia, to find the best time for the day we were there to witness the show. The crowds and the calm day didn’t have us waiting around to witness it for ourselves. We pushed on and continued the hike north a further mile and were at our ending point at Sand Beach. There, we caught a shuttle that brought us back the way we had come and to our car at the Otter Point parking area. Having the shuttles is a handy way to avoid having to do an out and back hike and allows you to see a lot more of the park. The road near this hike is a one way so you need to hike south to north in order to take the bus back to your starting point. This hike is very easy and almost anybody could do it. The path is gravel and well trodden with very few obstacles. There was a bit of up and down in rockier sections but nothing too strenuous.
Following the hike we headed to the nearby town of Bar Harbor to find some lunch. Surprisingly, a lot of the touristy, roadside stops around Acadia had already shut down for the season. After speaking to some park staff we learned that a lot of them close up shop after Labor Day. This seemed odd to us, considering that a lot of people come to Acadia, and to Maine, in the fall to see the striking fall colors the area is known for. But, several spots were still open in Bar Harbor and we were able to find a delicious lunch at a local pizza place, Pat’s Pizza. The service was slow but the food was delicious! We fought the crowds as we cruised through the town and visited a few of the quaint shops that lined the streets. There was a cruise ship in port so the crowds were larger then normal.
We returned to Acadia in the afternoon ready for another hike from Cadillac to Dorr Mountain.
Several days later, after the devastating loss of our baby we returned to Acadia to fill the hours left in the day. I wasn’t up for much. Bobby scheduled us for a one hour carriage ride around the park. This was the perfect activity for our day. The carriage was filled with a wonderful group of people who all supported us when Jack got a bit fussy and tried their best to help us cheer him. The driver of our carriage was cheerful, knowledgeable, and fairly good for a bad pun or two… We learned of the 57 miles of carriage roads built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. between 1913 and 1940. If in the park and willing to pay the fee, $20 per adult for a one hour ride, I would definitely recommend a carriage ride! Though struggling through a difficult time in our lives it was a wonderful distraction for all of us.
Our last day in Acadia dawned chilly and rainy. We had plans to head to the western side of the park and check out a couple of the shorter trails. We bundled up and hit the Wonderland Trail. At only 1.4 miles with no real elevation gain this is another trail that anybody could do. the trail is gravel with little to no obstacles.
The short .7 mile trail leads you to the waters edge and a beautiful view of the ocean.
Blueberry bushes lined the trail in brilliant shades of red that were highlighted by the drizzle of the day.
This trail was so tame we decided to let Jack walk back a good chunk of the way. He was thrilled to explore and stomp around in his new winter boots that he loves so much!
Our time at Acadia and in Maine was coming to an end. We decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the only restaurant inside the park, Jordan Pond House. Known for their popovers and stunning views of Jordan Pond and the mountainous backdrop, we enjoyed every bite of our tasty and quickly served meal. Following lunch we strolled along the Jordan Pond Nature Trail. We didn’t go far, just took in the sights.
I was exhausted and Jack was in need of a nap. We decided to head back to our cabin for our final night in Maine.
Acadia National Park will forever be a very special place in our hearts. When you lose a child to miscarriage finding closure can be difficult. There are no ceremonies. No burials. No real acknowledgement of the deep loss felt by the family that has to endure it. And yet so many of us do. For us, we decided that Acadia will be our own personal monument to our little, “Raspberry”.
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