Acadia National Park: Still my favorite all-around National Park. The ability to hike, bike, and kayak within minutes of Bar Harbor (as well as the other towns located on Mount Desert Island) makes this an outstanding destination for an “active” vacation. It’s one of the few places where I’ve taken the equipment for all three of the above activities and actually used it all – on the same day, no less.
Fundy National Park: This is quite a different experience from Acadia National Park. As with all the Canadian parks that I’ve visited, Fundy is exceptionally well run. The hiking trails, while not as challenging as those in Acadia, are well maintained and enjoyable. There aren’t quite as many and there doesn’t seem to be as many ways to put together loops so expect to do more “out and back” hikes. A few of the trails allow biking, but there’s nothing equivalent to Acadia’s Carriage Trails. If I’d had more time, there’s a loop that includes the park road along with the northern and eastern boundary roads (unpaved) that might have made for a challenging ride. I regret not being able to do any kayaking at Fundy. Obviously the tide plays an important role in when and where you paddle in the bay. If I make it up that way again, I’ll try to be a bit more prepared with potential paddling locations. Don’t expect the town just outside the park (Alma) to compare to Bar Harbor. Alma is a quiet, sleepy little village but provides just enough amenities to make the stay in the park enjoyable.
Baxter State Park: This is definitely a place that I want to return. Summiting Katahdin was the most challenging climb I’ve ever done. With other Class III routes to the top, I’m definitely motivated to increase my fitness level, get back up there and check out routes such as “Knifes Edge”. There are clearly some opportunities for paddling in Baxter as well.
Some not necessarily interesting numbers from the trip:
- days on the road: 12
- miles driven: 2750
- miles bicycled: 33
- miles hiked: 29
- miles kayaked: 3
- nights spent in the Aliner: 11
- campgrounds: 5
- ferry rides: 1
- highest elevation: 5268
- number of peaks climbed: 4 (Cadillac, Dorr, Day, Baxter)