^^ the metal grate bridge part of the trail that spans a sheer drop off ^^
^^ Most of the trail involved climbing straight up using metal rungs attached to the side of the cliff face ^^
^^ In retrospect, this seems rather anti-climatic ^^
^^ Where’s Waldo? ^^
Following our morning nap after watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, we spent the rest of the morning lounging around Bar Harbor with cups of coffee in hand. We shopped for souvenirs, walked around some art booths in the park, and bought a ton of provisions at the farmer’s market. It was a lovely morning doing yuppie couple things and for a brief moment we had the cute town of Bar Harbor to ourselves… Then the tourist boats descended on the town like alien ships and dumped off hoards of people, filling every shop and street corner.
We left immediately after and headed back to into Acadia where, when the sun was at it’s highest point, we thought it would be a great idea to go on a hike. We drove back into the park which by this time was starting to fill with people. So much so that we had to park on the side of Park Loop Road and walk a bit to get to the Beehive trail head.
There are a lot of hikes like the Beehive trail in Acadia known as “non technical climbs.” The kind where footholds are notched into the side of a mountain and iron rungs are added to assist the vertical climb. Beehive seemed to be the most popular (and one of the shortest) of the bunch so that’s what we chose. I think I had worked myself up a bit too much over this hike. After reading one too many accounts of how “scary” it was and how people “cried before reaching the top” I felt more than a bit nervous. No matter how many mountains I have climbed in the past, I’m still a bit of a wimp.
Well, I had nothing to fear. The hike was awesome — challenging but fun and with an amazing payoff. There were maybe two points on the trail that were a bit nerve-wracking, but that was only because at that point on the trail you could not see the next rung, and the not knowing when you are climbing that high up messes with your head in the same way that looking down while climbing up (not recommended) does.
Once at the top we found a coveted shady area to cool off and get away from the blaring sun. It was a beautiful day to be on top of that mountain – big blue skies, puffy white clouds, majestic pine trees, and clear blue water as far as the eye could see.
Beehive Trail / 1.6 miles RT, return via Bowl Trail // Parking in main Sand Beach parking lot, trail head is across the street. Or if the lots are full you can park along the right side of the road. This is listed as a “strenuous” hike or “nontechnical climb” but I found it to be easy to moderate because even though the climb is mostly straight up, it’s for a very short distance. The trail itself is wide enough so that you don’t feel too close to the edge with plenty of areas to pull off and rest/let people pass. The harder climbing parts are helped by using the metal ladder rungs. I truly think this is a trail anyone can do, including children, if taken at his/her own pace. We found the hike to be really fun with just enough of a challenge to get our blood pumping. That, plus the amazing views make this one of my favorite short hikes ever. There is limited shade at the summit, so pack a hat and sunscreen. We saw several groups of people try to come down the Beehive Trail and I thought it was pretty poor trail etiquette to do so — once at the summit, return via the Bowl Trail to avoid running into the climbers coming up the Beehive Trail. TIP: Leave your walking sticks at home or pack them away in a backpack, they will be a hindrance on the ascent portion of the Beehive Trail.
Bar Harbor’s Eden Farmers Market / Sundays, 9:00 a.m. to noon, Downtown Bar Harbor // Not the largest farmers market ever but it’s a really good one — jam-packed with a variety of vendors that sell everything from fresh veg to coffee to honey wine. It’s a good place to grab a bite to eat or grab some items for a picnic.