.by Anura Guruge
>> Grand Canyon Experience —
>> Apr. 27, 2013.
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Wow. Where we impressed? We sure were. A GREAT National Park like this so ‘close’ to home too. The kids, particularly the normally very fussy (and ‘I want to go home’) Teischan, loved it, said so multiple times and are already talking about going back! Endorsements don’t come better than that. This was their second National Park this year since we did go to the Grand Canyon in April. So they did have something to compare it to. They liked the Canyon, but I think this was less intimidating and more ‘kid friendly’ in terms of being able to run around and clamor around of relatively safe rocks — though the kids and Deanna got quite adventurous.
It was the first visit for me and the kids. Deanna, a local (who grew up 60 miles south) had been, but not in 30+ years. So we are glad we went. Over the last few months we kept on seeing and hearing references to Acadia — some ‘relatives’ from D.C. going there in July. The last few years we went whale watching on my birthday. This year the kids and I decided we will go to Acadia instead, though because of school we would have to wait until the Friday — me being a stickler that your birthday is your birthday, not a few days before or the nearest weekend. We had checked the weather. It was perfect on Friday and Saturday with rain on Sunday. That was OK. We were driving back Sunday — and had to pick up the dogs before 5pm. So it worked out well.
It is not the Grand Canyon or Yosemite. It is great rather than grand. Very different feel to the ‘western’ parks. Bar Harbor, in all its grandeur, is right there. Bam. It is kind of nice. On Saturday night, after dinner in Bar Harbor, we drive into the Park and went up Cadillac Mountain in the dark. It was fun. It was cloudy so couldn’t see the stars and the lights were not as spectacular as I had hoped. But, it was fun — though we saw no animals at all. Actually we talked about this a number of times. Other than chimpmunks and a dead racoon close to the bridge to ‘the island’ we saw no other mammals. At the ‘Grand’ you could hardly walk without tripping over the Elk and Yosemite has huge herds of deer. I am wondering whether it is because it is an island. I am sure there is plenty of wildlife, we just didn’t see any and we were out and about in the park for around 18 hours in total.
Also strange that the the entire Park isn’t ‘gated’ and that folks and come in-and-out without a pass. The western part of the Park is totally ‘open’ so to speak. Though I had heard (and was even given detailed tips on how to do it) I was going to get the $20 pass. I am a huge fan of the Parks. So we stopped just after Trenton, at the first Park office, to buy a pass. While the girls hit the restroom, I idly started reading the big notice about the rules and regulations for entrance. I discovered, towards the end, that Deanna is entitled to free entrance. She had the documentation and we were all set. So we did end up getting a valid pass, though it was free, So I bought $20 of Park merchandize to make up. I talked to a ranger about it the next day. It appears that many of the visitors to the Park do not buy a pass — and that they don’t have the funds to enforce it. That seems strange. I would have thought that enforcing entrance would be self-funding and even produce a surplus. Lots of cars from out-of-state. Many from Pennsylvania. They seems to like the park. A fair smattering from North Carolina and I saw one from South Carolina and Devanee and I had a good chuckle about their number plate motto. It sure is not: ‘Live Free or Die’. Lots of cars, quite a few hybrids, from New York and New Jersey. Fair number of Japanese — though nowhere close to the proportions you see in the west. A few Asians, a few from the middle east but a noticeable paucity of black and Latino folks! Not sure why that would be.
All in all a great little vacation. The motel that we stayed in in Trenton, despite good reviews on the Web, and a large room, wasn’t great, but we were hardly there. On Saturday we left around 10 am and came back around 9:30 pm. Well, according to the kids we need to go back … soon.