Did you know…?
- Mount Desert Island was formed by glacial movement, which began about 30,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age.
- Bar Harbor has just around 5,000 year-round residents, but the neighbouring Acadia National Park sees up to 3 million tourists a year.
- A single cruise ship docked in Frenchman’s Bay could be up to 17 stories tall, making it temporarily the tallest building in Maine.
Can you tell I’ve become a tour guide in Acadia National Park?
I’ve been in Bar Harbor, Maine, for one and a half months now. In this time I’ve gone from working as a freelance writer and editor, with an inconsistent income source, to managing two part-time jobs while continuing my writing gigs. As a result of this new increased demand on my time, I have neglected my blogging.
But this must change! I have a month left in Maine and tons to write about. I’m doing some awesome stuff, with such close access to Acadia National Park (a mile from my front door) and hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and biking.
I’ve had some close encounters with wildlife (snakes, owls, turkeys, deer, otters, seals, even a curious porcupine), climbed to ten of the park’s 26 peaks, cycled the 27-mile Park Loop Road many times, enjoyed sunrise hikes with friends (and coffee), and read along the shore path overlooking the harbor. My short time in Bar Harbor has already brought lifelong friendships and lasting memories. And there’s a possibility that I’ll return!
A few mornings a week, I help run bike tours through Acadia National Park. Usually 6-8 miles, these tours give me the opportunity to tell visitors about the flora, fauna, and history of the park. Once every few weeks I do longer, 20-mile bike tours. I also work mostly full-time at an outdoor gear shop on Main St in Bar Harbor.
It’s been an interesting and fulfilling way to spend a few months. I love being outside, and the border of Acadia is just a mile from my front door. On my off days, I can run or walk to the trails and spend the day getting lost on small mountains. It also helps that I can make money in my current job, whereas in South Africa I’m still struggling with work visa issues!
In December I’m flying back to South Africa, to spend the holidays with my wonderful husband (who is so incredibly patient and understanding of my desire to travel and work) before I begin a two-month training course to become a certified safari guide.
I don’t know exactly what the future will hold for me from there, but I have a few ideas. Most importantly, I’ll get to spend 60 days in a safari tent, surrounded by animals, learning about wildlife and conservation in a reserve connected to Kruger National Park. Until then, I have another month of work in Bar Harbor!
Back to fun facts: The glacial process that formed MDI dragged rocks from miles away across the landscape, leaving behind only granite bedrock. In almost all places on the island you will hit rock just six inches below the dirt! You may also see erratics, or boulders that don’t belong where you find them, perched on mountains (like Bubble Rock) or on the shore (like Balance Rock) from up to 25 miles away!