Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain

Our Acadia adventure started very early, we had a two-hour drive ahead of us to get to Cadillac for the famed sunrise over the ocean. At many times during the year, this is the first sunrise to be seen in the United States.

But, when the alarm went off at 3:00, with both of us nursing a slight cold, I considered stealing a few pictures off an adventurer’s website. We only use our own photos on the site, but this early a wakeup call provides an airtight legal defense against copyright infringement.

I packed the bags as Victoria made some cheese sandwiches and packed the cooler for the day. Outside, the darkness and cold, toe-curling dew gave us the unsubtle smack of alertness we needed. Coupled with our mandatory travel mugs of hot Folgers, were now officially experiencing the best part of waking up on this particular day – at least to this point.

We rambled alone for two hours over starlit, precariously curved roads at speeds that would make roller coaster junkies question their hobby and arrived at Bar Harbor, the port town Northeast of Acadia just before sunrise. And, as we approached Cadillac Mountain Road, we were met by more traffic than we had seen on our curvy drive across Maine’s Highway 3.

The initial glaze of the approaching sunrise radiated over the valley and enlightened the other lesser hilltops around us. We could see the evergreens bathed in fog below us as we impatiently climbed the mountain road to the summit.
Once there, we were only mildly surprised to see that hundreds of visitors had made the same pilgrimage and their cars had pilfered most of the remaining parking spots in the panoramic lot. Our perseverance paid off with a forgotten spot located just in front of the trail that led to the bald granite mountain head.

Despite the chilling high winds and damp air, what we saw made me want to apologize to the alarm clock for the harm I intended it when insisting that we wake up so early.

The sunrise was truly amazing. The angry wind slapped at the few trees and tiny plants that inhabited the peak. The fogbanks sprinted in from behind the mountain to our right clamoring for a better feel of the forthcoming sunlight. Once finding the spot, the clouds danced and swirled, and satisfied and warm, they faded and scattered into the valley below to await the next morning’s ball.

I sat on the mountaintop for a few moments feeling the sun’s warmth, snapping pictures and videotaping while I contemplated our journey to this point (an absolute blur of twelve amazing states.)

But, regrettably, we had more amazing Acadia sites to see, and we decided to head back to the visitor’s center to grab some maps and plan our trip for the day.

Click here for the rest of our adventure.