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Acadia Paddling


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My wife and I are returning to Blackrock Campground in Acadia for the holiday weekend. We have paddled Sommes Sound before but nothing else in that area. My wife is a very athletic 2+ paddler (strong, but weak skills). Any suggestions for fun paddles in the area?





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We were camping at Sea Wall in early August (on the south end of Mount Desert island). This was a great place to launch from with the Cranberries in sight. It was also a great place for two paddlers to land with a Currrituck and Force 4. From this launch point you could wrap around the island in either direction and find a MITA island to camp on for a pretty easy overnight trip, otherwise the round trip might be a bit much. Counterclockwise there's a peninsula that prohibits landing except in emergency so might be a wilder than the typical "houses on the shore" that dominates the area. The rangers at Sea Wall had several suggestions for put-ins that would be useful for day trips, e.g. tooling around Bah Hobba.

In case it seems silly to have a campsite and take an overnight trip to a MITA island there is no charge for the MITA island and its a way to get away from even the low key civilization you encounter on the shore/island.

If you drop down to Sea Wall you simply must get a bottle or 100 of McFoochie's Scotch Ale, sold at the "deli with showers" as you approach the causeway.

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The Cranberries are always nice. There's a restaurant at Islesford, on Little Cranberry, which can make for a nice day trip - out, lunch, back. There's also a museum in Islesford. Land on the left hand side of the cluster of docks are you face them - there's a pull off area, but stay well away from the docking area.

The crossings would be from Mt. Desert to Sutton Island to Little Cranberry - typically 3/4 of a mile each. Have a compass and map, as fog can frequently descend rapidly.

I'd avoid the south shore of Great Cranberry - lots of rocks that are just barely covered.

The trip around Little Cranberry can be fun or challenging, depending on your skill level - there's a rocky spit that just about uncovers that connects Little Cranberry to Baker and is a bit funky to thread your way through. I'd avoid the ocean facing sides of the Cranberries if you're uncertain about skill level.

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My wife and I are going back to Acadia for the third year in a row in a few weeks.

I’ve done all of these and more around Mt. Dessert I. with my wife. Her level seems about like your wife.

If seas are a bit choppy near the headlands, stick to the narrows, the northern side of Mt Dessert I., Hadley Point is a good launching point with lots of parking onto Eastern Bay. You can head west for a short paddle about 6 miles to the bridge over the narrows and see Eagle nesting area’s near Thomas I. There are some caves to see if you head east from the launch point but we haven’t done that one. During calm conditions visit the Porcupine Isles in Frenchman’s bay out of Bar Harbor. The cliffs on the islands are stunning. You can launch at the sand bar connecting Bar Island at lower tides. There’s a lot more boat traffic here and the huge, high speed, Cat ferry motors to Nova Scotia in the shipping lane though this islands; so avoid becoming shipping lane pizza.

If seas and winds are calm, a delightful paddle is to launch from the public boat launch at Northeast Harbor and visit Little Cranberry I. Paddle to Islesford on the island and have lunch at the restaurant their. A short hike on the island is nice. It had bit of a sleepy and funky ambience when we were there. You’re on the southerly end of the big island here, out closer to the headlands, but you’ll get some protection form the Cranberries.

A good general guide for outdoor activities at the park is the AMC guide, Discover Acadia National Park by Jerry and Marcy Monkman.

Enjoy your trip!!!

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