In the absence of Acadia



Normally at this time of year I’m spending time down in Acadia National Park in search of fall foliage colors. Not this year though… the powers that be in Washington have seen to that by shutting down the federal government (and the national park system). Not wishing to go off on a political rant, I’m just going to say that I find it incredibly hard to believe that those effing idiots would play political games with the livelihoods of so many working people. Just when you think partisan politics can’t get any worse, they do.

Want to find some good ideas on how to explore the park even though it is officially closed? Check out these resources:

Friends of Acadia
Nate Parker (my favorite Mount Desert-based landscape photographer)
Lynn Fantom


Cadillac Mountain – and much of Acadia – takes on a completely different look in the fall. Not really a high color fall foliage destination like western Maine might be, Acadia’s fall colors are more subtle, and the variations in changing temperatures can make for some interesting atmospherics. I love how the ground-cover turns red this time of year, and I’m happiest when exploring one of the granite ridges of Acadia in search of an interesting scene. Each of the photographs in this post was made on Cadillac Mountain – maybe not the typical view of Bar Harbor and the Porcupine islands, but definitely one of my favorite places.


Part of me is happy that the parks are closed – maybe they could use the rest. I know that the crowds in Acadia this summer seemed larger than normal, and I’m sure all of the critters on Mount Desert Island are enjoying the unexpected respite. However, I also know how much the local economy depends on the parks being open and available, so maybe if the clowns in Washington can get their act together, there’ll still be time to explore Acadia in all of her fall color glory.


10-21-12 Acadia1




45 thoughts on “In the absence of Acadia

    • David Patterson

      David… thanks. One of the reasons we live here in Maine is so we can truly enjoy the four seasons. Autumn is my favorite season here in New England – well, any season other than winter is my favorite 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Yeah… there are lots of ways to still enjoy the area, but I’m sure the ranger folks (who are just trying to do their job) have a hard enough time managing the crowds. BRP is another favorite of mine… lived in Hickory, NC a few years back and always enjoyed heading up into the mountains and onto the parkway.

  1. Beautiful images, David. I especially like the last two with the warm sunlight, red ground cover, clouds, and the islands in the distance. It is a shame about the politicians in Washington making the national parks a pawn in their game and making citizens and park employees suffer because of their childish behavior. I hope you find some other locations in Maine to enjoy the still beautiful fall colors.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Rick. I know we should be grateful for democracy, but it’s at times like this that politics in this country makes me shake my head. Just got back from a walk with Oliver this evening… big winds and some rain and many of the leaves are down.

    • David Patterson

      Lara… thanks. New England is renowned for the colorful fall foliage, though I wouldn’t mind visiting Australia to see some of the wonders there.

  2. What vibrant colors!
    I was talking to a friend in California who was very bummed out. She’d made plans to visit Zion National Park this week and now,go, but had to go through all the hassle of cancelling hotel reservations, etc. A lot of autumn beauty all over the country is going by unappreciated!

    • David Patterson

      Aren’t those reds something! A lot of people’s livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this farcical political circus.

  3. Achingly beautiful images. You see things uniquely. Many thanks for sharing. (P.S. I’m going to MDI on Saturday and I will hike at my own risk. It is just too great a sacrifice to miss a season at this point in my life. Thank you for adding your political commentary, too, David. And here many of us share your point of view.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Lynn. It’s windy and wet here tonight, though hopefully not enough to bring all of the leaves down. Here’s hoping you have a spectacular visit!

  4. Very nice pics! I was going to a national wildlife refuge today, until I checked their website, yup furloughed. I’m furloughed too, and thought it would be a good time to check out migratory birds. No such luck, but found some color in a local state park. Like you, I settled for not-my-first-choice, but Mother Nature still had a lovely show for me!

  5. David,
    You make it so easy to like something and like you I love the changing of the colors in autumn time and it really my favorite time. I don’t like winter cause it is too too cold and I don’t like summer because it is just to darn hot especially where I live in Texas but you know what they say wait 5 minutes and it will change but sometimes not for the better. Thank you for sharing Cadillac Mountain with us…I love all of these pictures but I believe I like the second from the bottom the best. It just kind of speaks to me….I might have to write a blog about it. Would you mind if I did write a blog about it? Give your 4 legged babies a hug from me and tell everyone else hi. Happy October David. hope you have a good one. Red Sox Lady 35 Kat

      • Thank you David I will give you the credit when I write it because after all you took the great pic that gave me the wonderful ideal. Wish me luck I will let you see it before I post it …have a great day in Maine and I will be wishing I was there with these beautiful views every day.. My friend give your 4 legged babies my hello and of course your family too. Kat

  6. Oh my gosh, these images are absolutely stunning. So upset about the national park closings especially during this beautiful time of year. We hope to make it to Acadia for the first time this coming summer.

    • David Patterson

      The timing isn’t very convenient for those interested in leaf-peeping, but the wrong thing about this is the actual government shutdown.

  7. The rangers were letting people be as long as they walked in, David. The few citations, as far as I know, were being issued to the geniuses who drove their vehicles around the barricades. But the day before I left I was told that people were being allowed to drive along the road by Otter Ledges and Otter Cliffs. I missed out on that. I did see one ranger giving as bus driver hell for bringing a load of folks to walk at Eagle Lake. But it would be a long walk to Cadillac.
    Your images captured some wonderful conditions on the mountain.

    • David Patterson

      Steve… thanks for the update. Am heading down there today (Sunday). I hope you had an enjoyable and productive visit, and that the fall colors put on a show for you!

      • Have a great time, David. The colors were a bit subdued and a bit dried out looking. I hope you see more than I did. That said, it was a very nice time. Hooked up with Nate for a few hours…see my recent post…and spent time in a few new places I would not have visited had the park been fully available so it was all good.

        • David Patterson

          Steve… glad to hear you connected with Nate – I’ll definitely check out your blog. To be honest, I’m often underwhelmed with the fall colors in Acadia. There are pockets of spectacular color to be found in the park, but in general, it doesn’t compare with some other parts of New England. Still beautiful though 😊

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