At the end of the winter and beginning of spring, I usually start hiking as soon as the snow clears off the trails only to find out how lazy I’ve become over the winter. This spring, I’m determined not to let that happen. So I’ve dusted off my bike and I’ve been riding around the back roads whenever I can. Yesterday I went up to Acadia National Park to ride the Loop Road a week before it opens to motorized vehicles.
There were a ton of bicyclists out today, and with good reason. The temperature was in the high fifties, the sky was as clear as could be, and there was only one small spot of ice on the entire Loop Road. The bikers had the road all to ourselves, aside from a few walkers, so we basically had a twenty mile loop without having to worry about getting creamed by rubbernecking drivers (that would be me if I were driving this road).
Acadia is a great place. Aside from the crowds it draws from May until October, there really isn’t anything bad I can say about the place. It’s one of those places that has always been in my life. I grew up only sixty miles from there, and took family trips to the island every summer. But we didn’t go to shop for souvenirs or stay at the oceanside hotels. We came to the island because it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I say that knowing how corny it sounds. But seriously– it’s f-ing beautiful there. Any time of year, the sheer cliffs rising out of the ocean suck you in as soon as you see them. The inlets and ponds, the solid domed mountains, the islands in the distance– there’s nothing not to like. It also doesn’t hurt that you can find climbs, hikes, and bike rides of pretty much all ability levels in a very small space on the island. If I were trying to get a kid interested in the outdoors, I’d probably start somewhere like here. I think that’s what my parents did for me.
Back to the biking, though. I know the title of this blog is Guthook HIKES, not bikes, but sometimes I do find myself doing other things. Not often, but sometimes. And as far as other activities go, biking is a great workout for getting myself into hiking shape. Despite the lack of activity through the winter, a few nice, long rides on roads around here can be a good way to get back into the groove of long-distance hiking. The views are of a different sort, and the terrain isn’t much like hiking on a mountain, but it gets the body used to long cario workouts. I wonder if spending a lot of time on the bike this spring will pay off when I start the Long Trail at the end of next month. Even if not, I still get some nice views to pay off my efforts.