Winter in Bar Harbor transforms the quintessential pine forests into winter wonderlands.
When the bustling tourist season ends in late October, the streets are clear, and the shops close for the season. With the end of the summer comes the beginning of the appreciation of nature in Acadia National Park.
A group of friends and I went hiking into Acadia around 4:00 p.m., when the sun starts to go down. It was almost surreal, seeing the setting sun's rays streaming through the snow-laden branches of pitch pine and white pine. With about six inches of snow on the ground, the terrain is ideal for cross country skiing and snow-shoeing. The park is filled with several different trails and roads, many of them being carriage roads that are accessible to bikers and hikers alike.
I find myself taking advantage of the natural beauty surrounding me, but maybe that is because I have never lived right next door to a national park. There is something very powerful and meaningful, in my opinion, in seeing a sprawling forest of pines right across the street from campus, and then seeing the Atlantic Ocean directly behind my dorm.
If there is only one thing I have learned so far, it would be to not take nature for granted. As my friends and I were walking and gazing at the sunset that cast a pinkish-red hue on the sky, we beheld a sight like no other. Turning around a bend in the carriage road, three deer darted out of the woods and stood about ten feet from where we stood. I think it might have been the culmination of the setting sun with the falling snow that made our interaction with wildlife all the more exotic. I hope we will have plenty more run-ins with the local wildlife.
If you ever find yourself visiting Mount Desert Island or Bar Harbor, make sure you visit Acadia National Park, a place for all seasons, even in the off season.