To find Acadia’s purest wilderness, just look up to behold the largest expanse of naturally dark sky east of the Mississippi — a credit to both the National Park Service’s policy of preserving natural lightscapes and the town of Bar Harbor’s dark-sky ordinance. The sight of a sky swimming with billions of stars (plus scores of fast-moving satellites — alas, it’s not totally wild) is so rare in this light-polluted world that it’s cause for celebration: amateur and pro astronomers descend on MDI for night hikes, lectures, and star parties atop Cadillac Mountain during the annual Acadia Night Sky Festival.
I heard a rumbling like a mighty thunder,
I looked and saw below
Waves rushing to a cave in the rock
And lashing over.
The spray came high,
The surf swam in great patches,
Over all the wind made moan.
Ah, such a stormy day at great Thunder Hole.
— A poem by Ann Chaplin, age 10, printed in The Horn Book Magazine in July 1943. One of Acadia’s best-known attractions, the rock inlet called Thunder Hole — and the waves that often crash into it — inspires awe (if not poetry) from millions of visitors each year.