Wednesday, August 20, 2014

St. Saveur Mtn

Following up on a similar hike from last year, we headed our to Sommes Sound and Southwest Harbor. We started with lunch at "Jay Dub's", enjoying some pretty good hamburgers. 

Then, we drove back up the road to the parking lot for Acadia Mtn, St. Saveur Mtn, and Echo Lake. Instead of Acadia, this year we hiked St. Saveur. The trail is quite overgrown in places, but it's pretty easy and has lots of fun boulders to climb over. There is literally no view from the top, so take the Valley Peak Trail from the summit. It's a loop, so you can go either direction. This gives you some views of Sommes Sound, but I recall better views from Acadia Mtn last year. 

We finished with a dip in Echo Lake again, which was the real reason for coming over here. The cool-but-not-cold crystal-clear waters are amazing!  Next year, we should get the Park pass before visiting and park over at the official Echo Lake Beach (or take the bus), and also try hiking Beech Mtn. 

South Bubble and Penobscot Mtn

We took advantage of the free park shuttles again today, first getting dropped off at the South Bubble. We've done this hike a dozen times, although this time we basically ran down the mountain. That was fun, although it was largely driven by needing to catch the next bus!

Had some wonderful popovers at Jordan Pond House, and then headed up Penobscot. We split up for the ascent, with only Sean, Owen, and Jim taking the Jordan Cliffs, and Kristan and Ethan taking the South Ridge. The Cliffs were fun, but they're not for everyone - some people ahead of us had to turn back.

We all took the south ridge down the mountain, and even that has some bridges, ladders, and steep stairs. All in all, a great hike!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dorr Mountain

We originally planned to park at Sieur de Monts Spring, walk along the Tarn Path, and then climb up the ladder trail.  Lack of parking at the Spring forced us to park south of the Tarn, and head straight up the Ladder Trail.  This put us right into a strenuous climb, albeit up nicely groomed stairs.  After the stairs there are some small ladder sections to get through, and then a nice easy stretch up to the summit.

From the summit, we started back down the way we came, but then turned off to the left on the Schiff Path and finally down Kurt Diederich's Climb. These are some of the nicest trails in the park!

Our final stretch was on the Kane Path, along the Tarn, where we had hoped to start. This provides a nice, up-close view of the Tarn and makes a nice end (or beginning) of this hike. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cadillac Mtn

With the amount of visitors/traffic in Acadia National Park, we decided to try something different and used the free park shuttles. 

We got dropped off at the "Cadillac North Ridge" stop (just before the one-way Loop Road), which is really the trailhead for the Kebo Srream Trail. A short walk to the one-way section of the Loop Road brings you to the real North Ridge trailhead. 

The trail was ok, although too narrow in many place to walk two abreast. It gets pretty strenuous in sections and there are great views back to Bar Harbor. However, you finish the trail skirting around the road to the summit, so you lose the isolation/remoteness you get on most trails. 

At the top, we started down the South Ridge Trail, soon turning down the West Face Trail. This might be a good trail to climb up on a dry day, but we were going down on a wet day. This took quite a while and was very slippery/dangerous. 

We finished at the Bubble Pond parking lot, where we picked up another shuttle to take us back. I liked the benefit of taking shuttles - no parking worries and you don't have to start & finish the hike in the sane place. If we were to do this again, I would just reverse it, going up the West Face Trail and down the North Ridge. This would let you enjoy the challenge of the West Face and the views of Bar Harbor coming down the North Ridge. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bar Island and Cadillac Mtn

Every trip to Bar Harbor we checked the tides, pick a time, and cross the sand bar to Bar Island.  Every time there's always a little question about whether or not we'll get down from the top of the island to the sand bar, before the tide comes back in.

Well, this year, we missed it!  From the scenic overlook at the top of the island, we looked back at the sand bar and saw it was getting very small.  We ran down the trail and come out of the woods to see that dreaded site - the sand bar was (mostly) covered by the tide!  Since the water was only about a foot deep, it certainly wasn't a serious problem, and it made for the most memorable Bar Island trip ever!

Later in the day, we planned a hike up Cadillac's North Ridge Trail, followed by a pick-up at the top.  This is only about a 2-mile hike up, and I was looking forward to it since I hadn't hiked Cadillac in years.  Alas, it was not to be (for me).  I was tying my boots at the house when Owen bumped into an 8-foot-tall, 100-pound, wood-framed antique mirror.  Turns out it wasn't secured to the wall, and it tipped over.  Owen was at the bottom and wasn't hit at all, but the wooden frame landed right on top of my head!  I had a dent and a lump, and decided not to hike and risk more swelling.  Kristan and Sean ended up hiking Cadillac, and afterwards I ended up in the emergency room to get it all checked out (just a flesh wound!).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Acadia Mtn and Echo Lake

We decided to sample some of the west-side attractions, so we hiked Acadia Mtn today. It was a short climb with OK views of Somes Sound. I recall better views from St. Saveur Mtn. Trails weren't "perfect" like most others we hiked this week, but that made it a little more interesting.

The best part of the outing was discovering the trail down to Echo Lake after the hike. It's a short walk from the parking lot down to the lake, but there isn't a beach, just a "cliff". Still, the kids loved it, jumping right in. It's really a beautiful lake, and we all want to go back next year and spend more time swimming and relaxing there. 

The worst part of the outing was lunch, usually my favorite part!  Again, we wanted to try some west-side attractions, so we ate at the Cafe Dry Dock in Southwest Harbor. From the hostess to the waitress, the service was careless and slow. The food was mediocre too. I rarely have bad things to say about restaurants, but we won't be returning here. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Asticou Terraces, Thuya Garden, and Eliot Mtn

This was really hard to find. Eliot Mtn isn't even on some maps!

Best parking was along Rt. 3, east of the junction with 198 and the Asticou Inn. We parked at the Asticou Azalea Garden, a very zen Japanese-like garden with parking on 198, just north of the Rt. 3 jct. 

It was nice walking thru there, but it was a bit long of a walk along Rt. 3 from there to our real first destination, the Asticou Terraces. I liked the groomed terrace trail very much, again very Japanese-like in the trails, terraces, and little structures on the paths. 

We flew thru the Thuya Garden, but it did seem very nice. Continued thru to the real path up Eliot Mtn.  It was a nice simple hike. Not much for trail markers and it was heavily wooded, so no idea how far to the summit was at any point. Not much for views either, due to the trees and the low mtn height, but it was a nice hike, esp. with the start (or end) in the Asticou Terraces.