Monday, September 30, 2013

Pemetic Mountain - Acadia National Park - 9/19/13

Thursday the 19th brought us another day of fine weather during our vacation.  We were getting used to the fantastic sunrises.  I always thought the coast was typically shrouded in fog in the morning, but a local told me that is not the case, especially in the fall. 

Is sunrise always like this?

The lobster fisherman are always out early
Here comes the sun

Following our viewing of the sunrise, we made our way over to Jordan Pond to do a loop hike of Pemetic Mountain.  The parking area for the trailhead was under reconstruction, so we had to park at the next parking lot to the south.  The climb of Pemetic Mountain from the northern end of Jordan Pond is relatively steep, but that approach put us up on the summit ridge pretty quickly.  On the ridge, it was just a couple minutes walk to the true summit. 
Pemetic Mountain summit with Eagle Lake in the background

There were views to be had in all directions.  Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond could be seen to the east, along the the long ridge of Penobscot Mountain and the Bubbles.  Cadillac Mountain was easily seen to the north.  To the south we could see Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor and the ocean. 

Jordan Pond and Penobscot Mountain

Pemetic Mountain summit

Looking south to the ocean

Another look at Jordan Pond

The Bubbles, Jordan Pond and Penobscot Mountain


I believe that hiking the loop clockwise is the preferred alternative for several reasons.  First, I'd rather go up the steeper approach than down it, and second, if you are walking south on the ridge, you get a never ending view of the ocean in front of you.  Once down off the mountain we returned to the car via the trail along the east side of Jordan Pond.  Near the northern end of the pond, a beaver house was built right at the edge of the shore and we was the beaver swimming there in the area.  

Beaver in Jordan Pond

After lunch we left Mount Desert Island for the afternoon to scope out Stonington and the Archipelago for future kayaking exploration.  Isle Au Haut is in our future!  Advance planning is needed for that trip, since a reservation for a leanto on Isle Au Haut can only by done by mail and dates fill up fast.   
That night we stayed at a small motel in Trenton (the southernmost town before you enter Mount Desert Island.  It was time for a shower and a chance to freshen up.  Thursday we would be back in the park.

Hike Stats:
HIke Distance:  3.7 miles roundtrip
Hike Time:  2.5 hours (including all our stops)
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1000'

Our route (done clockwise)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Acadia National Park - Precipice Trail, the Beehive & Long Pond - 9/18/13

Most of our vacation days at Acadia began with a morning hike followed by an afternoon paddle in our kayaks.  This day was no different.  Leesa got up to see sunrise, as she likes to do.  She took a short walk to the waters edge and watched the sun come up.  We ate breakfast and geared up for our morning hike.


Leesa's sunrise pic
We got out on the park loop road and our first stop was the Precipice Trail to Champlain Mountain.  Leesa didn't want to do this one, but she encouraged me to do it, so I willingly agreed.  She said she would explore the area nearby and we'd meet back in a little while.

This hike is only for those who like exposure

This trail has iron bars for the majority of the trail, and they are needed!  People who are afraid of heights or exposure should not hike this trail.  And don't force your kids to do this trail.  I passed a young couple who were forcing their terrified little boys to do this hike.  The boys were screaming in terror.  I felt bad for them.

The trail gets progressively more difficult as you climb.  I won't lie, I found my palms were sweating with a little nervousness as I climbed.

The trail is not too bad here

With that being said, it is a thrilling trail though.  I'm amazed that the park service would construct a trail like this.  I would think that it would be a liability for the park.  If anything happened to one of the iron bars that a hiker was relying on, someone could be severely injured.

... a little worse here

This shot captures the feeling pretty well as you climb

The warning sign at the top.  A similar sign was at the bottom

It took me a about 45 minutes to climb the trail to the top.  I was rewarded with fantastic views.  It was another perfect bluebird day.  I talked with a nice gentleman at the top.  I ran into him again the next day on a different trail.

The view from the top!

Summit signage

Bar Harbor, with Bar Island and a cruise ship behind

After a snack I was going to head due north, but somehow mistakenly took the wrong trail.  I knew there were two trails headed northerly, but I got on the Beachcroft Trail which went NW instead of North.  I didn't even realize my mistake until I reached the park road.  It gave me a longer walk back on the road to where Leesa was parked, but it didn't take be that long.

Nice stonework on the Beachcroft trail

Once Leesa and I were back together at the car, we went to the Beehive to hike that trail.  I forgot the camera at the car, so I don't have any pictures from that hike.  There are a couple ways up.  I climbed the steep trail that once again had iron bars.  This trail is almost like the Precipice Trail, but a little easier and shorter.  Leesa looped around on the side trail and up the easier trail. where she met me on the summit.  Great views to Sand Beach.  

Following the Beehive hike, we went to Long Pond for a paddle.  We launched from a public boat launch at the south end of the pond and paddled north to the tip of Southern Neck.  The freshwater was a little warmer than the ocean, but not much.  It also cleaned the boats up a little.

Kayaking northward on Longs Pond

It was the perfect afternoon for a paddle.  It was close to 70 degrees with light winds and full sun.  Still, it wasn't the end of our day...

heading south

Leesa, enjoying the paddle

After we loaded the boats back on the car, we had just enough time to go to Seawall and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse for the sunset.

Leesa, with the full moon rising at Seawall

We got to the Bass Harbor lighthouse with minutes to spare before visitors hours ended.  We caught the beautiful sunset from this spot.

Bass Harbor lighthouse

Sunset at Bass Harbor

A historic lighthouse
We were quite tired when we got back to the campground.  We sat by the fire for about 20 minutes, and we were ready for sleep.

There are more pictures on my Picasa Web Album here

Precipice Trail and Beachcroft Trail.

The Beehive Trail

Long Pond

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Acadia National Park - Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Great Head - 9/17/13

This was the first day of our Acadia vacation.  Leesa hadn't been to Acadia before, so we did some  typical tourist things on the first day.  Of course the first thing we did was drive up Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise, and it was a perfect morning for it.
Sunrise was at 6:18 on this day and we got to the summit about 6.  We were far from alone though.  There were probably 100 cars in the parking lot.  It was a cold morning, with temperatures around 40 degrees and there was quite a stiff breeze.
People were up on the summit draped in blankets and most people didn't have sufficient coats to stay on the summit for long.
The sun came up as promised and it was beautiful to watch.  We ended up seeing sunrise most mornings from various spots in the park and they were all awesome.    

Just before sunrise on Cadillac Mountain

After the sun was sufficiently high in the sky, we drove into Bar Harbor and had a great breakfast at Jennnie's Great Maine Breakfast.   Then it was time to take the park loop road.  

And just after!  Note the cruise ship in Frenchman's Bay
All the park roads have been newly repaved!

We stopped at Sand Beach and spent some time appreciating the beauty of that special place. 

Sand Beach

Spectacular, but cold!

I stayed dry

The tide was going out 

The Beehive (mountain) in the background

After Sand Beach we hiked the loop trail around the Great Head peninsula.  It's a great little walk with great views from the point.
Looking back at Sand Beach from the Great Head trail

A few  pics here and below of the views from Great Head


After Great Head we stopped in to look at Thunder Hole, then went and checked in at Blackwoods Campground where we would be spending the next 2 nights.  We set up our tent and got all our gear organized.
It was beautiful weather all week and on this day we decided to get the kayaks in the water for an afternoon paddle.  At the south end of Mount Desert Island there is a public parking lot at Seal Harbor and it's easy to launch kayaks from there.  We put in at that location and paddled out of the harbor and headed west towards Somes Sound.  We were careful crossing Northeast Harbor, as it is a busy fishing harbor.  

Looking into Seal Harbor from the ocean.  Pemetic Mountain in the background.

Looking into Somes Sound from the ocean

Nice boat!

We were able to make it all the way over to the mouth of Somes Sound, but unfortunately didn't have time to paddle into the sound.  We had to turn around at that point to get back to Seal Harbor by dark.  

Leesa paddling back to Seal Harbor

Bear Island lighthouse
Back at the campground we had a campfire and cooked a dinner and turned in after having a busy day.

There are more pictures on my Picasa Web Album here.
Paddle Stats:
Paddle Distance:  8.6 miles
Paddle Time:  3 hours
Our hike of Great Head 
Our route for our paddle from Seal Harbor to Somes Sound