Reggie and I followed the path to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak in Acadia National Park. The term mountain is relative, of course. At about 1,500 feet (460 m), I know many of you would call this more of a large hill Still, it’s tall enough that the wind swirls every which way and the temperature drops a few degrees at the summit. And it affords terrific views, like this one.
Acadia National Park near along the Maine coast, is spread over three islands with the largest part of the park on Mount Desert Island (confusingly pronounced des-sert by locals).
The island is dotted with lakes and ponds. There is an easy trail that rings Jordan Pond, below. I took my time strolling along the path until a Boston terrier, who wheezed like an asthma patient, passed me. Then I knew I had to step it up a notch.
The most unique aspect of the park is the carriage road. John Rockefeller, Jr. financed and oversaw the creation of the carriage road and stone bridges between 1913 and 1940. Rockefeller wanted to ensure safe passage for horses without encountering any cars, so he created about 50 miles of roads and 17 bridges, which he then gifted to the park.
Despite previous experiences to the contrary (remember the incidents with the Goddess Pele and the Everglades?), I promptly decided I was going to rent a bike for a day and pedal the carriage road. Luckily this time I returned unscathed, though a close encounter with this snapping turtle nearly left me minus one digit. (Do not let anyone convince you turtles are s-l-o-w.)
I did encounter more placid wildlife. Below is a double-crested cormorant in his signature wing-drying pose. He is perched atop a beaver lodge built on a marsh pond. The beavers were not home.
At the southern end of Jordan Pond, there is a clearing in the trees which makes a great resting spot for bikers and hikers. In the distance you can see a set of peaks, both of which offer reasonably steep hiking trails.(People have a lot of fun names for these peaks. Feel free to leave your guesses in comments.)
In case you needed it, here is a close up. I tackled the peak on the right. It is about two miles from the pond to the top, winding in switchbacks. Some parts of this trail were more like rock climbing than hiking where I had to hoist myself up hand over hand around boulders. Heart pounding and sweating, I stopped for a water break. Around the bend came an older couple, fresh as daisies.
“Did you hike the trail?” I asked, a bit surprised given the difficulty level and their arthritic hands.
“Trail?” the woman said. “We walked from the parking lot about a quarter mile down the road.”
“Yeah, thanks for that.”
That hike warranted a treat. It was time for popovers! Popovers are light rolls, nearly hollow inside, and served with jam and butter. They are a specialty at the Jordan Pond House.
There is one beach in Acadia National Park, named, appropriately enough, Sand Beach. While most of the coastline is rugged and rocky, this is the spot with easy access to the ocean. Reggie enjoyed the sand, but would not venture in the water. Not even one paw.
Have you been to Acadia or Maine? Did I miss anything?
Have a great weekend, everyone!