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 Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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 Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain
Once the showers passed on Wednesday night and morning the weather cooled back down into the 70's for the rest of the week. My in-laws and wife's 13 year old cousin were along on this summers trip and they wanted to get up to see the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. They also wanted to take my oldest (7) with them, but we figured if the alarm was going to go off and the rustling around in the tent might wake the others up why not take everyone along for the ride, so at 4 AM we got the kids into the car and headed for the top. 25 minutes later we were huddled among the masses in blankets and sleeping bags waiting for the guest of honor. The kids were actually excited the whole ride up (other than my 7 year old complaining we were dressing them like it was winter and not July!) but the whining ended when we got out into the blustery 50 degree temps atop the highest peak on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

Everyone should drive up for this at least once while there, and apparently everyone chose the same day
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It was cold and windy, but the good news is the sun keeps a tight schedule so we didn't have to wait long
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Right on time as usual
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5:03 to be exact
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Cold but fun start to the day
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This show draws quite a crowd!
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One last look on the ride down
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The sandbar to Bar Island was out
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Cadillac, Dorr and Champlain waking up
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The sun came up as scheduled, and everyone else was going back to nap (how nice for them, but the kids weren't going back to sleep any time soon) so we decided maybe heading for the nearest Dunkin Donuts in Elsworth might bore them back to sleep in the car. No luck, so we got breakfast and came up with a plan for the morning. There are two mountains across Frenchman Bay that you can see prominently from Acadia, Schoodic and Tunk. Both are supposed to be pretty decent hikes and have been on my to-do list for years, but normally they're an hours drive from the island. Not today however, and 20 more minutes on the Blackwoods Scenic Byway brought us to one of them for an early morning hike.

Next stop, Tunk Mountain!
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Tunk Mountain is located on what used to be private property, and while it was open to hiking, the trail was rough and even had some fixed ropes to help you up some ledges. But after it was donated to the state they finally got around to re-routing the trail last year (or the one before??) so it is more user friendly. At 1,157 feet it stands as tall as most of the mountains in Acadia and even feels as if it was transplanted from there, with all the open ledges and cliffs and such. We started the hike under bright blue skies as we made our way through the emerald green woods. Easy going with a few bog bridges brought us to Salmon and Mud Ponds, where we hugged the shoreline of the rugged little Mud Pond with it's great views across at Tunk Mountains upper ledges. Honestly, the pond didn't look muddy at all, but I didn't go in to test that theory either.

The trail to the ponds goes through some beautiful green woods
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Passing the not so muddy Mud Pond
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Tunk's upper ledges across the pond
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From there the trail got much steeper and rougher for a bit, climbing up among boulders and large trees before easing up in a gorgeous pine forest. The trail was mostly earth and pine needles for the next half mile or so until we finally gained the ledges just below Monument Vista. A small set of staples helped us up one ledge and then we took the spur trail to the vista itself, which reached all the way out to the ocean and the mountains of Acadia poking up beyond the nearer Black Mountains including Schoodic with it's bald top and communications tower sticking up. In between appeared to be a nearly unbroken forest filled with shimmering blue lakes. Enormous sloping ledges at the vista were home to a lot of blueberry ripe bushes, so while I was busy taking pics and exploring my wife and older two got busy filling a water bottle with blueberries to bring home with us after we ate our fill.

Immediately after the pond things started up steeply
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Then scaled back a bit for more nice hiking through the forest
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The first of many many view ledges
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Training for the Beehive! :D
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Monument Vista
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Home to monuments, vistas and blueberries by the bush full
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After that the rest of the trail climbed several hundred more feet on mostly open ledges, also covered in blueberries, which made for slow going as it's hard for my kids to walk by any and just leave them there. Constant views and good footing made for a peasant final climb to the summit, where more ledges and blocks awaited, providing similar views but also opening up views to the north, which didn't look at much exciting other than a big wind farm and some distant hills. One final scramble brought us to the end of the trail where we had a long snack break. I scrambled up a steep 20 foot tall pointed boulder that seemed to be the high point, although it's possible the actual summit was slightly higher and off in the woods somewhere.

Going up the last 1/4 mile was steep, open, beautiful ledge
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Hard to make progress with so many views and blueberries to pick
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But we persevered and eventually hit the open north outlook ledges
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Views north were nothing special however, and included this windfarm
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The final scramble to the end of the trail
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End of the road
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Once done with that it was back the way we came. More off trail exploring brought us to even more blueberry bushes, which on this very lightly traveled mountain were bursting with juicy berries and made easy work of filling another pint sized bottle with berries. A guy with five barking dogs passed us while we were off the trail there and that was the only other person we saw on the hike. Once down below the last ledges and iron rungs it was smooth sailing and a few skittles gave the kids the boost they needed to finish off this three mile hike.

The highest southern viewpoint with peeks at Acadia in the distance
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This ledgey area slightly lower on the mountain was probably the best for both views and blueberries if you ask me
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Taste testing
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Back down the ladder
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And through the really nice woods
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Last look at Tunk and Mud Pond
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My oldest made a friend on the way down
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Overall I was really surprised at how nice of a hike this was. Beautiful old growth woods, more ledgey goodness than you can shake a stick at, more berries than you could ever pick, scenic ponds and distant views to both the ocean and Acadia made for a great 3 mile hike with about 1000 feet of climbing to it. About the same stats as Mt. Major actually and a beautiful little corner of Maine that appears to rarely get used, but one I know I'll be back to for at least Schoodic Mountain, as it seems to have unobstructed views of Acadia across the bay. Good for avoiding crowds on busy vacation weeks too if you just can't take them anymore in the park, and if you like blueberries this place is pretty much unpicked, or it was until we got there! :wink: Don't worry there's still a few million left, and while I wouldn't necessarily rush to leave the actual park for a hike it just worked out that way and was a very enjoyable change of scenery.


Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:44 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:03 pm
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 Re: Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain
Great reports and pictures of Acadia, looks like you had a great trip. I've never even heard of Tunk Mt. I can't believe it's been six years since I've been to Acadia. Gotta get back soon.


Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:00 pm
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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 Re: Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain
hophiker wrote:
Great reports and pictures of Acadia, looks like you had a great trip. I've never even heard of Tunk Mt. I can't believe it's been six years since I've been to Acadia. Gotta get back soon.


Great rip for sure. Six years, I think I'd have withdrawal symptoms of some kind by then! Using the bike spots like you have been lately you could do some pretty long and/or unusual hikes here I think between the roads and carriage roads. I'll be looking forward to those posts when you do eventually get back.


Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:47 pm
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Location: Not Mass 8)
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 Re: Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain
Sunrises are great but that's way too many people for me to enjoy the experience. We're not rich but bar Harbor is our luxury vaca. Why drive anywhere when I can sit on my deck and see this? :wink: 28 mornings from today! 8)

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Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:21 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:12 pm
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Location: Somersworth NH
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 Re: Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain
My goodness. Sunrise looks pretty good! But that's a crowd and a half. I generally don't even like being with myself at 5am. We've not gone up for the sunrise in our couple of trips, and maybe it's a good thing (both for us and anybody who would have to deal with me!). It DOES look beautiful though!


Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:09 am
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:23 pm
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Location: Lakes Region, NH
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 Re: Eight More Days In Acadia - Part II - Tunk Mountain
Gorgeous and I cannot believe how many friends you brought with u gg! Damn!!!! :D


Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:31 pm
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