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 Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16 
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 Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
Thegibba and I both had yesterday off and wanted to hit the trails. We checked the forecasts and ruled out the cloudy spots, ruled out a couple hikes in the Whites for different reasons, canned a trip to Maine's 4Ks because we didn't feel like doing a 16+ mile day and ended up heading to Acadia for the day to do some redlining and work on Peter's Acadia list. Interestingly in 2016 both Acadia National Park and the National Park Service turn 100 years old, and what better way to celebrate than the first of many trips (hopefully) to the park this year to celebrate! :D

We left NH just after 5 AM and headed north. The skies were forecast to be clear in Maine but were grey when the sun came up. We stopped at Tim Hortons in Ellsworth to see just what exactly gets Spencer so excited all the time before finally arriving at the trails up Western Mountain around 10. Mansel and Bernard are two peaks on the Acadia 26 he hadn't hiked yet and they have numerous trails on them so we chose a route I had not used before and after getting ready and watching an eagle soar over Long Pond for a bit, away we went.

The day starting gray on the turnpike
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All Spencer's Timbit talk made me want to see what the fuss was all about
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He was pretty high up but I managed a pictures of baldy
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First up was Western Mountain with its two summits of Mansell and Bernard. Western Mountain is different than most of the other mountains in Acadia. It is covered from head to toe with an old growth coastal spruce forest, so views are limited but the terrain is enjoyable all the same. We took the Mansell Trail up, which started out free of snow. The snowline in Acadia appears to be at about 500 feet, which was also about the same elevation as the first open ledges. It was covered in snow and ice flows and we decided at that point it would be a good idea to put on the Hillsounds. The overcast skies cleared out all of a sudden as we did that, which left us with a nicely powder coated mountain under brilliant blue skies. As we climbed there were a couple more view ledges along the way and a lot of ice but only about an inch of snow and the spikes made the going easy as we climbed to the ridge and shortly the wooded summit.

No snow down low
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High is relative, but there was plenty of ice and a little snow up higher
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View ledge out to Bernard Mountain
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Frosted old growth spruce
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Summit of Mansell Mountain
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After topping out we retraced our steps for a bit to the Razorback Trail which was pretty icy and dropped steeply down into the notch, going over the north end of the Razorback along the way which is a ridge of exposed rock on this otherwise mostly wooded mountain. Again the Hillsounds made life easy, although we occasionally bushwhacked around the heaviest of the ice flows on the trail and then climbed very steeply out of Great Notch to the summit of Knights Nubble, which is a prominent summit in between the two higher ones with a notch on either side of it, but for some reason it is not listed on most maps of the area. Down steeply again into Little Notch we went before gradually climbing to the summit of Bernard Mountain which is also cloaked in the old-growth Spruce Forest but has a couple of restricted viewpoints near the summit.

Headed back through the spruce
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The Razorback Trail with a view of Knights Nubble and Bernard Mtn
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A little icy in spots
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Spruce Forest
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Just us and the bobcat on the Razorback
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Peter coming down the Razorback
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Do woods get much nicer?
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Icy scrambles
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Knights Nubble view ledge looks back at Mansell and the Razorback
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Only an inch of so of snow up high still
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Bernard Mountain's view ledge near the quiet summit
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1071 feet and the high point of the day
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We exited the mountain on the Sluiceway Trail which follows a stream down through the valley. Rocky footing at first as it went straight down the notch but eventually it turns into a nice wooded walk with good footing and we were able to remove the micro spikes for the rest of the trip back to the car. I have never met a trail in Acadia which I did not like, so it is worth noting that we took the Western Mountain Connector for redlining purposes and it is without a doubt the ugliest, least scenic, most useless trail in Acadia. At first it follows a closed park road and then veers off to go in between a water processing plant of some sort and an active gravel pit on the other side before walking back on an old paved road to the car. There really is no reason for this trail to even exist. There's nothing along the way and nothing it connects to and there is another trail that is only half as long and twice as nice to connect to the same two spots this one does, so really they should just take it off the maps and be done with it.

Headed dwn the Sluiceway Trail
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The single worst and most pointless trail I think I have ever been on
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Back at Long Pond
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Our next hike took us to the parks namesake mountain. Acadia Mountain sits on the western side of Sommes Sound, which is apparently the only fiord on the east coast of the United States. The hike itself is more typical of the hiking you find in the park. Less than a mile to the top, he trail climbs up through the gnarly pines with a few short scrambles and some open ledges, many of which were covered in ice flows and required that we put on the Hillsounds yet again. With the spikes however the going was fairly quick and easy and the trail is less than a mile so it didn't take long to find ourselves at the summit with its 180 degree views of the bald, snow-capped ridges of the highest mountains in the park to the east and to the south the neighboring peaks of Flying Mountain and St. Sauveur Mountain along with the Cranberry Islands and the western mountains we had hiked earlier in the day completing the panorama.

Start of the trail up Acadia Mountain
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Just enough ice coated ledges to require spikes
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The summit of Acadia Mountain
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The trail descends a small chute in the rock and then climbs up to an outcrop with more, similar views and some ledges off the trail that look straight down and out over the entire sound and the highest peaks in the park beyond it. A juvenile bald eagle circled not far from us, at one point it even looked like it might land next to us. Always a majestic sight even though it was the fifth sighting of the day for us, but by far the closest. After that the trail dropped steeply and roughly on ice covered rocks and ledges for a bit before the majority of the ice disappeared and we could take off the spikes. After crossing Man O' War Brook we connected with the fire road that took us back to the car uneventfully but with an occasional glimpse through the trees of the cliff lined face of Acadia Mountain.

Looking back at Acadia's summit as well as Beech and Western Mountains beyond
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Scrambling fow some better views of the sound
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Sommes Sound
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Beech Cliff and Mountain
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Peter checking out the view of Flying Mountain
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At 284 feet high Flying Mountain is the shortest in the park.
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Peter spotted this Juvenile Bald Eagle which circled right over us a couple times
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It was our fifth sighting of the day
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The trail dropped steeply but was bare-bootable after a bit
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Last view of Flying Mtn across Valley Cove, which is only about 100 feet taller than the sound is deep
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The icy trails had slowed us down some so we were racing to catch a sunset at this point. The short loop of Beech Mountain was the intended target but as we neared the parking lot we ran into a gated and un-plowed road about a 10th of a mile from the trail head. We parked the car and walked up the road to the trail and then took the longer but less steep branch of the loop to the summit because it had numerous view ledges along the way. It was the iciest trail of the day so the Hillsounds came out to play one last time. Unfortunately we found out that in winter the sun sets directly behind western mountain when viewed from Beech mountain and it was obvious from the very first ledge that we were not going to see it sink below the horizon.

D'oh!
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The actual trail up Beech was a little icy too
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Looking out over Long Pond
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The first mountains of the day blocking the sunset! :(
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When we did reach the summit and the fire tower the sunset and twilight lighting gave some nice coloring to the evening skies. Hardly a cloud to speak of any closer than the horizon but a lot of nice yellow purple orange and pink lighting made for a decent show, sunset or no sunset. A crescent moon hung high in the sky to finish the big picture and after hanging out up there for a while we headed down the shorter and slightly steeper route back to the car.

Summit fire tower
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VFTTower
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Pink Cadillac
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Moon over Western Mountain
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Dusk falling over the Camden Hills
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I failed to see the attraction to Tim Hortons. Give me my DD's any day, or night. 8)
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The ice really slowed us down in spots so we were unable to get to all the peaks we wanted to but still got in three nice hikes for the day. The park has a reputation for having very icy winter trails and it lived up to it but we had the equipment to still get out and enjoy the cloudless 20 degree day. Without spikes I don't think any of these three hikes would've been possible as there were just too many ice flows, especially on the scrambles and steeper ledges to safely bare-boot the upper halves of the mountains, but the park is a wonderfully, spectacularly, quiet place to hike in winter. We saw five bald eagles and the only two people we saw were just out for a walk on the ugliest trail in the park. No other hikers to speak of. Far more bobcat tracks then human tracks. Not the most spectacular mountains in the park, and I still have visions of getting back to the place after a big dumping of snow, but all things considered I don't think we could have picked a better place to spend the day.

Lastly, for information on the year long Centennial celebration which is filled with events you can click right here. Get up there this year to wish the place a happy 100th birthday! http://www.acadiacentennial2016.org/


Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:09 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
A daytrip to Acadia?! ...How many miles are on your car :shock: ?

In all seriousness, nice job. You're lucky- you have at least a 1/2 hour headstart on me for Acadia NP. Not feasible for me to do a daytrip there... heck, there are legit mountains in Canada that I could do as daytrips, like 3,156 ft. Sommet Rond. The way I'd do it, it's either 11 or 13.5 miles roundtrip.

Oh yea, no more Tim Hortons for me, at least when I go to the Maine 4Ks. The stores in Auburn and Biddeford were closed permanently, so... I can save a few min. off my commute there :( ?

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Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:39 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
Granite Guy wrote:
Do woods get much nicer?
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Nope. Nicely done Gentlemen. One of these days I will get to Maine.

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Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:21 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
hiker0200 wrote:
A daytrip to Acadia?! ...How many miles are on your car :shock: ?

In all seriousness, nice job. You're lucky- you have at least a 1/2 hour headstart on me for Acadia NP. Not feasible for me to do a daytrip there... heck, there are legit mountains in Canada that I could do as daytrips, like 3,156 ft. Sommet Rond. The way I'd do it, it's either 11 or 13.5 miles roundtrip.

Oh yea, no more Tim Hortons for me, at least when I go to the Maine 4Ks. The stores in Auburn and Biddeford were closed permanently, so... I can save a few min. off my commute there :( ?


Well you have a head start on Peter and he made it. 8) Long drive no doubt but worth it IMO. The Daks are longer for me and I've made a few day trips there too. This time of year you can leave at a reasonable hour, say 430am, and get in 3-4 hikes, see sunset around 5 and still be home by 10. Long day, 230 miles each way, but like anything if you really like it and want it bad enough it's just part of the deal.

Kathy, you should start booking a summer vacation here now. :wink:


Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:26 am
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Granite Guy wrote:
Kathy, you should start booking a summer vacation here now. :wink:

OK. Set me up. Let's say I have three days to spend in Maine. End of June. I can go mid-week.

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Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:51 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
Well, Maine has a couple personalities. Inland big mountain and the coastal stuff, but do you like to camp?

In June it would be hard for me to send anyone I didn't wish misery on to Baxter. If you've never hiked Katahdin you should plan that for this year too while you are in tip top shape. You just never know when a change in hiking time or an injury or whatever could slow you up. But, the black flies would carry you away in Baxter or the other Maine 4Ks in June. And of course it's likely to still be shoulder season to some degree up higher. If you don't give a hoot about the NE67 the only must do hike there is Katahdin. Another half dozen are spectacular, but if Maine is usually a bridge too far you could die happy without hiking then.

Acadia, well, it isn't a National Park for nothing. It's worth the drive. If you like to camp Acadia is almost free of black flies for some reason. The lack of cool clear streams for breeding might be it, or the salty air, or who knows. Blackwoods is the best location to set up shop. You can drive up Cadillac or hike right up from your tent for sunrise from the summit or sunset from the Blue Hills Overlook.

A favorite loop hike I've done from the campground which ends up being 13 miles or so, is to walk the park loop road over to Gorham Mountain, hike up and over that, then the Beehive, Champliain up the south ridge, down Hugenot Head, then up the Ladder trail on Dorr, over to Cadillac and down the south ridge right back to camp.

If not wanting one big hike you can also do a bunch of those as shorter separate hikes. Make a nice little loop out of Gorham Mtn using the main and Caddilac Cliffs trail. Then the Beehive up the fun way and exit the easy way past the bowl for a nice loop. Then head for the Bubbles and loop around South, up to the summit and over to north and complete the loop back to the car. All three of those hikes are awesome small to mid sized hikes less than 3 miles each.

Plan a bigger but not hige hike of Penobscott and Sargent. Then there's a ton of great little filler hikes all over too. Ship harbor and see the lighthouse. Bar Island if the tide is right and wander in town. Stroll around Jordan Pond and grab a snack at the restaurant there. Really too many combos to mention anything in particular.

Visit town and the breweries and restaurants or whatever. Drive the loop road and sight see the touristy way too. Stop for popovers and lemonade at the Jordan House. Touristy and a little pricy for what it is but honestly it's delicious treats/snacks/desserts. Let me know more what your looking for. I'll be happy to play travel agent some more 8) but Acadia is the place to be in June for sure.


Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:18 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
I second Acadia/Bar Harbor in June. We camped at a place near Soames Sound. Weather was great (actually it was unseasonably hot the first time, but not too bad), no bugs, and plenty to enjoy (hiking and swimming). We also saw the sunrise from Cadillac.


Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:34 am
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
Ice was the word of the day. Ice slowed us down quite a bit. It is for sure still "shoulder" season here in Acadia. Perhaps next weekend will change that and we may have to make a revisit for some snow shoeing punishment. :twisted: I'm sure I would be taking a cat nap at a rest stop on the way home. A Tim Horton's is all the more reason for you to go Spencer! While Derek an I will hold out for a dunk from here on out. This is the only Time Horton's that I have seen. Even being the Western side of the park. the woods are great and the hikes are fine. Im at 20/26 for Acadian peaks. I will for sure finish the WA26 :lol: before I finish the W48.

Just a few pics from the day.

Ice forming from water lapping against the shore from a cold night or two or three.
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It doesn't look bad here, and quite frankly looks ridiculous. but the small icy sections are what contributed to the slowdowns.

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Infact a lot of the time, we were simply scraping the paint off the Hillsounds searching for ice to walk on.

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A woodpecker shaped piece of metal impaled into a tree. This one is a first for me.

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An icy section we both chose different "whacks" around and had a bit of a race above it. Derek won by a few paces :evil:

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Another shot of the incredible woods

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Scraping the paint on Mt. Acadia

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In search of views

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Bald Eagle looking for food. And perhaps us.

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Trying to hit up sunset on another mountain is not always easy in Acadia. Icy rocky ledgy goodness is a double edged sword.

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Last peak of the day, even though the sunset was obscured, the colors and environment made it feel more remote than it actually is. You still can't beat Acadia even being less than a mile from your car.

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As far as making a trip to Acadia in June. Go for it, schedule a few nights a blackwoods. Stop at the Atlantic Brewery for some "enhancement" around the fire. Stop at a Trailhead, and walk. Aside from the trail we walked this day, you can't go wrong. Just watch out for the Beehive or the Precipice if you aren't in the mood for heights and iron rungs. Grab the AMC book with (paper) map and just make loops to your hearts desire. Grab the Tyvek one if you want. Joe and Derek should be able to tell you where to get food for the night. Hike to Cadillac from the South Ridge Trail at the top of either campground loop. Bring your sunscreen! The whole Middle Mountain with Penobscot, Sargent (really recommend sunset here as you will probably find very few people if at all). This Park was just designed to make loops out of nothing. If you arent feeling it, just drive up to Cadillac. Get there at least 45 minutes prior to sunset. There is a pull off just before the summit on the left where the magic happens. There is plenty of room to roam about, most will hang near the cars, but there is plenty of ledgy goodness to roam about.


Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:09 pm
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Every April there is a national parks week where admission is free should anyone get the urge to visit then. This year it's the 16th - 24th. Not that it's huge money you save, but it's almost enough to pay for a tank of gas, 2 night of camping (since it's half price in April) or dinner in town. And of course if you are a winter camping entusiast like myself it's free to camp there in winter.


Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:58 am
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
Highly recommend Valley Cove Trail in that Flying Mt., St. Sauveur, Acadia Mt area. You'll have to time it when there's no Peregrines closing the trail. Spent the better part of an afternoon there. It's a magical spot.

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Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:42 am
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I would really like to take the Valley Cove trail sometime. Actually our plan was to take it right over to flying mountain after descending Acadia but we opted to try and catch the sunset instead. Probably should have stuck with plan A in hindsight.

I have visited the cove on a Flying Mountain loop but didn't get to take the trail that time either...

http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=7820

And there's a nice birds-eye view from Valley Peak too...

http://forum.hike-nh.com/viewtopic.php?t=8115

So many great spots in Acadia. Just can't ever seem to get enough of the place. I want to go back already! :D


Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:12 am
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
This is the first I've seen of an Acadia26. I like it. Sounds like something fun to play with and reading your post, I do have to agree it's sad there's nothing from Schoodic Peninsula or other areas on it. Have you been to Isle Au Haut? It's on our list of places to go. Maybe for the 100th year, a patch of the 26 would be neat to have, if they'd be interested in promoting? probably not though. The fall pictures make me excited to see Acadia in it's painted season. It's the one we haven't done yet.


Tue Jan 19, 2016 11:42 am
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I have not been out to Isle Au Haut yet. Planned it twice but sea fog is very stubborn sometimes. No point in going when it is socked in since its a 5 hour drive and $40 hour long boat ride. Would love to spend a couple nights out there and hike around this summer if it works out. I'll keep trying until I get there. And yes the place is pretty spectacular and colorful in autumn, as well as a lot less crowded except on Columbus Day weekend.

A patch like the 48 would probably be fun to chase, especially for kids and people who return on vacations every year, as well as make them some money. They sell hiking stick badges in the gift shops for many trails and attractions so why not? I think their official list of "26" was formed before Schoodic and Isle we're added to the park but don't know for sure so that's probably why it's missing the summits in those sections. It's also missing a couple mountains like Kebo for some reason. A redlining patch would be nice too since there's only about 120 miles of trails it is also a reasonable quest. I draw on the map as I go but haven't tallied my mileage or % yet. One of these cold windy days I guess I'll have to do that.


Tue Jan 19, 2016 3:02 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
I'm sure we could come up with a list that would expand the Acadian mountains a bit. Criteria be negotiated.


Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:53 pm
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 Re: Kicking Off Acadia's 100th Year!! - 1/14/16
Schoodic would be a perfect addition. I liked my trip to Schoodic Head on the Anvil Trail and it is an easy hike. I'd leave the Isle off. Because of the cost and trickiness, but more importantly, I feel like if you were to make a kid/family friendly list, it could potentially drive more people to a place, that I get the impression thrives because its remote and gently touched by humans. Acadia does a great job, of trying to preserve the wildness of MDI and any list should support that. A good ponder would be what are some little used trails in the park. Would you include any of the carriage roads? Would it made sense to add peaks not in the Acadia National Park land but still on MDI. What's the goal of the list? Would the park approve? How would you get them on board? Gosh, I'm sure there are some people out there who've made some lists before that already had all these questions in mind. It's a lot to consider.


Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:12 pm
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