Another trip report for Hike-Acadia if anyone's interested. Yesterday I was free all day, and while leaning towards yet another trip to Acadia to work on wrapping up the red lines I was considering the Whites also. But when 4 AM rolled around the weather up north looked like some rain and snow, while Downeast looked much nicer. Hiking in the stick season slop vs the late nice late autumn of Acadia was an easy choice for me, especially with an extra hour of sleep, so that's where I went. Bonus that even in full blown stick season Acadia is so thickly covered in spruce forests it never really looks like stick season.
Cant imagine why the native Wabanaki were referred to as the People of the Dawnland??
The latest sunrise of 2016 came up at 7:16
Acadia and MDI seen from Belfast at sunrise
Northeast Creek and Cadillac Mountain
Deer hanging around the park loop road
Search and Find. How many??
Starting out on the Hunters Brook trail I hiked an easy couple warm up miles along the tumbling brook that is lined with a lush green forest. Beautiful scenery and woods with an old growth feel for more than a mile before the climb up the backside of the Triad with the water providing some relaxing ambient music. Definitely a quieter and lightly used trail for Acadia. A quick .1 mile detour to the summit of the Triad with it's views of Seal Harbor and the next objectives for the day, Penobscot and Sargent Mountains, and then it was down to Jordan Pond for some wandering.
Away we go!
Natures own relaxation soundtrack
This pretty much sums up the foliage situation there
Stick season however is not all that sticky in much of Acadia
More music to my ears
Lightly used route up the Triad
Crossing a carriage road at just the right time to see these ladies out for a walk
The more heavily used standard route
Atop the Triad
Seal Harbor and islands from the summit
The awesome south ridge of Penobscot was my next destination
Penobscot and Sargent with Jordan Cliff
Again, the lack of actual sticks in stick season makes for nicer walking IMO
There's a lot of short trails in the Jordan Pond area that just wander along brooks or to bridges or connect to other trails to form loops. The Jordan Stream Path is one of them, and it winds along down another babbling brook valley, or stream I guess, eventually leaving the park boundary at the Cobblestone Bridge. The oldest of Rockefeller's carriage road bridges, it is the only one I have seen made of cobblestones and was completed in 1917. It was really quite interesting, and while wandering the carriage roads is not my favorite thing to do, I'd love to eventually see all the bridges. Preferably by bike than by foot, but they are always a cool landmark when I run across them. I think I'm up to 11 of the 16 while just hiking and driving around, so I'm sure I'll get to the rest eventually.
Must have been a bit chilly the night before
The Bubbles always get a picture or two...or three..or...
Just checking to make sure I picked the right destination
Yep. I did.
Jordan Stream Path is another streamside stroll that's probably nicer with more water
But the very cool Cobblestone Bridge is located at the park boundary
From there I took one of Rockefellers private carriage roads a short ways before doing a short bushwhack to get back to the trails and start up the Penobscot Mountain Trail from it's southern end. The first mile is a mixture of forest and ledge, with a few viewpoints as it climbs up to the cliffs on the ridge where things open up with views to the east. I came across a deer in the woods just off trail who was trapped between me and the cliff tops, who wasn't sure how to escape. He jumped one way and then the other before dashing across the trail out of sight. After that the ridge became completely opening for a glorious mile long ridge walk to the top. Almost at the top I stepped closer to the edge for a picture and almost stepped right on a porcupine. It was small and brown so I never saw it until he turned and lifted his backside to me like a skunk about to spray. I stopped in my tracks two feet from a painful encounter and let him wander off into a nearby crack in the rocks. I was hoping to finish this safari of a trail with an eagle sighting but after a snack at the summit and no luck headed down the Deer Brook Trail.
Passing the park boundary on the bushwhack
Back to the trails and up this little piece of heaven
Crossing a carriage road along the way
Viewpoint looking south over Mitchell Hill
Lower Penobscot Mountain Trail
View out over Long Pond and the Rockefeller estate
Tried to get away to the right, then doubled back and went left when he got to the cliffs
Things are getting good now
You could do worse than a mile of this
The trail was a little erratic
I could hike this all day every day
Look back down the ridge
Almost stepped on him/her. Then of course it wouldn't stay still for a picture
Nice views of the pond and Bubbles among other things
Alpine zone at 1000 feet
Almost on top
The summit blending in with Sargent
North Bubble, Eagle Lake and the Black Mountains across the bay
Sea and sky
East face of Sargent calling for me
Another quick check to confirm I made the correct decision
It's official. I did.
The Deer Brook trail took me down to the Sargent East Cliffs Trail, which took me steeply up among the cliffs but never climbing up anything more than a short scramble. A couple views along the way as you crossed the top of various ledges but otherwise nothing too exciting. Halfway up you get into the open alpine zone with views north and east, and eventually at the second highest summit in the park a 360 degree panorama unfolds. The colors of Acadia surround you here, from the blues of the sky and ocean to the greens of the pine forests and the pink, tan and grey rocks that make up the park. Really one of the nicest summits in the park I think, and a view that never gets old no matter how many times I visit.
Down the Deer Brook trail, but no deer this time
Old school blazing
Sargent East Cliffs Trail was needed for the red line
Try not to slip on the wet leaves
A couple viewpoints along the way
Yet again things open up into the alpine zone
Jordan Pond and Penobscot Mountain
Second highest summit in the park
With daylight beginning to fade and clouds moving in from the west I didn't stay long, and took the Hadlock Brook Trail down, passing 3 carriage road bridges along the way. Once down at Hadlock Pond I had ten miles of amazing hiking behind me for the day, and 7 miles of not quite as amazing carriage roads, obscure trail bits and road walking to get me back to my car. Along the way I used a few of the private carriage roads, which are only open to the public in daylight house, so I hustled a bit more than normal, following a few of the trails that also go onto the Rockefeller estate to the boundary of the park before making my way back to Jordan Pond. The Seaside Trail leaves from there, which seemed to be nothing more than a connecting path for the parks employee living quarters to the Rockefeller's private carriage roads. I got off them just at dusk and had a two mile road walk back to my car before calling it a day.
Headed down the Sargent South Ridge Trail
People on Penobscot
Hadlock Brook flowing nicely
The brook passes under Waterfall Bridge
Hadlock Falls is the highest in the park
Smaller Hadlock Brook Bridge near the bottom of the trail
A couple miles of this
Followed a few trails to the park boundaries
Saw more wildlife than people yesterday
Hitting the private carriage roads. Many of which had no teeth
This "trail" isn't on all the maps. Appears abandoned.
Park Boundary on the Seaside Trail
Penobscot Narrows Bridge on the ride home
The route for the day
All told it was 17 miles with 3500+ feet of elevation, but all the elevation came in the first ten miles. The last seven miles were strictly for redlining and returning to the car, mostly flat and the faster pace I used on them gave me a pretty good blister on my right heel. Note to self, don't forget to change socks every 8-10 miles.
While interesting to see a bit of the private estate I didn't have time to explore the trails fully that are also open to the public, but when the official park trails are done they're next on the list. I have hiked a few in the past and they are much less manicured than the official park trails, and much quieter, even on busy holiday weekends they have no crowds. For now I'll keep grabbing the missing pieces of the puzzle on my quest to red line the MDI section of Acadia, and eventually the trails on the Schoodic Peninsula and Isle Au Haut. One of the trails I need is currently closed for reconstruction so that may not happen any time soon. Fortunately, the way things connect in Acadia, you can mix together a bunch of old favorites, looping this way and that, grabbing the missing links as you go, and and never get in the same hike twice. If you hadn't noticed I just can't get enough of this place!