Thursday the weather looked prety brutal up in the Whites, so thegibba and I headed up the coast to see what was happening in Acadia and work on some redlining. We arrived to find the park dusted in a fresh few inches of snow but temps in the low 20's barely a breeze and mostly blue skies. The last trail on the east face of Dorr Mountain I needed was the Emery Path, which climbed up the steep face on hundreds of stone steps, just like the other trails that ascend that side of the mountain. Under the thin layer of snow was a thinner layer of ice, but it was enough that spiked were pretty much required equipment. Without them travel would have been treacherous, with them it was no problem at all. As we climbed the ice got thicker but the snow got deeper so it was easy enough to follow that trail up to the Schiff Path.
21 degrees at sunrise in Portland. High temp for the day!
Quiet time of year in Acadia
My first time on the Emery Path
A little snow over a little ice
Beautiful morning on the trails!
Ice increased as we climbed
Watch your step, hundreds and hundreds of steps
View out over Bar Harbor towards Schoodic & Black Mtns
thegibba taking in the scenery
Great Meadow and the Porcupine Islands
Working our way up the east face of Dorr
Nice pitch pine forest to stroll through
Once we joined that one the snow got a bit deeper, maybe 4-6" with some deeper drifts, but not enough to make us sorry we left the snowshoes at home. Someone had come up another trail so we followed them to the next junction, where, despite my crunching purposefully in the snow, I managed to scare the crap out of two women when they finally noticed me 10 feet away from them. They were facing the other way and the wind was blowing good up higher so they never heard me. We talked to them for a minute where one of them noting the wind and cold as they layered up proclaimed that the view was great and in spite of the forecast for cold and wind "anyone who sat home on their couch today is a loser!" Couldn't have agreed more!
After they layered up they turned back the way they came, out of the wind and missing the summit and even better views by a few hundred yards. We trudged up for a look around and brief break at the actual summit where a frosted Cadillac stole the views show but the rest of the park looked pretty good too.
Views opening up on the Schiff Path
Huguenot Head & Champlain Mtn across the notch
A rare blaze sighting
Beechcroft Trail circling around HH
Cool but nice day for a hike by the sea
Headed for the summit
This was about as deep as the snow got. Snowshoes still might have been useful
View of Cadillac from said summit
The last few steps to the very windy summit
A cold looking high point of the east coast
Harsh winters make the alpine zone start around 1000 feet
Schoodic and the Blacks across Frenchman Bay
We started down the Dorr North Ridge trail and things quickly got interesting. In Acadia National Park they blaze the plentiful open ledge areas higher on the mountain by painting right on the bedrock, and the Bates Cairns they use are about a foot high, so with 8" or so of snow up there the blazes were nowhere to be found and the cairns mostly buried in drifts. Multiple times we had to spread out and search the open areas for where the trail went. Fortunately we knew it pretty much followed the height of the ridge from previous trips, but it was a good lesson to learn that Acadia in winter can pose some route finding difficulties for the ones who have the honor of breaking trail. The first half mile or so we decided that even with just 6 inches of snow it might have made life easier to have brought the snowshoes along. Certainly would have prevented some ankle rolling on covered rocks and made the going faster and less cautious. I even managed to perform a textbook barrel roll after stepping too close to the edge of a rock with a mini cornice on it. Once back in the trees things got easier with the blue blazes actually visible much of the time and we made it up and over Kebo Mountain without issue before descending to the Kebo Brook Trail in a sudden snow squall.
A short stint on that took us to the Strathenden Path, which I needed half of for the red line, so we took that back to the car along the underside of Kebo Mountain without much excitement. Totals for the hike were 4.5 miles and 1400 feet of climbing.
Headed down a frozen Dorr North Ridge Trail
Bar Island & Harbor
Looking for a trail
Lowly Kebo Mountain was our next destination
A little less snow down lower
Snow squall coming in over Cadillac
The only real view I found near the summit. Good thing there's no leaves
Peter checking to make sure they marked the highest bump as the summit
Snow squall arriving
First half of the Stratheden Path was needed for redlining
Not much to see other than a woodpecker as you circle around Kebo Mountain
Still a working payphone at the visitors center
Parkman Mountain was the plan for part two of the day so we hopped in the car and headed to the center of the park, stopping twice to grab about a half mile of connecting trails I needed before parking in the pull out near the Goat Trail. By then the temps were dropping, the wind was whipping and the sun was setting so we knew we were in for a cold trip. We headed for the Maple Spring Trail which followed a brook up into the rugged little notch between Parkman and Sargent Mountains, where it became apparent we were not going to catch sunset from the bald summit. It actually set at 3:50, which was a good half hour earlier than we thought it would. Oops.
But it also appeared it was blocked for the most part by some clouds on the horizon, so not a total loss. Instead of taking the short way up we headed down the Giant Slide Trail to climb up Parkman from the north and get in another 3/4 of a mile of red ink. The Giant Slide Trail is a rugged one, following the bottom of a brook valley with a lot of rock hopping and scrambling, as well as many of the blazes being on the rocks and under snow so navigation was again a bit slow, and included Peter dunking his foot in the water on a crossing we didn't even need to make.
Boardwalks on the Maple Spring Trail
The trail passes under the Hemlock Bridge
Trail gets rougher as it climbs up along the brook
From an off trail ledge there appeared to be no sunset
We finally came to the Parkman Mountain Trail junction and began the climb up the ridge to the summit by headlamp. The wind was really whipping but skies were clear as we trudged up in 6 inches of snow. With no real reason to stop we arrived at the open summit quickly where we zipped up tight under the cold, starry skies. Temp on top was 12 degrees and the winds were a steady 30 mph or so. The only sights to see were the tail end of the sunset, a couple planets shining bright and a million stars, so we didn't stay long at all before heading down the other side. Once we dropped below the summit ledges the winds were blocked enough that we could take a few pictures of the stars before putting it in high gear for the last mile+ of trail to the car and then heading for the nearest Dunkin Donuts and a hot coffee ASAP.
Breaking out the headlamps on the Giant Slide Trail
Nearing the very cold and windy summit of Parkman as the stars come out
The very end of a distant sunset from the summit
A few starry night shots once we were down out of the -10 wind chills
Nobody does night skies like Acadia in winter
A little bit of the Milky Way before we call it a night
The second hike was also 4.5 miles with 1000 feet of elevation gain. 9+ miles with 2400 feet of elevation gain if you're keeping score at home. Always nice to see Acadia with it's winter coat on and it's a great time to get in a quiet hike there, as the place is mostly deserted in winter. As I mentioned winter hiking there has it's own set of unique challenges, ice and route finding on un-tracked trails with the blazes buried under snow being two of the biggest, but otherwise it's an awesome spot for some winter miles and I hope to get back soon for more.