Sunday Peter and I headed back up to Acadia for some more redlining this past Sunday, just missing Joe by a day apparently. Expecting winter conditions (since there was 8-10 inches on our last visit) we showed up with snowshoes, spikes, crampons, snow pants and insulated boots.
Well, As Joe mentioned in his report, there sadly is no snow in Acadia after the last stretch of nice weather. Strange how much it can change in a month. But it actually made our day easier, and as usual in winter there were no people in the place, so it wasn't all bad.
Sun rising over Portland on the way up. The weathermen promised us a beautiful day!
Phew. All was clearing out when we finally arrived at Long Pond
Long Pond had some interesting ice formations and icy slurry waves
We started up Western Mountain, needing half of two trails and a whole one down the other side, so after heading up the Cold Brook Trail from where we parked at Long Pond we took the lower half of the Sluiceway to the upper half of the Great Notch trail and then continued over Nights Nubble to the summit of Bernard. Some ice in the usual spots (the short but steep ups and downs in Great and Little notches) but otherwise easy going. And rather than mess around with traction we just went around it in the frozen woods.
Snow free trails headed up to Great Notch
Older woodpecker blaze on the Sluiceway
Apparently nobody had logged in since October, but the story is always the same in Acadia
Some ice, but still no snow
Could have put spikes on, but it was easier to go around this
Trail up Knights Nubble was pretty icy too
Other than a few shorter stretches it was all just nice, green woods
Knights Nubble outlook
Not an official summit, but it gets a sign
Working around more ice leaving Little Notch
Couple of views from Bernard Mountain
From there it was down the Bernard Mountain trail to the West Ledge Trail, which runs up the west side of the mountain for a mile, traversing some nice sections of bare ledge with views out to the ocean and island off the coast, including Isle Au Haut. Not wide open like other parts of the island but for an otherwise densely wooded mountain this trail was decidedly the nicest route up/down IMO, and with the rest of the Bernard Mountain trail would make a great loop on the quiet side of the park, when the forest roads aren't gated for winter that is. Unfortunately they were gated, which gave us a solid 2.5 mile roadwalk back to the Cold Brook Trail and turned the little redling loop on this mountain into a nice 7 mile jaunt.
Bernard has some of the nicest woods on the island
Some nice stretches of open ledge, as you would expect from the name
Isle Au Haut...maybe this year
More ledgy goodness
2.5 miles of this. Could be worse
Part two for the day was supposed to the Valley Cove and Valley View Trails nearby, but starting out on the Valley Cove trail we came to a sign that stated the trail along the cove is closed for repair until further notice.
It wasn't listed on the website as closed, but we decided to obey the sign and head for some other trails. After driving the short section of Ocean Drive they keep open in winter we parked at the Gorham Mountain parking lot and started out along the Ocean Path, passing Otter Cliffs and rounding the bend of Otter Point for a view of the setting sun, which we stopped for a good while to watch. It was a nice show, and once it was down below the point of land across the cove we continued on, finishing up Ocean Path and doing a walk along the closed road to the end of the cove, where we took the Quarry Path, which connects Blackwoods with the cove on one end and then goes strangely to a road in otter Creek up the street from the market. Not much to see, which was good since it was now dark out and we were going by lamp.
Next stop...Ocean Path
Otter Cliff with a few icicles
View from the cliffs back at Ocean Drive
The road was closed but we stuck to the path anyhow
Just in time to catch sunset
Quiet evening at Otter Cove
Quarry Path to Grover Avenue. Why, I can't exactly say
Since all the trails in Acadia aren't on any one map I have used three to find all the trails. The AMC one is nice, but is also missing a handful of trails, so I also have the Map Adventures one, which seems to have all the official trails and then some, occasionally listing herd paths as trails for some reason. The Nat Geo map is kind of big and clunky so I don't use it much, but between the three of them all trails are accounted for I believe. Our route back from Otter Creek turned out to be one of the "trails" on the Map Adventures one that isn't actually signed. We wandered the woods for a while in the dark before coming to someones yard back in town, so back we went to find the right way, which we thing was a herd path along the power lines back to the Quarry Path near the campground. I think it's just an easy way for people to get to the market on foot, but as far as we could tell isn't officially a trail, even though it's listed as such on one of the maps. Once back on the Quarry Path we headed back to Otter Cove for some star gazing/photography before finishing the 5 mile evening stroll on the Otter Cove trail, which is a much shorter route back to where we parked and then went on our way.
After taking the Quarry Path we headed for the market and unmarked trails apparently
Back at the cove for some stars
A little Milky Way action and that's a wrap on this trip
Overall some nice trails, and some, well, needed trails, for redlining purposes. 12 miles of hiking on the day was pretty modest, but managed to get about 4 miles of new trail out of it, which is more than I have left to finish up redlining the MDI section of the park. I'd like to wait for some snow before going back, as I've been trying to catch the place after a huge dumping from a nor'easter for a few years now, but it has yet to work together with my days off. If not, I'll still be back a time or two this winter. There's something really nice about having a National Park to yourself, which is easier than you'd think if you go in winter. I don't think I've ever seen more than two people on a winter outing there. So fingers crossed I'll get to break some pristine trails before this winter is done.