It was able to make a couple of scheduling adjustments and free myself up to join Guthook on an all-day summit fest on the lesser populated trails that run across the western side of Acadia National Park. It’s not often that I get an offer to hike my heart out on a warm October day in Maine.
The weather was a bit iffy, with a 50% possibility of afternoon rain. As it turned out, we were spared the wet, and instead blessed with a steady, cool, drying wind that came at us right off the Atlantic Ocean, which was often within sight. No drenching our shirts today, either with water from the sky or from our own sweat.
Despite an early 7:30 AM start from Belfast, ME , ittook 5 hours to walk the 12 miles of trails, at an average speed of 2.3 mph. Guthook and I did not take many breaks today, and any that we did were relatively brief. However, a few road construction delays and the dwindling daylight put me back home after dark.
I was running two apps on the walk: Fitbit for the iPhone 5s ( no band needed) and Strava-tracking my hike, and playing with distances. Guthook was packing a GPS, an also running Fitbit to double check steps and mileage. Its fun to know as much as I can about my hikes.
It’s been a couple of years since I’ve walked the Acadia trails. The last time camped here was on a 2009 February winter trip in Blackwoods Campground where I set up my heated wall tent for a few nights as we explored the snow-packed trails and roads.
I would characterize Acadia’s trails as “ Camden Hills on steroids”.
While the tallest mountains in Acadia are about the same height as my nearby Camden Hills State Park (roughly 1,000 feet in elevation), there are many more of them, and the trails are often wilder, with more fallen dead tress, and a footpath that is often much gnarlier. Here’s a shot of Guthook and Casey dog on a rocky section up to Bernard Mountain. Yes, that’s a blue blaze marking the trail in the lower part of the picture.
The flat light today and the still vibrant foliage made for Zen gardens, all day long.
It is the absolute best time of the year to hike in Acadia right now. At least one parking lot was almost empty. We only saw a dozen hikers all day, averaging just one person per mile on a warm weekday. The Park’s website states, “Acadia National Park generally receives more than two million recreational visits each year, making it one of the most-visited national park in the United States. The busiest months are July, August, and September.”
We each drove up, spotting my car at the end of our hike off the Western Mountain Road, and with Guthook’s car at the start in the parking lot on the East side of Echo Lake on Route 102.
Here’s what we did today: Acadia Mountain (681′)—> St. Sauveur Mt.( 679′) via Canada Cliff Trail/plus Beech Cliff Loop—> Beech Mtn.(839′) —>Mansell Mtn. (949′) —> over the Great Notch and Bernard Mtn. (1071′) and then back down the West Ledge Trail to the other car.
It was up and down all day long.
Here are some additional pictures:
Check out Aislinn’s blog entry about hiking Mansell Mountain for some historical background on Mansell and her own account of a great walk in an astounding National treasure. Thank you U.S Parks !