Saturday, April 21, 2012
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK - GORHAM MOUNTAIN & OCEAN PATH: 4/16/12
Spring vacation! After a long drive from Cape Cod, we arrived in Bar Harbor late in the day on 4/15. After checking in to our room, we went out for a short walk off the Park Loop Road from the Bubble Pond parking area. First we walked part of the carriage road along the west shore of Bubble Pond, which is tucked into a deep cleft between Cadillac Mountain (L) and Pemetic Mountain (R).
Then we crossed the road and followed a carriage road and a short bit of the Eagle lake Trail to a lovely spot in the evening sun at the south end of Eagle Lake. A great way to quickly get reacquainted with the beauty of Aacdia.
The next morning was sunny and a bit hazy, with some fog drifting out over the water. For our first hike of the week, we chose 525-ft. Gorham Mountain, which rises just west of the shoreline along the southeastern section of the Park Loop Road. This is one of the easier mountains in the park, a mile up to the summit at very moderate grades with just 500 ft. of elevation gain, featuring numerous ledges with ocean and mountain views.
The trail immediately starts up granite ledges bordered by scrubby, gnarled pitch pines. We stayed on the main trail, skipping the rugged side trail that loops past the Cadillac Cliffs, which are ancient sea cliffs now stranded high above the ocean level. There were quite a few folks out on the trail for a midweek day in April.
After 0.3 mi. you have several views over the ocean, this one looking at Otter Point.
This a typically well-constructed Acadia trail, with iron pins holding in some of the rock steps.
There was a large family group at the summit, with whom we exchanged photo shoots by the sign at the top.
Then we had the summit to ourselves for a while, save for this herring gull undoubtedly looking for a handout.
Looming high to the NW were Cadillac Mountain (L) and Dorr Mountain (R).
To the north we could see Champlain Mountain (L) and The Beehive (R). Ledges everywhere! We watched a couple of hikers slowly work their way up the precipitous Beehive Trail, which features iron rungs and ledges with major drop-offs.
We decided to make the classic loop over Gorham by descending the steeper north side of the mountain, following the Bowl Trail out to the Park Loop Road, and then taking the easy, scenic Ocean Path back to the trailhead. At the junction of the Bowl and Beehive Trails, you look up at the imposing face of The Beehive. Yikes! I climbed this with two friends back on my first visit to Acadia in 1991. An exciting route, for sure.
We picked up the Ocean Path at the parking lot for Sand Beach. This is rightly hailed as one of the most scenic footpaths in New England, with numerous spur paths leading out to ledges and cliffs overlooking the ocean.
Looking down on Sand Beach and across to the ridge of Great Head from one of the spur paths.
From another vista spot, a look across Newport Cove to the Great Head peninsula.
Unusual rock patterns at a cove past Thunder Hole.
After completing our easy 3 1/2 mile hike, we drove around the Park Loop Road to Jordan Pond and walked down to the edge for the classic view north to the twin peaks of The Bubbles. By happenstance, here we ran into our mechanic, Jarrett Ham of Lin-Wood Auto Center in our hometown of Lincoln, who was visiting Acadia for the day with family.
Fog rolling in off the ocean obscured Cadillac Mountain, so instead of driving up the auto road to the summit, we did a little exploring by car to the west along Somes Sound. On the way back up we stopped at Upper Hadlock Pond, where a little ways along the Hadlock Ponds Trail there was a good view across to the several ledgy peaks on the west side of Sargent Mountain, a network of trails on the list for future exploration.