Time has defeated me since we got back from the States so this will be mostly a picture post. As well as great walk out with an old friend in the Catskills, I had the chance to walk a small part of the various trails in Acadia National Park, up on the North East Coast of Maine. We stayed in Bar Harbor (great seaside location) and used that as a base for the park. In terms of the trails, none are individually that long (typically 2 to 4 miles).
But some have steep ascents (needing iron rungs hammered into the rock face in places) and the heat has an effect on what you want to do distance / exertion-wise. But for the fitter and less time-starved folk you can also daisy chain some together for a longer day out.
Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail First up was a walk on one of the trails that runs around / up to the wonderfully named Cadillac Mountain.The summit is the highest point on the eastern coastline of North America. You can actually drive up to the top of the mountain and then pick up a trail there (heads-up: parking was a bit tight and that was fairly low season).
If I’d had more time and if Anita had been well enough I / we would have completed a full day hike, possibly starting down at sea / town level. But as it was we still had a great exploration of the North Ridge Trail (and got to see the sunset at the end of the day).
One of the striking things for me was the ‘managed’ nature of the trails. This, from someone used to heading off path on the West Yorkshire (National Trust) or Peak (National Park) moors and wandering about where the mood takes me, (within sensible / respectful limits etc).
Not so with this National Park: lots of urging to stay in the middle of the trail, to not add to the cairns etc. However, the cairns are historic (see pic) and have a role to play so I can see why they are policed.
And heading off trail can impact on local flora. And the larger local fauna (Bears, Moose – rarely seen but there all the same) are best avoided (!). So my initial curmudgeonly thoughts came around. Back to the UK: I know the National Trust have done work on Scafell Pike to try to reduce the amount of modern ‘random’ cairn building.
There’s balance to be struck between ‘natural’ nature and ‘managed’ nature though and our american cousins favour the latter maybe more than us brits? Anyway , enough sweeping statements and musing: Cadillac Mountain was great and I could have happily spent a couple of days or more walking way more of the trails than I did.
South Bubble Mountain Trail
We had a walk along the Jordan Pond path whilst in the park. The North and South Bubble Mountain sit to the north of the Pond. They’re not especially high (South Bubble is 766ft.) but really dominate the views and we walked around to the base of them.
As Anita was feeling pretty tired (a hot day only added to that), I left her sat by the lake ( it felt too big to be ‘just’ a pond to me!) in the shade and I took some water and headed up the South Bubble trail. It wasn’t a huge distance before I got close to the summit. But it was a steep, ‘punchy’ walk climb up the stepped rocks in amongst the tree line. And as with the Catskills hike, the humidity made for a fair bit of exertion.
There was a bit of bouldering (with iron hand grip) after the tree line and I could hear some voices up above me. I knew, with my sketchy cognitive map, that one of the carriage roads had a car park that afforded people a gentler hike up to the South Bubble summit. So I presumed those were the voices I heard.
By this time I’d been about 30 minutes or so and was now dripping in sweat. I couldn’t work out how far above me the voices were, so I sat and admired the views for a few minutes then picked my way back down the (initially) steep descent. I knew Anita would have been waiting an hour or so by the time I got down and I didn’t want to be much longer.
If I’d done my homework, though, I would have known that a bit more of a walk / climb would have got me up to one of the tourist spots.. the ‘Bubble‘ itself: a glacial erratic that sits precariously above Jordan Pond.
Ah well, one photo I didn’t get 😉