An Elusive Summit

There were a few trails that I had yet to conquer within the Camden Hills State Park, one of them being Megunticook Mountain. Since the mountain had an elevation of a little more than 1300 feet and our town was at sea level, I considered that for me it would be a tough climb. I had mentioned to my friend that my goal would be to summit this peak. In the past I had turned around at the Ocean Lookout, located almost ½ mile from my goal. She and my husband decided they were going to push me to that goal.

On November 7th, my friend and I made our first attempt. The first challenge for me, of course, was to walk up the road from the parking lot, past the two tent platforms and a few yards up the Multi-Use Trail to the Megunticook Path trailhead. Who knew that this section was so steep!  At the trailhead we paused a few moments and waited for me to stop wheezing. Once I could breathe again, we crossed the bridge to proceed up the leaf covered, rocky trail. Those leaves covered lots of mud, as well as stones and twigs that rolled underfoot. This was followed by several sets of stone steps.

Not only did we stop multiple times so that I could breathe, but I was very nervous about slipping and falling. I tried to step cautiously but the leaves did an excellent job of hiding the slippery things below them. Just before the Adam’s Lookout Trail, a downed tree was blocking the path. I tried to use this as an excuse to turn around, but my friend was having none of that. She assisted me in stepping through and over this obstacle so that we could continue on.

We decided to pass the Adam’s Lookout Trail and continued straight on the Megunticook Path. We hiked a little bit further up the trail before stopping for some lunch. After lunch we explored a nearby stream and waterfalls. After admiring this beautiful scene, I convinced my friend that given the wet conditions I was nervous about trying to get up over the wet ledges just above us. We would not summit Megunticook that day.

On November 13th, my friend tried once again. This time we would try to approach it from the Tablelands Trail since she thought it might be easier. It was certainly easier walking up the Mount Battie Auto Road to the Tablelands trailhead. Along the way, a friend of hers joined us. Turned out he was a volunteer for the local fire department who had assisted in a few recent search and rescue operations. I thought that having my own search and rescue team in case I slipped might be a good thing.

The Tablelands Trail proved to be even rockier than the Megunticook Trail. We did reach a point where we had a nice few of the harbor when we looked out through the trees but once again I got nervous about my footing and made everyone turn around.

On November 20th, my husband and I attempted the Megunticook Trail again. This time I had poles, but they did not give me any more confidence, perhaps because my husband told me that I was using them incorrectly. Once again, I had to climb over that fallen tree that still had not been cleared from blocking the trail and made it to the stream with the waterfalls. Here my husband coaxed me to continue up the rocky trail. Well, it was actually ledge and after the cold weather, I noticed that the water on the stones was running underneath a fine layer of ice. YIKES! I really wanted to turn around at this point, but my husband encouraged me on.

After a two hour hike from the parking lot, we finally reached Ocean Lookout. We stopped and had some lunch, while we looked out over the ocean in one direction and spotted snow-capped Mount Washington in the other.

After resting a bit, we started the ½ mile walk towards the summit. But this was winter, and I considered that I might have to hike two hours down in fading light. Once again, I failed to summit. We came down Adam’s Lookout Trail via the Tablelands where there were a few places where I had to do the sit and slide method of getting down the rocks. It took us a little over an hour to come down this trail, so perhaps this should be the next attempt to summit. If that fails, we have one more option to try in order to reach the Megunticook summit. 

Great Meadow Loop and Jessup’s Path

Having completed our meander along the Shore Path in Bar Harbor, we continued on in search of the Meadow Loop. We walked past the sports field on Park Street, then made a left turn on Spring Street. Spring Street had a significant uphill grade to it, but we eventually reached the end of this road. We stood across the street from the cemetery for a while, looking for the mysterious Meadow Loop before deciding to make a left and walk along the road. Finally, a small sign pointed off into the woods along the side of the cemetery.

This section of the Meadow Loop was a dirt path in a narrow strip of woods between the cemetery and the road. Well, at least the woods were pretty. It did have its ups and downs though. We stopped briefly, while I took a shot of a maple leaf that stood out from the decaying leaves around it.

The cemetery was soon replaced by a golf course, so I was glad that we had that strip of woods protecting us from stray golf balls. Here, the trail turned right across a beautiful wooden bridge and onto the road. We had to walk along the road for a short time before we found a sign pointing us across the street and back into the woods. Now we travelled along a lovely, grassy trail within the woods. I am not sure if it was during this first road crossing or the next, but at some point we were officially in Acadia National Park.

Eventually, we crossed the road a second time, crossed another wonderful bridge and skirted the end of the golf course before coming out on the Park Loop Road. Our intention was to take the Meadow Loop and continue on to either Jessup’s Path or the Hemlock Road making a loop back to the Meadow Loop. We crossed the street and continued on Hemlock Road. This was not a road at all but a path looking across a meadow and the mountains beyond. At first, I thought we were on Jessup’s Path but when I looked across the meadow and saw people walking along the opposite side of this field, I realized we were on the Hemlock Road instead.

We continued our journey on this quiet trail until it finally intersected with the Jessup’s Path. Here we had to decide whether to walk back up the opposite side of the field towards Bar Harbor, or turn onto the boardwalk section of Jessup’s Path towards Sieur de Monts and the Wild Gardens of Acadia. We opted to press on towards the Wild Gardens even though we knew that there would be no wildflowers in bloom this time of year.

This section of the Jessup’s Path was a raised boardwalk that led us through a boggy, white birch and hemlock forest. There were some pullouts and interpretive signs along the way, but the boardwalk was a little narrow for maneuvering around oncoming traffic. Of course, this was where we met the greatest number of people during our walk.

Once we reached the end of the boardwalk, we explored the area around the gardens before returning back towards town. The town was much more crowded than when we had arrived (or maybe after putting in over 6 miles for the day I was just cranky) so I was ready to get back to the car and head home.

Happy New Year’s Eve 2021

A new year is nearly upon us. After a year of turmoil, I hope that 2022 proves better than 2021 for all of us.

Perhaps we should take a moment to remember some of the good things; NASA engineers are flying a helicopter around mars, a new telescope was launched into space that will look farther back into space than we ever have before, electric vehicles are catching on, the pandemic has inspired “the great resignation” with workers seeking better work / life balance and better pay, and my all-time favorite, scientists have revealed that cheese isn’t bad for you. According to Wired magazine, “there is almost no evidence that cheese causes weight gain”. Thank goodness for that, so enjoy a little cheese with that glass of champagne come New Year’s Eve.

Closer to home, those of us north of 60 years old are still learning and coping with some newer technologies. We may not like using Zoom but it is keeping us connected with book clubs, family and friends. I have also been enjoying hiking with my hiking buddy, as well as my husband; although she is a little bit more understanding of the slow pace necessary for meditating on nature and taking photos. A few members of my book club have formed a smaller group of walking buddies, which is another plus with staying connected. In that brief time between the original version of COVID and the variants, we were able to enjoy a few days in the Rangeley area for a brief vacation, followed by a visit from our daughter later in the summer. Yes, there have been some good things happening this year.

And so, may the coming year find you enjoying new adventures in beautiful places.  I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year

Christmas Wishes 2021

Another Christmas of precautions has come upon us and so again we try to find ways to get that old Christmas feeling. Feelings of excitement and anticipation of good things about to happen.

Until my daughter and her husband arrive to celebrate the holiday, it is just the two of us here but still I bake. I have gone a little crazy with the baking this year. I have 4 different types of cookies and although I have given away 1.5 dozen of each type, I still have 3 large containers of cookies sitting on my counter. We certainly do not need that much sugar. And I still have to bake my son-in-law’s favorite one.

My advent village is a work in progress until the last house is in place on the 24th of December. In the meantime, my Dicken’s village is in place and my tree is decorated. I have even put up the Christmas banner I made last year, but I am trying to finish up the banner that is in progress. The quilting is finished, so I just need to trim it and put on the binding. With just a few days to go, it will be close.

The packages are all wrapped and ready to be placed under the tree. This is a last minute thing to keep my husband from shaking the packages. As usual, I can never figure out what to get the people on my list. I did better this year, but still cannot figure out my husband. Apparently, he has taken care of that for me. He claims that since my present was a bit pricey we can split it; that it is something we can use together. There seems to be a lot of parts to this gift judging by the number of packages under the tree. Hmmm! I cannot imagine what it is.

With a little bit of snow this past weekend, out little town is now looking more like Christmas. The old fashioned lampposts are decorated with wreaths, the trees are decorated both in the green and Harbor Park and there are trees mounted on the tops of the masts of the schooners in the harbor. The greens in the store window boxes are covered with a bit of snow which just seems to add to the Christmas spirit.

Yes, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

I wish everybody the blessings of the holiday season. May your hearts be filled with compassion, love and joy this Christmas.

Bar Harbor Shore Path

When my husband had mentioned taking off a week around the October holiday weekend, I encouraged him to take the following week off instead. My reasoning was that we would be past peak foliage time, and quite possibly many of the visitors would be gone. It was also the reason that I suggested we visit Bar Harbor mid-week of his vacation time. Consequently, October 20th saw us heading out the door a little after 8 am for the 2 hour drive up to Bar Harbor.

After a brief stop at a local cooking supply store, we made it into downtown Bar Harbor around 11 am. There were still a lot of cars, but at least we were able to find a parking spot. From there, we set off on the Shore Path starting near the pier.

It was a bit cloudy but still a pleasant walk along the water. We were not that long into our walk when my husband decided he just had to have lunch. It was not quite noon yet, but we found a bench looking out towards some islands so we could enjoy the views while eating our lunch.

Once we were walking again, we stopped occasionally to study some up of the different rock formations just off the shore. Except for a few sturdy Asters, Clovers and Butter and Eggs most of the vegetation was done for the year.  About mid-way on the path, we found a sign for Balance Rock but since the tide was in we could not really appreciated the significance of this boulder. We discovered the impressive balancing act during our return trip later in the day when the tide was out.

Since the path was less than a mile one way, our plan was to walk from town towards the Meadow Loop Trail and Jessup’s Path in nearby Acadia. The Acadia trails will be mentioned in my next post. Suffice it to say that we walked around 7 miles that day between the Shore Path and Acadia.

As we approached the downtown area, I wanted to stop and meander thru the Village Green. Unfortunately, I could not completely appreciate the beauty of this little park since I was pretty much done with wandering around. I did pause to admire the Gazebo in the middle of the Green, as well as a nearby Spider Flower still in bloom.

Perhaps we would have put more coins in the meter and stayed a bit longer but town was quite crowded by late afternoon. My husband and I had never been much for crowds and there were just too many people to linger any longer. In fact, I suggested to my husband that rather than return to our car via Main Street, we should take one of the side roads towards Shore Path and return that way. This was a much better choice for us, since at least the path was not wall to wall people. All in all, it was a good day.