I was now fully vaccinated, and my hiking buddy and I actually carpooled to one of the local preserves recently. But now, I was itching to explore something a little further away. In the past, my husband and I made one day trip a year to Acadia National Park, usually during the off seasons. Recently, I decided I wanted to meander around the Jordan Pond Trail. After researching the park, I discovered that the Jordan Pond restaurant would open closer to the end of May. With the restaurant not yet open and the decision to make the trip on a Friday, I figured the crowds would be way done, so on May 7th the three of us made the 2 hour drive to Jordan Pond. We weren’t counting on the fact that it was the official opening day of the park. Despite that, the crowds weren’t too bad, although most of the cars were from out of state.
At Jordan Pond, we opted to walk the trail counter clockwise for no reason other than it seemed like the right direction to us. I was glad we did. We had excellent views of the Bubbles during the first half of our journey. In fact, I thought the view from the trail presented a different angle and prospective of the mountains than the classic images taken from the Jordan Pond House lawn.
The first part of the path was very flat which made this more of a meander than a hike. My husband joked that we got more strenuous exercise hiking the mile to Barrett’s Cove than walking the 3 plus miles of this trail. Of course, my friend and I had to stop a few times just to admire the views. She even found a dead tree with an interesting insect trail up the bark. It resembled a henna like pattern and was quite beautiful.
Nearby, my husband had stopped once more to study the Wild Sarsaparilla. Although this plant has 5 leaves, it very much resembles Poison Ivy this time of year. Something was strange here! We noticed some with 3 leaves but quite a few with 5 shiny, red leaves but it was growing more like Poison Ivy. My husband brought up the iNaturalist app on his phone, which identified it as Poison Ivy. But was it really or was there some Poison Ivy mixed in with the Wild Sarsaparilla? Locally, the wildflower had been up for weeks and the Poison Ivy was just making an appearance, so it was hard to tell. This is why my rule of thumb is not to touch anything with shiny, red leaves. It was safer that way.
When we reached the half way point, we decided to have lunch on a small beach, directly across the pond from the Jordan Pond House. It was a lovely spot for lunch and we spent some time there enjoying the views across the pond and the beautifully crafted bridge behind us.
After lunch, we soon learned that the more difficult part of the trail was ahead. First we had to make our way across a tumbledown area of jumbled rocks. Everyone hiking that day was very polite, each party pulling to the side and waiting for the other to pass. Sometimes, someone would have to state, “you go first” since we were all waiting for each other.
Having successfully completed this interesting section, we enjoyed a level area of dirt trail once more. As we walked along, some plant caught my eye. I thought it might be some kind of lily but it was not yet flowering for me to identify it. My husband came to the rescue once again with iNaturalist and I confirmed the identification later. We had found a Showy Orchis. We found quite a few in this area, along with some Blue-bead Lilies
Following our nature study, the trail turned into a series of planks. I had read that this area tested one’s balance since only one plank width was laid down. This had me worried. I was pleased to see that this area had been redone recently and now 2 plank widths ran above the trail for about three quarters of a mile. Reaching the end of this section, we found ourselves not far from the Jordan Pond House and the end of our journey.
It had felt good to stretch our wings and fly a new area outside our comfort zone but, I was so glad we had done this during a less crowded time of year. It had been a wonderful journey.