One of the nice things about living in northern New England is the fact that we get to enjoy four truly distinct seasons. This past summer was particularly spectacular and the spring/mud season is always a positive time for me as we emerge from the long Maine winter that I am not a huge fan of, and then there is my favorite season… fall (or as it is known in many parts of the world including where I grew up… autumn).
Every fall here in Maine we get to witness our own special version of one of nature’s most remarkable shows… the changing colors of the fall foliage. Some years it is stunning, and in other years it is merely almost stunning, but it is always a treat for the eyes. As the month of September winds down, I wanted to check the status of the color in Acadia, so I hopped in the car and paid my favorite national park a visit. There were definitely some spots of color to be found, especially in the lower-lying swampy areas of the park, but in general, the peak of foliage color in Acadia is probably still about two weeks away. Who knows if this year’s show is going to be a good one, but as I looked around while in Acadia, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of tired looking browns starting to develop. Fingers crossed though… we’ll see.
Inspired by Acadia fan and Chimani app developer Kerry Gallivan’s weekend tweet declaring his admiration of the Gorge Path, I decided to embrace the overcast weather and explore a pretty unique trail I haven’t been on in years. Overcast weather in the fall means nice, soft and even light… using a polarizer will enhance the colors of the leaves, and will also cut through any glare there might be from reflections. The Gorge Path departs from a small pullout on the Loop Road, and after a short walk through the woods, it soon heads up fairly steeply between Cadillac and Dorr Mountain. The terrain follows a (very) rocky stream bed, though on the day I hiked it there wasn’t that much water to deal with. Probably just as well, since you have to criss-cross the stream bed multiple times and navigate what would be a ton of slippery rocks and steps. Incredibly peaceful and totally quiet, I had the entirety of the Gorge Path – and then the cloud enveloped trail down from the summit of Dorr Mountain – all to myself… quite magical.
Though I was seriously huffing and puffing on occasion along the way, I did manage to stop off a couple of times to make some photographs. The first photograph in this post is from a pretty little waterfall about one third of the way up the trail. The falls themselves are actually about 10-12 feet high, and on another wetter day, the flow would probably be quite impressive. With a more substantive flow, this might actually be a good place to return to when the leaves have changed more. In the second photograph, I was (thankfully) getting near the top of the trail, just before making a left out of the gorge and climbing up toward the summit of Dorr Mountain. At this point on the trail the walls were closing in, with the high cliffs on each side giving a true feeling of being in a deep gorge. The water in the stream bed was just about non-existent now, but the imposing granite walls and the lush greens made me take a photograph :)