Practicing for Yosemite on Cadillac Mountain

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So… Sam and I leave for Yosemite next Wednesday, and over the past couple of weeks we have been practicing our hiking skills in preparation for the trip. Sam doesn’t need any practice, but it has been good for me to get this old body moving again, and in the process we have had an opportunity to explore some magnificent trails in Acadia National Park.

This evening we planned on hiking the Cadillac South Ridge Trail starting at Blackwoods Campground just off Route 3, but we got a later than anticipated start and had to settle for completing only about two thirds of it. We made it as far as where the Canon Brook Trail and Pond Trail both intersect the Cadillac South Ridge Trail… that put us about 1.2 miles from the summit of Cadillac. Even though we were motoring at a decent pace, we both agreed that continuing to the summit would mean having to navigate the rocky and tree-root covered lower part of the trail in the dark on the way back – not something we were really interested in.

Even though we didn’t reach the summit, we thoroughly enjoyed this hike. We left home where it was 85 degrees and as we approached Mount Desert Island we could see that the tops of the bigger mountains were in the clouds. Apart from the first quarter mile or so of the hike where we made our way through a sweet-smelling pine forest, we had fog rolling in all around us and strong ocean breezes combining to keep the temperatures and bugs very manageable. Hard to believe I am actually saying this, but the cool mist was a welcome change from the blue skies and hot temperatures we have been having so far this summer. I am usually not a big fan of hikes that go out one way and then return the same way, but this one was kind of special. The ridge line we climbed had a nice variety of terrain, with huge boulders strewn all across the path mixed in with vegetation doing its best to survive what must be a very inhospitable landscape in the winter.

We enjoyed seeing “The Featherbed” – a little mountain pond nestled in a saddle along the trail, and just past that we found a small “meadow” of wildflowers in bloom living next to a mini-tarn where rainfall had gathered and filled a small granite depression. Other than the 10,000 feet elevation difference, we could easily have been somewhere in the Yosemite high country. Speaking of altitude, I wonder how well we will handle the elevation gain in out west?

On the way down we detoured around the Eagle’s Crag Trail where we had wonderful views of Gorham Mountain – one of our favorites – with Otter Cove and the Atlantic beyond.  This is definitely a trail to return to, and maybe next time we will make it all the way to the 1530 feet high summit. We rounded out what was a really nice evening with a superb steak and cheese from Epi’s in Bar Harbor. Philadelphia it isn’t, but it is as good a cheesesteak as we have been able to find anywhere in New England… yum, yum.

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