Our last practice hike before heading off to Yosemite National Park later this week was to the top of Sargent Mtn (1,373 ft) and Penobscot Mtn (1,194 ft) in Acadia National Park. We started out with a 1.5 mile stroll along the shore of Jordan Pond until we reached the Deer Brook Trail. This is a pretty hike to begin with, offering classic views of the Bubbles at the north end of the pond all along the trail, and the man-made boardwalk designed to protect the fragile ecosytem of the shoreline definitely added to the interest.
After a brief pause at the head of the Deer Brook Trail to take in some fluids, we finally started to climb. The Deer Brook Trail rose relatively gently through some very thick forest, and we had to hop across the brook itself several times as we reached the magnificent Deer Brook Bridge. Continuing on, when we reached the intersection of the East Cliffs Trail we had a decision to make… should we take the longer, easier way around to the top of Sargent Mountain, or should we take the more direct, but probably steeper route? Always up for a challenge, we decided to take the steeper – turns out MUCH steeper – East Cliffs Trail. We were now climbing rather than hiking. I categorize any trail that makes me use both my hands and my feet as a climb… and boy did we gain elevation fast!
I have to admit that I was huffing and puffing by the time we had worked our way up this trail and into the more familiar and gentler sloping granite ledges of Sargent Mountain, and this part of the trail was made all the more difficult because many of the rocks were wet and slippery. You know what they say about the burn being a good burn… well that was my legs and my lungs at this point. Hard work, but it genuinely did feel good. As you can see from the photograph below, Sam was always a step ahead of me, and I think he enjoyed showing me where the Sargent Mountain summit was.
It was another sunny day in Bangor when we left but another foggy day on the mountain. Am kind of glad though, because we got to see the mountains in a really neat setting, with the dense fog shrouding much of the landscape and also keeping the temperatures down. We didn’t see a soul on either Sargent Mountain or Penobscot Mountain, which also helped make this a pretty unique experience. Making our way down the Sargent Mountain South Ridge, and before making the short climb back up to the top of Penobscot Mountain, we stopped to admire the Sargent Mountain Pond. This is a gorgeous little pond nestled between the two mountains, and even though we were pretty much socked in with fog, it was still a remarkable sight. Lined with tall pine trees, it had the classic look of a mountain lake.
After cresting Penobscot Mountain, we made our way down the Penobscot Mountain Trail at a pretty good clip. We had been hiking for more than three hours by this time, and I swear we could smell Rosalie’s Pizza in Bar Harbor. The quiet on the mountain was amplified by the foggy conditions, and the solitude on this trail was pretty special. I absolutely love the long granite ridges on the ice-sculpted Acadia mountains, and Penobscot Mountain didn’t disappoint. On this occasion the foggy conditions didn’t provide us with any breath-taking ocean or mountain views, but the peace and quiet of such a beautiful place more than made up for that. Besides… maybe we should plan another trek up here on a sunny day!
After leaving the granite ledge of Penobscot Mountain, we took the fairly short and quirky Spring Trail down toward the parking lot at Jordan Pond. We both agreed that our route today was definitely another trail to add to the list of favorites, and as quickly as possible we packed our gear away and headed into Bar Harbor for that date with Rosalie. Perhaps it was because we believed we had earned it, but Rosalie’s pizza tonight was the best ever!