Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hiking and Kayaking in Acadia

The rocky coast near the lighthouse
Bass Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1858 and stands at
the entrance to the harbor and Blue Hill Bay
We started our hike at the south end of Long Pond and
climbed the steep cliffs on the west side of Beech Mt.
You can get an idea of how steep in this shot of
Scott below me on the trail
JPL, Scott, Trudy, Heather, Jane, Jim, Jeanette and Alan -
all cooking dinner in the kitchen
Our kayaks wait for us down on the beach

Our hosts recommended the Beech Mt. Trail as moderately difficult and very scenic. We started from the south end of Great Long Lake. We took Seal Cove Rd off Route 102 just north of Southwest Harbor village and then took a right on Long Pond Rd and followed it to the end. There is a parking area for cars and two trails leave from there. We took the trail along the lake that soon climbed the steep cliffs on the west side of Eastern Mt. The trails in Acadia National Park are often "improved" with stone stairs and the blue trail marks were easy to follow. The trail leads up to the fire tower at the top. From there we continued south along the ridge on the Beech Ridge Trail, staying right at the next junction. This ended up back at our parking lot. This downhill trail was easier and longer (1.5 miles to the 1 mile up). The weather was mostly cloudy on the way up but the fog rolled in as we made our way down. We were really glad we'd taken some pictures of the views earlier. Nevertheless, the forest and the rocky shelves were still beautiful. The trip took us 2 hours at a leisurely pace.
Everyone pitched in on dinner that night and the kitchen reminded me of the movie "The Big Chill". Jane was our executive chef and directed the action. She planned a salad buffet that was as delicious as it was beautiful. The sound track was Jim Cohen's CDs. He is a very talented pedal guitar player. You can see him on You Tube and buy his CDs at www.jimcohen.com.
The next day was perfect for our reserved kayak trip with National Park Sea Kayak Tours (1-800-347-0940, 39 Cottage St. Bar Harbor, ME, www.acadiakayak.com) Our four hour tour started with a great introduction by guide Lou, a many generation local from Mt. Desert Island. He outfitted us (some even with fleece pants) and we were off in the van with our boats on top. We put in at Bartlett Island and with the wind and currents with us, paddled around Moose Island to Seal Cove. The kayaks were easy to steer with foot pedals and it wasn't as strenuous as we feared. Lou was a terrific guide and filled us in on island history, wildlife and geology.
Our guide Lou was knowledgeable and funny
We watched lobster men hauling their traps 
The rocks from this perspective were really dramatic
Scott and I pose for a picture with Trudy and JPL
And paddle away
It's a beautiful day for rowing too...

Scott, JPL, Trudy, Lou and Heather after a great day on
the water.

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