An Afternoon Off

It's a real treat to walk right from our door into one of America's favorite National Parks. Acadia is our back yard, and we love to play in it!

Finn is an avid hiker! 

Finn is an avid hiker! 

Less often than we'd like to we get the chance to escape for the afternoon, but yesterday was one such day. We popped Finn into her pouch and left Atlantean on foot.

Walking just a few residential blocks, we then headed into the Park along the Great Meadow Loop, part of Acadia's "Village Connector" system which allows access to the interior of the Park right from our neighborhoods. We picked up The Kebo Brook Trail, connecting to trailheads on Kebo, Dorr, and Cadillac Mountains. Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to walk from Atlantean to Cadillac's North Ridge Trail. Who needs a car?

 This day, we took the Gorge Path which travels up the narrow, steep, and often vertical cliff-walled valley between Dorr and Cadillac. The Path (as distinct from a less-refined "trail"), is a beauty!  Dramatically situated amid massive boulders, pools and waterfalls with lush fern groves sprouting from the rock. The constructed portions are a testament to the skills of the trail builders. Artfully designed and formed, huge pink granite stones form the footbed and blend fluidly into the surrounds. 

Craftsmanship in stone on the Gorge Path

Craftsmanship in stone on the Gorge Path

Approaching the top of the saddle between the two mountains, you can turn East on the short, steep Notch Trail to Dorr's summit, or West to continue the Gorge Path to the 300 foot higher Cadillac. We headed to Dorr. 

The straight-line distance between the two peaks is only about half a mile, and we have often enjoyed sitting atop Dorr, usually entirely by ourselves, and looking across at Cadillac, teeming with people.

Cadillac from across the Gorge, halfway up the Notch Trail to Dorr

Cadillac from across the Gorge, halfway up the Notch Trail to Dorr

Normally we would relish the chance to spend a good portion of our afternoon sitting on this mountaintop. It is an inspiring place to sit and take in the views of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay below. But on this afternoon, the view across the bay toward Lamoine confirmed the morning's forecast of thunderstorms moving through. Might be wiser to think about getting down off this big rock, wondering if we have time to get home dry. Spoiler alert: Nope. 

Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands below, ugly weather in the distance!  That's the 720-foot Veendam in the Harbor.  

Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands below, ugly weather in the distance!  That's the 720-foot Veendam in the Harbor.  

Can't leave a mountain without getting Finn to pose by the summit marker, though.  We've accumulated a number of these photos... We'll see how long it takes her to bag 'em all.

Finn claims another summit, oblivious of the weather looming behind Cadillac

Finn claims another summit, oblivious of the weather looming behind Cadillac

So it was clearly time to get heading downward and homeward. Dorr's North Ridge Trail is a mostly moderate descent down off the bald top into the scrubby pines and eventually the dense dark forests. We connected with Hemlock Trail, then Hemlock Road  (ah, subtlety) , and back onto the Great Meadow Loop toward home. Did we get rained on? Yup. Was that a big deal?  Nah. 

A wonderful afternoon, for certain. Run keeper says it was about seven miles total, with 1,315 feet elevation gain. Our only delays on the way down were of the delicious kind:

Hiking and grazing

Hiking and grazing

It would be nice to say we do this sort of thing all the time. But truth is, we don't get the opportunity all that often.  But when we can get away, you'll know where to look for us!