Monday, July 4, 2016

A Cairn and a Blaze

On the second day of our vacation, Emily chose the hike. Her goal was to find something new to everyone that was also a fit for our entire party, ranging from 16 year old lad to 54 year old lady. Of course, we also wanted it to be beautiful, but that's pretty much a given in Acadia National Park.

Her choice was a home run. The Goat Trail to the top of Norumbega rises steeply for six-tenths of a mile through a cool and shady balsam forest and then up some big stair-steppy boulders. Once above the tree line, we had sweeping views of Sargent Mountain to the east and Somes Sound, Acadia, St. Saveur, and Flying Mountain to the west.

Close to the top, I found myself in the lead of our party, which is a rarity when it comes to hiking. In general, I am the person who takes the back, making sure everyone is with the group and doing well. It is an important role, but always a little galling when I pull up last for the rest break when everyone else is itching to go. This time, I was walking with Kyle and we approached the summit shoulder to shoulder in good natured competition. Spying a wooden marker, he sprinted ahead, but he guessed wrong, finding himself at a trail marker. One step behind him, I saw the actual summit marker to the left, and jogging up a wide boulder, I tapped it first.

Marked by cairns and blue blazes, our way sloped another three-quarters of a mile southward along warm granite ledges toward the Atlantic Ocean, before descending gently back into the conifers. At the bottom we found a nearly pristine Hadlock Pond, source of some of the island's drinking water.

After a picnic lunch near the pump house, our path meandered through the woods along the pond's eastern shore and then up and  past some mossy, massive rock formations until finally delivering us back to the parking lot, 3.1 amazing miles later.

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