I didn’t think we hauled our asses all the way to DownEast Maine to hike in 90° weather, but that was the case on Saturday. Meanwhile, friends and family in the Mid-Atlantic enjoyed low to mid-80s. Luckily, we were able to find some cool ancient sea caves along the Cadillac Cliffs Trail after a scorching summit of Gorham Mountain (525 ft).
We arrived in Somes Harbor, in the heart of Mount Desert Island, on Friday afternoon. Somes Harbor is accessed through Somes Sound, a five-mile long embayment carved out by glaciers beginning two million years ago. Along the way, 600-800 ft. mountains frame the passage. At the head of the sound, there is a small harbor and the tiny historic village of Somesville. The residents have a small dock for their own use, which they graciously allow visitors to use for their dinghies, as well.
A short walk up a gravel road takes us to the main road that crosses the island. Once an hour, an Island Explorer Bus passes by each way and will pick us up and transport us to any of the towns on the island and throughout Acadia National Park (through a system of buses with a hub in Bar Harbor). For free. Really. And when I say us, I mean all of us, hound dogs included. The bus is supported financially by L.L. Bean to ease traffic congestion and parking within the park and they have a box on each bus for donations.
I chose Gorham Mountain for an “easy” first day of hiking, although only a mile to cover the 500′ ascent means some steep sections. Also, most of the upper portion is granite, which is great for views, but means no shade. There was quite a bit of grumbling from my hiking partners and, I have to admit, these were not ideal conditions. On the descent, we took a little spur trail, Cadillac Cliffs, that took us down along the cooler, shadier side of the mountain. We encountered huge boulders that required a bit more scrambling, but were rewarded with a walk along granite ledges that disappeared into dark caves. At the bottom of the mountain, we walked along the spectacular southeastern coast and out to Otter Cliff before catching a bus back to the boat.
It was still hot. Wicked hot. The bus ride was hot and when we got back to the harbor, it was hot there. So Chloë made a beeline to the gravel shore that leads gently into the water of the sound and waded in up to her chest. You could almost hear her sigh in relief. Not to be outdone, when we arrived at the boat, which was really hot, Mark changed into his trunks and dove into the icy water. Now, he emitted an audible gasp upon surfacing. Me? I’ve never been that hot.