UPDATE: We are currently back in Rockland, having left Somes Harbor a few days ago, we stopped off in Frenchboro for a bit (more on that later), where we had intermittent cell phone coverage and, therefore, internet connection. Excuses aside, I took lots more pictures during our time in Acadia and, as usual, I am way behind posting them. So, I wanted to clarify for friends and family who may be wondering where we are, really, despite the fact that I will be posting about Acadia for at least a couple more days. In fact, I have so much material on today’s subject, I will probably end up splitting it into two posts, just so neither of us gets bogged down. In the meantime, we are doing less interesting things, like laundry and groceries. Back to the fun stuff.
After hiking Champlain, we took the day off and, for the first time since arriving a week and a half earlier, did not take the bus anywhere. We were having such a good time, but it was becoming clear that it would soon be time to go. We needed to return to civilization for water and groceries and laundry. And, eventually, you do get too much of a good thing. Mark agreed to one more hike.
I pored over the trail map; there were still so many possibilities. It was breezy again, so I looked for something not too exposed for most of the ascent, hoping it would lay down a bit in the afternoon, as predicted. Taking into consideration bus schedules, distance and any potential difficulties for Chloë, I finally decided on Penobscot Mountain (1194′). We started on Hadlock Brook Trail at the Norumbega Mountain parking area on Rt. 3. There are six peaks clustered together in this area, so there are a number of trails and carriage roads that intersect, especially early on. The trail is easy here and that’s always the most dangerous part because you stop paying attention. We were discussing what we should have for dinner that night (a conversation to which we devote a lot of time) and had decided on something involving margaritas when we both realized we had meandered off the trail. We could see what was obviously the trail not far ahead and started moving in that direction through some light brush and small trees when I walked into a hornets’ nest. Literally. At least, I think it was a bald-faced hornet, from the brief glimpse I got of it between swearing and flailing wildly. It took three stings to convince me it was time to vacate the area, fast. I’m not allergic, but sometimes sensitive to stings and will swell. One of the stings was on my foot and I was concerned about getting farther along and finding I couldn’t walk, not to mention I was still in a fair amount of pain. We had just begun and could have easily turned back to the road, but it was our last day. We carried on.
The map showed that we would soon cross a carriage road and one of the more notable stone bridges, Waterfall Bridge. When we reached the road, I couldn’t figure out why they called it Waterfall Bridge, but whatever. Mark kept asking me if I was okay and I still hadn’t decided whether I was being foolish to continue. “Take a picture of me and Chloë,” I barked, determined to have some record of this miserable day. Then, Mark got out his GPS and realized the trail continued in the wrong direction. I argued, but on closer inspection of the map, it was all wrong: the orientation of the road and bridge and the location of the trail relative to the brook. In my mental haze, I had confused the junctions on the map and chosen the wrong path. Luckily, we had only gone about a quarter-mile in the wrong direction.
Back on the correct trail, we soon came to Waterfall Bridge. It was a much more impressive location than the last one, but its namesake waterfall had all but dried up. You have the option of crossing over the bridge or under (we went under) and I’m sure crossing the brook can be pretty wild during the spring thaw.
The trail continued to get steeper and was unlike most of the others we had done. It was mostly wooded and, in some places, the trail was completely covered by tangles of roots. There weren’t many rock scrambles, but instead, smooth granite sheets that were difficult to get a grip on and, in places that might be damp, downright treacherous.
Next time, on to the summit!