Friday, July 5, 2019

Cadillac Mountain

The South Ridge Trail on Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

The sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain is famous for its stellar views, easy accessibility, and most importantly, being the first place on the eastern coast where one can see the sun ascend over the horizon. A road travels straight to the mountain top and on each day of the year, one will find a crowd gathered to take in the event. In the peak of summer, the competition is fierce. I had no hope of witnessing the event with a 45 minute drive from my campsite, so I settled for other locations to take in the views. On this particular day, I planned a short circuit hike to complete my second summit of Cadillac. After a hearty breakfast and coffee at 123 Main Street Restaurant, I was able to find some relative solitude on my afternoon hike up the mountain.
I ended up parking at the Canon Brook Trailhead and began my ascent by hiking east to eventually pick up the A. Murray Young Path. It rained several inches prior to my arrival at Acadia and the ascent/descent were characterized by swollen streams/runoff. The path up the Murray Young trail bisects Cadillac and Dorr mountains. The natural elevation change produced cascades of water and some waterfalls that otherwise would not have been present. Towards the top, the trail begins winding its way through a boulder field before connecting with the Gorge Path. From here, it is a short ascent up to Cadillac Mountain and its famous crowds.

On the other side of the summit, I picked up the South Ridge Trail and began the slow descent along the ridge. This is the most scenic part of the trail as one can see the topography of Mt. Desert Island on either side with a broad view of the Atlantic Ocean in front. I ended up taking this path almost all the way to Route 3 in the town of Otter Creek. I eventually turned around and hiked back up the trail to where it bisects the Canon Brook Trail. The descent on Canon Brook was flooded with water and slippery. I ended up relaxing on multiple overlooks in order to breathe in the smell of balsam fir and the sound of fresh water making its way to the ocean. 

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