It’s mid-May after the snowiest winter on the coast of Maine in the last 10,000 years. I am here in Bar Harbor, some 200 miles north of our home in York, for some hiking in Acadia National Park with my University of New Hampshire classmate and full-time Canadian Bill Buggie.
After hiking to Sargent Mountain and Penobscot Mountain (To read that blog, go to the categories on the left side of the blog and click on “Maine”) this Monday, Bill and I head into Bar Harbor for dinner. With the glowing recommendation for Geddy’s from Teenia at our Best Western Acadia Park Inn, we drive through a town just rubbing the sleep out of its eyes and ready to wake up for the Memorial Day opening to its brief five-month tourist season.
Geddy’s, a block from the Bar Harbor harbor, has a Monday night buzz of locals and first-of-the-season tourists. We zero in on the $13.95 Big Burrito; soon we are fiesta-ing on this fantastic wrapped tortilla of chicken.
Using my credit card to pay for the meal, I see the waitress returning with a paper receipt that says decline. I am not totally surprised. On my trip north today, Visa fraud services had called with news that Hannah’s credit card had been used earlier for gas purchases in two separate Florida cities. Once her card was cancelled, Visa said that mine would be fine. Well, it was not fine. A $600 purchase has shown up on my card with similar fraudulent gas station activity.
I don’t know how they got our card. It wasn’t lost in Florida; we haven’t been there in years. Internet purchases? Visa offered to send us a new card in 7 to 10 business days by regular mail or send it by Federal Express arriving the next day for free. Who picks the first option?
Fortunately Bill loans me a C-note to pay my Best Western motel bill. But what if I had no amigo to bail me out? What would I do? Though I keep an extra check in my wallet, I travel with only one credit card. That is going to change. I have resolved that this credit card shall not have died in vain and I will always bring a second card for a new birth of financial freedom. It’s a great lesson. I do appreciate Visa’s vigilance.
Ah, but the breakfast at the Best Western Acadia Park Inn more than balances out this slight inconvenience. First, a blueberry muffin with some decafe. It’s followed by a tomato and spinach omelet patty with home fries. And then the piece de resistance – salsa! I ladle and ladle some more; it’s almost heaven West Virginia.
With a morning of light mist, we take Eagle Lake Road on to Somesville some 15 miles through Acadia National Park towards Southwest Harbor on the western part of Mount Desert Island. Since we’ll be hiking in clouds and dampness, we wonder if the rocky climbs will be slick and unplayable: still we decide to challenge 660’ Acadia Mountain with its 500 feet of rocky elevation gain.
Using the $4.95 Acadia National Park Hiking and Biking Trail Map (a must for any hiker at ANP and available to purchase at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center), we find the parking area on route 102 across from the rock steps climbing into the forest.
Using the superb trail map which has distances down to a tenth of mile, we enter the forest of pine and spruce. Turning left on the St. Sauveur Trail, for the next mile we take this loop trail east toward Somes Sound along the Man o’ War Brook Fire Road.
The gravelly fire road allows us to catch a hiking rhythm as we walk side by side through the forest. Large open natural gullies are dug across the fire road to allow the flow of water to the sea; an added benefit is that these cross-wise drainage ditches make it nearly impossible for four wheel vehicles to drive this fire road.
A sharp turn on the Acadia Mountain Trail towards the Somes Sound Lookout gives us nothing; a massive cloud remains over all of Mount Desert Island and we can barely see to the water’s edge. On a clear day we would see the only fjord on the East Coast of the United States.
Soon we rock scramble up the steep stone trail which, for the most part, is dry. Pleased to find granite steps constructed into the mountainside, we find the climb both doable and enjoyable.
Rated strenuous, the hiking is never perilous or makes us fearful for our safety. Bill leads the way as I take in the scene and snap pictures on my iPhone.
Following the blue blazes of this well-marked trail, Bill and I summit and are blown away at the top. I mean, literally blown away by the howling winds which were nowhere to be seen or felt in the lower elevations of the forest. We can see for maybe fifty feet.
With a mile of descending rocks until we reach the trailhead, we step carefully, slip on our butts a time or two, but return unscathed and satisfied with our choice of hikes. As we pack up to leave, the sun is burning off the cloud cover that we’ve hiked under for the last two hours. We highly resolve to return in the coming year.
And why the third reference to the Gettysburg Address. Maybe I am just messing around or maybe it’s the Maine connection to that battle that Lincoln spoke of four score and seven years ago. It was Mainer Joshua Chamberlain, a Bowdoin College professor, who led the 20th Maine in defending Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg. That man, and his troops may have turned the tide of the Civil War in the favor of the Union. We love our Maine Civil War heroes this morning on the coast of Maine.