It’s time to start my hiking series and I’ll be posting either on Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s – titled Tuesday Treks or Wednesday Walkabouts!! Today was a bright welcome relief after torrential rains yesterday dampened many a spirit including mine. I had planned on hiking the Gorge Path this week since it is one of the trails that I never experienced last year. Mapping out my way, I left myself open for deciding on a longer or shorter route part way through the trek. I was not sure I would be up for a long hike in the afternoon since I had spent the morning tromping around Little Long Pond taking photographs for a volunteer opportunity I signed up for this summer.
I parked at the Sieur de Monts parking lot (I got the one remaining parking spot and it’s only mid-June!) and started up the Jesup Path veering off onto the Hemlock Trail. My route would take me up to Dorr Mountain via the Gorge Path. This hike has it all – deep evergreen forest habitat, rocky stepping-stones trail along a raging stream in the gorge, the wide-open space of the Dorr Mt. summit and the cool, tranquil Maple/Oak/Beech forest along the south-eastern side of the mountain.
The climb up the Gorge Path was incredible – steep but manageable. The 1-mile long path is a marvel of trail engineering with stepping stone construction the entire length – including multiple stream crossings. The water was running high due to the previous day’s rain so some of the trail was actually part of the stream!! Glad I wore my water-proof Keen’s on this hike!
There were many small waterfalls along the way. I would have liked to linger at some of the more picturesque spots but the mosquitoes were murderous and out for blood so I had to keep moving. The Gorge Path is one a many paths that have memorials embedded in stone to commemorate early supporters of the trail system in Acadia. This trail is endowed by friends of Lilian Endicott Francklyn.
A short, steep cliff trail veers off of the Gorge Trail to ascend to the summit of Dorr Mountain. I had to fold up my hiking poles and stash them in my day-pack for this .3 mile scramble. The views on this rocky climb looking over towards Cadillac were magnificent. Once I reached Dorr summit, I relaxed and rested from the steep climb and enjoyed the solitude. I was alone at the summit and got a kick out of looking over at the throngs of people on top of Cadillac!! At the summit, I decided I had the energy to take the longer loop option back to Sieur de Monts via the Dorr South Ridge Trail, the Canon Brook Trail and the Kane Path. I’m glad I did because the descent was simply beautiful!
Descending Dorr via the south ridge is one of my favorite trails in the park. The views towards Otter Cove, Gorham Mountain, the Beehive and Champlain are spectacular. I love the pitch pine and blueberry bush habitat that dominates this ecosystem and noticed the huckleberry blooming along with the blueberry plants.
The final stretch of the loop takes me along the Tarn via the Kane Path. This is a rock scramble along a newly restored stepping-stone trail on the west side of the Tarn. As you leave the Tarn, the trail merges with the Jesup Path and another memorial plaque is found honoring Morris K and Maria De Witt Jesup.
The 5.5 mile loop took me about 3 hours to complete – with time out for photographs and a quick snack on Dorr Mountain. I highly recommend experiencing the Gorge Path – it was fun and magical especially after a day of rain!!