Friday, July 29, 2011

Along the Great Head Trail

One of our favorite trails to hike at Acadia National Park is the Great Head Trail. This trail is a beautiful and brisk jaunt along the easternmost edge of the island and offers breathtaking vistas of the water as well as an old ruin. There are two ways to get to the trailhead. You can either park at Sand Beach and pick up the trail at the eastern edge of the beach or you can do what we always do, which is to enter the back way.

If you go, take the Park Loop Road and make a left immediately before the park entrance, where the toll booths are located. Then make your first right and head to the parking lot on the left. Hike up to the trailhead, where you will come to the sign you see below and go left.

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I brought the little camcorder with us on this hike and this is one of the first views you will be rewarded with.


When it’s bright outside, you can’t see a thing in the viewfinder, so I had no idea what I was filming and how straight I was holding the little camera.

The hike is under 2 miles so it really doesn’t take very long. A little further up the trail, you will come to a crossroad. It doesn’t matter which way you go because it’s a loop. We did something different this time and headed up the rocks you see below, which is probably what contributed to the screaming of my knees that night.

It was a painful night.

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If you look closely, you’ll see George and my husband. You might also see trail markers of blue painted at intervals on the rock.

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At the top, you have a great view of The Beehive. My husband has goaded me for years to climb The Beehive with him, but I have steadfastly refused. I refused because I know my limitations. And I refuse to succumb to peer pressure.

Besides, I know several people who have hiked this trail, and each has told me it was really hairy.

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You soon come to Sand Beach and the panoramic beauty of it all.

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We took a little break on the cliff that overlooks the beach. George loves this trail.

Interesting fact: Part of the 1999 movie, Cider House Rules was filmed at Sand Beach.

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Now the trail heads east a bit more, hugging the perimeter. That’s when you come to the one little dicey bit.

Well, for me, it’s dicey because of my *&(^$%** knees. My husband and the dog clambered right up it like they were kids. Which one of them is.

I took a short video before I started up.


It’s really not all that bad. And if you don’t have bad knees, it’s rather fun.

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And there’s a wonderful ring to help pull you up that I’m sure my husband didn’t even need.

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I used it, though.

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At the top, we always take another break to enjoy the scenery. In the center of the photo above, you can see my husband and the dog. But just behind him lies a jumble of stone.

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This is all that is left of the tower built by JP Morgan for his daughter, Louisa Saterlee. Given to her, along with Sand Beach as a wedding gift, the tower had a tea room, a salon, and an observatory.

It was lost in the Fire of 1947 which destroyed over 17,000 acres on Mount Desert Island and left the town of Bar Harbor in ruin.

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You can still see the stone floor of the tower. It’s in such a magnificent location. All of the land that was owned by the Saterlees was donated to the park.

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And then we follow the blue trail markers back down. I highly recommend this trail if you are ever to visit this magnificent park.

Next up ~ the best lobstah roll on the island.

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My Farmhouse Kitchen said... pretty ...and now a lobster roll too...i LOVE maine...i wish i was with you...looks like george is loving it...great photos, my friend

happy to see it all

have a great time !!!

sending love,
kary and teddy

Mental P Mama said...

Gah. You are ready to come hike the Grand Canyon with Connecticut's Team In Training! And more royal footage of A's back to boot!

Karen said...

Such natural beauty, I am so looking forward to the day the husband tells me to book a vacation to Maine. Until then.. I vacation vicariously through you.

Thanks for sharing, Kate.

Gone Country said...

Your photos and history are making me want to visit Maine! I must add that to my TO DO/GO SEE list!

What a perfect location for the tower... so sad that it was lost.

I can't wait for the Lobstah Roll!

Country Girl said...

I'm still dreaming of the lobster roll.

~ C.G.

beth said...

i think i need another trip to maine....soon !
and now...bring on the lobstah roll baby....xo

Anonymous said...

Can't beat the sound of the water on the rocks and you had some great blue skies too! Thanks for sharing these videos with us. :-)

sharon said...

gorgeous scenery! Thanks for taking your camera up there, loved every minute of it.

Lili said...

Yep, we always go the other way as I find it much easier to slide down on my butt rather than climb. I never even noticed that ring before though, you are so observant, you'd think I would have felt it on the way down! Can you imagine a wedding gift as grand as Sand Beach???! I'm just happy we get to visit there for free though! Love that trail too, hope your knees have recovered from it! xo ~Lili

Steph said...

I've got the same tricky knees and also a husband who is constantly trying to get me to do hairy hikes too. I always feel like I'm holding him back! Fortunately he has a good friend who'll go with him on some of the hikes I can't (won't) do. They are doing Mt. Washington this fall with our 70 year old neighbor! As always,lovin' the photo's Kate. Have to get back to Acadia soon!

Country Girl said...

Steph, it's inspiring to know that your 70 year old neighbor is still hiking.

Lili, I still am impressed that you hiked the Bee Hive. And I don't remember that ring being there but like you said, I'm usually going the other way and sliding down those rocks.

Thanks, all ~


A New England Life said...

Such a beautiful area. I'm surprised your husband doesn't pressure you into moving to Maine! It seems to be where he feels at his best. Like it's where his soul is at home.

Hilary said...

I would have called them my effing knees......mine ache like toothaches most of the time....and the one I had replaced is no better than the one I didn't.
Go figure.
I am definitely going to do that hike in August, and oh, my Sand Beach looks lovely.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Well, by blowing the picture up large I did manage to find George. What lovely countryside it is there.
I seem to think I have been to parts of Acadia - is it an area by the St Lawrence river? We once spent a lovely day on an island in the St Lawrence and I was pretty sure they called that area Acadia.

Skogkjerring said...

Hey Kate, I´ve been on holiday but I´m back and anxious to get around and see what I´ve been missing, loved "joining" you on this hike- looks like a beautiful hike....the best parts of those kind of hikes are stopping to admire the beauty of the nature around you ;-) Oh and coming down and eating LOBSTER ROLLS....yum, found out what those were for the first time the other day while surfing the net, came across some recipes and one was lobster roll- never heard of it before, but definitely now on my list of things to try before I die...YUM....
Have a great Saturday!

becky up the hill said...

An amazing field trip, with a ruin at the end. Fun! Have you run across a pix of the tower before the fire. Such a sad story. I am going to research this event.

trump said...

Love the pictures, and i bet its a real pretty area in fall and winter. Richard

Jeanne Walker said...

Loved our little hike today! It looks like you three were the only ones out and about on the trail! Does anyone ever swim at Sand Beach...too cold or not allowed? I don't know that I'll ever have a chance to visit Maine. I am so thankful to be seeing the park through your eyes! Lobster (can't eat...allergic) but cannot wait to see what a lobster roll is!

Bluebird49 said...

Wow--it's really so much more beautiful than I even thought--I hope I get to go one day...but I don't think I will. So, I'm ever the more grateful for your blog. :)

I wish your knees were way better than they are--wish mine were, too! :(

Kerri Farley said...

Ah, it sure it lovely - but I think I will have to view it from your pictures ..... dont' think my knees could stand that hike.

Daryl said...

That was a good walk, I enjoyed it especially since I didnt have to leave my desk chair!

Kay said...

I love these pics you take, and believe I am really there with you.
Here I am trying to go hike a nice flat trail at our Estuary and cannot muster the energy with bad knees and bad back to do it yet..
Fantastic weather here on the South Coast of Oregon. Keep those wonderful pictures coming our way.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

pico de gallo sounds good to me !!!!

wish i was there in maine !

hugs to george and happy to see you today, my friend

kary and teddy

Mary said...

Oh my goodness, what a fabulous place to hike! I imagine that my knees would be whining, too... :). Ut oh, it's so beautiful!

GailO said...

My son in law is responsible for planning which hikes we will be doing during our stay in Maine...I will have to show him this post although it looks too difficult to do with the little ones. Never mind the grandparents:)


Deb said...

what a pretty place to's way to hot to do any hiking in Texas..

Melissah said...

I just discovered your lovely blog. I look forward to popping by again for some more inspiration! I'm just new into blogging this year & have put together a daily blog on design, fashion, food, travel and anything pretty. and one on everything coastal
I had a lot of fun putting them together maybe you would like to check it out if you have a spare minute.

The JR said...

I got to pet some beautiful border collies over the weekend.

We went to folks house to take down some stalls they wanted removed.

Had several BC's that came to visit us.