Friday, April 28, 2017


It has been written that the Park Service once had their living quarters located up on Young's Mountain,  but on exploring the area I found no such evidence of this.  In fact, there was very little of anything on Youngs Mountain.
The trail up is not that hard to locate, and is well worn for some stretch, but than as it begins to make its way up the mountain side, vanishes.  We were able to make out way up the mountain side with little trouble, and soon got lucky and picked the trail back up again.  Common sense tells you in these cases that if you lose the trail, simply head upward for the summit. 

YOUNG'S MOUNTAIN TRAIL - Acadia National Park

We did reach the Youngs Mountain Summit, and found a trail marked with rock piles leading down one side of the mountain towards Mcfarland Mountain.  I had expected to see this as Mcfarland mountain also has an abandoned trail leading up to its summit.  I have read that its trail is in rough shape.
A quick look around the summit and we located another trail, this one well worn, heading in the direction of Lake wood, something we did not expect to find.  The day was getting late, so we decided to hurry down this trail as far as we could, hoping to make the Lake wood area, or even Fawn Pond.  We had flashlights, so gave it a shot.

YOUNG'S MOUNTAIN - Acadia National Park

We got some ways down the back side of Youngs Mountain  and Lake Wood was getting much closer, but so was the close of daylight, and having never been in that area before we decided to turn around and make our way back up Youngs Mountain.  As we approached the summit we did so by flashlight.  We were not alone, half way down one side of the mountain side we spotted a couple flashlights of someone making their way down, as we were about to do.    We knew the direction of the Breakneck Ponds and moved downward in that direction.  By the time we reached the Breakneck Road those other flashlights were nowhere in sight.

This is just a guess, but I would say had we been able to follow that trail toward Lake Wood, it most likely would of connected to the Fawn Pond trail, perhaps closer to Fawn Pond than Lake Wood.  I checked a few old maps and could not find that trail on them, so it may well be a true Phantom trail, where some one blazed their own trail up the mountain.  It was well worn, so clearly a number of people hike it regularly.


So to locate the Youngs Mountain Trail, you need to be at Breakneck Ponds, at the place where the Breakneck road crosses between the two bodies of water.  Once across, the road enters the woods and turns a sharp left, at that point you want to take a right and follow a worn path.  I have had several people contact me and let me know either rangers or Ridge Runners have been in this area and placed branches and a tree across the start of the path, making it harder to spot. 
As I recall, there was a less worn path that ran to the right and ended up at a dead end.  We also saw several old rusting car parts along the trail, old fenders, a car hood, and such.
The main trail went on for a ways before coming to an end as the trail started up the Mountain side.
The summit is marked by a rock pile and the Lake Wood trail we found begins there.


Before I begin, this is not the Bass Harbor Lighthouse Keepers Trail, this is the other lighthouse trail.
 I came upon this old trail on an old map one evening and since it had no name, I named it the Bass harbor Lighthouse Trail.  Years later when I lived in that area, I soon learned the locals knew of this trail and hiked it often.  The start of the trail is not hard to locate, but expect there to be some tree branches tossed over the start of the trail.


To locate the start of the trail on the Lighthouse end, drive along route 102 A, and than turn onto the Lighthouse road, which soon takes you to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse parking lot.   You want to go to the trail by the restrooms to the far left corner of the parking lot.  It turns a corner and brings you to a long section of wooden steps which leads down to the rocks well below the lighthouse.  There are two places not far from one another just before those wooden stairs that are the start of the trail.
The trail passes through a short section of woods and than follows the tree line along high cliffs un til it comes to a small hill. 


The path up the hill is fairly easy, the path down the other side of the hill is a little steep, just take your time.  From there the Trail continues to move close to the water offering up some nice views before it reaches a point where several large trees have come down across the trail.  Once you make your way over the trees, the trail crosses a high cliff and below is a rocky beach the locals call Whistlers Beach, named because the guy who built a path to the beach whictles as he makes his way to the beach.


Follow the path as it moves downward to the rocky coastline and there you can walk out on the rocks and reach the beach area.  Ignore the trail at the top of the cliff as it leads to private homes and one guys back door. 
The trail continues to stay close to the water, and as you have seen by now, is fairly easy to follow.  The trail comes to an area where drift wood washes up along the shore, though the park does not allow you to remove driftwood from the park.  Once past that area the trail makes its way to the mouth of Ship Harbor.  Look across to the other side of the harbor and often you will see tourists over there trying to figure out how you reached the other side of the harbor.  this is where for many the trail will end.
Locals know how to make their way around, where the trail once ran, ending at an area by the Ship Harbor parking lot.  A shame this trail was abandoned as it fits so nicely in with the official trail, and would of been a great way for people to reach the lighthouse without having to take up the limited parking stalls there.
To locate the start of the trail on the Ship harbor end, from the parking lot along route 102 A, walk to the corner closest to the parking lot, a brook crosses under the roadway, and a hidden path runs along the brook to an opening overlooking the harbor with great views.  From there the trail follows the inside very edge of the woods, staying close to the open harbor until it  reaches a hard right and comes to a brook.  From there you really have to be from the area to know exactly where the trail went, but it does come out by the mouth of ship Harbor.


Thursday, April 27, 2017


I can't find anyplace where this trail is labeled, and when I first listed it some contacted me and said  this was actually the Orange and Black Trail, which is you look at old maps,  the trail appears to be a quick access route to the Orange and Black trail.  I simply have called this the Lost Rudolph Brunnow Trail.    I believe this was used by him and perhaps some of his work crew to access the Orange and Black Trail, the Precipice and the Great Cave Loop, and here is why I believe this.  The trail begins near High Seas, but unlike other trails on old maps, this one shows up in a lighter color, as though it was not an official trail.  It also runs up the mountain side and quickly joins the Orange and Black Trail in only a fraction of the time it would take had you hiked to that point from the start of the orange and black Trail.

The Trail I am covering begins between this sign post and the Precipice Parking lot.

We researched and studied old maps to best see how we could track this trail down, knowing that not only had it been abandoned but most likely some, if not all of the trail would of become lost to time.   We began near the Precipice parking lot, since we knew this trail lay between that parking lot and the start of the Orange and Black Trail.

One of many storm drains along side of the Park Loop Road

My youngest son walked right up along the rocky base of Champlain Mountain, while I walked the woods a little closer to the road.  At about the half way point, he called out to me and said he had come to a steep rock gully and said he was going up it to see if anything was up there.  Moments later he called out he had discovered a small rock pile - I headed for where he was.

From road go straight in short ways until you reach rocky gully running upward.

By now he had reached as far up the gully as he could go when he looked to his right and called out he had located stone steps.  And that is how we located the trail, and decided to return the next day to go further up it.  The following day we could not locate the trail and had to repeat the entire process over again.  Once we relocated it, I went out to the roadway and figured out how to know exactly where this trail was.  Than we climbed the trail until we came to a dead end.  It stops just short of the official Orange and Black Trail, and appears as though some of the stone steps were removed so people hiking the official trail would not spot this trail.  We than took photos and mad a rough sketch of where the trail was and how it ran.

Rocky Gully - at top, look right for stone steps

To locate this trail, drive, bike, hike or take the free Island Explorer bus to the Precipice parking lot.  If using the bus, make certain you let the driver know you want to get off at the Precipice parking lot.  He may tell you the trail there is closed due to endangered Falcons nesting along the Precipice, just tell you to let you off there.

Stone Steps of the lost Rudolph Brunnow Trail

Now walk along the Park Loop Road, going against the traffic, and at each storm ditch along the roadside, look back down the road behind you to see if you can still see the large Precipice sign on the side of the Park Loop Road.  When you come to the storm ditch where you can no longer see the sign, follow the tiny brook there into the woods.  The brook may be dry.  There may or may not be some rock piles up, just walk straight toward the base of the mountain toward a rock strewn gully which leads up the mountain side.  as I recall, it is the only place in that area where you can make your way upward.

Rock gully as seen from the stone steps

As you get as high as you can go look to your right for stone steps.  The trail is in good to rough shape, but the stone steps can be clearly seen.  They go on to turn left where the steps are in better shape.  A little higher up the steps turn the corner again, turning left again, than the trail turns to rock and dirt, with some brush growing up in the trail.  After a short ways the brush becomes much thicker and the trail turns upward, but here is where a number of steps seem to have been removed.  The official Orange and Black Trail  is just ahead.

 this the Lost Rudolph Brunnow Trail - Acadia National Park

Because this trail was so well hidden I rank this as one of our bigger finds and it felt so good when we first got those stone steps into sight.  I just wish we had this much luck with every abandned trail we went searching for.


Brewer Mountain is just one site that the Bar Harbor water company has abandoned over the years.  There are two more sites it abandoned on the sides of Great Hill, one being the Water Tower of great Hill.   It lays at rest like a sleeping giant in the shadow of trees.   

Old Road Leading Through Woods to Water Tower

Many years ago the narrow dirt road leading up to the tower was clear and easy to see, but not so today.  Wild brush has been allowed, or even encouraged, to grow up in the center of the dirt road, and the rusting chain that stretches across the road is hard to see through the brush.
But iff you know where to look, this sleeping giant can be all yours for a day.   

From the Eagle Lake road, Route 233, drive until you come to the Duck Brook road on your right, just before Eagle lake.  Drive down the Duck Brook Bridge Road until you come to the end at Duck Brook Bridge and the carriage roads.  Almost across from where cars park is a wide open clearing on the side of Great hill with a road leading up to the current Bar Harbor water system.  And than there's that small building on the other side of the roadway.  Almost across from that building, and not far from the road leading up to the current water system, look for an old rusting chain the blocks the start of the

Great Hill water Tower - Acadia National Park

water Tower road.  Once you cross the chain and start up the road, the brush ends and the road can be much easier seen.    You don't have very far to go before you come up to the huge water tower.
Today it sets abandoned, but it is a prize for those who are into exploration.

MAP OF GREAT HILL - Acadia National Park


If you have ever wondered just how Great Hull got its name, well, you would have to hike up to its summit to understand how it came to be named a great hill.  Before you have even begun your hike, one quick look back behind you and you will have a view of the surrounding mountains that you can only get from Great Hill, and the views only get better the higher you go.

Mountains of Acadia National Park viewed from Great Hill

Kebo Mountain is drafted by its bigger brother Cadillac, with Dorr and Champlain mountains  rising in the distance, all lined up perfectly for a great photo with the ocean as a backdrop.   You will not find this view on any other mountain summit other than Great Hill.  And when hiking to the first summit, you can look across to Great Hill's twin summit - there nce was a couple trails that begun at the first summit and led to the second one, but they are now pretty much ghost trails,  with small sections of those trails showing up now and than.
I like to think Great Hill got its name because many years ago it servered as  a cross roads, with a number of trails connecting to Great Hill, and the Trails of Great Hill connecting to Hulls Cove and Bar Harbor
.  The Gurnee Trail was connected to the Fern Trail, from Duck Brook Bridge the Fern trail got you to the Great Hill Trails, like the Water Pipe Trail,  and as the Fern trail followed one side of Great Hill, it continued on down to near the intersection of the Cleffstone Road and West Street Ext..  Trails also ran up to both summits,  with one running down the otther side toward Duck Brook Bridge, and another running down to join up with the Bracken Trail., which in effect connected hikers to the Breakneck Road, Mcfarland and Young's Mountains, and the Fawn Pond Trails.  Even the trail atound Witch Hole Pond was connected to these trails.  And from the Bracken Trail you connected to the Gorge Trail and the rest of the trails in Acadia National Park.

Bar Harbor viewed from Great Hill - Acadia National Park

But following the Great Fire, the Park service decided to abandoned all trails on this side of the park - if you wanted to hike on this side, you would have to do so by means of the Carriage Roads, which as any serious hiker knows, can not compare to hiking an actual trail.
So how do you locate the main trail to the summit of Great Hill?   Here are two quick ways of getting to it so you won't miss it.
1.  From downtown Bar Harbor, drive down to the bottom of Main street, the ocean end, turn left onto West Street and drive to the end where you come to an intersection.  Route 3 - Eden street runs left and right, continue straight ahead  up West street ext..  Continue until you come to a stop sign and the Park Loop Road.  Turn left and drive past the first pull over on your left, stopping at the second pull over.    You are now at where you need to be.

Great Hill Summit - Acadia National Park

2.  From Bar Harbor, turn onto Mount Desert street by the Village Green.  Continue along Mount Desert Street, driving through  an intersection with lights on up the Eagle Lake Road, or route 233.  As you approach the large arched stone bridge, turn into the park.  At the Park Loop Road just ahead, turn right, go round a curve and pull into the pull over.
So you have the map, but I will roughly go over the layout of the trail.  Directly across from the pull over is a section of ledge, you need to go to the far left of the ledge, by the tree's, and there you will see a worn path leading up to the top of the ledge - often times pesky Ridge Runners will toss branches or limbs across the start of the trail, either kick them aside to prevent you from tripping, or step over or around them.
Just as soon as you reach the top, stop and turn toward the hill, with your back toward the road, and you will see a small opening in the tree's, walk toward it and you will see a section of worn trail which takes you to the first section of open granite.

Abandoned Great Hill Summit Trail

Get up onto that open granite and walk across it, moving upward, and just ahead you will come to another worn section of trail, which quickly leads to more open granite.  Continue tomove upward and just ahead is a long stretch of worn trail which will end at another section of open granite with a very huge boulder at rest a short ways off the trail.

View From Side of Great Hill - Acadia National Park

It's that area where the boulder is where you want to be.  Now head toward the woods, to the left, and look for a narrow well worn path, that path will lead you to the summit of Great Hill.
When my kids were younger we would come up here just before dusk, and once night settled in look up at the sky and watch for shooting stars.  Sometimes we would just set on a large rock and watch as planes in the distance landed and took off from the Bar Harbor Airport.  Locals simply refer to this trail as the Great Hill Summit Trail.


At one point near the beginning of this trail you come to a place where the Duck Brook Rapids empty down into Duck Brook, its a pretty cool site along the abandoned trail.
To locate this trail, enter the park by way of west Street Ext., it is directly across from west Street in Bar Harbor.   Once you enter the Acadia National Park, pull over at a small area at the start of the Duck Brook Bridge Road.  This half of the road is no longer open to autos.  Walk down Duck Brook Bridge road - you will soon pass beneath a large arched stone bridge.  Continue along the road - you will soon pass an unmarked abandoned trail on the right.  Continue toward the sharp curve in the road ahead, several car lengths before the sharp curve, look down the embankment for a worn path leading toward a dark opening in the woods.  This is where the water pipe trail begins.

Cast Iron Pipes

It is a dirt trail which can be steep in a couple spots but there are plenty of trees to grab hold of.
You will come to a small intersection, the Water Pipe trail goes right.  Straight down gets very steep and leads to the edge of very fast waters of Duck Brook.  What you might not see is at that small intersection - the Water pipe Trail once continued to the left.  I have followed it a ways, but it ends at a dead end and a serious drop off.

Duck Brook Rapids - Acadia National Park

So follow the trail to the right, you don't have to go very far down it when there is an easy way down to the side of Duck Brook, and from the trail you can see where the rapids of duck Brook empty out into Duck Brook below.  It makes for some nice photos or video.

New water pipe

Follow the old cast iron water pipes until they meet up with the newer modern water pipes.  Just ahead the trail gets much wider and clearer.  The trail finally ends high up on a cliff over looking the Park Loop road Below.  At one point just befor the cliff, a trail leads downward toward the loop Road, with the very impressive triple arched stone bridge to the left.  The sides of the bridge are low and a local man fell off the sides to his death several years ago. 

Duck Brook - Acadia National Park

On this end of the bridge, way down below, the old abandoned Duck Brook trail once ran.  When this triple arch bridge was constructed, it destroyed a large section of the Duck Brook Trail.

Water Pipe Trail - Acadia National Park


When I first stumbled upon the Stone Tower, I could not believe what lay before my eyes as I exited the woods and entered the small field.  Rising up out of this field was a stone tower,  constructed of  stones laid on stones, like something out of the Knights and castles days.  It had no windows, but one side did have a sheet of plywood over it serving as a door. 
When I returned weeks later the plywood had been removed and cast aside, so I got my first look inside it.  It looked much larger from the outside, and had one large section of pipe running through an opening at the top. 

Years later I learned this was what was left of a water filtering system that was run by the Bar Harbor water Company.  In the nearby woods are the remains of an old building, and two very large foundations that were part of a sand filtering system. Large cast iron pipes running into one end of one of the foundations is still in place. 
The site is fairly easy to locate, simple drive along the Eagle Lake Road (route 233) until you come to the Duck Brook road.  Park near the corner of the duck Brook road and walk down the side of the Eagle Lake road and just beyond where the gaurd rail ends is an openning in the woods with a dirt road.  Follow the dirt road straight in a short ways to reach the small field with the stone tower.  To locate the sand filtering foundations and their remains, as soon as you enter into the woods on the dirt road, go right and the large foundations are right there.  To locate the underground tank, we followed the pipeline from in front of the stone tower through the woods a short ways.

THE STONE TOWER - Acadia National Park


Map to the Stone Tower - Acadia National Park

Just a little update, today we returned back to the old Stone tower and this time around we followed the large water pipe leading from in front of the stone tower  through the woods to the fast moving waters of Duck Brook.  Just before the brook we found an interesting find, see photo.
underground tank

From that point we decided to follow the brook for a ways, which ended up being a good choice, as you will see.  We took video and photos of the brook as we went, but soon had to turn back and retrace our way back to the stone tower.  I remembered an old road behind the tower, and it is well hidden behind some pines.  We followed that road, which stays pretty close to the waters of Duck Brook, until we came to out next big find.  Here we came upon a large water pipe line that suddenly swung out from the side of the old road and crossed the brook, as you can see from the photos, it was a pretty amazing find.


Just beyond this, the road ended at a swamp, so we turned back around and headed back past the stone tower and out toward route 233 (The Eagle Lake Road).  Just before the main road we decided to get a few more photos of the huge foundations that were once part of a sand filtering system.  It seems every time I visit this area I come away with another new discovery.  Oh, and we made a huge blunder, we forgot to bring along a can of deet and the deadly Maine blackflies lived up to their reputation, our arms, necks and foreheads were covered with blackflies.

part of the sand filtering system

part of the sand filtering foundation


Other than a name on a map, there doesn't appear at first glance to be much going on at Brewer mountain.  However, if one takes a closer look, at least at one time or another there was a lot going on there.  Brewer Mountain is where I first stumbled upon the Stone tower.  Two huge foundations at its base is what remains of a huge sand filtering system run by the Bar Harbor water company.  And an old dirt road from behind the Stone Tower once ran all the way to the area of Duck Brook Bridge.
Much of this can be easily found today, and along that old dirt road with fallen trees here and there blocking it is the very fast waters of Duck Brook.
But there are secret areas on Brewer Mountain one can only find through exploration of the mountain sides.  There are a few old house foundations hidden in the woods, and here and there one comes across old rusting car fenders, bumpers, and hoods.  There are also a few old dumps with old bottles, rusting cans, shoe souls and such.
Two of the more amazing finds I came across are two old granite mining sites, one is located lower on the mountain side toward Eagle Lake end, the other up closer to the top of the mountain.  I am pretty certain there are still other secret areas on Brewer Mountain even I have yet to discover, which is why it is one of my favorite mountains to explore.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

THE FEATHERBED - Acadia National Park

If you have ever hiked along the Cadillac southwest trail or along the Canon Brook trail, you know at some point you come to a small mountain pond,  called THE FEATHERBED.  It is a very peaceful body of water where ports pause with pen in hand or a passing artist pulls out a canvas. 
But most who pass by the Featherbed know little if any of the history that surrounds this beautiful place.  In the late 1800's newspaper reports told repeated stories of a huge sea monster that lived in the calm waters of the Featherbed.  The creature was described as being a giant snake creature that feed on humans and the more such stories made there way into print, the more sightings of this creature came to light.  Some reports told of individuals fleeing for their lives down the mountain side. 
Such stories may be seen as unbelievable today, but back than many who read the reports of this sea creature did believe it.  People ventured up the Southwest Trail with great caution hoping to get a glimpse of this giant snake, and the area around the Featherbed soon became known as Great snake Flats.  If you look at old maps you may be able to find it marked as such.

Map of the Featherbed - Acadia National Park

Many years later the Featherbed was named as being the center of the known universe, not by the National Park Service or by scientists, but by a small cult.  For years this small cult would arrive at the Featherbed one day each year to hold their secret rituals.  I remember reading a couple short stories years ago  about this cult, but not much seems to be known about them, and I have no idea if they still make the yearly journey to the Featherbed or not.  One fact is clear, the Featherbed has had some twisted tales rise up out of its waters over the years.


Back in the day, before Bear brook Picnic Area was a picnic area, it was a small campground.  And where Jackson Labs is today there use to be a horse racing track.  So it only makes sense that at one time those two areas would of been connected, and as it turns out they are connected still to this day by way of a secret trail in the nearby woods.  Today the trail is most often used by workers at Jackson Lab who want to get into the park quickly for a picnic or a hike.
But before you can find the hidden trail, you first have to locate Bear Brook Picnic Area, and the park doesn't go out of its way to point it out to you.  Once you drive past the one small sign for it, you have to be ready to brake and turn into it, but many become distracted by the pond on the right with Champlain Mountain towering over it.
And to make matters worse, the entrance to the picnic area is at an odd angle, turning into it ends up pointing your car in the direction you just came from.  It is little wonder that Bear Brook Picnic area see's very little use, and on many a summer day you can go there and find the place nearly empty.  You kind of get the feeling the Park Service doesn't want the public finding it.
To locate Bear Brook Picnic area, drive along the One Way Section of the Park Loop Road, drive past the turn off for Sieur de Monts Spring, pass under the stone bridge ahead, than you will continue uphill and around a long curve, at the top of the hill the road straightens out, and if you look to the left you can see some of the picnic tables.  Switch to the left hand lane and put your blinker on to turn left, slow down, and look for a very sharp turn on your left leading into the picnic area.

Bear Brook Picnic Area - Jackson Lab Trail - Acadia National Park

Once at Bear Brook Picnic Area, the map is fairly easy to follow to locate the hidden trail.  Walk up over some flat granite and the well worn trail is there.  It is not a long path and leads to a rear parking lot of Jackson Labs, with route 3 just ahead.


Some say that in the late evening, on those days when a fog begins to creep across the calm waters of Eagle Lake, an imagine of a ghost can be seen out in the center of the lake.  Not a human ghost, but rather the ghost of a vessel trying to find its way back to shore.
This goes back to the days when the Green Mountain Railroad company operated a cog train from the shore of Eagle lake to the summit of Green Mountain, today renamed Cadillac Mountain.  The only way people could reach the train platform on one end of the lake was to get a large steam boat onto the lake, which they did.  and for years passengers enjoyed the trip in the steam boat from one end of the lake to the other.
Once the Railroad Company went out of business, they were left with the ordeal of what to do with the steam boat, and it was decided to take it out into the center of the lake and sink it, which is what they did.
To this day that  steam boat Wauwinet (named after an old Otter Creek Indian settlement), lies at rest at the bottom of the lake.  So if you find yourself out ar Eagle lake in the evening, and a fog begins to creep across the lake, don't be surprised if you see that old steam boat out in the center of the lake trying to find its way back to shore.


At one time the Bracken Trail began at the corner of the Eagle Lake Road - RT 233, and the Cleffstone Road.    The trail made its way through the woods close to route 233, before crossing the Park Loop Road.  The Trail than ran a short ways through a field, moving to the right, and once it reached the woods it turns left and makes its way to Duck Brook Bridge Road.  From There it crossed the road and ran through the woods, pasing along the back side of Brewer Mountain before reaching the area by Breaknect Ponds.  It served as a connector trail to the Breakneck Road, Mcfarland and Young's Mountain and the Fawn Pond Trail.

Abandoned Bracken Trail - Acadia National Park

Today only one section of the trail remains, and it is quickly becoming a ghost, or phantom trail.  To locate it, drive from Bar Harbor up route 233 - the Eagle Lake Road, and turn into the park just before the large arched stone bridge.  Turn left onto the Park Loop road and pull over at the small dirt pull over area just before the bridge.  The start of the trail begins there.  From the Duck Brook Bridge Road end it is extremely had to locate the trail, as it is hidden behind tree's and brush.

Bracken Trail - Acadia National Park

Bracken Trail - Acadia National Park

bracken trail 3

When the trail reaches some over grown sections as in above photo, just keep in mind that this trail runs in almost a straight line and the next worn section is not far ahead.


Bracken Trail - Acadia National Park

Bracken Trail - Acadia National Park

From the Duck Brook road, the trail begins just in the woods to the right behind  pole P53  15.   The trail is harder to follow if you begin on this end.