Tuesday, May 30, 2017


While hiking the Stratheden Trail nearly 20 years ago, I passed an area along the official trail that looked like it was an unmarked trail, so today we went back to that area in hopes we would be able to find it again.  Once again we forgot the bug spray and the bugs were relentless, but we did find what we set out to find, an unmarked trail.

Okay, as we began hiking along it we soon realized this was no trail, this was in fact an old abandoned road.  You could still see the itre groves, and the entire left hand side of the old road was well built up and lined with rocks - see photos.  But no sooner had we begun to wonder where the road went to, that it suddenly came to an end.  The area where it ended had towering walls of granite that were smooth and perfectly flat, and clearly appeared to be an old granite mining site.
And on a large rock was a pile of rusting metal parts, a few of the parts seemed to clearly have come off of some sort of truck or machine.  Check out the photos and see what you think.

So we poked around the entire area searching for more signs of anything that might be there and found nothing.  So we decided to make our way up the mountain side oven an open area and soon came to the woods, and there amid piles of what appeared to be cut granite, one large piece proved this area was once a granite mining area.  It had the tell tale grooves evenly spaced along one side.
 Here the drainage ditch veers right away from the official trail, this is where the abandoned road begins.

So to find the general area of tall walls of granite and rusting metal parts, hike along the Stratheden Trail and pay attention to the drainage ditch on the right hand side of the trail not far into the hike.  At one point a long section of the ditch makes a sudden right hand turn and actually begins to go up the abandoned road.  And you don't have to go up the old road very far before you see how one side of the road is lined with large rocks.
 Here you can see how rocks line one side of the old road.

The hardest part of finding this location is in first finding the Stratheden Trail, which is very easy to miss.  Begin by driving or biking along the one way section of the Park Loop Road.  You will soon pass the pull over for the Cadillac North Ridge Trail.  The road than goes down hill, and crosses a large stone bridge - the start of the Gorge Trail is below the bridge.

Continue down the road until you come to a long cruve, half way through the long curve is the Kebo Mountain Trail Head.  As soon as you exit the long curve, slow and look for a very tiny pull over on the left and side of the road, that is where the Stratheden Trail begins.  The pull over is large enough for one, maybe two cars at the most.
The GPS numbers for the start of the Granite mining road, which is mentioned in  Path Finders, is Latitude 44 22' 7" N and Longitude 68 12' 53" W.

Saturday, May 27, 2017



It is a mystery because no one seems to know much about the ship wreck or how the large ship came to be where its remains are located today.  An older gentleman recalls playing on the wreck when he was a young boy. 
In most pieces I have found on this ship wreck, the Park Service has stated they wanted the ship wreck's location kept a secret, however, documents found online tell the location of the wreck.  There are also a number of photos of the ship's remains as well as photos of what the ship might of looked like.
The ship is said to have been a large vessel, the kind most often used to carry passengers.  
On a video showing Park Rangers at the site, it is said that the vessel entered a narow cove and either crashed or came to rest on the far side of the cove in an area that is mud at low tide.  So to access the crash site one would have to arrive in the area at low tide.  It's location as described below appears in a free online PDF on the ship wreckage;
"The shipwreck is located on the north shore
of  the  eastern  end  of  Seal  Cove,  on  Mount 
Desert  Island,  in  the  intertidal  zone  (
.  5). 
East  of  the  main  part  of  the  cove,  the  site  is 
next  to  a  narrow  channel  that  is  nearly  dry  at 
low  tide,  limiting  the  draft  of  vessels  able  to 
enter. The site was reported by local informants
in  2006  and  listed  with  the  Maine  Historic 
Archaeological  Sites  Inventory  in  July  2007  by 
Anthony Booth of Independent Archaeological
Consulting  (Maine  Historic  Preservation 
Commission 2007: 1–2; Price 2007)."
On a video showing Park Rangers at the site, it is said that the vessel entered a narow harbor and either crashed or came to rest on the far side of the harbor in an area that is mud at low tide.





Cedar Swamp Mountain holds a secret many don't know of, a secret that claimed the lift of retired Air force Captain Robert McGaunn. 
He refueled at Boston's Logan International Airport, before continuing on with his flight.  While flying through bad weather from PA to Newfoundland, his plane suddenly disappeared without a trace.  A search was conducted for the missing plane but nothing was found. 
Three months later a pilot from nearby Trenton Maine flying over Cedar Swamp Mountain spotted the wreckage and reported it in.  The body of the pilot was recovered, but the wreckage of the plane was left on the mountain side. 
The pilot died strapped into his seat and the seat still rests near the mountain top.  The crash site and its wreckage is said to be located very close to the top of the summit.  The plane crash took place on 30 June 1970.


GPS for crash site;  Near 44.31667 N, -68.26667 W




Thursday, May 4, 2017


First off, Bar Island can only be reached by boat or by crossing the sand bar at low tide.  Explorers have two hours before the low tide mark, and two hours after the low tide mark to explore the island.
At one time only half of Bar Island belonged to Acadia National Park, but today the entire island  belongs to the park.  Despite the entire island now belonging to the Park service, there is only one official trail on the island.  That said, if you do a little looking, you will find at least half a dozen unmarked trails on the small island.
Let's begin with the official trail, it begins near one end of the sand bar, with a sign and a gate across the narrow dirt road.  This Trail runs up through the woods, coming out into a large field.  As the road cuts through the field, look toward the field to the left, by the edge of the woods is an apple tree and deer can often be spotted by the tree.  At the far end of the field you approach an official trail post and trail leading up to the summit.

As you approach the sign post, look to the right for a well worn trail leading  into the woods, that road once led to a house where a well known person lived who did the voice on many PBS documentaries.  The house is no longer there, but you will find several foundations, some old walls, and at least two very large fireplaces that are still standing.
view from Glacial Rock Trail - Bar Island, Acadia National Park

The road continues well past the first foundations, but you need to seek it out, look for worn paths. 
Now as you start down that right hand turn away from the official trail, you will quickly come to a sign, private property.  Ignore the sign, it was placed by by the gentleman who lived there once.  Now that the park owns the entire island, it is all available for you to explore.
As you make your way back on the official trail, you will pass old dirt roads and paths, explore to your delight.
Glacial Trail, Bar Island, Acadia National Park

Now lets go back to the sign and gate you came to as you came onto Bar Island.  If you follow the dirt road up the hill into the woods, it runs in a straight line until it comes to a sharp curve.  At the sharp curve, look to the left to an almost hidden worn trail.  This is what some locals refer to as the Glacial rock trail.
Glacial Rock, Bar Island, Acadia National Park

  At the start of this unmarked trail you have some nice ocean views as well as some nice views of the sand bar.  The trail than enters the woods, and runs in an almost straight line toward the back corner of Bar Island.  One is in the woods just before the cliff, the other rests along one side of the cliff.  This is also where kayaks  pass on a guided tour, and the tour guide tells of the giant glacial boulders.
There is also a beach on the far rear of Bar Island, but no trail leads to it and you have to make your way there along the rocky shoreline.
Map of Bar Island - Acadia National Park

When three cruise ships come to Bar Harbor, one usually anchors to the back side of Bar Island, and you get get a very closeup view of it from this trail.

Start of dirt road on Bar Island;
latitude       N44.3970947
longitude     W068.2109980

As road turns right, look for path to left
latitude       N44.3976598
longitude     W068.2114336

Huge Glacial Boulders
latitude       N44.3991963
longitude     W068.2122823

Road to Bar Island Summit Trail - Acadia National Park

Bar Harbor view from Bar Island - Acadia National Park

Deer in Deer Field, Bar Island, Acadia National Park

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Big Rocks is a favorite area the locals go to in Bass harbor, Maine.  I have never been to the site, but when living in the area I asked an old timer there if  Big rocks actually has big rocks?  He smiled and replied, nope, not big rocks, gigantic rocks, some of the biggest boulders I have ever seen.
One country inn in that area gives its guests a map showing how to locate Big Rocks, and though i can't recall the name of the road its on, I can tell you how to get there.
The village of Bass Harbor is located along route 102 A, once at the village there is a small bridge with a small baptist church near it.  The road that leads up from 102 A past the side of the church is the road Big Rocks is located off of.  You will come to a field with a well worn path leading through it, that path leads to Big Rocks.
I found a bit more information on this site, a map and some gps info, try and see what else I can come up on.


Coordinates: 44.2434139°N, -68.3361281°W
Approx. Elevation: 36 feet (11 meters)
USGS Topo Map Quad: Bass Harbor
Feature Type: Summit


The Duck Brook Trail, or path as they were once called, dates back to the 1800's.  If you have ever hiked up the length of Duck Brook, as I have a number of times, than you are aware of just how rough some sections of the hike can be today.  In fact attempting to walk along either side of the brook the entire distance can be a slow process in places, so why is the hike so rough today when back in the 1800's the hike was described as a quiet pleasant walk? 
My own thoughts on this use to be landslides most likely took out sections of the trail, and that may well be true in a couple spots, but that was not the secret of making the Duck Brook Path a quiet pleasant walk.  You see, the path included a number of rustic wooden bridges, the more fancy ones had roofs over them.  Learning that, a couple things quickly became clear to me.  You see, stretches of the Duck brook Path can still be found today and some are still in good shape.  But i now know when the path builders reached a really tough steep section of ground, they simply placed a wooden bridge across the brook and the trail picked up on the other side until the next rough section meant another wooden bridge and the path crossed back to the other side again.
Duck Brook Trail - Acadia National Park
I have old maps with the Duck Brook Path marked out on them and clearly the maps show the duck brook Path running up and along only one side of the brook.  Back in the 1800's there was no park here, and the paths back than often crossed over privately owned lands, as did the duck Brook trail.  It could be that at some point in time the land owners decided to take down the bridges, which forced the trail to go along only one side of the brook.

But something else came to mind when I read of the rustic wooden bridges that  crossed the brook, the Gurnee Trail.  You see, there are different accounts of just where the Gurnee trail began, with two accounts I have come across placing its starting point on Eden Street in bar harbor.    I could really get into this, but to learn more on the Gurnee trail, see my blog on it.  But for now, knowing that wooden bridges  crossed Duck Brook suddenly shows how easily the Gurnee trail could of crossed over Duck Brook, as some of the accounts claim it did.
Duck Brook Trail - over grown and in rough shape
In the photo I am looking at it appears there was benches built along the bridges that were covered with roofs.  One can almost imagine setting there on a quiet sunny summer evening as the brook passed below you with its babbling waters and the birds sang from the nearby tree's while you sat there becoming lost in a good book.  Perhaps even a deer or two might come out by the edge of the woods.
Here is a short piece Martin's Guidebook wrote on the Duck brook Path;
"The real attraction of the walk is the ramble along the brook, sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, and not seldom in the bed of the brook itself.  The gentleman to whom the estate of the brook now belongs  has constructed a path with rustic seats and bridges for quite a distance, so that both the waterfalls may be reached with no great difficulty.  Beyond however, the walk becomes a scramble, for which one must have not only stout boots but well trained boots."  This piece was found in the book Pathmakers.

Bat Monitoring Device
There seems to be some type of either camera or mic tied to a tree above the large metal box.  As you can see there is a very thick chain running across the ground.  Further to the right there is another device tied up in a tree as well, though I did not see any metal box nearby.

view of the second arch from down by the brook
Pathmakers also says that in 1890 Duck Brook Path went from Eden Street all the way to the Eagle Lake Road, which means it must of crossed some really rough sections of ground.  On my post on the Water pipe Trail, I have a photo of the first  falls you encounter as you make your way fro Eden Street along the old trail.  At that first falls I would not attempt to try and hike up and along it, the waters above the fall are very rapid.  From the start of the Water Pipe Trail, instead of taking a right, you can follow a rough path straight down to the brooks edge, the area is steep but you can make use of tree's to assist you down to the water.  It is just a thrill to set upon a large flat rock there and watch and listen to the raw power of the brook as the water boils white before you.

start of trail moving left, below bridge

It is hard to imagine the trail continued through this location, as there is really no place to walk along, and that still hidden to this day, somewhere further up is yet another magnificent falls.    You don't have to see it, one can hear its roar from the Duck Brook Road up above the Brook. 
Duck Brook - Acadia National Park
As far as arriving at Duck brook, there is three ways to do so on this end of the brook.  The first is to walk down the banking to the brook from Eden Street and follow the brook from there.  The second approach is by way of the towering triple arch bridge you come to shortly after leaving the visitors Center.  Park and find a way down below the bridge you feel comfortable with.  The waters of Duck Brook pass beneath the center arch and so does the old trail, though for a stretch you need to poke along through brush and woods before arrivi9ng at worn sections of the trail by the waters edge.  Even the waters of the brook beneath the bridge are something to behold. 
The other approach is from near the start of the Water Pipe Trail, there are a few places not far down the path where you can safely get down below to the edge of the brook. 

Here Witch Hole Brook joins Duck Brook

So why is the path in the area  below the stone bridge so destroyed?  The answer is a pretty simple one, during the years that the duck Brook Path was popular, there was no National Park and no bridge.  After the park came into being, the bridge was built, and a large section of the trail was destroyed in and around the area of the bridge.
I found it interesting when I read in Pathmakers that in 1923 that two new flights of steps had been built from Duck Brook to Witch Hole Pond, not sure where those were located.  It goes on to say that 68 stepping stones had been added by the brook.  This might explain why a number of large perfectly square blocks of granite litter the brook in different spots, as though the blocks were pushed over to lie in deeper water.  Once the path had been abandoned this seems like something the park might of done to help discourage people from walking along the brook.
Abandoned Duck Brook Trail
The waters of Duck Brook are a long ways from the waters of Witch Hole Pond, and there would only be on reason to put in two flights of steps to help get people to the pond, the far banking of the brook is high and steep, steps would of been needed to get people up that very steep banking and to the carriage road.  Perhaps we have two lost stairways somewhere along the brook.

Duck Brook - Acadia National Park

Duck Brook - Acadia National Park


We were walking down to the old water Pipe trail today and as we got closer to the trail, we noticed we were not hearing any roar of rushing water we usually hear coming from Duck Brook, so we decided to cut through the woods and go straight to the brook.  We were both shocked and thrilled at what we found, the brook, a wild fast moving beast of water had been silenced, not even a whisper coming from it, and in many places no water at all, it had dried up.
So we stepped down into the center of it and walked up a good long stretch of it, a section up until now we had never been able to access.  This is the first time I have ever seen the brook dried out like this.
Hard to believe, but this photo was taken from the center of the falls, check out the video further up and you will see how powerful the water usually is blasting through here. 
This is just behind the falls, at almost any other time you could not cross this area of the brook, it was just amazing to be able to walk up the center of this.
So we finally located one of the two stone steps that was built leading from Duck Brook up the steep banking in the direction of Witch Hole Pond.  It is hard to see unless your there, but cut stone blocks run all the way up the banking at an angle, except the blocks are now knocked over or pushed out of place.

In the above photo you can see what we saw, some of the actual stepping stones of the old duck Brook Trail, we came upon a couple places like this.  Today the brook is so deep and powerful when water is flowing through it these stepping stones would likely be under water.
One year we found a six pack of beer floating in the waters of Duck Brook, but a bag of rocks?  It made no sense why someone would place a bag of rocks in the center of the brook, that is, it didn't make sense until we saw the note inside the bag - which could not be seen before we picked the bag up.  Itn says this belongs to the National Park and contains a water level monitor in it, and sure enough we saw some tiny device in with the rocks.  It also said not to remove the bag, so we placed the bag back into the small pool of water as we had found it.
We came across several areas where you could see sections of the old Duck Brook Trail, this is the side view built up with stones.
A crazy scene from War of the World?  Clearly these are not that old and appear as though they might be supports for something down the road???  These were bolted onto a large rock near the brook.

The old Bar Harbor Water Pipe runs along the bank of the brook here.
In this photo you can see a few of those 68 granite stepping stones the park had placed along the brook many years ago.  Each block has cut marks, and we must of located close to 45 of the 68 blocks.  The perfectly square granite blocks can be found all along the brook.

My son trying to figure out where all the water disappeared to.......
This was an amazing hike along a stretch of the brook you normally can't get access to.