Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Chaplain Mountain, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor Maine

I finally climbed my first mountain on Mount Desert Island.  There are somewhere around 10 individual peaks and I hope to climb them all before the season is over.  Champlain Mountain is listed at one thousand fifty eight feet high.  I never really thought a peak could qualify as a mountain at that height.  The dictionary defines a mountain as "a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which, relatively to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable."  By this definition it is certainly a mountain.  Somewhere I remember that a feature had to be one thousand feet high to be a mountain.  This would qualify Mount Champlain by fifty-eight feet.

Whether it is a mountain or a hill it was a hard climb.  I parked at the Nature Center and walked over to the trail head.  The start is a short climb up from the road to a relatively level introduction to the trial.  In short order you find a boulder paved trail.  Someone took the time to craft a long portion of the trial with large flat rocks.  It made the going very easy.  This portion of the trail is switchbacks that take you to granite head where the side of the mountain falls off creating a promontory or headland with amazing views form the Tarn to Bar Harbor and Otter Cove.  


You then come to a saddle between between and adjacent peak and Mount Champlain.  After crossing the saddle you reach the most interesting part of the hike.  The improved trail disappears and you are faced with scrambling up the side of the mountain over rocks that often require three points of contact to scale.


At the peak you can see thirty miles in all directions.  It is possible to view three sides of the island.  On the day that I climb the mountain, there were a number of boats heading to and out of Bar Harbor.  I sat and watched a tour boat navigate the shore weaving it way though the lobster trap buoys that are literally everywhere.  It views from the top were well worth the effort.