Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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A Cautionary Tale of Acadia–Pemetic Summit

Monday July 10, 2017                                                                             Most Recent Posts
Acadia National Park                                                            Mountain Top to Ocean Cove – Day to Hunter
Bar Harbor, Maine                                                            The College of the Atlantic – What an Inspiration




IMG_6348This is a cautionary tale of the reality of hiking in Acadia National park during the months of July and August. 

IF you do not want to be sharing the trail with scores of friends you’ve never met before, you must get up EARLY and be on the trail at 6:30 or 7am.  Even if you don’t mind lines on the trail, you will be hard pressed to find a parking spot in many of the lots by favorite trail heads after 9:30 or so.   BUT you can take the bus if hiking with lots of others doesn’t bother you and you don’t want to drive or park. 

The buses are wonderful and keep an amazing number of cars off of the clogged park roads.  The buses are free and heavily subsidized by LL Bean.  I am extremely grateful to be able to hike on days David has the car and I will definitely patronize LL Bean to show my gratitude.

The only problem or me is that the buses don’t really go any place until after 9am.  I know,  lots of you are saying, “But that is early.”   You’ll find many other people on the trails in agreement.



IMG_6349To illustrate for those planning a summer trip to Acadia, I’ll use my hike today to the summit of Pemetic Mountain.  David had to go in to the Cancer Center to have labs done  so we were unable to get out early for a hike or a paddle.  I took the very first bus from the campground into Bar Harbor which picked me up at 8:58 (aka 9am) and dropped me off in Bar Harbor at 9:35.  It had to stop at several other campgrounds to pick up other hikers.  From Bar Harbor you can go nearly anywhere in the park.  Luckily for me the bus to Jordan Pond from which I can hike to the Pemetic Trail Head came only 10 minutes after I arrived.  I was on the bus at 9:45 and at Jordan Pond by 10:15.  

From the bus stop I hike down to the iconic view of the Bubbles, see a previous post for explanation, and then part way around Jordean Pond Path.


Along Jordan Pond Path, I pick up the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Trail.




I take the Bubble and Jordan Ponds path up the steps and across the Loop road that the bus just drove to drop me off at Jordan Pond House.  I should have asked the driver to drop me right here but unfortunately there are cars already parked along the road where he might have pulled over to let me off. 



I cross the road to the next Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path trail marker , glance back at the parked cars and continue on my way





The marker now lists both summits to which you can have access using theis path.



And here I am at the multi crossroads marker.  I can see I’m on the bubble & Jordan Ponds Path.  If I go to my left I’ll be going back to Jordan Pond.  If I go to my right, I’ll be gong to the Triad Summit.  Not today.   The bottom sign pointing straight ahead tells me it is the Pemetic South Ridge Trail.  Every summit in Acadia has multiple trails going to it from almost every direction.  Although many people seem to get back with only the trail markers, my advice is to buy yourself a good map, not just the one the park gives you.   In this case, I needed it just to find the Pemetic South Trail Head.    A rooty trail ahead and off I go.




I have pretty much no time on the trail by myself since it is now after 10:30am.



This appears to be a gathering along the trail.  Perhaps to mourn their fallen comrade. 



As in pretty much all trails in Acadia, this one to Pemetic Summit is rooty, rocky and has cairns to direct me up and up.  The only difference in approaches to the summits is how steep or gradual, how short or long, do you want it to be.






Sometimes there are blue blazes as well.



At least half of the Pemetic South climb is through woods over roots and rocks.



I actually prefer climbing up these sorts of ‘watch your footing’ paths to coming back down them.



Eventually the woods drop away and the rock face appears.   With that, usually but not always, come the views.  Today it’s partly cloudy but I can see the islands.



The views from the shoulders are often as wonderful as from the summits so I get some early payment for my effort.



Acadia was carved by glaciers, its lakes and peaks.  There are often glacier erratics just hanging out on the sides of the mountains.  Take a good look at this one and remember it for later.  And btw, all of the “pink” rock you see on Pemetic is Cadillac Granite named for the tallest peak in Acadia.





Another thing about some Acadia summit trails, they try to trick you with what looks like a summit sign but is just a notice that there is another trail you could take from here to somewhere else.   There are SO many trails in Acadia.  So on I go.  Not to the top yet.




At this point it’s up the rock face.  Watch for cairns or who knows where you will end up.




I’m not at the summit, but higher than before.  Never too many views.   Here are the islands and I can almost see Northeast and Southwest Harbors.




This looks like the last bit but I control my desire to “get there” to look more closely at some really interesting Geology here.  Wish I had Sue Malone as my hiking partner to explain it to me. 





That dark set of horizonal stones looks almost inlaid, of a completely different color and make up and going in the opposite direction from those around it.  I’m wondering if it could be a band of volcanic basalt dikes comprised of diabase which is an intrusive form of basalt that filled fractures in the granite all those eons ago.





And what an interesting glacial eratic not too far away.  Look at the “inlay” in the middle there.  Here’s a guess, is it a band of metamorphosed quartzite?



These mountains are interesting, amazing and so beautiful.



Here I am at the summit of Pemetic Mountain.  Pemetic is the Wabanaki word for “gently sloping land”.  360 degree views.

IMG_6438Hre I am, at the summit of Pemetic Mountain.






I take THE selfie to send to Carrie and David.



Good thing I took it when I did since nearly immediately a family came up and the woman decided the perfect place to have lunch was right in front of the summit and trail signs which guaranteed she was in every subsequent summit sign picture for everyone who came up.

It was pretty windy today on top so I don’t blame her for wanting to sit out of the wind, but there are other spots. I found one.

When did people become so thoughtless?  So “it’s all about me?”





This is my view of the summit from my sheltered spot.IMG_6454


And here’s the other view from my lunch spot hunkered down in the dips of the rocks.




Now  it’s time to hike back down the rock face and into the woods I go.  You know I always say a trail looks different going the opposite direction so there’s no need to do a loop.   Here’s a great example.  Remember that glacial erratic I pointed out?    Looks a bit different from this direction.  Things have changed between then and now.




Somebody has a great sense of humor. I just love it!



Back at Jordan Pond house the lunchers have arrived in numbers.



The Bubbles are taking it all in as I move toward the bus stop to return to Bar Harbor and switch buses for home.

By this time it’s 2:00 and I have decided that for my “bus” days I’ll choose something else other than summits to do since for all that hiking I do want to have solitude to enjoy the majesty of Acadia’s peaks.   I can get that if I start hiking at 6:30 rather than 10:00.



The bus picks me up at Jordan Pond House at 2:30 and drops me off at the Village Green in Bar Harbor at 3:05.  I’ve just missed the 2:45 bus back to the campground.  Unlike the buses running around the Loop road, to Jordan Pond House, to Sand Beach and other popular spots in the park which run frequently, the bus to the campgrounds runs only once an hour so while I’m waiting for my 3:45 bus, I wander around Bar Harbor where I always see something fun.

Today it’s BIG MAX.  Max is a BIG standard poodle.  He’s very friendsly and accepts all the accolates he receives with dignity.



He even has his own facebook page where there are better pictures than I was able to get in this cramped little store I followed him in to like the paparazi I’m sure he is used to.   Here’s Max’s Face Book Page.  



  1. Max is popular! And, so is Acadia after 9 am in the summer. I think people are just clueless rather than purposefully selfish. The thought regarding the sign and pictures probably never even crossed their minds. It would be nice if people were more mindful and respectful. Great views from the summit. Neat geology too, especially what looks like quartz.

  2. I would agree with Carrie on that idea that people are clueless rather than thoughtless. Especially when there are just so many people, many of them have no idea you might not want them in your photos. Love that granite, in all it's forms, especially with the dikes you pointed out. You don't need a geologist, you are pretty well informed yourself! There is no way to really explain geology from photos anyway, you have to be there and look up close at stuff, and then look at it from far away and finally go read the books and draw conclusions.

  3. You just give me an idea. If I counter those clueless folks, I probably would ask them if they would like to be in my photo...as a hint:) If they are clueless then they won't get it.
    I agree with you a hike early hikes is a must do when in a very popular national park such as Acadia NP.

  4. Great Hike...Pemetic is one of my favorite hikes this year!!! We love leaving early and getting to the summit before the crowds. However, it gives me joy to see people out enjoying our National Parks:o)) Also, we meet some of the nicest people hiking the trails. So go early, get your solitude, summits & views. Then share the trail on the way back down;o)))

  5. Where is a pandemic when you need one?
    Too many people sucking up all the nice places these days.

  6. I've become quite interested in geology, too. It's hard to imagine the violent forces that created all that amazing beauty in the rocks. It makes me wish I had majored in geology in college.

    Good to see so many people have an interest in hiking instead of plunking down in front of a TV or their smart phones. Of course, it does take away the solitude of nature. Good thing you can get up so early and get on the trails. :c)

  7. We've found too that we have to get out on the trails really early if we want to enjoy hiking in the popular national parks. Nice though you're able to get out while David has the car. Took a few geology courses in college but that's been a few years but at times some of it comes back.

  8. I was quite interested in Geology in college, sort of 'minored' in it, so always enjoy pictures of geological formations. Love your pictures of the mushrooms 'bowing' to their fallen comrade :)

  9. The mushroom funeral was funny. I enjoyed your hike from my LazyBoy. That rock provides warning of the hike ahead for people like me who do not like going down.

  10. It all looks so beautiful. Thank you!

  11. Today is one of those days I have trouble reading, but I took extra time to enjoy the photos!

  12. I wish I knew more about geology!! It amazes me how things were created!!
    Clueless.... that's a nice word for it!! Selfish is another!!
    What a great hike!! Thanks for the awesome pictures!!

  13. Nice views! We were there judt after the remains of a hurrican had passed thru and we had very little problems with overcrowding:)

  14. Those "rooty" trails make it so difficult to see anything other than the trail itself - I'm afraid to look up! Love the dark veins in the light stone, so pretty. Great fun with the boulder head - glad folks have left it like that :-) Max is the weirdest poodle I've ever seen!

  15. I thought some of the trails in Olympic National Park were "rooty" -- but the ones you're hiking are much rootier! The rock formations that you're photographing are stunning. I know very little about geology, but I clearly remember the beautiful pink granite on Cadillac Mountain when I was there oh-so-many years ago. Seems to me you know a lot about geology! As far as crowded trails -- we don't like hiking in a herd, either. It's easier to avoid crowds out west, as you know. I'm going to have to start hiking a lot earlier when we take a trip east. :-))

  16. A jaw dropping landscape!

    Max is a cutie pie!

  17. Sorry to hear Acadia is as crowded as the SW parks where if you don't get a very early start there is no parking. Plus with the popularity of selfies these days no one is thinking of anyone but self. I see it all the time. Glad you got out anyway and know you'll probably blow off the the bus game in the future. Nice views though.

  18. Nice hike despite the crowds - liked the grumpy looking boulder. Wish I had been more interested in geology when I was younger. I think it's fascinating


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