Woodstock, Vermont: A Historic Town in the Green Mountains

Pit Stop in the Green Mountains

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I recently explored Woodstock, Vermont after visiting Quechee Gorge. I had driven through Woodstock a couple of times and always wanted to stop and shoot some photos there. The stone and brick buildings, the wooden covered bridge, and all of the little shops seemed worth the visit. Here is some history I learned about the town and photos that I had the opportunity to take!

Brief History of Woodstock, VT

Woodstock, the charming little town nestled in the Green Mountains, was chartered all the way back in 1761! It was later known as the Shire Town of Windsor County in 1786 and it became an appealing spot for craftsmen, artisans, and early manufacturers.

Woodstock became one of the largest towns in Vermont by 1830. The buildings that continue to stand on Green and Elm Streets were built around this time period and they are stunning.

In the 1840s, the population of Woodstock started to decrease due to improved transportation and industrial practices. Woodstock’s manufacturing industry suffered, and many people went elsewhere to find work.

Improved transportation ended up aiding Woodstock though by allowing it to become a tourist destination. Woodstock became a haven for those wanting to escape the dirty urban areas they resided in. Woodstock, VT has established itself as a tourist town with numerous offerings such as shopping at galleries and country stores. There are also outdoor recreational activities such as hiking and nature photography. Read more about the history of Woodstock, VT here!

Middle Bridge, 1969

Woodstock Middle Bridge

This bridge was one of the reasons why I wanted to stop in Woodstock, VT so bad. The bridge is historic and aesthetic, made of wood and creates beautiful shadows when the right light hits.

Middle Bridge was designed and built in 1968-69 by Milton Graton and his two sons. It was the first authentic highway covered bridge to be built in Vermont or New Hampshire in this century that utilized the truss patented by Ithiel Town in 1820. It burned down on May 11, 1974 and was rebuilt in 1976 by Gaton Associates. There is a sign on the bridge that stated all of this information about its history.

Shadows on Middle Bridge

Frame on Middle Bridge

Windsor County Court House

Windsor County Court House

The courthouse was built in 1855. The first floor was the town hall and the second floor was the court room. The town hall was the site of the town meeting and it also served as a theater, playhouse, and gathering place. In the lobby remains the original ticket window. For more interesting history of the building and a murder trial that occurred back in 1926, click here.

The Norman Williams Public Library

Norman Williams Public Library

This aesthetic sandstone building was built all the way back in 1883-1884. The cost of the building was $30,000. After reading through the Norman Williams Public Library’s website, I learned that Woodstock has always been a “literate community.”  In the early 19th century, there were private academies, a medical college, numerous reading circles. There were also five weekly newspapers that were published. 

The library underwent a $5 million renovation, restoration, expansion, and automation project in 1999-2000. After using 2/3 of the funds to update the poor structural shape of the building, the remainder of the money was used for space in the library. The project increased the usable space from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet!! 

In 2010, the library started offering wireless Internet in the village area of Woodstock, “Wireless Woodstock.” This was a partnered venture with the community. 

I did not venture into the library, and the few photos that I got of the building were in poor lighting, but I do look forward to going back and exploring the interior! For those that visit, the library’s hours are Monday – Friday 10AM to 6PM and Saturday 10AM to 4PM.

Stores Worth Checking Out

F.H. Gillingham and Sons

This general store is probably the most interesting and well-stocked store I have ever browsed. It has EVERYTHING that an individual could possibly need. It has  groceries, toys, outdoor working gear with brands like Carhartt, and more! This is not sponsored in anyway by F.H. Gillingham’s General Store. I just really enjoyed spending a half an hour exploring in there. The history of the general store is also intriguing!

Frank Henry Gillingham opened this store WAY back in 1886 and now, in 2019, that same family is still running this store!! The family tradition has carried on over 130 years ago and honestly, I find that amazing and admirable. They even use the same guarantee:

“Your money’s worth or your money back.”

Please, I beg you to check out their website to learn more about its history and pictures from over the decades. Click here to go to their website!

The Vermont Flannel Company

This store is located in downtown Woodstock and I am sure you can guess what inventory it sells by its name. I walked into this store and was overwhelmed by how much flannel gear they had! There were flannel shirts, button downs, pajamas, and I am pretty sure I saw flannel robes as well. I was tempted, but I refrained from buying anything. I don’t think I will practice such restraint the next time I visit!

RTW Note

Ayyyyy, thank you to all that keep supporting this website! I hope you enjoyed this post about Woodstock, Vermont and found it informative! It is so pretty and offers plenty of activities to partake in. It is worth a weekend vacation or at least a visit if you find yourself crossing paths with this town in your travels! If you liked this post, hit the like button and smash that follow button as well! If you have ever visited Woodstock, what was your favorite part of the town or favorite activity to do?? I look forward to reading your responses! Keep on traveling and trekking Road Trip Warriors!

-Ant

 

 

 

“Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon”: Quechee Gorge

A Trip to Quechee, Vermont!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I recently went on a small trip to Quechee, Vermont to explore the area! I wanted to share with you all the top things to do in this quaint village! From hiking, browsing thousands of antiques, and exploring cheesy shops (pun intended), this gem in Vermont is sure to keep you well-entertained!

Quechee and Its Famous Gorge

Also known as “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” Quechee Gorge was formed 13,000 years ago by glacial activity. It sits 165 feet deep and the Ottauquechee River continues to carve through the gorge. It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The original bridge traversing the gorge was built back in 1875. It was a railroad bridge for the Woodstock Railroad. The steel arch bridge that is used today was built back in 1911. For 22 years, it was a railroad bridge until the rails were removed and it became the Route 4 that it is today.

Below is a photo I took when the leaves were bursting in different colors. I was on my way back from hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I couldn’t resist stopping in Quechee Village and shooting some pics from atop the bridge.

Quechee Gorge - Fall

Trekking to the Bottom of the Gorge

Getting to the bottom of Quechee Gorge is relatively easy and it is more of a nature walk than a hike. It is roughly .3 of a mile and the trail has benches, plenty of signs, and people walking up and down the dirt path. If you start behind the visitor center like I did, you’ll see this large wooden sign.

Quechee Gorge Trail Sign

You can also hop onto the trail next to the Quechee Gorge gift shop. The trail starts right behind the store and you can walk under the bridge.

Following the trail from the visitor center, you’ll eventually reach an intersection where you can either turn right or left. If you’d like to go to the bottom of the gorge, take a left. This is pretty clear since you can see the trail to your left descending rapidly. I suggest walking down to the bottom of the gorge. It isn’t far and the view is well worth it. I did a little climbing along the gorge to get the picture below. I’m still working on my landscape photography game, but I liked this one because half the gorge was sunny and the other half was dark.

Quechee Gorge - Bottom

Quechee Gorge Village Vermont Antique Mall

Just a short walk from the gorge is the Quechee Village. The shops in this village are an absolute blast! There is a country store with a wide variety of Vermont cheeses one can sample. There are many maple syrups, and other snacks too!

The antique store was and still is my absolute favorite stop in Quechee, VT. It is unlike any antique store I have ever visited. It is enormous, with two floors containing items such as fossils, antique currency and coins, vintage board games, old signs, and my personal favorite, vintage cameras! I have been in the antique store twice and each time I come across new items I have either missed or that were newly acquired. My brother purchased two vintage cameras here because he appreciates them as much as I do. If you’re in the area, check it out!

In the village there is also a diner and a blacksmith shop. I have yet to visit either, but they are on the list for my next stop. I’d also like to visit when the village flea market is taking place. Looks like I will be visiting Quechee again sooner than later!

RTW Note

Thanks to everyone who checked out this post about Quechee Gorge and Quechee Village in Vermont! If you find yourself driving through, add it to the list of places you should stop. You only need a half-hour, but I guarantee you will want more time. If you enjoyed this post, found it informative, or even just liked the photos be sure to like it, leave a comment, and tap that follow button! I appreciate all the support and I look forward to sharing more! Make sure to keep on adventuring Road Trip Warriors!

-Ant

The Most Dangerous Small Mountain in the World: Mount Washington

MOUNT WASHINGTON

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I am so excited to share with you all the most exciting hike I have done in the Northeast! I hiked Mount Washington, also known as the world’s deadliest small mountain, up the Tuckerman Ravine. The landscape on this hike was the most visually striking I have seen in the east. The cragged peaks and bare mountain tops reminded me of the Rockies out West. Waterfalls and ice cascaded down Tuckerman Ravine. I will try to share as much information as I can and also some tips on how to stay safe whilst hiking this beast of the east!

Summary of Mount Washington

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length (Tuckerman Ravine Trail): 8.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 6,288′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about four hours to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took water breaks as needed and stopped at the Hermit Lake Shelter 2.4 miles into the hike to take pictures. It isn’t a long hike, but it is steep in its entirety. We spent about 45 minutes in the summit building, grabbing souvenirs from the store and a snack from the food bar. We spent another 30 minutes exploring the summit, taking photos of the surrounding mountains and the trains that climb to the top.  It took us about three hours to get back to the trailhead. We started at 6:45 AM and made it back to the car by 3:30 PM.
  • Elevation Gain: Over 4,000′
  • Photo Opportunities: There are so many scenic areas along this hike. The scenes are breathtaking. There is a captivating waterfall ten minutes from the trailhead. From the Hermit Lake Shelter there are craggy peaks that tower above you. A little further along the trail after the shelter, you’ll see Tuckerman Ravine in the distance. At this time of year, multiple waterfalls cascade down the ice-covered headwall. As you climb Tuckerman Ravine, the views continue to open up behind you. Then, there is the summit of Mount Washington which offers commanding views of the entire area. On a clear day (which we were lucky enough to have), one can see New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine as well as into Canada!! 

Trailhead/Address to Pinkham Notch

The trailhead for the Tuckerman Ravine Route can be found behind the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. It is relatively easy to find if you plug in “Pinkham Notch” into your GPS. The address is 361 NH-16, Gorham, NH 03581. The visitor center opens at 6:30 AM and closes at 9:00 PM. There is food you can order inside that consists of subs, soup, and more. There is a souvenir shop as well with a topographic map of the area and info on what the weather is like for the day. There is a door from the parking lot that leads to the lower section of the building. The bathrooms, vending machines, and trail register are located here. Make sure you sign in!

Mount Washington Trailhead

Beginning the Trek

The hike begins climbing almost immediately. You’ll make your way up the dirt and rock-littered trail eventually coming across a large wooden bridge. Cross it and shortly after, there is a lookout to observe a beautiful waterfall cascading through the woods. We stopped here to take some pictures on our phones before moving on. If you have some spare time, I suggest taking a moment to appreciate the falls. This is just a quick iPhone pic because I didn’t feel like taking my camera out so soon into the hike. 

Mount Washington Waterfalls

Keep Climbing, Two More Bridges

The Tuckerman Ravine trail is pretty straight-forward for the initial 2.4 miles to the Hermit Lake Shelter. You will continue your ascent up the trail and cross two more wooden bridges along the way. You’ll sporadically see the summit of Mount Washington through the trees. It can seem a little intimidating, but on a blue-bird day, it is beyond worth the struggle. As you get closer to the Hermit Lake Shelter, the peaks that start to tower over you are craggy and bare. Like I mentioned earlier, they reminded me of the Rocky Mountains. Check out a picture of them below!

View from Hermit Lake Shelter

Hermit Lake Shelter (2.4 miles in)

It took us about two hours to reach the Hermit Lake Shelter. The shelter has a large wooden deck with benches that you can rest on if needed. We stopped here for about fifteen to twenty minutes to break out our cameras and shoot the surrounding landscape. There is also a snow ranger quarters located here. The sign states the elevation you’re at which is 3,800′ above sea level. The wooden ranger quarters with the mountains towering behind it made for an aesthetic scene.

While you’re here, there are also bathrooms and a water pump (you have to actually hand pump it yourself which is pretty cool) if you need to use either of those. From this point, you have 1.8 miles left until you reach the summit of Mount Washington.

Make Way to Tuckerman Ravine

Tuckerman Ravine is probably the most visually striking you will encounter while hiking Mount Washington up this route. Multiple waterfalls poured over the headwall, flowing around ice formations and through the valley below. Tuckerman Ravine is a glacial cirque formed during the last ice age. Snow will stay in the ravine well into summer, occasionally forming a snow arch by the trail. The trail is closed in the Spring at the ravine floor until it is free of snow and there is no danger of falling ice. This is usually sometime in July. Tuckerman ravine is famous for its skiing and also for the perils that have come with it.

Tuckerman Ravine

Multiple people have been killed in Tuckerman Ravine. Some of the reasons of death include falling off of the headwall, being struck by falling ice, losing control while skiing, and heart attacks. Despite being the most direct and well-protected trail to the summit, please take caution. Mount Washington has claimed over one hundred-and-fifty lives.

Climbing Along the Headwall of Tuckerman Ravine

Once you reach the floor of the ravine, the trail bears right. It is up a well-constructed rock pathway. Yellow paint on the boulders will aid you with staying on trail. There are numerous spots while climbing where water pours over the rocks making it slippery. You do NOT want to rush up and slip off of a ledge.

When I was hiking up it, it was early in the morning and there was a significant amount of ice. In some sections there was ice falling onto the trail from above. I witnessed a young man and woman having to cover their heads as small chunks of ice came hurling towards them. Again, this hike can be unpredictable and you must take caution.

The rock path will take you across the waterfall and up over the headwall. The vistas at this point in the hike are otherworldly. On a clear day like I had, mountains continue for miles, painted in fall colors. It is difficult to capture the landscape’s beauty and feeling you get witnessing it in an image.

Tuckerman Ravine Waterfalls

Wooden Signs Marking .8 and .6 of a Mile to the Summit

After getting over the headwall, you should come across two wooden signs in rather quick succession. One will state that you are .8 of a mile away from the summit and the other further ahead will state .6 of a mile away. Here are photos of both of them, but they are easy to find.

Mount Washington .8 miles sign

Mount Washington .6 miles hike

The Boulder Field

This is probably the most deceiving part of the hike. It looks like you are much closer than you actually are and your legs are likely to be pretty tired by now. Climbing up the boulders is a workout and you’ll want to pay attention so that you don’t step into a crevasse or on a loose rock.

There is another wooden sign in the boulder field that will inform you that you are now only .4 of a mile from the summit. I wouldn’t pay much mind to it because it is still going to take another half-hour or so to reach the summit. Just keep pushing onwards because the summit of Mount Washington has a lot to offer!

Mount Washington .4 Sign

While climbing the boulder field, you will be following cairns like the one seen below. If the light hits at the right time you can capture some really cool photos!

Cairn on Headwall of Mount Washington

Mount Washington Summit!

Mount Washington is unlike most mountains because it is accessible by hiking, by car, and by the Mount Washington Cog Railway (yes, a train to the summit). Therefore, you will go from being in the woods and pretty isolated in the White Mountains to being surrounded by a crowd. Most of these people will probably look like tourists and you will look like the Road Trip Warrior that you are, sweaty and worn out from the climb. Fortunately, you can recoup in the summit building.

Me on Summit of Mount Washington

The summit building atop Mount Washington has inside it a museum, a gift shop, a seating area, and a food vendor with offerings such as soup, sandwiches, chips, and various refreshments. It is also heated inside so that is a plus if you hiked up and wanted somewhere to warm up. The gift shop has your typical souvenirs such as clothing, magnets, patches, stickers, and Mount Washington trekking poles. I ended up buying a patch and a sticker (it felt necessary since I hiked it).

The summit of Mount Washington is typically covered in fog about 300 days of the year with a daily average wind speed of 35 miles per hour. On the day I hiked this beast, there was not a cloud in the sky and there was NO WIND on the summit. The type of weather I had is unheard of on the summit of New Hampshire’s highest peak. I was very fortunate and had the opportunity to capture some stunning images. Below you can see the cars and the Mount Washington Cog Railway climbing the mountain. 

Cog Railway Seen from Mount Washington Summit

Mount Washington Facts

  • Mount Washington is the highest point in the Northeastern United States
  • The summit of the mountain was purchased from Dartmouth College to “preserve and develop unusual scenic, scientific, historical, and recreational features for public use and enjoyment – April 1964.”
  • The highest wind ever observed by man was recorded here. In a great storm on April 12, 1934 the crews’ instruments measured a wind velocity of 231 miles per hour!!!!
  • Some of the buildings on the summit are secured by chains to prevent them from blowing away.
  • Over 150 lives have been claimed by this mountain from people being swept off the mountain by winds, suffering heart attacks, suffering hypothermia, and ski accidents.

Getting Back to the Trailhead

There are multiple trails, but I decided to go back down the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to get to my car. I figured that the ice had melted after spending over an hour on the summit and the temperatures rising. I knew that besides descending the ravine, it was a straight-forward hike down. If you decide to go back down this way, just be careful on your descent from the top of the Tuckerman Ravine headwall. There are some sections where falling would be rather painful/deadly.

Dog-Friendly

Mount Washington up the Tuckerman Ravine is dog friendly. I saw numerous dogs hiking up and down the mountain with their owners. I would just be aware of the weather and how your dog might react to it. On the day we went, the weather could not have been more perfect. Therefore, the dogs we saw were seeming to love being outside and jumping from rock to rock. However, when Mount Washington’s usual winds and cold weather picks up I would advise against bringing your furry pal(s). 

Fam-Friendly

This hike has the potential to be family-friendly given the right setting. If the weather is fair, this hike is family-friendly (dependent upon fitness level) in my opinion. I think most people underestimate the amount of elevation gain in the 4.2 miles to the summit. Gaining over 4,000′ in elevation in 4 miles is STEEP. That mixed in with bad weather is what makes this hike treacherous. The only break you really get is at the Hermit Lake Shelter, but besides that this hike is pretty relentless in its ascent. If you are out of shape, I don’t recommend attempting this unless you really want to challenge yourself. If you do want to hike Mount Washington just be mindful of the weather, carry the right gear, and be safe! If you ever need to turn around, then do so. The mountain will always be there for when you return!

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • LL Bean outer shell jacket
  • Winter Beanie
  • EMS Hiking socks (warmest pair they make)

Gear Brought

  • 2L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter granola bars
  • Extra hiking socks
  • LL Bean mid-layer jacket
  • Extra Wind-breaker jacket
  • Microspikes (Kahtoola brand)
  • Winter Gloves
  • Balaclava
  • Bandana
  • Extra shirts, shorts, and underarmour
  • Gaiters
  • Wind Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

Omni Mount Washington Resort and Mount Washington

Below you can see Mount Washington tower over the surrounding region and the Omni Mount Washington Resort. Obviously this photo isn’t from the hike, but I wanted to provide it to show the scale of the mountain. Its prominence is 6’148′.

Omni Resort and Mount Washington

RTW Note

Thank you for taking the time to read about Mount Washington, the hike up Tuckerman Ravine, and the photos I captured along the way. It was probably my favorite hike that I have done in the Northeast. It was the closest environment to hiking in the Rockies that I have encountered in the East. The craggy peaks, crazy weather, and unbelievable views make it a stunning landscape to explore. If you choose to hike Mount Washington, I hope this blog gives you some insight in what to expect and how to prepare. I highly recommend checking out New Hampshire’s highest peak!

To those that have read, liked, commented on, and shared any of these posts, thank you again. I appreciate any and all support. I love being able to share my insight from the places I hike and travel to. If you found this post or any others on my site interesting, helpful, or enjoyable, smash that like button and leave me a comment! Be sure to spread the post as well through your social media outlets! Happy hiking!

-Ant

Panther Peak: A Long, MUDDY Hike

Adirondack High Peak 22/46

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I just snagged my 22nd High Peak, leaving 24 left to complete. Panther Peak was easily the muddiest Adirondack High Peak I have hiked. It is extremely remote, and a long hike to reach the summit which offers very little views. Here is all the info I gathered from hiking Panther Peak!

Summary of Panther Peak

  • Difficulty: Strenuous (I do not recommend to inexperienced hikers or if you are out of shape)
  • Length: 12.5 miles round trip according to pureadirondacks.com
  • Elevation: 4,442′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about four hours and twenty minutes to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks, but not too many. It is a long hike no matter the amount of rests you take. We hung out on the summit for a bit before heading down. It took us about three-and-a-half hours to get back to the trailhead. We started at 8:30 AM and made it back to the car by 5:00 PM
  • Elevation Gain: 3,762′ according to pureadirondacks.com 
  • Photo Opportunities: Before Bradley Pond, as you’re making a gradual ascent, you’ll find a beautiful, long waterfall on your left. It is hard to miss. Step out near the water to get some pictures. Up a little further is another spot to step out into the opening where the water is cascading down the rocks. You’ll see some mountains in the clearing. 

Trailhead

Take I-87N and get off at exit 29 towards Newcomb. If you are heading north, after getting off the exit, take a left on Blue Ridge Road and stay on the road for about 18 miles.  You’ll eventually see a sign that is for Tahawus. Take a right here and follow the Tahawus Road for a few miles. You’ll eventually come across a road on your left, and the parking lot for the Santonini Range trailhead will be on your immediate right. Here is a picture of the parking lot below along with the trailhead register. I apologize for the lighting, took a quick shot on my iPhone without looking at it.

Santonini Range - Trailhead Parking Lot

Santonini Range - Trail Register and gravel road into woods

Starting the Hike

After signing in at the trail register in the photo above, you’re going to follow the non-vehicular gravel road for what it seems to be two miles. It is definitely longer than a mile-and-a-half. As you’re walking it, you’ll eventually reach a pond on your left, with the road blown out in front of you. There is a large metal pipe. You’ll cross this obstacle and continue on the road until you reach a sign with a blue marker. This will be where you depart from the gravel road and head onto the trail in the woods. Below is a photo of the signs you’ll see when it is time to turn for the trail in the woods.

Panther Peak - Blue Signs to to get off gravel road

Following the Blue Markers

I know on many websites it is mentioned that the Santonini Range is an unmarked trail, and it is….for the most part. The trail is actually well-marked with blue markers (the same marker under the arrow sign above) until you reach Bradley Pond. There is a classic Adirondack wooden bridge you will cross over a stream. We stopped here to take some videos and pictures.

Panther Peak -Bridge Across Stream

A Lovely, Long Waterfall

As you continue the gradual climb along the trail, you will hear running water along the left-side of the trail. Eventually there will be a couple openings where you can walk out to view water cascading down the rocks. It is a long waterfall and the perfect place to rest, hydrate, and eat. At the bottom of the falling waters is a natural pool that looks quite enticing.

Waterfall Before Bradley Pond

Waterfall Before Bradley pond #2

Bradley Pond and Sign to Times Square

After hiking for some time, you’ll see Bradley Pond through the woods. Continue following the trail around it. You’ll never get that close to the pond if you stay on the trail. Eventually you will reach the sign in the photo below. After reaching this sign, the trail does become an unmarked herd path. Despite this, it is pretty well-blazed and easy to follow after other hikers have used it all summer.

If you’d like to camp out (which is definitely a huge help in tagging these three High Peaks), there are campsites near Bradley Pond. We did not do this and only made it to the summit of Panther Peak. Obviously, the choice to camp out is yours to make.

Santonini Range - Herd Path to Times Square Sign

Crossing the Bog and Following the Unmarked Herd Path

There is really no way to avoid the bog. You have to cross it, and there is an ideal spot to cross! Look across the bog and you should see a stump that has a blue marker stuck into it. Around that area is where you’ll want to cross. A picture of the stump and blue marker can be seen below.

Blue marker in stump

Keep Pushing, Following the Trail Along Panther Brook

The hike from here gets pretty tough. It steepens, gets more muddy, and does not let up. Take water breaks if needed, and more importantly, watch your footing. You’re deep in the Adirondacks at this point and twisting an ankle would not be ideal. 

Eventually you’ll end up hiking up, on, and along Panther Brook. There are a lot of tree roots and wet rocks here so take caution. Around this point your legs might be pretty tired. It will seem like forever, and I don’t remember the exact mileage, but you’ll hit a junction (in the image below). At this junction you’ll see carvings in the trees. The “P” with the arrow pointing to the right (you’ll see it in the photo) will take you to Panther Peak. The “C” and “S” will take you in the direction of Couchsachraga and Santonini. We took a right for Panther Peak.

Panther Peak Junction

Panther Peak Summit

After taking a right, it is about .4 miles to Panther’s summit. It gets excessively muddy along this short section of the hike, and the mud is quite deep. I didn’t use my gaiters, but they would have probably been helpful. Just before the summit, you’ll reach an open rock face with the only real views you get on Panther. The actual summit is wooded. Unfortunately for us, it was so overcast that you could not see anything. Therefore, I have no photos what the view would have been. 

You’ll know when you hit the summit because there is a wooden sign with “Panther Peak” on it as well as a summit marker. You can see photos of both below.

Panther Peak Sign

Panther Peak Summit Marker

Getting Back to the Trailhead

From Panther, head back to where the trail split where the trees had the letters carved into them. Once you get here, it’s just following your footsteps down the same way you climbed up. This has already been mentioned, but since this part of the hike is unmarked, just keep your eyes open and make sure you stay on the herd path.

On the way down the clouds dissipated and we were rewarded with the view below.

Views on Panther Peak Descent

Dog-Friendly

Panther Peak is dog friendly. I saw a couple scruffy companions while I was out in this neck of the woods. Just beware the length of this hike. If your dog isn’t fit or you’re questioning its capabilities, I don’t suggest bringing them along on this hike. If you do, there is a lot of running water along the trail for water if needed and bring enough food for them for this strenuous hike. 

Fam-Friendly

This hike is NOT family-friendly. It is one of the more difficult hikes I have done in the Adirondack High Peaks due to its length, ascent, and terrain. Panther Peak is also not a rewarding High Peak as it offers very little views for the amount of sweat equity put into the hike. If your goal is to become an Adirondack 46er, or you just like difficult hikes, this one is for you.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Adidas Joggers
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Athletic Long Sleeve Pullover
  • Patagonia Hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Gaiters
  • Wind Pants
  • Emergency tents and blankets
  • Bug Spray
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for checking out this post about Panther Peak! I hope that those looking to hike this difficult Adirondack High Peak found the information and pictures helpful! I’m not trying to deter anyone from hiking this mountain. I just wanted to emphasize that it is a hike not for the faint of heart, and it is a very remote mountain. On a Sunday I didn’t see many people attempting this peak which is rare around this time in the Adirondacks.

If you do want to attempt Panther Peak, just make sure you are carrying all the essentials and know what you are getting yourself into! If you enjoyed this post, hit the like and show some support by hitting the follow button! Leave a comment as well if you have any questions or input! Thank you for the continued support and interest, I appreciate it!

-Ant

 

Upper Pond: A Ghost Town, a Scenic Pond, and Stepping on a Hornets’ Nest

A Failed Attempt at the Santonini Range…

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share with you some hidden gems in the Adirondacks and the terrible way I found out about them! My boy, Sleez, and I were planning on hiking the Santonini Range to tag three more High Peaks. Unfortunately, we were given the wrong trailhead by an individual without conducting our own research. Due to this….we had the opportunity to see some abandoned homes in Tahawus (I’ll share some history on this ghost town), ended up 5 miles in the woods where beavers ruined the trail, and spent some time at a beautiful secluded pond. Let’s begin!

Summary of Upper Pond

  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
  • Length: 7-8 miles round trip (for Upper Pond)
  • Hiking Time: It took about an hour and forty-five minutes to reach Upper Pond from the trailhead. I’m only going to include how long it took to reach Upper Pond. There isn’t much point in hiking further than that since beavers ruined the trail at Lower Pond making it impossible to pass. 
  • Photo Opportunities: There are plenty of areas to get some cool historic photos around Tahawus as well as in the Adirondack forest. Before the parking lot at the end of the road, there is a large stone furnace that you can visit. As you drive towards the large lot at the end of the road, you’ll notice an abandoned home and many abandoned chimneys where the homes were moved. Signs around the area explain the history of the area and how it was a major source of iron. Also, Upper Pond is a beautiful pond to photograph if you find yourself hiking along the trail to Duck Hole.

Tahawus (Brief History)

Tahawus was a town that dates back to the 1820s when iron ore was mined here. In 1826, Archibald McIntyre and David Henderson created the Adirondack Iron and Steel Company. They built a village to house the workers, but in 1856 the company was shut down due reasons such as transportation issues and iron ore impurities. The workers moved out leaving the village deserted.

A hunting and fishing club moved in two decades later, repopulating the ghost town. They renamed the area Tahawus and the National Lead Company started a titanium mining operation here. There was many years of success, but the workers were eventually transferred to Newcomb and the village became a ghost town once again in 1962. 

I feel that this last piece of history is often overlooked, but this ghost town has an important place in American history. The most well-preserved building in the village, McNaughton Cottage, was where Theodore Roosevelt was staying in 1901 when he learned that President McKinley had been shot. He had made his famous midnight ride from Tahawus to Buffalo to take over for McKinley. (This historical information was pulled from Adirondack.net, and more can be found there). 

Abandoned Chimney

Directions to Trailhead

The trailhead can be found at the end of Upper Works Road in Tahawus. The best way to get there in my opinion is to take exit 29 off I-87 towards Newcomb. If you were heading North, take a left once you get off the exit. Follow Blue Ridge Road for about 18 miles. Eventually you will reach a wooden sign that says “Tahawus” and there will also be a hiking sign as well. You will want to take a right here. It is rather self-explanatory. Then, just follow this road until its end. It should be around 6 miles. The trailhead register in the large lot is in the picture below.

Upper Pond Trailhead Register

Take notice of Upper Works Parking towards the bottom right of the map. Our plan was to hike up to Duck Hole and wrap around it making our way down towards the Santonini Range in the bottom left of the map.

Upper Pond Trail on ADK Map

Making Headway Towards Duck Pond

We signed in at the register around 8:50 AM and started making our way into the woods. The trail was well-marked, and the signs pointed us in the direction that we wanted to go. The first sign came out in a clearing and was not the most legible. We were able to make out “Duck Pond,” and took a left. 

First Sign to Duck Hole

The trail is very well marked and you’ll encounter a couple other wooden signs like the one pictured above. Use these signs to keep you on track towards Duck Pond. Shortly after the sign pictured directly below, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over running water.

Upper Pond Trail sign (three signs)

Upper Pond

It took about 3.5 to 4 miles to reach Upper Pond. It was a surprise destination because I didn’t plan on hiking to this pond nor did I know it existed! Upper Pond was one of the prettiest ponds I’ve seen in the Adirondacks, perhaps because of its isolation. On a Saturday, there was no one else there but Sleez and I. It was peaceful, secluded and a great place to eat some food and skip some rocks. Although I typically prefer hiking mountains, I think I’d want to get back out to Upper Pond to camp out for a weekend with some friends. 

Upper Pond Small Wave

Skipping Rock on Upper Pond

Attacked By Hornets

We left Upper Pond to continue making our way towards Duck Pond. This turned out to be a terrible decision. About an hour after we left Upper Pond, we were momentarily confused at where the trail went. It took us a few minutes to notice one of the trail markers had been partially ripped off of the tree it was nailed to.

While looking, I heard Sleez swear behind me yelling that something had bitten him .I picked on him for being a wimp…until I got stung on the calf! We happened to be in the midst of a hornets’ nest and they weren’t fond of us whatsoever. Sleez got hammered by another hornet and we darted through the forest. Every time we tried to stop, they were still following us. I had forgotten how aggressive those bugs could be. Finally, after running at least a quarter of a mile, they seemed to have disappeared. We were relieved that we had escaped their wrath…..for the time being.

Trail Ruined at Lower Pond

As we made our way through the wilderness towards Duck Pond, we found ourselves confused again. We noticed the trail had numerous branches and tree limbs laid across it. This typically means to find another route, but there wasn’t one. Any individual with a brain would have turned around, but not us. We decided to go over the small barricade because we refused to go play tag with hornets again. 

Unfortunately, after about a half-mile, we found out why the trail was barricaded. It came to our attention that the trail was gone. Beavers had opened up Lower Pond causing vast amounts of water to pour over the trail. There was no way around it and we realized that we would have to go back the way we came. We were disappointed that we couldn’t hike any High Peaks, but still planned on making the most of the hike by spending more time at Upper Pond.

Turning Around

The worst part about turning around wasn’t the fact we weren’t going to add more High Peaks to our hiking resumes. It was that we knew we would be facing those sting-happy hornets again. We knew (roughly) where we were attacked and hoped we would be able to avoid them. 

As we made our way back towards Upper Pond, we reached that same dreaded area where we were stung before. We figured that if we kept moving, we wouldn’t get attacked again. Well, it turns out, we were wrong.

Attacked by Hornets (Again)

It didn’t take long before I heard Sleezer yell again. It took me too long to realize that he was frantically spraying his bug spray around us. I was hammered in my achilles tendon by another hornet stinger. I had stepped right on their nest this time and they poured out around us. After getting hit in my tendon, I darted off through the woods making my way back towards Upper Pond as quick as I could. I slid down dirt slopes and leapt over boulders until they were finally gone again. I waited for Sleez to catch up and we wobbled in pain to Upper Pond to recover.

Licking Our Wounds at Upper Pond

Not all was lost. Although the day turned out far from what we expected, I was able to get some beautiful photographs at Upper Pond. I really enjoyed it here, probably because it was such an unexpected surprise. I plan on coming back out here at some point, maybe to camp or maybe just to take more photos and eat in good company. I highly recommend it for those looking to get some outdoor exercise without the strenuosity of a mountain. 

Upper Pond - Rocks and Branch in Water

Sun Hitting Upper Pond

Heading Back to Car

The hike to Upper Pond is an out and back trail, making it easy to get back to the trailhead. You’ll just hike out the same way that you hiked in. The trail is well-marked so you really shouldn’t have any issues as long as you pay attention.

Dog-Friendly

This hike through the Adirondack wilderness is dog friendly. It’s all relatively flat and I believe your dog would do just fine as long as he/she is kept hydrated and fed.

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy to moderate because of its length. There is very little elevation gain or loss, making it more of a hike through the woods across streams and around ponds. Upper Pond had a site for camping nearby and it seemed more isolated than other campsites I have seen in the past in the Adirondack wilderness. It seems like a great spot to camp with the fam in my opinion. 

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Light athletic long-sleeve top
  • Winter hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Underarmour
  • Rain jacket
  • Balaclava 
  • Winter gloves
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Emergency tents and blanket
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to read this post about my less-than-ideal hike in Tahawus. I promise we made the most of it and we got some great stories to tell! There is nothing quite like getting attacked by hornets deep in the woods!

I also hope you enjoyed reading about the history of Tahawus and the history of the area. I found it all very intriguing and seeing the area in person makes you wonder what it must have been like. It is difficult to imagine such a remote area being a bustling mining operation. I also never knew that Teddy Roosevelt first learned of McKinley being shot while staying in Tahawus!

I also wanted to emphasize that although our hike did not go to plan, Upper Pond has a camping area nearby and the pond itself is so pretty. If you’re looking for a campsite away from the crowds, you may want to consider this spot. Anyways, if you enjoyed this post, hit the like and follow buttons! I appreciate any and all support! If you’d like to reach out, feel free to leave a comment! In the meantime, keep on adventuring!

-Ant

 

 

 

Ampersand Mountain

Ampersand: Part of the Saranac 6er’s!

What is happenin’ Road Trip Warriors!? I recently climbed my fifth mountain out of the six Saranac 6ers challenge. This mountain has to be my favorite part of the 6ers thus far. The views are unbelievable, the summit is open rock, and you can see many of the High Peaks from this summit. I highly recommend this hike, especially if you’re looking to get away from the High Peaks region for a bit.

Summary of Ampersand Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate – Strenuous
  • Length: 5.4 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 3,353′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about an hour-and-a-half to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks on the way to the summit as well. 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,775′
  • Photo Opportunities: The scenes from the summit of Ampersand are unbelievable. The summit is open rock with 360º views. You can see Whiteface, Ampersand Pond, the surrounding mountains and bodies of water. The summit provides more than enough room to explore so you can capture different angles, lighting, and landscapes.

Trailhead

The trailhead for Ampersand mountain is off of Route 3, between Saranac and Tupper Lake. If you are coming from Saranac, the parking lot will be on the right side of the road. The lot isn’t that big, and it fills up rather quickly. Many people parked on the side of the road. The trailhead is directly across the street from the parking lot.

Ampersand Trailhead Sign

First Half of the Hike Towards the Summit

The first 1.5 to 1.7 miles of this hike is relatively straight-forward. The trail is for the most part, relatively flat. You’ll cross some wooden bridges and make your way across a couple streams. The forest is beautiful and it is a calming environment. Just be careful to watch your footing as you cross the streams.

Second Half…

The second half (1 mile from the summit) is pretty tough. You’ll ascend around 1300′ during this span of the hike. Don’t push yourself too hard, and drink a lot of water. It seems to be unrelenting, but I can assure you that the views are worth it. It gets a little better once you near Ampersand’s summit. The summit is a bald rock offering 360º views  making it very cool to come out of the woods and up onto the rock.

Ampersand’s Summit

This was by far my favorite Saranac 6er out of the five that I’ve done. The scenes that Ampersand mountain offers compared to the others are utterly outmatched. You’re rewarded with commanding views of Ampersand Pond, Whiteface Mountain in the far distance, and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains.

Ampersand Pond

Above is Ampersand Pond. It is isolated, surrounded by the thick Adirondack forest. It is a really pretty sight to see from the summit of this Saranac 6er.

View of Whiteface from Ampersand

In the top right of the picture above, Whiteface Mountain towers above the surrounding region. You can observe the ski slopes going down mountain’s face.

Views from Ampersand Summit

Above is another vantage point that this mountain offers. As you can see, you’re able to observe many of the regions’ bodies of water. The Adirondacks are home to plenty of lakes, ponds, and streams.

Ampersand Summit Marker

Above is the summit marker that you can find on Ampersand’s bald peak. It isn’t too difficult to find. Just explore the summit for a bit and you’ll eventually come across it.

Getting Back to the Trailhead

Ampersand Mountain is an out-and-back trail. Thus, you just have to hike out the same way you hiked in.

Dog-Friendly

This Saranac 6er is dog-friendly. I saw a couple pups hiking along the trail with their owners. Its a great hike that I am sure they would enjoy! Just bring enough water for the both of you!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is moderate/difficult because of its length and ascent. It gets pretty steep during the last mile. I still believe most individuals could do this hike, just take your time and stay hydrated. 

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Bandana (great for keeping the sweat out of your eyes)
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for reading this post about Ampersand Mountain! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to become a Saranac 6er or are just looking for something away from the High Peaks Region. I definitely recommend it for new and experienced hikers alike! The views are unbelievable and the hike is a blast! Anyways, hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed the photographs! Leave a comment if you want to reach out! Looking forward to sharing more!

-Ant

 

 

 

 

Pillsbury Mountain: Southern Adirondacks

Pillsbury Mountain: Fire-tower Hike

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share some info about a great fire-tower hike located in the Southern Adirondacks! It is one of the highest mountains in the area that is not an Adirondack High Peak. So if you want to escape the crowds of the High Peaks Region, I suggest coming here!

Summary of Pillsbury Mountain

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 3.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 3,597′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took about one hour and twenty minutes to reach the summit from the trailhead. We took occasional water breaks too. 
  • Elevation Gain: 1,500′ (Approximately)
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit is wooded with an abandoned cabin and worn-down fire-tower. Both of these provide great photo opportunities. The best views can be seen from the fire-tower. The top is locked off, but you can climb the stairs to be rewarded with some commanding views of the Southern Adirondacks. Be careful climbing the stairs as most of the wire railing in this tower is now gone. 

Trailhead

The trail is located near Speculator, NY and can be found after driving on some rough dirt roads for six to seven miles. The signage for the trailhead in the parking lot is pretty self-explanatory. I have read that some may need to park at Sled Harbor Clearing and walk an additional 1.5 miles to the trailhead. You can see below the sign you will see in the dirt parking lot that will get you headed towards Pillsbury Mountain.

Trailhead sign

Trail to the Summit

The trail is a gradual climb and easy to follow. There are some sections that are steeper than others, but none that required any bouldering or scrambling. The trail climbs 1,500′ through the woods of the Southern Adirondacks with really no views along the way. After hiking 1.6 miles through the woods, you’ll reach a clearing where the steel fire-tower stands tall and a dilapidated wooden cabin rests.

Pillsbury Mountain Summit

This mountain has a wooded summit, but I wouldn’t let that prevent you from hiking this  one. If you have the guts to climb the fire-tower that is missing its wire railing, the views once you get above the tree-line are pretty phenomenal. Just be careful while climbing the stairs. Keep in mind that the cabin at the top of the fire-tower is currently closed and you will not be able to get inside.

Pillsbury - fire-tower Sony a6000

Pillsbury - Scenes from fire-tower

The wooden cabin is clearly starting to fall apart, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some great pictures of it! It’s a part of Southern Adirondack history and there is just something aesthetic about wooden cabins tucked in the woods.

Pillsbury - wooden cabin

A Couple Other Pictures..

There is a summit marker at the top of Pillsbury Mountain. Here is a photo of it so you know what to look for!

Pillsbury Summit Marker

Below you can also see a different perspective of the surrounding forest and some mountains looming in the distance with a shot I took through the wire railing on the fire-tower!

Pillsbury - pic through wire railing

Getting Back to the Trailhead

This trail is an out-and-back so you’ll only have to hike out the same trail that you hiked in on!

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I saw a few dogs hiking along the trail. Bring extra water for your pup and one of those collapsable dog bowls. There wasn’t any scrambling or bouldering involved with this hike so your dog shouldn’t have any issues!

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy/moderate because of its length and dependent upon your fitness level, but most individuals should be able to do it. This hike can still get you enjoying the outdoors and getting a workout in all the while avoiding the crowds of the High Peaks Region.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Bandana (great for keeping the sweat out of your eyes)
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Extra shirt and shorts
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to check out this hike in the Southern Adirondacks! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to escape the crowds of the High Peaks and explore a different area in the Adirondacks. I recommend it for new and experienced hikers alike! Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed it in any way. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. As always, I look forward to sharing more!

-Ant

A Weekend in Acadia National Park: Part 2

Lunch and Shopping in Bar Harbor, Thunder-hole (again), Cadillac Mountain, and Bass Harbor Lighthouse

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to follow up with what I did on my second day spent in Acadia National Park. I spent about three hours shopping and walking around Bar Harbor, went back to Thunder-Hole, drove to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, and went to Bass Harbor Lighthouse for sunset. It wasn’t as busy as the prior day, but it was nice to spend some more time in Bar Harbor which I highly recommend.

Lunch and Shopping in Bar Harbor

Due to waking up late, and already spending so much time in Acadia National Park, I wanted to dedicate some time to exploring Bar Harbor. There are plenty of restaurants and shops to check out. I had lunch at Bar Harbor Beer Works. Their menu was your usual pub menu, and I ordered buffalo cauliflower and a side of fries which tasted great. There are plenty of more popular places to eat like Geddy’s. They’ve been around for decades and serve nachos in a car hubcap! There is also an Irish pub and plenty of seafood restaurants.

There are also great ice cream shops in Bar Harbor. One shop (that I did not go to) apparently has lobster ice cream that, from what I’ve read, does not taste good. I got a vegan almond milk ice cream swirl at a different ice cream store and it was excellent!

The stores in Bar Harbor range from your typical tourist stores to unique Maine products. One store, In the Woods, has all their items made out of wood. They have a wall in the back of the store with a HUGE pile of wooden birdhouses. Another store had hiking gear, cozy sweaters, and adventure stickers. I highly suggest setting aside a couple hours and checking out the stores in the area.

Thunder-hole (again)

I stopped at Thunder-hole again in hopes that it would be putting on a show, but the tide was low, and ocean wasn’t doing anything spectacular. Because of these reasons, I didn’t stay long. If you go to Thunder-hole, check what time of day would be best so you are able to witness it in all its glory.

Summit of Cadillac Mountain

This time around, after hiking up the mountain in a torrential rainstorm, I drove up the mountain when the sun was shining and skies were clear. The drive up the mountain is so scenic and there are pullouts along the road where you can stop and take photos. The summit has plenty of places to park, bathrooms, and a gift shop with some great souvenirs. You can explore the rocky summit where there are plenty of places to walk around, signs to be read, and pictures to be taken. You can see Bar Harbor from the summit and the islands in the Atlantic. The views exceed expectations.

Overlooking Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse at Sunset

The last stop for the day was at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse for sunset. I had seen plenty of pictures of this lighthouse online and I couldn’t leave Acadia without seeing it for myself. The lighthouse 1858 with the fog bell and tower being added in 1876. The tower stands 32′ tall and is inaccessible by crowds/tourists. There is actually a barbed wire fence preventing access.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse at Sunset with Sailboat

The lighthouse itself is beautiful, but it is way more difficult to get a picture of it than instagram and the internet portray. Once you park in the lot and make your way down the wooden stairs, you’ll notice that there are some trees partially blocking the view of the lighthouse. You can walk further down onto the rocks, but be careful not to fall into the ocean water. It would be difficult to get back out…..Even after going on these rocks, it is still hard to get a good shot. Despite all of this, I still recommend visiting this historic lighthouse, especially at sunset. You can never go wrong with a sunset on the ocean!

In Summary

In summary, Acadia National Park has more than enough for you to do if you choose to spend a weekend there. I just wanted to share some insight on what I was able to accomplish in two full days while in this beautiful part of Maine. I highly recommend Acadia for individuals that want to hike, spend time at the ocean, and eat great food in Bar Harbor. It has something for everyone so take a trip if you can!

Note

Thank you for taking the time to check out my site and this post on Acadia National Park! I hope you enjoyed the pictures and found the information useful. If you liked this post or any other post, hit the like button, subscribe to the blog by hitting the follow button, and feel free to leave a comment! Keep on adventuring!

-Ant

 

A Weekend in Acadia National Park: Part 1

Ten Hours in Acadia National Park!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? I wanted to share what you can experience while spending a day at one of the most scenic locations in Maine, Acadia National Park. The park offers rocky cliffs, stunning beaches, daring hikes, and is located about fifteen minutes away from Bar Harbor! Here is what you can accomplish in ten hours at one of America’s coolest national parks!

7:30 AM: Park Loop Road and Sand Beach

I left Hancock, Maine where we were staying around 7:30 in the morning and made the 45 minute commute to Acadia National Park. I entered the park around 8:15 AM and turned left onto Park Loop Road. I parked in the large lot for Sand Beach and got all my hiking gear together.

The parking lot for Sand Beach provides access not only to the beach, but the Beehive Trail is across the road. From the lot, you will be able to see the steep rock faces you’ll be climbing…if you have the courage to grasp the iron rungs and can handle the exposure…but I recommend exploring Sand Beach while parked in this lot. It is a great area to chill out and there are bathrooms located near the parking lot. I walked along the beach for twenty minutes because nothing beats that fresh ocean air.

Sand Beach

9:00 AM: THE BEEHIVE TRAIL

Let me preface this subsection of this post by saying this trail is not for the faint of heart. What it lacks in length, it makes up for in exposure. You’ll essentially be climbing vertically up iron rungs and boulders with sheer drops only a few feet away. It is a lot of fun and I LOVE exposure, but if heights bother you, there is a trail that takes you up to Beehive Summit with much less exposure.

It only took about 45 minutes to reach the summit of Beehive and the scenes were exceptional. You get commanding views of Sand Beach, the islands in the Atlantic, and the surrounding mountains! If you do anything in Acadia, try to get to the summit of Beehive. The fun to be had and the surrounding landscape is difficult to put into words.

Beehive Summit

10:50 AM: Thunder-hole

You can’t visit Acadia without visiting Thunder-Hole. It got it’s name from the thundering noise it makes when waves rush into a small inlet and water and air gets rushed out! There are days when the water may spout up to forty feet high! Unfortunately, the ocean was pretty calm when we visited this spectacle. It made some noise, and it was still cool to see it, but water did not spout forty feet high

The parking lot for Thunder Hole is on the right side of the road. There is a small gift shop that offers stickers, key chains, coffee mugs, and more. Across the road and down some stairs is where you will be able to find Thunder Hole!

11:20 AM: Otter Cove

While driving along Park Loop Road, I had to stop at Otter Cove. I Initially did not even know it was called that, but I was just drawn to the beach and the stone bridge in the near distance. I parked along the right side of the road and first ventured down to the body of water that was on the right side of where I parked. The color of the water was a mix of green and blue with mountains looming in the distance. I took some photos here before walking across the street to the beach.

The beach located along the left side of the road is stunning. It is small, but the water is calm with very little waves. There are stones perfect for rock-skipping and the stone bridge on the far end of the beach enhances it’s aesthetic. I spent a good half hour on this beach in good company, skipping rocks and enjoying the sunny day.

Otter Cove

12:15 PM: Lunch in Bar Harbor

After roaming around the park for four hours and the heat starting to take a toll on our energy, we decided to look for food. There is a restaurant in the park located by Jordan Pond, but it was packed. With Bar Harbor being so close, I figured we would have a great shot at finding a quick meal there.

Bar Harbor has so much to do and see. There are countless stores with Maine items, clothes, ice cream stores, and restaurants. We ended up going to the Independent Cafe which had coffee, sandwiches, wraps, and more. I ordered the hummus wrap and it was exceptional. It was the sriracha sauce that completed the wrap. After eating here we walked in some stores and did some window shopping.

Bar Harbor had some really cool stores with unique items. One store, In the Woods, had all items made out of wood. Don’t take my word for it, but from my memory all of the wood was from Maine! Other stores had model boats, nautical items, and souvenirs.

1:30 PM: Accidentally Leaving the Park, and Taking Photos of Boats and Beach-houses 

The last thing that I wanted to do was hike Cadillac Mountain. You can drive to the summit, but I felt like it would be cheating to do that before I actually hiked it. In an effort to find the North Ridge Trail, I ended up off of Park Loop Road and exiting the park momentarily. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because there was a bay filled with dozens of boats and sailboats. There were also some beautiful beach-houses. The scene was picturesque and was worth the stop. Keep an eye out for those brief moments where a mistake can be turned into a positive scenario!

Beach-houses near Acadia

2:30 PM: Jordan Pond

On our way to the North Ridge Trail to hike Cadillac Mountain, I made a last effort to visit Jordan Pond. The parking lot was usually full, but I found a spot and I was able to get some shots of the bubbles across the pond. The pond is absolutely stunning with the Bubbles on the far end of the pond and lush green trees around the perimeter.

There is a trail that loops around the pond and it is 3.5 miles long. I didn’t go on this trail, but I am sure seeing the pond in its entirety is well worth it.

Jordan Pond

3:15 PM: Cadillac Mountain Hike (North Ridge Trail)

At 3:15 PM, we parked at the trailhead for the North Ridge Trail up to Cadillac Mountain. This trailhead is located .2 miles down the Park Loop Road right after it becomes a two-lane, one way road. There is a crosswalk and a pullout for parking on the left side of the road which is opposite the trailhead.

I’ll have a more detailed post about hiking Cadillac Mountain, but here is a short summary of the North Ridge Trail…

  • Distance: 2.2 miles to the summit, 4.4 miles round trip
  • Difficulty: Moderate. Rocky in some spots, no bouldering/scrambling, incline gets steeper on the rock face towards the summit
  • Hiking Time: 1.25 – 1.5 hours to summit. 1 – 1.25 hours to get back to car. This depends on level of fitness and how many breaks you take.
  • Photo opportunities: There are some great outlooks of Bar Harbor along the hike. The summit offers commanding views of Bar Harbor, islands in the area, and the Atlantic.
  • Summit: There are bathrooms on the summit, a gift shop, signs about Cadillac Mountain, and a parking lot because you can also drive to the top of this mountain

I do not suggest hiking this when there is an approaching thunderstorm like I decided to do. As brilliant as it is to view a storm over the ocean from a mountain, it is not so brilliant when the storm heads in your direction. As soon as we hit the summit, it rained so hard on us that it felt like hail. I took a short video of myself, but we started to make our way down the mountain in the storm. Within fifteen minutes, the sun was back out and we witnessed multiple rainbows.

Storm in Acadia

(Although the quality of this photo is not up to the standards of the others, I thought the storm over Bar Harbor was wild.)

Since I did not capture any photos on the summit on the day we hiked Cadillac, I drove to the summit the next day and took hundreds of pictures. I will share those in Part 2 of my Acadia trip.

In Summary

In summary, you can see a lot in Acadia National Park if you dedicate your day to it. We hiked two mountains, visited Jordan Pond, saw Thunder-hole, had lunch in Bar Harbor, took photos of a bay, and skipped rocks at Otter Cove.

Now, you don’t have to do a lot in one day. You could dedicate the day to hanging at Sand Beach or Otter Cove. You could hang out in Bar Harbor shopping and eating. There are also plenty of other hikes in Acadia that can be done. I just wanted to share that there are opportunities to accomplish a lot in this beautiful park with limited time.

Note:

Thank you to those that take the time to read these posts. I do hope they are helpful and that you find them interesting. I also hope that you enjoy the pictures. I have been practicing my landscape photography when I am not busy with work. If you enjoyed this post, share it, hit the like button, and hit that follow button as well! Feel free to leave a comment too! Adventure hard my friends!

-Ant

 

 

Haystack Mountain: Saranac Region

Saranac 6er Number Four!

What up Road Trip Warriors!? It has been a few since I posted last! As soon as I got home from my road trip I started a new job and have been focused on that. I did get a hike in though that I wanted to share with you all! It was my fourth Saranac 6er mountain, Haystack, and it was TERRIBLE. I have never had a hike I disliked until this one. It had nothing to do with the length, incline, or any of that…..it was the mosquitoes!!!! I have never been attacked by more mosquitoes in my life while out in the woods…..anyways, I wanted to give you all some info about the hike and what to expect!

Summary of Haystack Mountain

  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Length: 6.6 – 7 miles round trip
  • Elevation: 2,878′ above sea level
  • Hiking Time: It took us just under 2 hours to reach the summit. We didn’t take many breaks to avoid being eaten alive by mosquitoes…
  • Photo Opportunities: The summit of Haystack offers some good views, but I wasn’t able to see them. It was extremely overcast and the fog was thick.

Beginning of the Hike

The trailhead is right off off Route 86 near Lake Placid. There is a large parking lot with a trailhead sign that is hard to miss. Here is a picture of the sign below.

Saranac Haystack Mountain Sign

Saranac Haystack:McKenzie Mountain Sign

The Trail

The trail follows blue trail markers for a couple miles through thick woods. On the day we hiked this mountain, it had just rained and the amount of moisture in the air made the hike more daunting. The trail traverses a few small streams and occasionally the streams flow alongside the trail. None of this was helping the mosquito situation. Below is one of the blue trail markers that you’ll be following along the trail to Haystack.

Haystack Saranac Blue Trail Marker

Trail Split: Haystack or Mckenzie

After hiking for some time along the relatively flat trail through the woods the trail splits. There is a noticeable sign which points to Haystack and Mckenzie. We continued onto Haystack on the left of the split.

Saranac Haystack Trail Split

Summit of Haystack in Saranac!

After the trail split, the hike starts to climb, and at around the 3 mile mark of the hike, the climb gets more aggressive. You’ll know when you’re at the summit because it is an open ledge with plenty of space to walk around. The views would have been great if it weren’t for the fog. I still recommend doing this hike, just maybe when the mosquitoes aren’t as bad and the weather is better.

Summit of Haystack in Saranac

Continuing Towards Mckenzie Mountain and Calling the Hike Off

You can continue hiking on a trail (not the one you were just on, walk along the summit of Haystack and you’ll find it on the opposite side of your initial approach) after summiting Haystack. It will descend and you’ll eventually reach a cairn. Turn right at the cairn. This trail will lead you to an intersection upon which you can turn left to continue onto Mckenzie or right to hike 3.4 miles back to the parking lot on Route 86. There is a wooden sign on a tree at this intersection that you can reference.

The mosquitoes had gotten so bad at this point that I had been bitten at least 12-15 times, and that’s being conservative. It was probably more than that. Because of this, we decided it would be best to come back to Mckenzie another time. It is the highest of the Saranac 6ers, so I want better weather and hopefully less bugs the next time that I go. Before anyone starts picking on me, YES I did bring bug spray and it did NOTHING.

Getting Back to the Trailhead/Parking

This trail loops around so you can summit Haystack and follow the new trail down that was mentioned above. Just be careful you pay attention and turn right at the small stone cairn. After that, the hike back to the car is rather self-explanatory. Just don’t trip in a stream while running away from mosquitoes like I did…bloodied my hand up pretty good when I punched a mean boulder upon my fall.

Dog-Friendly

This hike is dog-friendly. I saw a dog or two hiking along the trail. Just bring extra water for your pup and he/she will do just fine. There wasn’t any part of the hike a dog would struggle with.

Fam-Friendly

This hike is easy/moderate because of its length and dependent upon your fitness level, but most individuals should be able to do it. It is a great workout and a good choice for people that want to get away from the crowds of the High Peaks.

Clothes Worn

  • Timberland Boots
  • Nike Compression Leggings
  • Athletic shorts
  • Athletic T-shirt
  • Patagonia hat
  • Hiking socks

Gear Brought

  • 3L of water
  • Almonds and peanut butter sandwiches
  • Wind/Rain pants
  • Extra layers (UnderArmour)
  • Extra hiking socks
  • Knife
  • Paracord and two carabiners
  • Water-proof matches
  • LifeStraw (water filtration, costs about $20)
  • Trekking poles
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Garmin inReach (satellite device that has a GPS, can send texts, send SOS, and has many other helpful features)

RTW Note

Thanks for taking the time to check out this hike even though I shared how rough it was! I hope it was helpful/informative for those looking to hike in the Saranac Lake area. I am sure this hike is a lovely when it isn’t as humid and the bugs aren’t as cumbersome. I still would recommend it to a friend. Hit the like and follow buttons if you found this post helpful or enjoyed it in any way. Leave a comment if you want to reach out. I enjoy reading your thoughts and remarks! I will keep the posts coming as I continue to hike!

-Ant