Friday, November 21, 2014

A DEATH ON NEWPORT MOUNTAIN

People arrive here each year to enjoy the park, many finding their way to a spot called THE PRECIPICE.   and each year people are injuried, some serious, and now and than someone falls to their death from the mountain.  I remember the year me and one of my sons was hiking back down Champlain Mountain in Winter, along the Bear Brook Trail, by flashlight because the hike had taken so long due to recent snow, and the trail was icy.   as we neared the bottom of the trail we heard someone coming up behind us - it was another hiker.  We got to talking and he said he worked at Jackson Lab, and whenever he could, when he left work he would hike up the Precipice trail and than come down the Bear Brook trail before making his way for the Bear Brook Picnic Area, where he took a short cut to the Jackson Lab parking lot.
What shocked us about this guy was he was not dressed for winter, did not have proper foot gear on - it appeared he was wearing sneakers, had no hat or mittens, clearly he had not a clue as to how much danger he was placing himself in.   we exchanged a few more words than he was off, jogging down the Park loop road into the darkness.


The Precipice - Acadia National Park

I remember telling my son - "You just met a dead man."  My son asked what I meant by that, and I told him, one day that guys not going to make it home, he has no respect for the Mountain.
Sadly, I could not of been more right, the next evening we were in the middle of a huge winter storm, and a call came over the police radio, a Jackson Lab employee had not been home and his car was still in the parking lot.  They aslo said the guy in question was known to leave work and hike up the Precipice.  I just knew it was the same guy I had talked to the night before.
 As it turned out, it was him, once again improperly dressed, he had slipped off an icy ledge while making his way up the Precipice.  The park had done a search and rescue that night, but in the storm could not locate him.  The next day they spotted his frozen body below the cliff.  He was young, married, and left behind some small kids.


Lucreatia K. Douglass

It makes me think of another story related to the Precipice, but this story took place when Bar Harbor was named Eden.  In the summer of 1853, on Aug. 3, two twelve year old girls left the village of Bar Harbor, making their way toward Schooner Head, where one of the girls Uncle lived.  One report said they were picking berries as they went, following the Schooner head Trail.


Map of The Precipice - Acadia Nation al Park

At some point before reaching the Uncle's farm, the two girls decided to turn right, and began heading toward the Precipice.  It was decided between the two of them that they would climb the mountain side, to see if they could see the Uncle's farm from high up.  The two girls made it to a spot between a spot known as the great Cave and the summit of the Mountain, when  one of the twelve year old's, Lucreatia K. Douglass, decided to stand on top of a huge rock on the edge of the mountain.  The other 12 year old decided to join her on that rock, and also climbed up, when the rock gave way, tossing one of the girls off to the side and carrying Lucreatia K. down the mountain side to her death.
Her stone tells part of the tale, and it can be seen in that small cemetery on Mount desert Street, between the two churches. 

TRAGEDY ON NEWPORT MOUNTAIN video

2 comments:

  1. This is odd, I just read about this incident in Steve Perrin's book last night, he didn't share many details but I was talking about it with my partner this morning and we guessed he must have been on the Precipice to fall so far.

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  2. Oh, was this in his TRAILS OF HISTORY book...

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