Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MAP OF GEORGE B. DORR BIKE PATH

Many years ago I came across this old path around what some maps call THE BEAVER POND and other maps call BEAR BROOK POND.  And for years I had always thought I had just stumbled onto another old abandoned hiking trail, not realizing it than just how important this trail once was.

George B. Dorr Bike Path - Acadia National Park



In the days when the Indians were active here on the Island, this section of trail once was a much used section of what was known as Indain Pass.  When George B. Dorr, the founder of Acadia national Park, purchased the land around the pond, he knew it once played a major role in the lives of the Indians, and wanted to incorporate it into his plans for a National Park.

George B. Dorr bike Path - Acadia National Park



Once he owned the land around the pond, he than constructed what would become a very popular bicycle path that ran around the pond and at one point, near the back of the pond, branched out toward the area of where the Nature Center and Wild Gardens of Acadia are located

George B. Dorr Bike Path - Acadia National Park


  He than made roads and foot paths that led to the pond area so others could access and enjoy his newly created bike path, and many did just that.
  The photo above is of the stone steps that lead from the Dorr bike path to the official Bear Brook trail up Champlain Mountain.  From the official trail end the stone steps are nearly impossible to see, in part because the park does its best to conceal their location.  To locate the stone steps from the Dorr bike path, follow the path until a huge section of granite rises upward very close to the path.  You can see where a worn path follows the edge of the granite as well as the first stone steps.  Dorr built the stone steps hoping that it would lead more people to his bike path and the Wild Gardens.
  In my opinion, Dorr had a much better eye for the placement of the Wild Gardens than the Park Service does.  Dorr used Bear Brook Pond and the fantastic views of Chanplain Mountain as a backdrop to the Wild Gardens, compare that breathtaking view to the current view of where the garden now lies and many would agree Dorr had it right.


Bear Brook Picnic Area - Acadia National Park


 The Wild Gardens of Acadia National Park  became one of the major draws to the pond area and George B. Dorr's mother went on to put many hours into the upkeep of the Wild Gardens, and it is said that through her efforts the Wild Gardens of Acadia National park went on to become so popular and well known.
I know what your thinking, the Wild Gardens of Acadia National Park are nowhere near that pond, and your right.  But back than, they were indeed located right next to the pond.  The bigger question is, why were they dug up and relocated?    To be sure - it did not happen while George B. Dorr was alive and what would happen later must of had him turning in his grave.

In fact, one can make the argument that the park service has gone out of its way to erase any foot print of George B. Dorr.  The evidence speaks for itself - his popular bike path - abandoned.  His prized wild Gardens - dug up and relocated.  Compass Harbor, where Dorr's estate sat, has not even a single sign letting you know where it is, and other areas of Indian Pass that Dorr bought up and incorporated into his plans for a future national Park have also been abandoned.    I'm just saying...
  To locate the George B. Dorr bike path, or what's left to it, begin by the start of the Bear Brook trail up Champlain Mountain, on some maps its called the Champlain Mountain North Ridge Trail.  Instead of going up the official trail, instead follow the gully downward along the edge of the Park Loop Road, heading toward the pond.  About two thirds of the way down you will be able to see a well worn path - that is a newer path built after the rising waters of the beaver pond placed much of his path under water.  But that newer path still followed the route George B. Dorr bike path took, but at a slightly higher level, making its way around much of the beaver pond, as did Dorr's path.  Not all of Dorr's original bike path was lost, but in fact only the portion that ran closest to the pond was lost when the waters of the pond rose.   Once you arrive to the back of the pond on the newer path, to the far right corner you can see today where Dorr's bike path exits the water and continues on through the woods, in one place turning right towards the Bear Brook Picnic area, in another it continues on toward Sieur de Mont springs, and in another it moves toward and connects to the Champlain mountain trail.  One path that branches off of the bike path is still visible today, it makes a direct climb yp the hillside, ending high atop Huguenot Head and at one time it was one of only two trails that went to the summit of  Huguenot Head.  Both those trails were abandoned and today only beachcroft trail passes that way, but not to the top, it passes below and around  Huguenot Head..  I have heard that the reason  the park doesn't want trails leading to that area is because an old cave is up there somewhere.

Bear Brook Pond - Acadia National Park


  If you go too close to the lake there is a second path, but it only goes on for a short ways before ending.
Once on the Dorr bike path, if loops around to the back of the pond, ending by two brooks at the far corner of the pond.  The Wild Gardens were once located in that area.

MAP OF BEAR CAVE - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

You will find the words OLD BEAR CAVE on old maps that date back to before Acadia National Park was founded.  Back than Bar harbor was named Eden and the bear cave was a trail the locals liked to hike.  Since there was no park, let alone a park loop road, it took me a while to finally locate the bear cave, and as it turned out, I had passed right by it many times without ever knowing it was right there, tucked in behind the trees.
bears

The Bears Den - Acadia National Park


To locate the bear cave, drive along the ONE WAY section of the park loop road, like your heading to Sand Beach.  You will pass the turn off for the Wild Gardens of Acadia and the Nature Center, stay on the park loop road and continue driving until you come to a pond on the right hand side of the road - you can't miss it.  Drive pass the pond and park at a pull over on the left and side of the roadway just up ahead.
Now walk down the side of the roadway, on the right hand side of the road, until you reach the end of the ledge, where you can look into the woods.  You will see a large dark shadow in the tree's, this is the opening to the bear cave.  A well worn but unmarked path leads to the opening.

COMPASS HARBOR AND OLD FARM

Most people who visit Mount Desert Island or Acadia National Park may of never heard of Compass Harbor, and in part the Park Service is to blame for that - since compass Harbor has no markings or signs to help you locate it.  Even with the map I provide, you will still need to really be looking for that tiny parking lot. If you drove to the point where you see Schooner Head Road or Jackson Lab, you have passed it.

Abandoned Trails of Acadia - Compass Harbor


Compass Harbor was the place where Old Farm once stood - it's remains are still there to this day.  And if you don't know what Old Farm was - it was the George B. Dorr estate - the founder of Acadia National Park.  The area around compass Harbor has many signs from back in the days when Mr. Dorr walked his grounds.  By the side of the harbor is the remains of an old salt water pool where people once went swimming.  Along the shore is a set of Granite steps Dorr himself once used to access the water.  In the surrounding woods are several places where there are stone structures and just beyond where old Farm once stood is another foundation, over grown with brush, where the servants quarters once stood.
Paths lead to two beaches, and the one to the far right is where local kids go on a hot summer day to swim.   teens and young adults also come in here at late evening, often with guitars and drums, and party on the beach. At one point there is a very long series of granite steps that seem to go on forever through the tree's and up the hill side, they end at the remains of Old Farm.  I am pretty certain there was once a full foundation - but it appears to have been filled in with dirt, but the stone floors are all there, along with some sections of stone walls.  Years ago George B. dorr would of had a commanding view of Compass Harbor below.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

ANEMONE SEA CAVE - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

Once years ago you could pick up a trail map of Acadia national Park and find Anemone cave clearly marked on it.  Than the National Park Service decided to abandon it, like so many other trails in the park, and it suddenly stopped appearing on any map produced of Acadia National Park.  Signs were removed, even the steel railings that got people safely from the cliff down to the cave entrance were cut and removed.  Today there is no signs at all that an ancient sea cave is even there, even though the sea cave has gone nowhere - it is still there.

Map of Acadia National Park


There are two ways to reach the start of the Anemone sea cave trail.  The first method is the easiest.  Drive along the one way section of the park loop road, keep driving as if headed to Sand Beach.  You will see the entrance station coming up in awhile, where they collect fee's for entering the park.  If you don't have a park pass, don't panic, you will not be passing through the fee station.
As you approach the fee station, be in the left hand lane, and turn onto the road just beofre entering the fee station - this takes you to Schooner Head Overlook parking lot.  You drive straight into the parking area by going straight  at the four way intersection.  Left is the Schooner Head road which leads to route 3.  Right goes to Great head trail.
At the parking lot, you will see a sign by a wooden rail fence.  The sign use to tell you about Anemone cave.  Follow the narrow paved path down through the woods.  It will come out at the top of a high cliff.   at this point you are standing on the roof of the cave.
Many make their way down to the cave entrance from the right of the cliff, footing can be slippery and the way down steep.  Another approach to the cave entrance is from the left, the way I like to take.  Simply follow the narrow rough path along the top of the cliff, until you come to a long gully that heads down toward the ocean, moving toward the right, back in the direction of the cave.  The gully will pretty much lead you to the entrance of the cave.  The cave can only be entered at low tide, and a good pair of shoes is a must, as the inside of the cave is wet and very slippery.
 the second way to reach Schooner Head parking lot is by taking route 3 out of Bar Harbor, heading in the direction of Otter Creek.  Once you pass the town ball fields, you will begin to go uphill, near the top of the hill is Schooner Head Road.  Take Schooner head road to the four way intersection, and turn left into the Schooner Head parking area.
One other way of reaching the sea cave is to simply get onto the free Island Explorer bues, you want the Sand Beach bus for this.  Tell the driver when you board the bus you want to get off by the entrance fee station.  Now walk to the road before the fee station and keep walking until your at the Schooner Head parking area (it is a very short walk).

DEATHS IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK

HOW TO LOCATE THE LOST HOUSE

Funny how things work out some times, you can have all the money in the world, buy up the nicest piece of land with a million dollar view, get well underway to building your perfect dream home, and BAM.....it all goes up in smoke.
Eagle Lake Phantom Trail - Acadia National Park
CLOSE UP OF ROCK WALL

Back in the mid 1800's that was exactly what happened along the shore of Eagle Lake in Acadia National Park.  The National Park service knows of the Lost House, and so do many of the volunteers wo work in Acadia National Park each summer.  They know because the Park Service takes them to such locations, and one person who works for the park said that volunteer's and ridge Runners will go to the Lost House on their dinner breaks when working in the area.

First - once your at the Eagle Lake parking lot off route 233, follow the carriage road to the left side of the lake.

Walk until you come to a supporting wall in the side of the earth along the left side of the carriage road - it looks like a small stone wall, small rocks on top of rocks.

Abandoned Trails of Acadia - The Lost House of Eagle Lake


When you reach the supporting wall, turn around and head back in the direction you came, about 7 to 8 car lengths, to where a drainage ditch passes on both sides of the carriage road. 
A worn path enters the woods a few feet beyond, unmarked, making its way toward the water and the abandoned house.

As stated, the supporting wall is key to finding the old abandoned house.  The wall may not be very tall, but it goes on a long distance and there is no way you can miss it.  It is the only section along the carriage road on that side of the lake with such a stone wall in the side of the earth like that.

The story of how the Lost House of Eagle Lake came to be began in the 1800's, when a family decided to build their dream house on the shore of Eagle Lake.   At the time George B. Dorr was very active in acquiring lands for his dream of one day establishing a National Park here.  It was Dorr who approached the family and pleaded his case for them to not build their house along the lake. Dorr wanted to preserve the landscape for future generations as well as protect the areas drinking water.   In the end, the family agreed to stop building, and in doing so they left what had been built in place.
George Dorr did not want homes built along the lake because once one wnet up, others would soon follow, ruining the views of the lake and surrounding mountains.  Once he got this family, unnamed, to stop building their home, he wnet before the legislature and lobbied for bills that would forever protect some of the ponds and lakes on the island, including Eagle Lake, Bubble Pond and Jordan Pond. 


ABANDONED HOUSE VIDEO