Wednesday, October 22, 2014


You will find the words  BEAR DEN on old maps that date back to before Acadia National Park was founded.  Back than Bar harbor was named Eden and the bear cave or den, was a trail the locals liked to hike.  Since there was no park, let alone a park loop road, it took us 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.
But it was not me who actually located the den, but my oldest son Wesley, who I had told me and  my youngest son had been out searching for it for some time.  He went out the next day and found it, and got back to me with the information which enabled me to find the site.


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.


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


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).



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 all goes up in smoke.
Eagle Lake Phantom Trail - Acadia National Park

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.