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Winter hike in Acadia National Park

Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia National Park

Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia National Park

Back in December, Jen and I each purchased a pair of Ice Trekkers at a self-proclaimed “oldest shoe store in America” in Belfast, Maine.

We figured they would get us into places most people wouldn’t go during the winter.

Ice Trekkers have little diamond-shaped studs attached to metal chains that strap to the bottom of your boots with strong-but-stretchy rubber chords. It’s the opposite of skates, instead of gliding over the ice you dig in and walk on it like you were hiking over a granite rock base. They’re perfect for hard, snow-packed trails.

We drove out to Acadia National Park and headed for the coast. It was a dull, grey day but the temperatures were in the 20s and there wasn’t too much wind.  We found a short trail called Ship Harbor Trail near the Bass Harbor Light House. Just two miles in and out. Plenty of snow cover made for an interesting and unique hike through a quiet wooded area, past a small cove with a large, crushed rock point and loud rapids draining in the low tide and finally onto the rocky shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.

Three other people were on the trail that day. Two guys passed us quickly in conversation and appeared to be headed for an empty peninsula about a half mile away.  The other hiker was an older guy wearing  bright orange boots that went almost up to his knee.We met him sitting on a rock overlooking the ocean. He was a big guy and I suspect he was resting before turning back. He said he was from a small town further up the coast and used to work on fishing boat that trolled the shoreline. “We’d come down here once in a while with the boat,” he said. “It’s beautiful out there.”

He gave us directions to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse and wished us well.

Bass Harbor Light House

Bass Harbor Light House

We found the lighthouse, one of the most visited and photographed in all of Maine. A short trail led to some steps down a cliff. I took off my Ice Trekkers, climbed out on a rock near the waterline and snapped pictures of the structure as it clung to the land.

Jen turned her binoculars on a couple of punky mergansers and a group of small, mysterious black and white birds diving for their lunch in the cold, icy waters.

There wasn’t a soul around.

  1. David Ferrara permalink

    There’s something magical about being (at least somewhat) alone in the wilderness on a mild winter day. I see a lot of beauty in the stark scenery of winter, and fondly remember my snowmobile vacations on the Gun Flint Trail. This particular lighthouse is the shortest I’ve seen, and all of them seem romantic, mysterious, and possibly haunted to me. BTW what’s up with the Steelers cap?

  2. Keith permalink

    Those ice Trekkers look great. I’ve got similar things with spikes on for running, not as nice as those. Is there enough son there for snowshoes?

    • We had plenty of snow up until Jan. 30….when it RAINED. HARD. We also broke a record with a HIGH of 52. Very little snow now for snowshoes or even Ice Trekkers. I hope we get some more snow soon.

  3. David Ferrara permalink

    Coincidently, I was born in Pittsburgh and lived there for a full six months as a baby before moving to MN. Obviously, memories are non-existent, yet I still root for the Steelers when it doesn’t affect the Vikings. Have you been dining on lobster much since you arrived? I hear Mainers eat it like we eat hot dogs!

  4. Keith permalink

    I’m glad you could read my garbled syntax, for which I blame modern touch screens. We’ve had a nice bit of snow here, and I’ll be heading out into the woods with new snowshoes.

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