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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Maineiac Outdoors with Carey Kish
Posted: December 28, 2015

Hiking: Swooning over Schoodic Woods

In early December, this hiker got a really good look at everything new at the new Schoodic Woods land that’s been added to Acadia National Park, Down East on the Schoodic Peninsula, most especially the hiking trails and bike paths. My wife Fran and I enjoyed a wonderful day in the unseasonably mild weather, tallying 9 1/2 miles on foot on a big loop walk that used trails, bike paths and park roads. I wrote about our adventure in the Maine Sunday Telegram a couple weeks later. You can read all about it here: Expansion at Acadia is reason to celebrate

Space is limited in the paper, so I wanted to share with you a few more images of the Schoodic hike, as well as a few interesting notes from my research and conversation with a park official that didn’t make cut. Enjoy!

The Lower Harbor Trail dashes into the spruce woods a short hop from the parking area at the new ranger station and campground. Carey Kish photo.

The Lower Harbor Trail dashes into the spruce woods a short hop from the parking area at the new ranger station and campground. Carey Kish photo.

The Lower Harbor Trail meanders along an arm of Winter Harbor for much of its length. Carey Kish photo.

The Lower Harbor Trail meanders along an arm of Winter Harbor for much of its length. Carey Kish photo.

The National Park Service acquired the original 2,366-acre Schoodic property in 1929, including four islands: Little Moose, Pond, Rolling and Schoodic.

The rich species diversity on Schoodic includes 343 vascular and forest plants. Most abundant is the maritime forest of red spruce and balsam fir.

About 1.5 miles into the hike, we turned onto the new bike path network and headed for Buck Cove Mountain. Carey Kish photo.

About 1.5 miles into the hike, we turned onto the new bike path network and headed for Buck Cove Mountain. Carey Kish photo.

Common mammals on Schoodic range from moose, deer and coyote to shrews, squirrels and hares.

A total of 96 species of migrating and breeding birds are found at Schoodic.

Into the heart of the new park land, the trail bears south through beautiful forest, heading for Schoodic Head, which is visible ahead. Carey Kish photo.

Into the heart of the new park land, the trail bears south through beautiful forest, heading for Schoodic Head, which is visible ahead through the trees. Carey Kish photo.

Around the time of the orginal land donation in the late 20’s, John D. Rockefeller was working with the National Park Service to build the Park Loop Road on Mount Desert Island, but the road could not be completed around Otter Point because of the US Navy radio communication station located there (marked by a monument across from Fabbri Picnic Area). The NPS got the Navy to move the station from Otter Point to Schoodic Point. In exchange for this, the NPS built the fabulous Rockefeller building and a number of other base structures.

Into the "old" part of the park at Schoodic, the trail enters a forest of mature spruce and fir. Big beautiful trees! Carey Kish photo.

Into the “old” part of the park at Schoodic, the trail enters a forest of mature spruce and fir. Big beautiful trees! Carey Kish photo.

The infrastructure of the new Schoodic Woods section of the park was entirely built and donated to Acadia National Park by a private family concern under the name of Schoodic Woods LLC. Schoodic Woods LLC donated the conservation easement on the land to the park, then transferred the land to the National Parks Foundation. The next step is for the NPF to deed Schoodic Woods to ANP.

Atop Schoodic Head (440 feet), the view north takes in Winter Harbor. Carey Kish photo.

Atop Schoodic Head (440 feet), the view north takes in Winter Harbor. Carey Kish photo.

When I queried John Kelly, management assistant with Acadia National Park, about the potential for groomed cross-country skiing, he replied, “I don’t know yet. The public has certainly asked for it.” Keep your fingers crossed.

Looking east from the ledges atop Schoodic Head, you can see up the coast (just barely) to Petite Manan Island Light. Carey KIsh photo.

Looking east from the ledges atop Schoodic Head, you can see up the coast (just barely) to Petite Manan Island Light. Carey Kish photo.

The new hiking trails and bike paths at Schoodic Woods enable adventurous visitors to walk the length of the Schoodic Peninsula from Blueberry Hill to Route 186.

After a steep and rocky descent from Schoodic Head, our route followed the park road north along Schoodic Harbor. Carey Kish photo.

After a steep and rocky descent from Schoodic Head, our route followed the park road north along Schoodic Harbor. Carey Kish photo.

Acadia National Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016.

Stopping to check in at new kiosk, one of several on the route, before turning west on the last leg. Carey Kish photo.

Stopping to check in at new kiosk, one of several on the route, before turning west on the last leg. Carey Kish photo.

The National Park Service is also celebrating its centennial in 2016.

The new bike paths at Schoodic Woods reminded me of the carriage roads on MDI, but these are narrower, often steeper, and have lots of curves. Carey Kish photo.

The new bike paths at Schoodic Woods reminded me of the carriage roads on MDI, but these are narrower, often steeper, and have lots of curves. Carey Kish photo.

The great people at Friends of Acadia do sooooo much to support our beloved treasure, Acadia National Park.

No getting lost on these bike paths! Carey Kish photo.

No getting lost on these bike paths! Carey Kish photo.

Become a member of Friends of Acadia and help support their work!

Here's a look at the beautiful new ranger station at Schoodic Woods. The adjacent campground is not open in winter, nor is the ranger station (but the toilets are!). Carey Kish photo.

Here’s a look at the beautiful new ranger station at Schoodic Woods. The adjacent campground is not open in winter, nor is the ranger station (but the toilets are!). Carey Kish photo.

Here's a map of our 9.5-mile hiking route around the new and old parts of the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park. Carey Kish photo.

Here’s a map of our 9.5-mile hiking route around the new and old parts of the Schoodic District of Acadia National Park. Carey Kish photo.

Check out Schoodic this winter. It's a very special place. Carey Kish photo.

Check out Schoodic this winter. It’s a very special place. Carey Kish photo.

Check out my recent story on hiking at Schoodic in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

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