The weather was gray and gloomy with no forecast for improvement. No matter; I needed to get outside. No, wait, I HAD to get outside and do something. Anything.
So my wife and me, we settled on a longish hike not too far from home. A few hours on the trail to try and make up for three days of Thanksgiving holidaying. Too much turkey and stuffing and all the rest of the delicious fixings. And pie, oh the pie. Apple and pumpkin, both with plenty of whipped cream. And beer and wine. Lots of beer and wine. Before, during and after.
And that was just Thursday. Then came Leftover Friday. Yep, when my family does Thanksgiving there is always enough food leftover to feed a small army for days and days. We ate like an army for sure, except we didn’t march anywhere. Except from the TV room to the fridge for a beer. Or maybe more wine. And to the bathroom. Other than that it was couch city.
Sitting, talking, snoozing, eating. Repeat. And repeat again.
All this sound pretty familiar, my friends? I thought as much.
After Big Breakfast on Saturday the two of us bid farewell to the fam in NH and headed north and east, landing on the island homestead exhausted and bloated. And without any cell service, Internet or satellite TV.
Yep, the nor’easter that plagued our trip south just three days earlier had wreaked havoc on the state. Much of New England if you will. In fact, my brother in NH was without power on Thanksgiving morning, which was did not set well with either him or the turkey. Fortunately my dear Mom lives 10 minutes across town and soon became the host site for the big holiday dinner.
It all worked out in the end. Thank God for alcohol.
Anyway, back here at home on Mount Desert Island… we rebooted the modem for Internet, same for the AT&T microcell (we live in a cell phone black hole). But no go for the Dish TV, not with a good load of ice and snow on the roof, never mind the white pine limbs – some of considerable size – scattered about the yard, including one biggie on the roof.
So, aching and uncomfortable from overeating and inactivity, and lacking a signal for Sunday football, we did the only sensible thing: We packed our day packs and headed for the trail.
The plan: A loop that wound along Long Pond and then climbed high up between Mansell and Bernard peaks. About 5 miles all told. Just right.
The going along Long Pond was surprisingly straightforward. A few icy spots were handled easily with Katoolahs (on my wife anyway; I chose at this point to forego the spikes and almost ended up down the cliff-side into the pond at several points).
The weather was strange indeed. Snow on the ground and damp. But a SSW wind gusting to 20+ MPH. The temps climbed from the high 20s into the high 40s as we hiked. It was March-like.
A couple miles in, the Long Pond Trail left the pond and climbed through the woods, crossed Great Brook, and merged with Great Notch Trail. We followed this upward through the snowy woods to the notch proper, a wild place indeed at just under 700 feet.
We skipped bagging either summit, Bernard to the west or Mansell to the east. Instead we scampered on and down through through the beautiful forest, eventually joining the Gilley Trail, and then taking the Cold Brook Trail back to the car at the Pump House trailhead at the south end of Long Pond.
Any hiking day in Acadia is a good one, but this one was particularly satisfying. Guess I’m ready for a turkey sandwich and a beer!
Btw, the trailhead for this hike is easily found at the end of the Long Pond Road, which is not too far down the Seal Cove Road from ME 102 in Southwest Harbor. It’s a good hike, winter or summer. Try it!
If you’re in the mood for a good post-Thanksgiving hike and you’re not up in my neighborhood, well, here are 5 other good walks that should suit you just fine, as written up in some of my past columns. Hopefully one of ’em is nearby…
Mount Agamenticus, York. 2 to 5 miles: “A day well worth the climb.”
Salt Bay Heritage Trail, Damariscotta. 3 miles: “Damariscotta showcases natural diversity.”
Megunticook Traverse, Camden. 6 miles: “Megunticook Traverse worth the traveling.”
Tunk Mountain, T10 SD. 5 miles: “Tunk Mountain: Terrific now and getting better.”
Forest City Trail, Portland. 10 miles: “A tour of nature in the heart of the city.”