Monday, July 7, 2008

Mansell Mountain Hike

This was an incredibly well documented trail that is off the beaten path in Acadia... a combination that is pretty hard to find and impossible to beat. Anna found the description online here, and it really is top notch. If you've ever tried to follow a trail from guidebooks you know the quality of their directions can vary widely, but generally ranges from "unlcear" to "misleading", and thus this description was a find of rare value.

Since we were doing this on a holiday weekend, and specifically on the 4th, it was pretty important to find a sparingly used trail... and Mansell certainly fit the bill. Though, if people were more aware of its existence, I'm pretty sure it would see a lot more use. If you look at this map of Mount Desert Island (MDI), you can find Long Pond in between Northeast Harbor and Seal Harbor. If you look a bit to the east you can see Park Loop Road, which circles Cadillac Mountain and is the main attraction to most visitors to the park... being outside of that is probably where you want to be if you want some measure of solitude (though there are certainly some lesser used trails inside the loop as well).

Defintely the coolest part of this trail is the fact that the ascent is almost entirely composed of a stone staircase that blends wonderfully into the surroundings. It's pretty awe insping as your climbing it to consider how stonecutters in the 1930's shaped and moved all of these stones in the pre power tools era.

This is a pretty steep and strenuous trail, so you have to be in some sort of shape (though if I can do it, so can you) to accomplish it and I wouldn't advise anyone with bad knees to attempt it as you are climbing a lot of stairs (though it has nothing on the Ladder Trail, which I will cover tomorrow).

I should note that it does have a section that is steep enough that they bolted a ladder and some rungs to the rocks.

As you can see though, it's not exposed, so it's not really that bad unless you are simply terrified of heights.

And of course, once you get to the top (on the way up as well), you are afforded some pretty views.

The descent on the western side of the mountain was a lot more rough, with no stone steps, and was a nice change of pace. It was a lot more like your typical hike down a mountain and through a forest, and it eased our effort down as we recovered from the climb up.

You can see the rest of my Mansell Mountain Hike pictures here.