Hiking Isle A Haute in Maine

Context: It’s 2018. We three adventurers (myself and two friends, M and H) take a one-hour boat ride to Isle Au Haut in Maine. We have a great time hiking, enjoying a chill lunch by the water, and taking pictures for the gram.

A white lighthouse by the ocean

However, we (meaning I) wanted to hike to Duck Harbor Mountain. I’m very task oriented so once I get it in my head to do something, I will do it. My friends are more of the dilly dally type, which is fine but we had to be back by 4:00pm to avoid missing the boat and it was about 2:00 when I realized we weren’t going to make it to the mountain moving at the speed of aging turtles.

M and H are indeed dilly dallying by a cliff’s edge, taking pictures. I take my picture and return to the trail, pausing to make eye-contact with H. I say loudly (I think) that I’m going to keep going. And I do.

So there I go, hiking at the speed of a dying slug through beautiful woods with the sound of ocean waves permeating the air. My friends have yet to catch up, oddly. I take a 15 minute break on a comfy rock, eat an apple, and marvel at the beauty of God’s creation. A Hiker Couple passes me. I greet them. My friends are nowhere to be found. Now my annoyance reaches peak levels, I mean why are they hiking so slowly? I told them I wanted to see the view from the Mountain.

So off I go once more. Eventually, I hit this fork in the road (no picture, sadly). It gives me three options: Duck Harbor Mountain, Goat Something, And Wherever I Came From. I realize (sadly) my friends will never know which way I’ve gone as I only lightly voiced my desire to go to Duck Harbor Mountain earlier. I consider going anyway and just meeting them at the boat, but something tells me to turn around. So I begrudgingly head back.

I nearly careen into my amigas on the trail. They are sweaty and breathless, and elated at the sight of me. I’m irked and wondering, why are they so breathless hiking slow as they were?

Well, this is why.

H saw me briefly, but didn’t hear me say I was hiking onward. So they took a few pictures and discovered I have seemingly vanished into thin air. They gaze down into the watery abyss known as the ocean, wondering if I’ve slipped and drowned (I cannot swim and am clumsy so it’s a reasonable assumption). They do not see my corpse floating anywhere (and I was nowhere near the edge when I vanished anyway) so they rule that out and assume someone has kidnapped me while they weren’t looking (also a reasonable assumption as I’m unobservant and would hardly notice anyone following me).

They split up. H hikes backwards. M hikes forward. Both intent on throwing hands on my behalf. M must’ve stopped just short of where I was taking a break before turning around. H hiked all the way back to the trailhead (which was a significant distance away) and asked the ranger there if she had seen me. She had not.

Did I mention there is no cell service on this island?

M went far enough to run into Hiker Couple, who confirmed I was still among the free. M and H regrouped and hustled forward, eventually running into me. They were about two minutes from calling search and rescue as they legitimately thought somebody had kidnapped me and Hiker Couple had mistaken me for someone else.

Needless to say, I did not get to see the view from Duck Harbor Mountain, because we instead wisely choose to make it back to the boat on time. But I have some pretty awesome (and fit) friends. We’re all able to laugh about this now and I have since refrained from wandering off when hiking with others, less they think a Sasquatch has taken me hostage.

Anyway, 10/10. Definitely recommend visiting Acadia National Park in Maine.

Sunrise Hikes: Bearfence Mountain

Sunrise over mountains

What’s better than waking up at 4:00 am to watch the sunrise at Bearfence in Shenandoah National Park?

Sunrise over mountains

Not much.

This was like the second “serious” hike I ever went on and, lemme tell you, hiking in the dark is something else (especially if you’re like me and can’t see very well even in broad daylight). But the views are worth it, especially just as the sun’s coming up over the mountains, and this hike is rather short – even my out of shape self got to the top in about 20 minutes.

Since this fateful time, which cemented my love of most things outdoor, I’ve hiked Bearfence at least a dozen times, half of which have been sunrise hikes, and the view never gets old.

Sunset Hike: Spy Rock

Spy Rock - a view of the mountains at sunset, they're slightly blue-ish. There's a puddle of water on the rock, reflecting the sky.

The magnificent Spy Rock was one of the first hikes I did before becoming a “serious” hiker and I nearly died (not really – not even close to dying, but I did come to the realization I was severely out of shape).

Spy Rock - a view of the mountains at sunset, they're slightly blue-ish. There's a puddle of water on the rock, reflecting the sky.

  1. Definitely thought the trail was way shorter than it was.
  2. Trying to get to the top before sunset added an extra level of rushing + being out of shape = couldn’t breathe 80% of the hike.
  3. Felt weird basically walking through somebody’s backyard at the start (But apparently the way we got to the trailhead is now closed…)
  4. 90% of it was uphill on a boring fire road (at least, in my memory it is. I haven’t been back since I hiked this in 2017).
  5. I’d never rock scrambled before. Ever. And I was not wearing shoes with good traction.

Anywho, it was super pretty at the top and it was exciting hustling back in the semi-dark.

10/10.

View from the top of spy rock. The Sun is poking brightly through the clouds, giving the rolling mountains a light blue appearance. Also, it's fall so the leaves are between green and red/orange. There is water on the rock reflecting the sun.

Worth it for the views.

Rolling mountains - another view from the top. The sky is bright blue, the leaves are turning from green to red and orange.The setting sun over the gold and red mountains. The sky is golden on the horizon, but blue everywhere else.