I like hiking in the desert, because I can make my plans long in advance and pretty much know what weather to expect. That’s not true in coastal Maine, in Acadia National Park. We arranged several days for our Acadia trip to allow for this variation, lost one mostly to rain, and then went to do our ascent of Cadillac on the following damp morning.
Our intended route was Gorge Path to Cadillac Summit, returning by the Cadillac North Ridge Trail. We set out into the woods early and saw nobody. Gorge Path starts in the forest, crossing many streams before reaching a rocky gorge with hundreds of winding, sturdy stone steps. The forest was particularly drippy, and the gorge was grey stone and dark green moss, with the sun poking out occasionally. It looked like a movie set where dwarves and goblins might appear. (They didn’t.)
After a couple of solitary miles, we reached an intersection that said we were just a couple of tenths of a mile from Dorr Mountain. It was out of the way, but I checked my book which said it was a fun scramble and good views. So up we went. Short, very steep, worth the detour. We reached the large, long summit and saw … fog. At one end of the summit a huge cairn loomed darkly in the mist. We looked at it for a while because that was all we could see. A few other hardy hikers came from another direction, said what was probably “I don’t see anything” in German, waved at us and left.
I stared at the cairn for another moment when my wife exclaimed “look!” I turned to where she was pointing and suddenly Cadillac Mountain was visible. It disappeared into the fog a few seconds later and seemed determined to stay gone, so we went back down the scramble to the Gorge Path and started our ascent of Cadillac. The final part of Gorge Path is steep and switchbacky, not technically difficult but tiring. As we went up, the weather improved. We could see some of the surrounding mountains, but not as far as we would have liked.
Our return by the North Ridge Trail was very nice. Conditions got steadily better. The Ridge has a lot of open exposure with frequent and surprisingly varied views.
Cadillac Mountain has a road to the summit, so we drove up the next day and had good views.