Acadia National Park – Rock Climbing

On Saturday I joined Chris and Jon at the Precipice climbing area.  My shoulder was still hurting, but I figured I could try climbing an easy route with one arm. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get on the rock here at least once.

This was my third climbing trip in Acadia. I love climbing here – the rock is clean and sticky, there’s a good variety of routes, there are no large crowds or lineups, and the view from the top pitches is gorgeous.

We decided to climb an easy classic –  “Story of O”.  It’s a sweet two pitch climb with some fun jamming and stemming.   I managed to get up the climb without using my right arm too much. It made for some interesting body positioning which I thought was a lot of fun.

Once we rappelled down, we were joined by our friends Fred and Cara and their kids Marie-France and Maxime.  After his parents finished the classic climb “Old Town,” they set up a top rope nearby .  Maxime, 3, harnessed up and put on his cute tiny Sportiva climbing shoes. With a little bit of help from his dad, he was able to get a good way up the cliff . You can see him in the picture below chalking up for his next big move.  With huge smiles his parents watched him go. For a pair of climbing parents, this is a big step.

Chris and Jon climbed a handful more routes that day including Chris’s lead of “Connecticut Crack” – a tricky 5.11 with delicate footwork and thin cracks.

They finished the day with a very cold ascent of “Green Mountain Breakdown.”  With the wind starting to pick up I was very happy that Jon was there to climb this with Chris instead of me.  I tend to get a bit spooked out on exposed climbs when it’s super windy.

Earlier in the afternoon, Jon Tierney, the owner of Acadia Mountain Guides was out taking pictures of the cliffs for a new guidebook for the area.  He mentioned that there will be a climbers’ festival the weekend of May 26 and 27 with movies, talks, demos, crag clean up, and all-around fun. If you haven’t climbed in Acadia before, it would be a good time to go check it out.

What a great weekend in Acadia National Park!

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Acadia National Park – Biking and Hiking

This past weekend we made the 3 /12 hour trip down to Acadia National Park/Bar Harbour in Maine.  I first visited Acadia five years ago and it quickly became one of my favorite local vacation spots.

Friday, Chris and our friend Jon C. went to the Precipice area to rock climb. As I had a minor shoulder injury I decided to take a day off from climbing and go biking and hiking.

Acadia National Park has a wonderful system of park roads that wind their way around the coastline and then inland between the mountains. The park road are closed in the winter and re-open April 15th each year.  The closed park roads were perfect for biking.  Kilometres and kilometres of smooth road and no cars to worry about.  It was my first time out biking this year and my legs were feeling it – there are a lot of hills in the park! I ended up biking 21.6 km (13.4 miles) – not bad for my first ride of the year.

Biking is one of my favorite ways to discover an area.  I can cover so much more ground than I can hiking, and it gives me the time to look around and see a lot more than I do while driving.

On this biking trip I came across a family of deer eating on the side of the road.  They were not spooked by my presence at all.  I stood twenty feet from them and took pictures for about fifteen minutes.  They just kept eating and looked at me once in a while as if to say: “Are you done yet?”

After a relaxing visit to the only sandy beach in the park, aptly named Sand Beach, I decided to drive out to the western side of the island to a hiking trail that I’d been wanting to check out for a few years.  Beech Cliff trail is located by Echo Lake (another popular swimming area in the summer) and is 1.2 kilometres return (0.8 mile). It’s a short hike, but one that switchbacks up the mountain side and ends with four iron ladders to the top. Not a trail for those scared of heights, but I’d recommend it to those looking for a shorter moderate hike in the park.

After my hike I picked up the guys, happy with their successful climbing day, and we headed out to our accommodations at Acadia Suites. This is a great spot to stay in Bar Harbour – off-season rates of $75 per night for a one-bedroom (queen size bed plus single-bed), large kitchen and living room with pull-out sofa.

We recaped our adventures from the day and talked about what rock climbs we’d attempt the next day…