Taking a bit of a break from the graduate thesis writing to bring you my second posting about Acadia National Park, from our trip earlier in the summer. Last time, I told you about the joys of biking up a really steep trail to Witch’s Hole. So this time, I’m taking you down to the southern end of Acadia, to Jordan Pond.
Jordan Pond is a glacial lake formed during the Ice Age, so say the geologists. It is framed in on three sides by mountains: the Bubbles to the north, Penobscot to the west and Pemetic to the east. And on the southern edge you’ll find the Jordan Pond House.
The Jordans, according to the history of the house, were the landowners back in the days when Acadia and the surrounding regions were full of lumber camps. Today, the house is home to an eatery and tearoom. The food is pretty good – a lot of people come for the afternoon tea with the popovers, which go really well with butter and strawberry jam.
After partaking of said popovers, we went for a hike around the Jordan Pond loop trail. It was beautiful weather for a hike: blue skies, not too hot, and there was a good brisk breeze coming in off of the pond.
The Jordan Pond loop trail is about three miles all the way around the perimeter of the pond, give or take a few yards. There are several trails that connect the loop to other trails in the park for a longer hike; for example, it’s possible to do a ten-mile loop hike of Jordan Pond and Eagle Lake. You’ll also find trails that take you up the mountains.
Since the pond feeds into the Mount Desert Island water supply, please be careful not to do anything that would pollute the water.
The eastern side of the pond is a nice, relatively level trail, good for walking the dogs. Do watch your step in spots, since there a number of culverts with stepping stones crossing them.
The western side of the pond is a bit more rugged, particularly the northwest quadrant. (And this side of the pond is one of the reasons why the hike takes two and a half hours.) That is where you’ll find yourself climbing over and around some rocks. It’s not impossible if you’re in relatively good physical shape – we saw some families with kids making their way just fine – but it’s a bit of a workout. Make sure to wear comfortable, well-broken-in shoes or boots.
Once you make it through the rock crawl, the trail turns into a long boardwalk (or bogwalk) of rough-hewn planks crawling along the shoreline. And this continues for probably three-quarters of a mile or so. I’d advise you to watch your step; some of the boards are rather worn and decayed in spots, and some of them bounce a little bit when you step on them.
At the time of our visit in mid-August, the lovely people at the National Park Service were in the process of replacing a section of the boardwalk; there’s a section where it takes you on a short detour through the woods. Additionally, they were working on a replanting project along this section of the shoreline, so please stay on the trails.
(The Jordan Pond walk, I should note, is among the easier trails in Acadia. The Precipice, going up Cadillac Mountain, requires the hiker to ascend some iron rungs in the side of the mountain.)
Arrived back at the Jordan Pond House just as the sun was starting to set a little bit and made our way back to the car – and we joked that this was probably one of the few times of the day that you’d be certain of getting a parking spot.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Acadia National Park gets extremely busy – and crowded – during the summer season, so you may find yourself jockeying for either a parking spot or a seat on one of the Island Explorer buses. One of the buses goes directly to Jordan Pond down the center of the park.