On our last day in Acadia National Park we hiked a 7-mile loop that included Acadia’s tallest peak, Cadillac Mountain. At 1528’, it’s the tallest peak on the North Atlantic Seaboard.
Hiking in Acadia offers a multitude of landscapes to explore. Our route ranged from smooth granite balds to dense forest along mountain streams. The ocean and surrounding ridges were in our views.
Despite its relatively low elevation, Cadillac is home to vegetation that we also saw higher up in the White Mountains. For example, there was plenty of Sheep Laurel flowering on the open granite slopes of Cadillac.
Sheep Laurel and other heaths at high elevation establish themselves in areas that are denude of tree cover. Severe wind and snow make it impossible for trees to survive. So even though Cadillac is at 1528’ its severe weather creates communities similar to higher elevations in the Northeast. Mt. Desert Island gets pounded by Nor’easters, and fog constantly blankets these ridges reducing photosynthetic activity. Historically, fires swept through, albeit every few hundred years, leaving the exposed granite. The severe weather and fog is enough to slow vegetative growth to keep the ridges open between fires.
For some interesting insight on the geology and ecology of Acadia (and other granite mountains) check out Tom Wessels’ The Granite Landscape.
After summiting Cadillac from the North we headed down its south ridge to The Featherbed (a small pond) where we took Canon Brook up to Dorr Peak.
Our hike ended at one of Acadia's stone bridges. Our feet enjoyed a cold soak in the stream as we sipped a delicious hoppy session ale from Portland’s Rising Tide Brewery.