Monday, June 18, 2007
A view from the top
So Kira, my five-year old daughter, had two milestones on our brief getaway to Bar Harbor: She lost her first tooth and climbed her first mountain…fortunately the two were not interconnected.
Mount Cadillac rises 1,532 feet,the tallest mountain on Mt. Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park. About half the height of Mt. Greylock or a quarter of Mt Washington it is nevertheless challenging enough so that the majority of folks you encounter at the top got there by automobile.
Before starting out we assisted two women with horses move a cart around a locked gate on the carriage road by dragging and lifting the cart up a grassy incline and over a small boulder or two.
Kira and Donna were so enthralled with the horses that my wife forgot to pack water for our climb, and we didn’t notice until we had hiked for perhaps 15 minutes. Knowing water was available on the summit we decided to keep going, strait up.
The weather was virtually perfect on this late morning with the sun shining brightly in a cloudless sky, 72 degrees and low humidity.
But after about 45 minutes of steady climbing with sweat dripping freely from our brows I started to question in my own mind the decision not to return to the car for water. About then we came upon a small group of teens--three boys and three girls—sitting clustered comfortable in a shady area under a small pine tree.
One of them dropped a half-full water bottle and it rolled quickly down a rock outcropping and then cascaded out of sight. Just a stark reminder to pay close attention as we continued upward.
Kira never complained, even though she occasionally had to scamper on all fours when things got really steep. Donna or I would hold her hand for extended periods and on occasion I would give her a boost up to a safe perch with Donna then pulling from above.
As we neared the top a couple coming down marveled at Kira having made it that far. I said, “we’re bribing her with the hotel swimming pool” .
We made steady progress and arrived at the summit in about one hour and thirty-five minutes, heading strait for the cold water. On the way down we again encountered the half-dozen teenagers still heading towards the top. And way down near the bottom of the mountain, we found the bottle of water they had lost.