LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
There are a number of little known facts you may or may not of heard of about Acadia National Park.
THE GENTLEMAN BANDIT OF GREEN MOUNTAIN
Once Cadillac Mountain was named Green Mountain, and unlike todays modern Cadillac Mountain summit Road which takes cars to the summit of the mountain, Green Mountain had the Buckboard Road. The Buckboard Road was a rough dirt road which made its way to the summit, and the road was a toll road.
But trips along the Buckboard Road, for a time anyways, held an air of danger because a masked gunman operated along the dirt road, appearing out of nowhere and holding up people. The gunman would demand all the money, watches and rings from the men, but tell the women to keep their stuff. After a number of daring robberies the masked gunman was given the name "The Gentleman Bandit," in the local paper.
Rewards were posted, but the masked gunman was never captured.
THE ABANDONED HOUSE OF EAGLE LAKE
Setting just inside the woods along the water's edge of Eagle Lake is a large foundation whose remaining walls tell of just how majestic the house house which was being built would of been. I say would of been because the house was never finished, and for many years the story behind the foundation remained a mystery.
The family who were building the house were summer residents to the island, and it was to be their dream home. The huge foundation had already been constructed, with large arched windows and an even larger arched doorway looking out over the lake, when George B. Dorr approached the couple and talked them into stopping construction of their home. If you are not aware of who George B. dorr was, many consider him to be the Father of Acadia National Park.
The story for years was that the town of Bar Harbor issued a stop work order on the construction of the house, because the house was being built close to the town's drinking water supply. And since Dorr was connected to the Bar Harbor water Company, it might well be that his request for the family to stop construction on the house may of been as a result of his role with the water company.
One thing we do know is that Dorr had a vision for the area and he would not of wanted homes being constructed along Eagle Lake. Not long after the family agreed to stop construction of their home, Dorr began to lobby the Maine Legislature to seek permanet protection for some of the areas lakes and ponds. Soon a bill passed protecting the waters of places like Eagle Lake, Jordan Pond and Bubble Pond.
THE SEA MONSTER OF THE FEATHERBED
It is hard to believe today, but once many years ago people believed that a sea monster lived in the waters of the Featherbed, a small mountain pond located along the Cadillac Mountain Southwest Trail. People who claimed to have seen the sea creature discribed it as being a very large snake like creature that came out of the water whenever soneone tried to pass through the area near the pond.
The stories of this large sea creature were published in the local paper, and soon the area around the pond took on the title of snake Flats, which can be found on old maps of Acadia National Park.
It is said some rituial was performed by the pond to rid it of the sea creature, it must of worked because it has been a very long time since any such sea monster has been spotted in the waters of the Featherbed.
THE GLACIAL ROCKS OF BAR ISLAND
Countless people cross over the sand bar each year in Bar Harbor Maine to hike the trail on Bar Island and exlore the old foundations scattered throughout the woods there. The sand bar can only be crossed at low tide, at other times the sand bar is under water.
But very few of the visitors to Bar Island ever find the unmarked and almost hidden trail there that leads to some gigantic glacial rocks. Some locals refer to the trail as Yhe Glacial Rock trail.
Those that do stumble upon the trail and follow it to its end are impressed at what they find, with one massive boulder perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
To locate the hidden trail, walk to Bar Island at low tide, Follow the dirt road which runs in a straight line up through the woods. When the road turns sharply to the right, look for the unmarked trail on the left. It is well worn and easy to follow.
THE MAGICAL STONES OF LITTLE HUNTER'S BEACH
Little Hunters Beach in Acadia National Park has no signs telling you that you are there, no parking lot, in fact most visitors to the park pass right by the little beach without ever knowing its there. So what is so great about Little hunter's Beach?
It is a stone beach set back in a tiny cove. And as the tide's coming in you can watch as huge waves break over the rocks further out, but Little Hunters Beach is best known for its perfectly smooth oval and round stones, perfectly formed by the waves from the ocean as they rush inward toward the beach. The ocean waves have the same effect on the stones there as a rock tumbler does on stones placed inside it, by this magic is performed by nature.
There are some who claim that these perfectly smooth stones hold a magical quality to them - as if they held some healing powers to them, and in recent years some people have begun to carry away the stones of Little Hunter's Beach - something that I will point out is illegal to do. In recent years the park service has begun to crack down on people who steal stones from the national Park.
There is only one way to reach the beach and not take a chance on missing it. Begin at Blackwoods Campground along route 3 in Otter Creek. The free Island Explorer buses go there through out the day, you want the Sand Beach bus. Once at the campground, from the bus stop, with the rangers checkin station behind you, walk ahead and take the road to the left, you will have woods on the left of you as you walk up it and tent sites on your right.
You will soon come to a path on the left, follow it a short ways to the Park Loop road. Turn right and follow the Park Loop road until you come to a small bridge with a wooden staircase on the left hand side of the bridge - Little Hunters Beach is below.
Today you will not find turtle Pond on any map, and that is because what was Turtle Pond was renamed Bubble Pond. In all my visits to the pond I have only seen one turtle there, but maybe years ago it was once a major turtle hangout.
What todays Bubble Pond is best known for is the loon's that come out onto the pond at dusk. Their haunting cries carry across the entire lake, but be warned, should you go there in the evening take along a very good insect repellant or the bugs will eat you alive.
THE MISSING GATEHOUSE
Acadia National Park has two majestic gate houses, one is located across the road from the famous Jordan Pond Teahouse, the other is located off route 3 near the Brown Mountain Parking lot, known as the Brown Mountain Gatehouse.
but few know that a third gate house was suppose to be built, but its construction was never started. it was to be built on the shore of Eagle lake. Some say the reason it was never built was because it was to include stables for horses, and it was felt at the time that the horses would end up polutting the town's drinking water supply.
DOES A 12 YEAR OLD GIRLS GHOST HAUNT THE PRECIPICE TRAIL?
It is a documented fact that in the mid 1800's two 12 year old school girls made their way up the precipice, most likely taking a popular route back than that ran up past a place known as The Great Cave. The two girls climbed upon a large boulder in an area just abouve the Great Cave, in an attempt to see if they could see an Uncle's farmstead down below on the Schooner Head Road. As soon as the second girl got onto the boulder, it gave way, tossing one guirl off to the side with minor in jures and carrying the other girl down the side of the mountain to her death.
As far as her ghost haunting the Precipice, there is yet more to the story. The family was poor and could not afford a headstone for their daughter, who was buried in a tiny cemetery in Bar Harbor, located across from the Library on Mount desert Street. Sp for years the girls body lie in the ground without a marker. and at least one piece in an old book stated the family went to the area where their daughter died and placed a small cross there.
So if your on the Precipice Trail on one of those days when the fog moves in, and your on a ledge and think you hear the sound of some one behind you, and turn to find no one there, or you hear a small girls voice up ahead but never see anyone, you may very well have encounted the ghost of that little girl.
Anemone cave is an ancient sea cave that can only be entered two hours before low tide and up to two hours after low tide. Anemone Cave was once one of the jewels in the Parks crown, but years ago the Park Service abandoned the cave, removing all signs, and taking down an iron railing that helped get people safely down to the mouth of the cave. The Park Service even asked the map makers to stop listing the cave on future maps, which sadly, they agreed to do.
At least one book claims that the sea cave is haunted by all the souls who have become trapped in the cave and drowned. I had never heard of anyone drowning in Anemone Cave and decided to research it to see if in fact, there was any such account out there.
I was surprised when I came across a newspaper account of just such a tragidy which took place not that many years ago. Two students from the nearby college had been out rock climbing that day, and had made their way from Great Head to the area by the cliffs above the sea cave. They were going to call it a day when they decided to do one final climb.
They roped down and entered the cave, and set up gear so they could examine the ceiling of the cave. Meanwhile, a storm was approaching and it began to rain. soon the waves outside the cave grew as the tide rose, sending waves crashing into the cave. The two attemped repeatedly to escape the cave, but each time were thrown back by incoming waves. Finally one of the students made it to the rope and somehow managed to climb to the cliff above, but for Douglas rose, there was no such escape. His body was recovered the following day from inside the cave.
Now if such an accident could have taken place in recent times, it only makes sense that from way back in the 1800's until today, surely others have drown in the cave as well.
Anemone cave in Acadia National Park is not on maps today but is on old maps of the park. The best way to reach the cave is by driving down the Schooner Head road until you reach a four way intersection. turn left into the Schooner Head Overlook parking area. Follow a narrow paved path from the parking lot, as soon as you reach the cliff, you are standing on the roof of the cave. The iron railings, now removed, use to be to the right, helping people safely down to the cave. The floor of the cave is extremely slippery and the cave can only be entered at low tide.
HOW A PLANE ENDED UP ON CEDAR SWAMP MOUNTAIN
When I am hiking in Acadia National Park, as I often do, the last thing I think of is that a plane might come crashing down out of the sky, but one day that is exactly what happened on Cedar Swamp Mountain. An air force Captain was flying a plane during bad weather and ended up fling into the mountain side, not far from the summit. The entire plane is still there in the woods, as is the seat that the pilot had to be cut free from.
Cedar swamp mountain is in Acadia National park, not far from Sargent mountain and a hiking trail passes close by the summit of Cedar Swamp summit. It is said that the plane is not hard to locate, taking people who went there for the first time about 15 to 20 minutes to locate it. However, the hike up to Cedar swamp mountain takes at least two hours one way.
THE GATES OF EDEN
I first saw the name The Gates of eden on an old map of acadia national Park, and wondered why it appeared on the map. As it turns out George B. dorr gave that area of the park the title of being The Gates of eden. so where in acadia national Park can these gates be located?
The old map shows the spot to be near one end of the tarn, the end toward otter creek. It is located at an intersection of the Kane trail and the Dorr Mountain Ladder Trail - that is the spot dorr marked as the Gates of eden. There are a couple reasons he may of given that area that name. If you have ever had the pleasure of hiking the Kane trail in autumn as the leaves are changing color, it is an amazing display of bright colors, so dorr may of had that in mind when he named that area. Dorr was also very interested in an area known as Indian Pass, the Kane Trail was once part of Indian pass, so dorr might of had that in mind when he gave the area that name.
THE SWEET WATERS OF ACADIA
George B. dorr had a deep interest in natural springs and in what today is named Sieur de Monts spring, dorr first names it The Sweet waters of Acadia. If you search closely around the area near the domed spring, you will find a huge stone he had engraved with the words "The sweet Waters of acadia>' on it.
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK RANGER KILLED BY POACHER
We don't think of our National Parks as being a dangerous place to go to in the fall, during that time when hunting season is in full swing, and there is a good reason for that, places like acadia national park have a ban on hunting. So as we hike or jog along a trail or carriage road, we don't expect to encounter people walking up ahead of us with guns, but it happens. over the years at different times, I have encounted people in the park carrying guns. Its either people who have no idea that it is illegal to hunt in the National park here, or they simply don't care.
Back on Nov. 13, 1938, Acadia National Park Ranger Jacobson, along with his wife, was doing a boundary patrol in acadia National Park when he spotted a car parked by a field. He pulled over to investagate while his wife waited for him in the car. The park had been having problems with deer poachers, and as the ranger approached an elderly man, the man turned around with a shotgun and fired, hitting and killing the park ranger.
In court the elderly man would say he thought the ranger was a deer, and because of the elderly mans age and health, he was ordered to serve one day in prison.
MURDER AT OTTER CLIFFS
when I go into Acadia National Park for a hike the last thing on my mind is that some one somewhere in the park could be murdering some one - but that is exactly what happened one day at a popular place in acadia national park known as Otter cliffs.
It might be said that Mr Larson did not have good luck when it came to marriages. His first wife drowned in a fast moving creek in another state. His second wife divorced him. He came to Maine and placed ads in newspapers looking for a thrid wife, Kathy Frost answered his ad. Little did she know that a day after they exchanged their voews, Mr Larson took out a $200,000 insurance policy on her.
Mr Larson, now living out of state, told his new bride he wanted to return to maine and take a vacation in Bar Harbor. By now, she knew the marriage to Mr Larson had been a bad idea, and told friends and family members that she was going to tell mr Larson the marriage was not working and that she wanted out of it. she also told people she did not want to go to maine with him.
He talked her into taking the trip, and once at Bar Harbor, took her into Acadia National park. On a steep shear cliff he pushed her off the cliff to her death. He claimed they went their seperate ways, her along the cliff in one direction, and he in another direction, but the story did not make sense to her family and friends, who said she had a deep fear of heigths.
Mr Larson would later admit to pushing her from the cliff, as well as having drowned his first wife in a creek, from whom he also collected an insurance policy from.
At a much later date, in a Maine courtroom, Mr Larson made a dash for a window and leaped out it, falling to his own death.