Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.
Today was the undisputed highlight of the trip for me. A group of us took the local bus out to Jordan Pond, which is in the Acadia National Forest. Some of us took an old-fashioned carriage ride along the roads. Adam Rodenbeck and I split off from the group and hiked on some of the trails surrounding the pond.
It was a very empowering experience...just us and our GPS units against the world! We started out on a trail that wound along the perimeter of the lake, which was about three miles, but we decided to leave that trail and check out the Deer Brook Trail. The Deer Brook Trail literally required us to scramble up the side of a waterfall. When we first started on that trail, we thought we had made some kind of a mistake, there didn't seem to be any trail, it was just a bunch of rocks heading straight up. An Irishman came down the hill and told us that this was indeed the Deer Brook Trail. He said that he'd fallen twice on it and he convinced us to turn around and head back to the main trail. We were on our way back, when we stopped and decided that we didn't want to give up so easily, especially based on a guy’s preconceived notions of what we could handle who we didn’t even know. So, back up the trail we went.
After a few minutes of scrambling up the rocks, we began to feel pretty confident again...when, all of a sudden, the trail required us to walk across a bunch of boulders that crossed the waterfall. Again, we considered turning around, but I scouted ahead with my cane, using it to feel the shape and size of each rock and determined that it was indeed safe for us to proceed. We took the rocks very slowly. I would use my cane to find the next rock, step onto it, and then pass it back to Adam (who uses a guide dog) and then he would use the cane to feel his way too.
After we had safely crossed the waterfall, a group of people on the other side told us that the trail was dangerous ahead and that we should go back. We considered their suggestion, but again we decided that we would only turn back once WE had decided that we couldn't do it anymore.
So, we continued climbing again. But eventually we got to a point, where we just couldn't figure out where the trail continued. At this point the trail was just a bunch of rocks going straight up the hill, but even the rock trail seemed to disappear into the foliage and the side of the hill. Just as we were about to go back, we ran across a group of tourists who showed us back to the trail. The trail crossed the waterfall on some rocks again and then it was another steep climb up to the carriage road. We walked on the carriage road back to the Visitor's Center, grinning like idiots the whole way. We were so happy that we persisted and hadn't turned around.
The GPS was very useful to us throughout the hike, as we were able to drop waypoints along the way like electronic virtual bread crumbs. If we had gotten lost or discovered that the trail was more than our skill level allowed, we could have easily gone back the way we had come. The GPS was also useful to us once we had gotten to the top of the Deer Brook Trail, as it helped us to get back to the Visitor's Center without a problem.
To top off the day, once we had gotten back into town, we stopped at Ben and Bill's Chocolate Emporium. Who could ask for more than Fresh air, a challenging hike, camaraderie and chocolate?
Stacy Cervenka, Minnesota