Dorr Mountain climb began at the Otter Creek Rd parking lot Rt 3 on Mount Desert Island. Since we started out a little bit later this morning, not starting the climb till around noon I wasn't sure I was ready for the the Ladder trail to the left, so today we decided to climb heading up by the East Face Trail via the Kurt Diederich, Schiff and South Ridge trail to the summit. Dorr Mountain was named for George Dorr who came to MDI in 1868 on vacation with his parents. The remains of the family residence, Old Farm, at Compass Harbor in Bar Harbor, are part of Acadia National Park today. This will be a must see for me as well. George fell in love with the island and had a vision of creating a park from land he was able to purchase and then advocating from landowners on the island to give away their land for the cause, enough donated land to qualify for a National Park. His mission in life was to preserve as much land as he could on MDI. He wanted something to leave for future generations to enjoy. He was called the "Father of Acadia" by all who knew him. George devoted four decades of his life and all of his fortune to his cause. He was a conservationist, co-founder and first superintendent of Acadia National Park. The mountain we climb today graces his name. He inspires Dave and I, as he must so many others before us which includes Ronald Epp and wife who were tourists to MDI visiting the first time in 1985. He is a philanthropist excited to experience the wildness and beauty that Acadia holds, that same excitement that we feel and love. Ronald and his wife, through the years hiked most of Acadia and everywhere they went, conversations and acknowledgments, George Dorr's name came up. Ronald started looking for any information that he could about George, research that took fifteen years to complete. Ronald's accomplishment at age 73 was the completion of his publication “Creating Acadia National Park: The Biography of George Bucknam Dorr,” this book was released April 1, in time for the Acadia 2016 Centennial celebration. I read that because of the efforts of three men, Charles W. Eliot, John D. Rockefeller and George Dorr in 1916 — 100 years ago — President Woodrow Wilson accepted what today is the first parcel of Acadia National Park, the 5,000-acre Sieur de Monts Spring National Monument. I can't wait to spy this book in the quaint town of Bar Harbor, hoping the author will be available at some point to sign a copy for me. It will be a good read while relaxing at the campsite after a long day of hiking with my hunny.
Walking the mountain trail today all of these things that I have read about the history of George Dorr and this mountain ran through my head as we climbed the hundreds upon hundreds of stone granite steps to the summit and reflect on the physical hard back-breaking work that must have gone into the creation of the switch back trail to the top and how they were formed with the placement of step stones. As we climbed higher we were able to see Beachcroft, Huguenot Head, on the shoulder of Champlain Mountain. ( Beachcroft is the next mountain we will climb) We had a great view of the ocean, the porcupine islands, bar island, the Great Meadow and the Tarn below us. As a measuring tool we took pictures of Beachcroft Mountain which blocked the sea until we got closer to the top of Dorr. At one point we knew we were higher than Huguenot Head because the ocean was all the way across the horizon. I read that there are two "scramble" trails on Dorr Mountain that lead to the open summit, I wasn't sure what a scramble trail was but quickly found out once I found myself close to the summit. I was scrambling the rock surface at a steep pitch upward. I also read that anyone making the hike to the summit brings a rock to place on the rock pile at the top. After scrambling I was happy that the rock I chose was fairly small in size but Dave on the other hand, wanted his rock to make a big difference, but then he didn't have any problem hiking to the mountaintop either. My rock was just right size in my pocket as I ascended. It was in the shape of a heart. I was bringing it along...for the love of the climb, but after climbing the steep rock to the top, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. At times, the air became very thin and hard to breath, whether from the excitement and anticipation of reaching the top, the scrambling over the rock face or the thin air, when I placed that rock it would mean so much more to me. Dave and I talked about the many times through the years we drove up to Mt Cadillac got out of the truck and stood for a few minutes looking over the horizon then headed back down, but today, today it seems with our climb up standing there marveling at our accomplishments of making it to the top, we stood quietly and looked around, we felt the peacefulness and calm of being there. It was incredible, I looked at Dave and knew he felt it too. We felt we earned the right to breath in that fresh mountain air and looked to the beauty that was all around us as we stood in awe at the view and our efforts. I placed my rock on the top of the pile. I was here!
Looking around I noticed a wooden marker and noted that Dorr Mountain is 1270 feet to the top of the summit. The second highest peak in Acadia National Park second to Cadillac Mountain. While we were taking a picture of us on the summit of Dorr, we turned toward the ocean to see five people waving to us from Huguenot Head and turning toward Cadillac mountain two people were on that summit waving back. We gave them all a wave then took a few minutes to reflect our accomplishments for the day and started our descent. I noticed there are many types of trees on the trails Hardwood, Hemlock, Mixed Pine, Birch Grove, and Alpine. I think we saw them our trip up. Not very much foliage out yet anywhere but spring is here and it will be exceptional in a few weeks time. What there was though, was a whole lot of stone steps. One trail that we didn't have time to follow today was called the Hemlock trail. It is on the North Ridge trail. If we would have had more time today we could have gone .6 miles crossing over and down through the Gorge trail and back up the East side to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, where we recently waved to other hikers, but we will just have to keep it for another day. On the way down once we reached the Kurk Diederich trail turning right we chose to go straight on the Homan's Path which years ago was a lost path along with Emery trail due to rock slides in 2003/2007. Happy it was cleared a few years ago, this trail took us to the Sieur de Monts Spring ...the same one that in 1916 was the first parcel of Acadia National Park, the 5,000-acre Sieur de Monts Spring National Monument. Dave and I crossed onto the Jesup Path and headed back to our truck. This was the tallest mountain that Dave and I have hiked so far. Dorr Mountain at the moment is Dave's favorite hike on foot.