Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pemetic Mountain Hike

None too pleased with the foggy view on top of the mountain!
On my first full day of vacation in Acadia National Park (Maine), I led Cathy and Dan and their two children, ages 8 and 10, on a hike up Pemetic Mountain. The skies were overcast with drizzle, but these friends of mine and their children are a hardy bunch, and a little drizzle wasn't going to stop us. The ascent of the mountain was a short distance but steep. According to, the 0.9 mile ascent rose 869 feet--a 17% grade. This was not especially hard for the adults in the group, but the 8-year old boy had trouble climbing over boulders, many of which were half his height. We kept saying "This hike sure would be more difficult if it were raining harder." Well, that's foreshadowing! The mountain was enveloped in fog so we had none of the spectacular views that I promised (I had climbed this mountain several times before). Still, our spirits weren't dampened, even if our bodies were.

My friend Dan helps his 10-year old daughter climb down a steep rock ledge.
The descent was much harder. We dropped 755 feet in 0.25 mile. No kidding. That's a 57% grade straight down. Well, not straight down, but you get the idea. In rain. With two children. I went first, then the 8-year old. Then their dad (Dan), the 10-year old, and their mom. The trail of course wasn't much of a trail. I was just following blazes painted on the rock face. The 8-year old needed me to hold his hand the entire time, and perhaps two dozen times I needed to lift his 75 pounds up and over ledges and rock crevices (as illustrated in the photo). This provided a great workout for my posterior deltoids! In general, this was excellent for my leg muscles, too. I relied heavily on my boots' traction and they never failed me. The descent was not particularly fun, but this was mainly due to the fact that the 8-year old's life was literally in my hands. I'm not a father myself, but now I see how parenthood can cause fears that other adults don't have. 

Overall, the hike was only 1.6 miles. It took nearly 4 hours to complete.

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