Clio Dahyun Axilrod and her parents had joined the thousands of visitors on Sunday enthralled by the spectacular waves fueled by Hurricane Bill that were breaking off the Atlantic Coast of Acadia National Park in Maine. In a tragic moment that would change people's lives forever, a huge wave rose up and carried several onlookers off the rocks and out to sea. The others were rescued, but for the 7 year old, there would be no rescue.
If you want to learn more about these tragic deaths, as well as many others, including the story of the man who took his new bride to Otter Cliffs in Acadia and pushed her off the cliffs to her death...check out my blog on Deaths In Acadia National Park at the link below.
DEATHS IN ACADIA NATIONAL PARK IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Thanks to the work of Mathew Marchon and David Schortmann, the myth of the Great Cave is a myth no more. They are the first person's to actually produce photos of the Great Cave, and I suppose the only real mystery is why haven't there been any photos of the Great Cave before now? In large part that is because the very few who knew its location kept it a closely guarded secret, making the Great Cave of the Precipice a true Ghost Trail or Phantom trail. . I have searched books, old maps, news accounts, and no place is there a photo, until now.
Rudolph Brunnow - the builder of parts of the Precipice Trail came up with an idea on how to attract more hikers to the Trail. His idea - build a connector trail that would run from one point on the main Precipice Trail on to Great Cave, and than loop onward to another point on the Precipice Trail. This would give climbers two routes to and from the Great Cave. The VIA felt the connecter loop from the Precipice trail to Great Cave wold attract even more hikers to the newly constructed Precipice trail, and embraced the idea. With that, Brunnow set to work on building the loop to Great Cave.
The Great Cave is about 100 feet high and about 100 feet deep inside. Brunnow constructed a looping trail that included stone steps and at one spot a rock and metal bridge.
I recently heard from Nick Thorndike who brought us very good news, he
has discovered the other half of the Great Cave Loop. Not only has Nice
discovered it, he has also sent in a photo of the stone steps leading
upward above the cave - this is a huge find because I know a lot of you
have contacted me asking if anyone has discovered that half of the trail
So once at the Great Cave, When facing the cave begin to walk around the left side and being looking on you're right for the steps .(see photo below sent by by Nick) which run about the whole way up except for where you pass through a blueberry patch on the right. The trail finally comes to a footbridge which leads you to the official upper section of the Precipice Trail.
So we now have documented the entire Great Cave Loop, along with photos - a big thank you goes out to all who helped make this possible.
George B. Dorr, in honor of the work crew that helped build the Precipice Trail, built a miniature version of the Precipice trail by Glen Mary Park in downtown Bar Harbor. It is on a cliff with ladders and iron rings so people could go there and practice the climb before attempting to hike the real thing. Sadly what we thought was remains of the little Precipice turned out to be a collapsed retaining wall, so most likely all signs of it were removed many years ago.
To view photos of this great find, go to photos section under GREAT CAVE. I really have to thank him and his group for the work they put into this. Job well done.
So, yesterday armed with new information, we headed back to the trail with no name, which I refer to as "The Rock Climbers Trail." This is where the local rock climbing schools bring their students and where experienced rock climbers come with ropes and anchors to do some serious rock climbing. The same trail they use to reach the sheer walls of granite is also used to access the Hanging steps.
It should be noted that the start of this well worn trail is not at the Precipice parking lot, but 12 to 14 car lengths further down the roadway and the path is not marked and often the view of the path is blocked by parked cars. So you don't miss the trail, I suggest you park at the Precipice parking lot, or get off the free Island Explorer bus (the Sand Beach Bus) and walk down the right side of the roadway in the direction of the traffic. By doing so you will not miss the unmarked trail.
You don't get very far up the trail when you come to a sign in ledger on a post in front of a very impressive boulder. The park service likes people to sign in when entering this area and sign out when leaving as people (mainly rock climbers using ropes climbing up sheer walls) have had bad falls in there and been seriously injured. I never sign in since I have no plans on doing that kind of rock climbing.
Continue up the path a short ways right up to the sheer granite wall and take a moment to look upward - that is where the rock climbers go - straight up using ropes.
Now go left and follow the worn path along the base of that wall of granite a short ways and you can see where the trail turns right and continues to follow the edge of a granite wall.
You won't go far before you come to the strange White birch, which we refer to as the octopus, very strange White Birch.
Pass under its twisted branches look up - that huge impressive boulder seems like its ready to drop right down onto the path where your standing.
Your job is to go beyond that huge boulder and than take a right up a rising rocky gully just beyond that boulder. You won't go far when you will see the first of many stone steps on what is The Hanging Steps, or Black and Orange trail.
At this point, once you pass under the twisted white birch, the trail
goes stright a short ways, passing over a slanted section of granite.
If your like my son, simply pass over that slanted granite and hang a
right and head upward, If your like me, I didn't feel comfortable
crossing the slanted granite, so I instead went left at the tree, moved
forward, passing the mouth of a nice cave, than turned to the right and
returned to the trail, heading upward,
Just as a side note, we did poke around that huge boulder field to the left and was able to find several caves.
Once you have turned the corner and found the first stone steps, you don't need any more instructions, the trail is plain as day with some very impressive stone work along the way.
The map to the HANGING STEPS is on the same map as THE GREAT CAVE above.
Simply a great site with tons of great information, including GPS locations, old maps of Acadia National Park, and other useful information.
LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND
A nice blog with information on abandoned trails as well - oh, did I mention, the owner of the blog is the first person who has ever provided photos of THE GREAT CAVE. Upon until now, there was no photos of this mysterious cave.
HIKING IN MAINE WITH KELLEY
Another great site worth checking out if your into abandoned and lost trails. It is always nice to check out what others are doing and keep up with recent finds.
You will find a ton of great information on the trails of Acadia National Park in here, as well as information on many of the lost and abandoned trails within the park. This is worth taking the time and checking out .
SECRETS OF ACADIA
Yet another great site to visit. To tell you the truth, I thought I knew about many of the secrets of Acadia, until I found this site.