Schoodic Mountain / by Greg Westrich

The Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land is one of my favorite places to hike, but I had never mapped Schoodic Mountain. I headed down alone—Ann and Emma were in Florida swimming with manatees and such; Henry stayed home and did chores rather than spend the afternoon on the trail. The afternoon threatened rain. A solid ceiling of clouds, streaked white, blue, and gray pressed down on the cool air.


There are three trails up Schoodic Mountain. One from the west that connects with the trail through Schoodic Bog (that I haven't hiked yet), one from Schoodic Beach on Donnell Pond, and one straight up the mountain from the parking area at the end of Schoodic Beach Road.


You can hike a nice loop by walking a half mile to the Pond and climbing the mountain from there, then returning down the trail directly to the parking area. Of course, that's not what I did. I began by climbing Black Mountain Cliffs Trail to the southeast end Black Mountain's long summit ridge.


Then I hiked north atop the cliffs. There are a couple of spots with good partial views, but the stair step clifftops are covered with thick spruce that block most of the views. A couple of years ago I startled a bear along this trail. All I saw was a black blur, as it hurtled downhill through the trees like a bowing ball.


The trail crosses a small stream then descends extremely steeply through an open beech forest. Eventually, the trail levels out and ends at the beach in the picnic area.


I crossed the beach and headed up Schoodic Mountain. As I climbed the sun tried—and failed—to break through the clouds. The trail crossed open granite slabs with fine views of the surrounding country and Mount Desert Island floating in the silver sea.


The top of the mountain is a large open granite dome with great views all around.


The descent back to the parking area passes a couple of huge boulders sitting in the forest and covered with moss, lichen, and ferns. I guess they got tired of the view up on the mountain and came to live in the valley with the smaller rocks that litter the woods.


A great five mile loop hike. If I ever get my publisher to approve a guide for Downeast, it'll be in it.