What an amazing day full of unexpected adventures and finds! It all began this morning when we realized we both were in the mood for a light breakfast. Mount Dessert Bakery was closed today and we really weren’t hungry enough for anything as heavy as what we would normally get from 2 Cats or Jeannie’s.
At that point I remembered that there was someone in town who sold baked goods from her home. I eventually found her website and discovered that the little bakery, the Flowered Apron, is only open on weekends: good thing today was Sunday!
Well, the place on Kennebec Street is amazing. Such a cute setup with everything clean and tidy and, of course, delicious! We ended up with pear upside down cake and cranberry zucchini bread, tea and coffee, eaten on their front porch while we enjoyed interesting discussion about what had happened to the former Morning Glory Bakery, where the owner had worked (I knew I recognized her from somewhere!) and our abandoned trail seeking.
Today’s goal was to find another one of those carved crosses, this one on Kebo Mountain, just south of the Hemlock Trail right before it reaches the Kebo Mountain Trail.
Beginning at a large hemlock tree in the west line of land of Charles C, Burrill, said tree marking the southwest corner of the Humphrey Stanwood lot, so-called; […] then on the same course, S 6° 30′ W, following the west line of land of John B. How and the estate of Charles T. How, 412.5 feet to an iron bolt set in the ledge and a cross cut in the ledge on Kebo Mountain, said bolt marking the southwest corner of said land of How; […].
We took the Sand Beach bus to Sieur de Monts, noticing that the schedule has changed this year, both the timing and the route. We will have to keep this in mind. We won’t be able to take that bus back to the village green from Sieur de Monts anymore; we’ll have to take the Blackwoods bus.
From Sieur de Monts we followed the Hemlock Trail northwest and then west toward the coordinates I had determined for the carved cross. Having done our research beforehand, this cross turned out to be an easy and quick find, and as exciting as the ones on Cadillac Mountain. It was off-trail enough to make it a challenge, but not a particularly draining one. We had plenty of energy left afterward, so we decided to hike up and over Kebo Mountain.
At some point I remembered that I had wanted to search once more for the “mythical” Kebo Mountain staircase. Last year, we tried and failed to find this set of steps, searching from Stratheden Path at the base of Kebo Mountain. Based on the terrain in that area, I guessed that we might have better luck if we searched instead from the top of the ridge along the Kebo Mountain Trail.
One of the maps (1942 Acadia topo) shows a little path connecting Stratheden with the saddle of Kebo (between the summit and the other high point to the south) and I figured that would be a good place to look. Once we got to that saddle, I entered the woods and started looking around. Initially I was heading toward coordinates that should have been near the little connector path we had identified from the map.
I worked my way down to a distinctive ledge I know I had reached last year from the bottom, and hadn’t found anything there, so at this point I decided to widen the search and moved just a little bit to the north. Very soon I spotted a small rock on top of a boulder. It could have been natural, but it sure looked like a cairn to me. On another large boulder nearby I saw another one. I looked downhill and saw another small rock on a boulder, worked my way down further and, well, there were the steps in all their glory! So beautiful!!!
When I turned around to look back uphill, I noticed that there were actually more steps that I had just passed and hadn’t noticed.
The staircase is in good condition overall, with some breaks where steps have slid out of place or been covered with debris. I went back up to the trail to get Rich, who was waiting near the saddle while I scouted around, and brought him down to see the steps.
We completed the hike over Kebo and looped back around on Stratheden. Of course we wanted to try to complete the “staircase” trail from the bottom! We walked into the woods toward the location of the steps and again started spotting small cairns here and there. I was able to make the connection to the bottom of the steps, so now we have that whole little trail mapped out (and a nice little shortcut between Stratheden Path and Kebo Mountain Trail!). It’s only sketchy in one or two areas and is in good shape overall. We had to wonder who was putting cairns there since no one admitted knowing about the steps, although there were plenty of rumors. Near the base of the steps I found a “Forest Health” survey disk, so I wonder if that crew might have marked the way.
For one more little adventure, on the way back along Stratheden we took a quick look for the granite mining site that a local blogger has written about. We found it easily and it was yet another amazing secret of the park. There was even some twisted metal left from the works, maybe a cart or some kind of moving equipment.
Thoroughly tired by now, we followed the Hemlock Road back toward Sieur de Monts, where we had to wait a little while for the Blackwoods bus to come by. It was pretty much on schedule and took us right back to the Village Green. Dinner was at he Black Friar. It was delicious and very filling as usual, in a cozy environment! We started with Welsh Rarebit and chicken chili, both of which really hit the spot. Also hitting the spot were some beers: Rising Tide IPA for Rich and Dirigo blueberry ale for me. Rich had the venison burger with applesauce, onion, cheddar, excellent fries with skins on, and pickle. I had the pecan crusted halibut with green beans and very flavorful rice pilaf.
Too stuffed for dessert initially, we took a little walk around town and eventually ended up getting baby scoops at MDI Ice Cream again (strawberry for Rich and sour cherry sorbet for me).