From the northern trail, you can see the four Porcupine Islands in Frenchman's Bay surrounding Bar Harbor. The views are increasingly spectacular as you ascend.
It was a beautiful day, but hot, making the climb far more challenging than any of us remembered it being last year. Cadillac Mountain is a gorgeous structure of volcanic pink granite, but it's windswept and most bare, with only occasional stands of spruce or evergreen to provide shade or cover. This peak in particular shows why the island is named Mount Desert Island.
The trails in Acadia are marked with blue blazes, but some of the hikes also have these little stone cairns.
We climbed during low tide, which was cool because it gave us the chance to see the sand bar for which Bar Harbor is named.
The town of Bar Harbor is nestled in amongst the trees by the water. It's been a tourist destination since the mid- to late-1800s.
This was a tough climb, but the kids were great. We wound up taking six bottles of water up the mountain and still had to refill at the top! We saw many, many hikers along the way who struggled with the heat and/or ran out of water.
Emma got tired and maybe a little overheated about halfway up, so we stopped and let her catch her breath in the shade of a tiny pine tree, and then she got up and pushed up to the summit. In mid-80-degree weather under a blazing sun, that was all we could ask.
We had lunch at the summit, overlooking the south side of MDI and the Cranberry Islands.
Then it was time to head back down. I personally find the descents a little harder on my knees than the climbs, but the kids weren't carrying packs, and they'd had more than enough climbing for the day.
Spirits rose as we descended until at last we reached our car in a communal state of happy family exhaustion.
If we do this climb next year, we're going to tackle the southern trail, which is supposed to be more difficult. It's longer, goes over an intermediate peak called Eagle Rock, and has a steeper climb to the summit. We'll have to engage the kids in some physical training before we do that, though.
I'm already looking forward to it.