Friday, August 1, 2014

Eagle Lake, Acadia NP, Mount Desert Island

   Acadia National Park is an inspiring place, not just because of its great beauty but because of all the "do-ers" it attracts.  People come to Acadia not to sit and ponder, but to do; to bike, to hike and to paddle.
  Access to Eagle Lake is right off a public road, Route 233.  When we arrived, we could see the upper lot was full and about thirty cars were parked along the street sides.  So we were surprised to discover parking right by the boat launch in the smaller lake side lot.
   Most of the others were bicyclists, looking to loop the lake on grand carriage trails.  Others had longer adventures planned; one group asked us which trail headed to Jordan Pond where they planned to lunch.  (I'm not sure why they asked us, since clearly we weren't headed to Jordan Pond.  But possibly since we were pumping up our paddle boards we were a stationary target. )
   As crowded as the parking area was, you soon find privacy along the carriage trails and on the lake.
  Eagle Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the park, and the water supply for Bar Harbor.   Swimming, wind surfing, wading, and boats over 10hp aren't allowed on the lake.  It's chief draw is the backdrop of mountains.
  There were other boats on the water, a trio of kayaks and a solo kayak already out, a pair who launched behind us.  As we paddled we heard murmurs from the woods, bicyclists communicating with their group.
Taking a break along the shore.  True to Leave no Trace I've chosen a rock with no lichen, and I'm keeping my feet out of the water.  The straw gardening hat was cool but totally unsuited for paddling.  It blocked the forward view, so I wound up bending the brim back.
   The water was clear, and through there are fish in the lake, I didn't spot any.  The bottom seemed blank and nearly sterile.

   Along the east shore we found this rock shelter.  In 1885 a small hotel, the Curran House was built beside the dam on the north side of the lake.  The hotel built a small wharf from which the steamboat Wauwinnet transported guests to wharf on the east side where a railroad climbed Mount Cadillac.   Pictures of the hotel, steamboat and railroad can be found in a History of Bar Harbor Water Company pdf (the Eagle Lake story starts on page 75.)    Those pictures show no stone buildings, so my guess is the rockwork was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in the 1930's as an enhancement to the carriage trails.

   All in all a lovely, quiet paddle.  
A bicyclist by the dam, where Curran House once stood
  Summary:  Access off Route 233, limited parking in the lots, the roadside seemed quite full as we left.  Pit toilets.  No swimming, no wind surfing.  When we left, we kept the boards inflated, a park ranger came and parked beside us saying not a word, which was delightful because it verified that paddle boards and our parking space were allowable at the park.
   We left our boards inflated so we could check for snakes at the Ellsworth Launch on the Union River.  Midday none were found, which was not really a surprise, they'd be more likely sunning on the rocks on a cooler day or in morning or evening light.  However several eagles were having great success fishing.


No comments:

Post a Comment