Challenge and Reward By Jake Swartz

Life has many ups and downs, and sometimes life requires getting away, somewhere far away. Maine can do that, unless you live there. Acadia National Park is on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, a place with many adventures waiting to be experienced. I had the privilege to go there for a few days. Those days were full of adventure, from seeing the Northeastern sound, to climbing, hiking, exploring, and of course getting away.

One of the days of the Maine trip my family decided to challenge ourselves. We decided to take on the second hardest hike in the National Park (the first was closed). It’s name is the Beehive, and it can really sting. It starts at sea level and ascends 0.8 miles to a summit of 520 feet. It seems quick, but it’s not that way. I can remember waiting at the bottom of the trail anticipating the thrill and danger of what the adventure would bring. In the beginning, the trail felt like a calm walk in the woods, but then like humps on a camel the rocks came. The rocks became more numerous and the ground started to rise. This is when it hit me: this was going to be a challenge. I tried to hop from rock to rock, but the rising ground made it even more of a trial. Let me get this straight- I enjoy a challenge.

As I continued to conquer this trail, I could feel the adrenaline running through my veins. ADVENTURE, I thought. The truth is if you don’t pay attention to what’s going on---- you will die. It is especially important to pay attention when you start having to walk on the edge of the rock. Only about two and a half feet separates the rock edge, and certain death. Don’t worry it's gets even better! I remember walking at the edge of the rock and then.........the rock was gone. WHERE DO I STEP!! The trail makers left little metals bars to give us an “easy” waltz across a drop below.

These metal bars were slanted and slippery which made an easy passage near impossible. I don’t think my heart has ever beat that fast in my life! Luckily, my family and I made it over that challenge, and we continued trekking towards the summit. The rocky edges of the cliff made the experience feel even more surreal.

Photo courtesy of Garden State Hiker

I was tired but proud of what I accomplished during that hike however, I wasn’t there yet. The only way to get to the summit was to climb. The only thing that lied between me and the summit was a vertical climb up rock. The only thing to hand on to was a few hot, rusty metal rungs.

Photo Courtesy of Daveynin

I knew this was going to be hard, but I was soooo close! I rallied and began the finale. “One foot after the other” I told myself as I struggled to grip those rungs with all my strength. I kept fighting. I was almost at the top of the top of hill, so I kept pulling myself up. After much perseverance and strength, I was able to get up there. TRIUMPH!!! I continued walking around the summit. I looked down and around at the view. I could see the islands of the Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean. As I looked out at the painting in front of me, I knew it was worth the demanding exertion I just gave.

After exploring the summit for a few minutes my family and I prepared for the trek back down.

The trip back down the mountain was not the way we came up. It was another trail that's calmer and took us through the back hills, and then gradually back down through the woods.

On our way down we made a stop at a very special lake called the Bowl. We heard about it from a native to the area. What’s significant about this lake it that it is so remote that the animals that inhabit the Bowl are not used to humans. I remember putting my fingers in the clear water and all the fish coming to suck on my fingers. Fish are not the only animal that call the lake home. Leaches proudly live in the bowl especially right by the water’s edge. The view was so beautiful I could stay at the Bowl forever.

Luckily no one in my family took a leach with them when we left. The hike back down was quiet and wooded. When I got to the bottom I was proud and hungry.

Lastly, I recommend this hike to anyone who is a somewhat experienced hiker or climber, and loves a challenge. There are parts where you have to be tall enough to climb from rung to rung, so small children probably won’t enjoy the experience (unless they are lifted). Maine is a beautiful state with many secrets from beaches, to water side towns, and of course the Beehive Trail!

Created By
Jacob Swartz
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Created with images by Garden State Hiker - "The Beehive Trail"

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