It’s no secret that Maine experiences intense winter weather, and although the coastal climate in Bar Harbor is milder than inland, it is still quite a change from what many COA students are used to. But the cold shouldn’t keep us from enjoying the beauty that is Acadia National Park, and it’s practically our backyard! 

This Sunday, I hiked Dorr Mountain with two wonderful women I am happy to call my schoolmates, Ruby and Alex. Dorr’s summit is 1,270 feet high, and it is right next to Cadillac Mountain, the highest on Mount Desert Island. All bundled up, with map (made by Ruby in GIS lab!) and compass in hand, we headed out into the woods.

View of Dorr Mountain

The weather was relatively mild, sunny with a high of 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Once we got moving, our bodies heated up quickly and we even shed some layers to let the winter sun kiss our skin.

One of the most exciting parts of the hike was encountering a beaver dam. I had never seen one before, and I was simply amazed at the handiwork of these little creatures.

Beaver dam along the trail

I was very thankful to have received a pair of ice cleats from my mom for Christmas, as they proved to be invaluable for hiking on icy trails. My winter boots were transformed into perfect hiking shoes, and I felt much safer out on the trail.

My amazing ice cleats. Thanks, Mom!

Although some parts were icy, hiking in the snow was even more fun than I had expected. The snow provides a cushion for your knees and allows you to almost float up and down the mountain, and the ice makes for a fun challenge. The stillness of the forest in winter is so serene, and with views of snow-covered mountains along the ocean, I couldn’t have asked for a better morning.

My lovely hiking partners. The forest took our breath away!

The views from the summit of Dorr Mountain were simply spectacular, as I hope these snapshots may begin to convey.

Looking out over icy granite into the ocean from the summit of Dorr Mountain at 1,270ft

The way down was certainly a challenge, but the fresh air and majestic landscape made it all worth it.

Getting outside on this winter day was just what my body and soul needed. Away from the hustle and bustle of tourist season, Acadia in wintertime is a truly magical place. I can’t wait for my next hike!

Story and Photos By Leelah Holmes