I saw the couple leave the path and enter the Jordan Pond parking lot. “Maybe they are going to their car”, I thought hopefully. Sure enough, they vacated their spot and I promptly pulled in. I had been waiting for about 15 minutes for a parking space which I had learned was common for the afternoon in early October, especially on such a beautiful unseasonably warm day.
Not anticipating on spending much time at Jordan Pond, I left my water bottle in the car and made sure to have my camera and phone, one in each front pocket of my jeans. I passed both parking lots and headed down the short hill towards the alluring blue water that sparkled through the yellow trees.
Arriving to the water’s edge and looking out over the vast blue lake lined with fall foliage my anxiety over finding a parking spot dissipated. The beauty was almost overwhelming and my eyes darted from the sizable rocks seen through the clear water to the bright yellow canoes in the distance to the vastness of the blue sky.
Suddenly, a cormorant popped out of the water onto a rock just off the shoreline and got all my attention. S/he spread her/his wings out far to dry them in the warm afternoon sun and I grabbed my camera. I ducked down, moved to the left and then to the right trying to get a few decent pictures around others doing the same. It was rather crowded that day.
I decided I could get a better view if I walked up the coastline a bit. Not realizing I was even on a trail that lead all the way around Jordan Pond, I found a small opening where I could slowly and quietly move myself up onto a rock near the basking cormorant. I sat there for awhile, both of us feeling the warm sun on our faces. Eventually, I heard others behind me wanting the same experience so I moved on.
I decided that I could continue walking a little way down the trail to see what was around the corner. I came to a small stone bridge after emerging from the trees and the view allowed me to see Jordan Pond for the decent-sized lake that it is. It is here that I began to wonder just how long it would take to walk all the way around what I later learned is the source of fresh drinking water for approximately 800 residents of the town of Mt Desert. (Consequently, there are posted signs asking visitors not to swim or wade in the lake.)
The sun shone on one side of the lake making the leaf colors even more vibrant and the seduction of walking through this Renoir scene captured my full attention and before I knew it I was committed to walking the entire circumference of Acadia National Park’s most popular lake. I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the next beautiful set of trees and kept snapping pictures frustrated that I could not get the perfect shot that summed up the entirety of this experience.
I said hello to the many people I passed on the trail and we exchanged pleasantries of how beautiful a place this was. Sometimes how we lucked out with the warm weather came up as well. A friendly British couple told me that entire trail was 3.5 miles. I noticed the high-end cameras around their necks when they told me it took them 3 hours thus far. I wondered how long it might take me, a little concerned that I had no water with me. I journeyed on.
Shortly after passing the trails on the right up to The Bubbles, I came to a small wooden bridge, followed by an unassuming sand beach, which I deemed to be about halfway around the Jordan Pond trail. Rather enjoying the flat hiking trail, I opted not to explore The Bubbles this time around.
I spent some time admiring the view from the beach before leaving the sunshine and entering the shady side of Jordan Pond, offering beautiful views of the sunny side I had just walked through. Part of the trail included walking over large rocks right next to the clear blue water that seemed to match the sky. I must admit that it was really hard not to remove my clothes and let the inviting water engulf me like I did while walking around Lost Lake in Whistler, British Columbia.
At one point while climbing over rocks I looked out across the cobalt water and there in the middle of the sparkling lake a loon emerged. I have such fond memories of loons from my childhood summers on Maine’s Embden Pond. I thought of my Grammie’s recent passing as the loon disappeared again under the water.
The trail changed from rocks to planks of wood allowing hikers to cross over areas of wet land. As I came across hikers going the other way, we had to negotiate how to get around each other. Some saw me in the distance and perhaps needing a break, stepped down for me to pass and others simply stopped and let me carefully slide passed them. The planks lasted for about a mile taking me almost to the beginning point again.
I realized that it took me 1.5 hours to walk around Jordan Pond as I took in my last scenic view. I began walking up the hill covered with bright yellow leaves to the parking lot and my thoughts wandered to what the lake might look like in other seasons. I knew I would be back.