Gearing up for Summer Hiking in Maine’s Acadia National Park

Nice weather on February 28th gave me the opportunity to hike a great 7.2-mile loops in Mount Tamalpais State Park in the San Francisco Bay Area and to hug a redwood on my birthday.

Of course, it also served to make waiting for this season’s summer hiking in Acadia even harder.  If you are as eager as I am, maybe shopping around for some new gear will serve as a pleasant and productive distraction.  Here are two recent acquisitions of mine that I really like.

Hiking Poles – only for Europeans and French Canadians, I thought, and a little nerdy, too.  However, when my daughter Luisa and I were planning our 4-day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu last summer, the guide company highly recommended trekking poles. 

Leki Carbonlite AERGON

I got the Leki Carbonlite AERGON Antishock poles, great for through-hikers because of their shock-absorption, natural positioning for the wrists, and extreme light weight (only 14 ounces). 

Maybe the best feature is the secure telescoping system. You can make the poles longer going downhill (to take strain off your knees) and shorten them uphill …and not worry about them giving way!  That’s one reason they are worth the hefty price of $199.95 a pair.

Although I didn’t use my new hiking poles all the time last summer in Acadia, they were handy on Kurt Diederich’s Climb up Dorr’s east face which features hundreds of granite stairs.  I’ll most certainly use them next summer if I hike slippery stone terrain like that on Gorge Path Trail coming down from Cadillac or Dorr Mountains.

Lumbar Pack – For Christmas ’08 Luisa gave me Tour’s smaller lumbar pack for my day hiking.  (I had given her a big hint when I saw it at Cadillac Mountain Sports in Bar Harbor.) 

Mountainsmith Tour38XL Lumbar Pack

Well, I love it.  It’s big enough for lunch and two water bottles, plus has a convenient zippered front panel pouch and open pocket in the back for my map.  I particularly like the bright yellow interior lining since everything fades from sight against black, right?  Because it also has a removable strap, I sometimes use it as a shoulder bag, as was the case last week in San Francisco.

After you get some new gear, it’s time for some more serious planning for your trip to Acadia National Park.  You can start thinking about the best times to go, how many lobster pounds you can cover in one week, and which sea kayaking company to use for your next trip.  Let the fantasizing begin!


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