To give you an idea of just what you're climbing up when you hike this trail, take a look at the photo above. The knob pictured is The Beehive. If you look at the zoomed in portion (remember you can always click on a photo to enlarge it), you'll notice a red circle. In that circle is a person, and that person is on The Beehive Trail.
|Original figure made by Martin D. Adamiker [CC BY-SA 3.0 (link) or GFDL (link)], via Wikimedia Commons. Figure modified (addition of arrows and text) by Kyle Brooks.|
|Left: A smooth granite face resulting from glacial abrasion.|
Right: A jagged, steep granite face resulting from glacial plucking.
The southeastern side of The Beehive, however, experienced erosion via glacial plucking. As the glacier polished the northwest side of the knob, it moved over the knob and slid down the southeastern side. As the ice slid down this side, frictional forces caused some of the ice at the very bottom to melt. This liquid water then entered into cracks and joints that were already present in the bedrock, were the water consequently refroze. Since water expands when it freezes, this resulted in large boulders cracking and breaking free of the knob. These boulders were then "plucked" up by the bottom of the glacier, where they were transported and dropped into the ocean or elsewhere. The resulting rock face was not highly smooth and polished, but was instead a steep cliff side with a jagged face. It's on this plucked side of The Beehive that the trail ascends.
—many of which were dropped there after being plucked off the knob by the glacier. This part is straightforward; one just has to watch their footing as they walk from rock to rock and keep an eye out for the blue blazes marking the trail.
|Your blogger embracing his inner mountain goat.|
—at least it was for me. There is a relatively long, and steep, section of the trail that requires lots of climbing up metal rung after metal rung. And to make things more interesting, decades of use by hikers have worn smooth the parts of the granite along the trail, making them slippery. This last half of the trail is extremely reminiscent of the Angels Landing Trail in Utah's Zion National Park. I hiked up Angels Landing in the summer of 2016, and that trail is another example of scrambling up a steep rock face with the use of metal rungs and chains. (Check out my "Hiking Angels Landing" post to see just what I'm talking about.)
|Leah ascends part of the more steep sections of The Beehive Trail.|
Downeast Maine, head over to Acadia National Park and hike The Beehive; you won't regret it!