BAR HARBOR — Some use their birthdays as the perfect excuse to indulge – to sleep in, skip the gym or to get outside, at least as far as a bar’s patio.
But for Eli Simon, owner of Atlantic Climbing School in Bar Harbor, celebrating his 33rd birthday June 19 involved exactly none of those indulgences.
Instead, Simon, along with his brother Reed Bernhard and friend Joe Carroll, hiked, swam and ran across Mount Desert Island, beginning at 3 a.m. and finishing 6 p.m. The trio completed a feat that most won’t do in years let alone an extraordinarily long day at the office.
The trio started at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park and hiked up and down all of the peaks until reaching Somes Sound, swam across the sound to Acadia Mountain, climbed up and down the peaks on the west side of the island until reaching Seal Cove Pond, canoed across the pond, ran to Seal Cove and biked back to Sand Beach. Whew.
They covered the trails and peaks of Beehive, Champlain Mountain, Dorr Mountain, Schooner Head, Cadillac Mountain, Pemetic Mountain through Bubble divide, Penobscot, Sargent, Parkman, Bald Peak, Norumbega, Acadia, St. Saveur, Beech Mountain, Mansell Mountain and Bernard/ Western Mountain.
“It was a lot of fun for sure,” said Simon. “It was 14 hours on the move. I like moving in the mountains and doing fun things outside.”
Originally from Rockport, Simon has worked for Acadia Climbing School since 2005 and purchased the business in 2009. It offers rock and ice climbing courses throughout Acadia National Park led by professional instructors.
The climber said he has always enjoyed the outdoors and began climbing as a teenager.
Simon does a similar trek each year on his birthday but thinks of new ideas each time.
Originally, the crew had planned to kayak to Blue Hill from Seal Cove and bike back to Sand Beach, but foggy weather prohibited them from doing that.
But, there’s always next year.