“The charm of this vast pile of granite is its nearness to the sea, which fringes its base with an embroidery of white surf,” a climber wrote about his ascension of the 1058-foot Newport Mountain in 1888. “Nowhere else on our American Atlantic coast is there such a wonderful sea-view.”
Newport, at the eastern end of the Acadia National Park range, today is called Champlain Mountain in honor of the French explorer, Samuel de Champlain (c. 1580—1635), who gave Mount Desert Island its name. Champlain had crossed the ocean as the ‘geographer’ (navigator), with the expedition led by Pierre Dugua (aka Sieur de Monts) that settled in June 1604 on the St. Croix River between what is now Maine and New Brunswick. In early September, Champlain sailed right past the mountain now named for him, and was the first European to specifically mention the island in his journals.
The steep, eastern face of Champlain Mountain is home to most of the peregrine falcons that nest in Acadia, as well as the park’s famous Precipice Trail.
Fun Fact: The wide track down the mountain’s east face, best seen from the water, was caused by an earthquake (4.2 on the Richter Scale) that occurred in the evening of October 2, 2006. The resulting landslide closed the Park Loop Road for a day, and the East Face Trail that intersects with the Precipice remains closed.