Discovering “Big” Hunter’s Beach

Susan Wider


It was our annual two weeks in Maine, a chance for Mother to get back to her roots and for me to have a work break in a gorgeous place. Mother’s mobility was limited, so most days I would hike alone in the morning and then take Mother for a drive in the afternoon. Schoodic, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Great Head, wherever she wanted.

One day we were driving the Park Loop Road after a visit to Little Hunter’s Beach. Mother could manage that one since there were wooden stairs with a railing to get down to the beach and nice rocks and logs to sit on once there. We were headed toward Jordan Pond House when I saw a parking area I hadn’t stopped at before. I hated to drive by and leave it undiscovered.

Hunter’s Beach.

Did that mean there was a Little Hunter’s and another Hunter’s? We had to investigate.

Susan Wider’s mother waves while walking a trail. (Photo courtesy Susan Wider)

The trail was beautifully flat for Mother and included a lovely path through the trees along Hunter’s Brook. Until we had to cross it. And she couldn’t. I heard the surf up ahead and knew we were nearly there. I looked for a safe crossing spot, but the rocks were wet and slippery with nothing for Mother to hold onto apart from me. I imagined us both taking painful tumbles.

Somehow, we made it to the beach, but I hated seeing Mother have to crawl across the rocks, getting quite wet in late October. Her joy in making it to the beach was worth it, but I was already worrying about the return.

In the moment, I did think about asking a ranger how to make a donation to help support a bridge of some kind, but like so many impromptu plans, life got in the way. It wasn’t until many years later, after Mother’s death, that I circled back to the idea. The fall 2021 issue of Acadia magazine had an article about a perfect little bridge on the Jordan Pond Trail. Seeing that photo brought back my desire to help hikers and Acadia lovers like Mother.

That brings us to today, when my husband and I are working with Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park on a gift in memory of my mother to help provide an improved route for all who want to cross.

If you are interested in helping the effort, please contact Lisa Horsch Clark at Friends of Acadia at

SUSAN WIDER is the daughter of a Mainer-to-the-core mother and a lobster-afficionado father. She is also the author of It’s My Whole Life: Charlotte Salomon, An Artist in Hiding during World War II, (W.W. Norton & Co. 2022) winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Young Adult Literature.

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