Throughout the summer, our fee station staff have participated in several monthly “contests” just to make life interesting and to have some fun. For the month of September, we are engaging in a Photo Scavenger Hunt! As you can imagine, I jumped right on this and since our official start date of 9/8/19 I have been busy capturing some of the necessary subjects. Not everything I post here will make it to the “final” 16 – but I’ll share some of my efforts!
The first photo (Entry #1) on the list must include a favorite rock formation. Acadia boasts many such features including the infamous Bubble Rock. However, my all-time favorite is the above glacial erratic that is perched on the edge of the shoreline along a quiet part of the Park Loop Road. I have affectionately named this rock “Lynn’s Rock” since I have climbed down to this little beach many times and consider it my own private spot.
For my Tuesday Trek this week, I chose to walk around the Witch Hole Pond carriage road loop in search of some more scavenger hunt photographs. I almost missed these ducks entirely! They were so camouflaged that it was not until I turned to clamber back up the bank from this marshy area that I caught a flicker of movement and discovered these two ducks resting among the lily pads.
One of the prettiest bridges in the park spans the Duck Brook gorge and serves as the entrance to the Witch Hole Pond carriage road system. There are 17 total bridges in the park – 16 of which were built by John D. Rockfeller, Jr. The Duck Brook Bridge was completed in 1929. Visit the Acadia National Park web page to learn more about these historic bridges and the carriage road network.
The sunrises and sunsets I’ve experienced along the coast of Acadia over the past two seasons will share a place among the fondest memories I will take away with me when I depart here in late October. Tonight I walked down to the rocks and played with my camera. The glow in the eastern sky from the setting sun was subdued yet still enchanting.
I got a second chance to shoot the moonrise at Little Hunters Beach tonight. Arriving just before moonrise, I calculated where the moon would appear using my compass cell phone application. I moved around the cove several times taking shots from different angles and I think this one was my best effort.
I would have preferred that the tide was coming in a bit stronger since it would have given me some nice slow shutter speed water effects in the foreground. But, alas, it was not to be. The effect is somewhat “dreamy” and I’m satisfied. 🙂
Sometimes the best laid plans are foiled. I intended to walk to Little Hunter’s Beach to capture some moonscape photographs on Tuesday evening. When I got to the cobblestone beach, I discovered a dense fog on the horizon that obscured the rising of the moon. At first I was disappointed, but then thought I could at least secure some sunset pictures.
Imagine my surprise when this sailboat suddenly appeared crossing the horizon while I was waiting for sunset! With the fog as a backdrop, and the sails lit by the setting sun, I snared an unexpected and pretty cool photograph! 🙂
It’s supposed to be a little clearer on Wednesday night, so I’ll try my luck again with the “almost” full moon rise.
Wednesday was a busy day for me. I had several goals to accomplish – visit Thuya Gardens to see what was blooming and visit with the Monarch butterfly caterpillars, walk the loop around Witch Hole Pond in search of pitcher plants, and pick up a package in Bar Harbor (a new air mattress for my upcoming Isle au Haut camping trip).
I started with Thuya Gardens. It was the perfect day for photographing flowers. There was a light cloud cover with no threat of rain. The last time I had visited Thuya Gardens in early July, irises and peonies were the flavor of the day along with a smattering of foxgloves. The season got off to a slow start due to the cool, wet spring. Today, I was anxious to see how the garden had progressed over the last month. It was a riot of color! Dominating the scene were lilies, foxglove, delphinium, astilbe and phlox. The lilies, in particular, were at their peak and absolutely stunning.
I managed to visit the Monarch caterpillars in their hidden spot in the garden among the milkweed plants at just the right time so as to be all alone with them. Given that I have never seen the garden so overrun with visitors, I can only say that my solitude was serendipity. I had at least ten minutes to observe the caterpillars in action and shoot photographs before anyone else located this little land of enchantment.
After my Monarch caterpillar fix, I drove over to the end of Duck Brook Road to hike the Witch Hole Pond carriage road loop. I knew that the pitcher plants were blooming and wanted to seek them out. Along the way, I scared this little creature at pond’s edge.
After my Witch Hole Pond excursion, I drove back home and hopped on the shuttle into Bar Harbor to pick up my package. I am convinced that the first two weeks of August are the most popular vacation times for the majority of folks worldwide. As I pushed my way through the throng of tourists, I was struck by the absolute calm of the harbor compared to the streets of Bar Harbor.
Last Friday morning I decided to explore the coastline at low tide and drove over to the Wonderland Trail on the quiet side of the island. Since this is a popular “tidepooling” spot, I was expecting company and was not disappointed! However, there is ample shoreline here making it possible to meander among the rocks and pools without feeling overcrowded.
Last year, I mentioned a book called “Living on the Edge” and wrote a small post about some of the plant life found in the austere environment along the edge of the ocean. This time, my focus is on the tide pools. As the tide recedes twice each day, small pockets of ocean water become trapped by the rocks along the intertidal shore. The marine life that inhabit these pools must endure harsh environments as the ocean comes and goes – at low tide the pools are exposed to increasing temperatures, low oxygen levels and predators like wading birds. At high tide, the crashing waves cause friction and another set of predators in the form of ocean fish descend on the submerged pools.
I sat and observed several of these tide pools and was amazed at the diversity of plant and animal life thriving in this rugged habitat! It was so much fun! The more I explored and watched, the more I “saw.” It is definitely addicting!
After visiting Wonderland last week, I checked out the book “Living on the Edge” and re-educated myself on some of the animals living in the tide pools. I am going back to Wonderland again and this time I’ll be on the look-out for sand dollars, sea cucumbers, star fish, sea urchins and tube worms!! Hoping to spot some of these now that I know what to look for….
One of my favorite hikes last summer brought me to the summit of Champlain Mountain on the North Ridge trail. This year, for a little variety, I decided to ascend via one of the other routes up to the summit – the Beachcroft Path. This trail dates back to the late 1800’s and was built by the “father” of Acadia, George Dorr along with the help of the Bar Harbor Village Improvement Association. The meticulously laid stone steps wind their way up the steep slope of Huguenot Mountain via several switchbacks. Near the summit of Huguenot, the trail descends slightly to the valley between Huguenot and Champlain and then starts a 1/2 mile steep ascent up the western slope of Champlain.
I loved this hike. The Beachcroft Path is a marvel of engineering design and underwent some trail maintenance earlier this year – making it a sweet walkabout and a great route to summit Champlain. Along the way, I took time to turn around and enjoy the views of Dorr Mountain, the Tarn, Cadillac Mountain and Frenchman’s Bay in the distance.
The hardest section of the trail is the final push up to the top of Champlain and, while it was steep and involved some minor rock scrambles, it was totally do-able and a great aerobic workout!
Descending the South Ridge trail of Champlain, I skirted by The Bowl and went up and over Gorham Mountain. My final mile was to the Otter Cliff shuttle bus stop so I could catch the #3 Sand Beach shuttle back to my car at Sieur de Monts. Gotta love the free shuttle bus system in the park! Great day of hiking in Acadia National Park! 🙂
A significant part of the Workamping experience is exploring the area surrounding your temporary home. Last week on my day’s off, I fulfilled a couple of bucket list items in one short trip. With Jim over from Vermont for a brief visit, we decided to head north for a couple of days on a much-needed road trip.
My first mission was to set foot on the eastern most piece of land in the United States – the West Quoddy Head. According to the Maine Lighthouses guide, the West Quoddy Head Light Station is one of 73 standing and “lost” lighthouses along the New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick coastline. A lighthouse on this point has guided ships through the Quoddy Narrows between Lubec, Maine and Campobello Island, New Brunswick since 1808. The current brick lighthouse was constructed in 1858 and is still an active navigation aid. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is surrounded by the Quoddy Head State Park.
Jim and I spent an hour or more exploring the area surrounding the lighthouse and walked down to the cove via one of the paths. It was a brilliant blue sky day and, while inland it was hot and humid, here at the lighthouse the air was clear, crisp and cool! A few more pictures of the lighthouse from different perspectives are below.
After leaving West Quoddy Head, we traveled through Lubec, Maine and across the channel onto Campobello Island. I became familiar with the Roosevelt Campobello International Park last summer through some of our campground visitors who had either stopped in there on their way to Acadia or were planning a trip there after leaving our area. So, my next bucket list item was to visit this island before the end of the summer and tour the park. The Herring Cove Provincial Park is adjacent to the Roosevelt Park and that was our destination for the remainder of Tuesday’s tour.
The campground was surprisingly empty – much to our delight – and we had our pick of campsites settling on one close to the water. It was a welcome respite from the crowds that descend on Mount Desert Island in the summer. We pulled out the tent bag and commenced to getting our accommodations in order for the evening and discovered that even seasoned campers forget things! We realized that the tent stakes had somehow vanished from the tent bag since the last time it had been used. (or had someone “borrowed” them??) Improvisation to the rescue! Jim had any number of screwdrivers in his truck toolbox that fit the bill nicely 🙂
After setting up our tent, we savored an easy dinner of assorted cheese and crackers and fruit washed down with an Italian red wine, and spent the remainder of the evening exploring the coast. It was a quick walk across the grassy dune to Herring Cove. I was hoping for a full moon photo but it was overcast AND I failed to realize the time zone difference – so I think I may have been off on my calculations as to exactly when moonrise would be occurring 🙂 We still enjoyed a fantastic stroll along the cove punctuated with sightings of a harbor seal, a loon family, a few cormorants and some eiders along the shore.
Eventually the mosquitoes drove us back to our campsite and we dove into our tent to escape the ravenous beasts!!
It’s always a thrill to take a stroll along Little Long Pond. It’s one of my favorite places on Mount Desert Island. There are always new things to discover along the paths, around the pond and on the carriage roads. Today, the daisies on the banks of the pond were in full bloom and created a nice foreground display for the water beyond.
Today I decided to hike some of the “quiet side” trails in Acadia National Park. I had not really covered any of the trails on the southern side of Long Pond last year and thought I should make up for that this summer.
Yesterday on my day off, I hung out by my Airstream trailer to get some much needed maintenance done on my site – weeding around the trailer, cleaning up inside and out. I also have been nursing a sore right ankle and wanted to ice it and wrap it and generally take it easy to see if I could help it along with the healing process. Confident that I could hike the 7-mile loop up and over Bernard Mountain today with my ankle taped up, I set off on the trail about 8:30am.
I picked up the Long Pond Trail near the pump house on the lower end of the lake and hiked along the shoreline for about 2 miles. It was an easy, level path with great views of the lake. The trail then turns inward and upward towards Great Notch. It was a good day to choose a mostly shaded walk through forested trails! The temperature was rising and the humidity increasing as I climbed.
From Great Notch, the trail ascends steeply for a short distance. At this point, I had to stash my hiking poles in the day pack so I could rock scramble using both hands! After two steep rock climbs, I came to the Bernard Mountain Overlook. Unlike the peaks on the eastern side of the island, the mountains here are more forested and offer fewer distance views. It was a pleasant walk however through the forest, and unlike many of the trails, was less rocky and softly padded with coniferous needles. My sore ankle was thanking me immensely for choosing this particular trek today!! 🙂
The other observation worth noting is that I literally did not pass anyone along the trail for most of the hike. One couple was hiking along the Long Pond Trail as I was setting off and at the end of my 7 mile hike, I passed a couple of bikers walking their bikes along the Cold Brook Trail. Talk about solitude!!