Thursday Thrills: Little Long Pond, Seal Harbor

Daisies (1 of 1)

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.

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Wednesday Walkabouts: Bernard Mountain, Acadia NP

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View from the Long Pond Trail

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.  

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Something about this spot caught my eye – I felt much cooler just gazing at this scene!

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!!

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Any lepidopterists out there???
Bernard Mountain Overlook (1 of 1)
There are several rustic benches here allowing for a restful pause taking in the scenery!
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View from the overlook on Bernard Mountain – I suspect I’m looking towards the Bartlett Narrows and Bartlett Island

Thursday Thrills: Bar Harbor

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Took the Island Explorer shuttle into Bar Harbor to enjoy the 4th of July Parade – what a great way to brighten the spirits!!  Some of my favorite photos 🙂

Pug in antique car (1 of 1)Cowmara (1 of 1)Mainley Meats (1 of 1)Skate Again sign (1 of 1)Cyclist (1 of 1)Bagpipers (1 of 1)

Wednesday Walkabouts: Deer Isle Area

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Stonington harbor still fogged in at noon ……

Decided to give my “legs” a break today and complete a road trip to explore some areas of Downeast Maine that I have not visited as yet.  I went “off-island” and headed to Deer Isle with planned stops in Stonington and Blue Hill.  Stonington is the ferry service location for those wanting to do some remote camping on Acadia’s Isle au Haut.   I have been curious about this town and was surprised by it’s quaint,  unassuming ambianceThe town is quite hilly and the narrow, winding streets invited exploration.  So, my “walkabout” today was a little out of the ordinary for me.  I do not usually wander along town streets and shop.  But, I found it immensely enjoyable and relaxing!  Along the main street, there were a few rustic gift shops and a great little cafe where I enjoyed a scrumptious BLT wrap served with genuine hometown hospitality that is often rare these days.  

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Interesting shop whose owner is a master at creating rope work pieces using the Marlinspike technique

One of the gift shops had quite a collection of prints by Andrew Wyeth, which of course caught my eye since I used to live near his home in Chadds Ford, PA.  I asked the shop owner why so many Wyeth prints and she relayed to me that Wyeth and his family used to summer near Deer Isle and he was one of her favorite artists.  I knew that he had connections in Maine based on some of his artwork.  The shop had an eclectic mix of used books and collectibles that was fun to peruse.

I also wandered into another unique shop devoted to marine-themed collectibles.  The shop was called the Marlinespike Chandlery.   I was curious about the name and here is a breakdown of what it means.  A marlinespike is a tool that was used for marine purposes to separate strands of rope for slicing and marling.  “Marl” is when you combine two or more threads and twist them together to make a “thicker” rope – which creates a stronger rope.  A “chandler” is a dealer in marine supplies!   Hence, the name of the shop reflects some of the maritime history of the area.  The owner creates some fascinating artistic pieces using the marlin spike techniques.  I might have to make another trip to this shop with  my husband Jim – as he would be very interested in this type of workmanship.

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Cool-looking schooner entering the Stonington harbor while I was walking about 🙂

On my way back home, I stopped in the town of Blue Hill and just wandered around the main part of town.  I stumbled upon a little park near the waterfront with a granite sculpture and was pleased to discover that it is one of the sculptures that was part of the Maine Sculpture Trail that originated from the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium.  There are 34 sculptures in and around the Downeast Maine area.  I read about this last year and have come across several others here on Mount Desert Island.

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“The Window of the Sea Wind” – Maine Sculpture Trail

Walking back to my car from the waterfront in Blue Hill, I passed by the historical society and yet another intriguing sculpture.

Blue Hill sculpture (1 of 1)
“Molly Molasses”  Mary Balassee Nicola  – the grandmother of all Penobscots

The plaque that describes Mary says she had a “sharp eye and an unusual way of blackening her face like a thundercloud when anything displeased her.  Her face would change color entirely and her eye would look like thunder and lightening…she knew everything that was going on and was keener than a knife.  Confident in her own superior powers, Molly was one of the greatest shamans of her time.”

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View of Blue Hill harbor from Main Street

It was hot by the time I was heading through Blue Hill and I thought I might find an ice cream parlor in town – but I was disappointed in the selection.  Back on the road towards home, I was rewarded in the town of Surry with a cute little place called Pugnuts Ice Cream Shop.  They specialize in homemade ice cream and gelato – and I splurged on a double-dip of coffee latte and vanilla fudge ice cream on a chocolate-dipped waffle cone.  It was heavenly! 🙂



Tuesday Treks: Acadia Carriage Roads

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Aunt Betty Pond

My Tuesday Trek was true to it’s name – I took a ride on my Trek!! 🙂  I decided it was time to get the bike on the trail this summer and planned a route on the carriage roads today.  My route took me all the way across the park and back again via several different carriage road loops.

I hooked up with the carriage road network at the #17 junction off the Park Loop Road after traveling a couple of miles on paved roads.  I rode toward Bubble Pond and continued  on to Eagle Lake – traveling on the east side of the lake and picked up the Aunt Betty Pond loop at the #9 junction.  I had not traveled on this section of the carriage roads last year so it was my top choice today to visit.  What a beautiful ride on moderate terrain – although it seemed like more uphills than down!  🙂  Aunt Betty Pond is a remote area of the park ( although not far as the crow flies from Route 233) and this section was not heavily traveled.  I was particularly interested in seeing the Seven Sisters Bridges area of this loop.  A camper had mentioned this section of the carriage to me road last year – and I wanted to see those bridges!

After leaving Aunt Betty Pond, the road climbs steadily to the Seven Sisters Bridges.  Basically, the carriage road crosses a small stream multiple times on this ascent via these wooden bridges.  It is a very pretty part of the carriage road system.  I highly recommend biking this loop!

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First of the Seven Sisters Bridges 🙂

After crossing all seven bridges, there is a junction that is a tad confusing.  I say this only because it is where I made my only wrong turn of the day!!  The junction said #10N and I thought I was turning in the right direction but when I reached the Chasm Brook Bridge (an uphill climb, I might add) I realized that I had made the wrong decision.  I wanted to go on the Around Mountain Carriage Road along the west side of Jordan Pond and eventually return to the #17 junction.  I should have turned left 😦   Oh well, got a little extra work-out!

I continued to the #16 junction from #10 and crossed the Park Loop Road towards #17 marker.  At this point, I headed right onto the Day Mountain Loop so I could connect with a hiking trail that would take me down to Route 3 and back home.  I had not traveled on the Day Mountain Loop before, and after a very short downhill (I was thanking my lucky stars!) found myself climbing once again!  My legs were now starting to really scream at me!  At Junction #36, I picked up the Day Mountain hiking trail and walked my bike the .3 mile out to the paved road.  This proved more difficult than I had originally estimated.  There is a section of single-way log boardwalk on this part of the trail and I had to carry my bike and balance walking on this narrow log boardwalk.  Normally, no big deal.  But, my extremely fatigued legs were not happy with me and the mosquitoes were taking advantage of my slow pace!

I did manage to make it to Route 3 without any mishaps on the foot path and rode the distance back home on the paved road.  When I totaled up the distance I had traveled today via bike, it came to just over 19 miles.  Good grief!  For my first extended bike ride of the season, I had probably gone a bit too far – but it was worth it!  Several hours later, my legs have recovered and the blood-thirsty mosquitoes are a distant memory.  Tomorrow, however, I think I’m going to do an automobile road trip!! 😉

Friday Fantasy: Northeast Harbor

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My new boat – ha! ha!

My Friday Fantasy!  One can dream, right??  I’m experimenting with using themes for different days of the week.  I will not always post a picture every day but, hopefully, on the days I do it will relate to the theme.  There is something on this boat that caught my eye – can you guess what it is?  I’ll give a hint:  I’m a southeastern Pennsylvania native and Philly sports fan 🙂

Thursday Thrills: Acadia

Pink Lady's Slipper 5 (1 of 1)

I’ve been watching these Pink Lady’s Slippers for a couple of weeks anxiously waiting for the blooms to appear.  This morning I hiked up to my favorite patch of orchids in anticipation of finally being rewarded with their delicate flowers.  I was not disappointed!  Yesterday’s rain added to their allure by depositing tiny drops of water on the flowers and petals.

Pink Lady's Slipper (1 of 1)Pink Lady's Slipper 4 (1 of 1)

Wednesday Walkabouts: Acadia

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It’s time to start my hiking series and I’ll be posting either on Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s –  titled Tuesday Treks or Wednesday Walkabouts!!  Today was a bright welcome relief after torrential rains yesterday dampened many a spirit including mine.  I had planned on hiking the Gorge Path this week since it is one of the trails that I never experienced last year.  Mapping out my way, I left myself open for deciding on a longer or shorter route part way through the trek.  I was not sure I would be up for a long hike in the afternoon since I had spent the morning tromping around Little Long Pond taking photographs for a volunteer opportunity I signed up for this summer.

I parked at the Sieur de Monts parking lot (I got the one remaining parking spot and it’s only mid-June!) and started up the Jesup Path veering off onto the Hemlock Trail.  My route would take me up to Dorr Mountain via the Gorge Path.  This hike has it all – deep evergreen forest habitat, rocky stepping-stones trail along a raging stream in the gorge, the wide-open space of the Dorr Mt. summit and the cool, tranquil Maple/Oak/Beech forest along the south-eastern side of the mountain.

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The Gorge Path winding up the stream-carved ravine

The climb up the Gorge Path was incredible – steep but manageable. The 1-mile long path is a marvel of trail engineering with stepping stone construction the entire length – including multiple stream crossings.  The water was running high due to the previous day’s rain so some of the trail was actually part of the stream!!  Glad I wore my water-proof Keen’s on this hike!

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One of many little waterfalls along the Gorge Path

There were many small waterfalls along the way.  I would have liked to linger at some of the more picturesque spots but the mosquitoes were murderous and out for blood so I had to keep moving.  The Gorge Path is one a many paths that have memorials embedded in stone to commemorate early supporters of the trail system in Acadia.  This trail is endowed by friends of Lilian Endicott Francklyn.

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A short, steep cliff trail veers off of the Gorge Trail to ascend to the summit of Dorr Mountain.  I had to fold up my hiking poles and stash them in my day-pack for this .3 mile scramble.  The views on this rocky climb looking over towards Cadillac were magnificent.  Once I reached Dorr summit, I relaxed and rested from the steep climb and enjoyed the solitude.  I was alone at the summit and got a kick out of looking over at the throngs of people on top of Cadillac!!  At the summit, I decided I had the energy to take the longer loop option back to Sieur de Monts via the Dorr South Ridge Trail, the Canon Brook Trail and the Kane Path.  I’m glad I did because the descent was simply beautiful!

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Pure solitude on the summit of Dorr Mountain!!

Descending Dorr via the south ridge is one of my favorite trails in the park.  The views towards Otter Cove, Gorham Mountain, the Beehive and Champlain are spectacular.  I love the pitch pine and blueberry bush habitat that dominates this ecosystem and noticed the huckleberry blooming along with the blueberry plants.

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Pitch Pine with an under-story of Blueberry
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Huckleberry Bush in bloom

The final stretch of the loop takes me along the Tarn via the Kane Path.  This is a rock scramble along a newly restored stepping-stone trail on the west side of the Tarn.  As you leave the Tarn, the trail merges with the Jesup Path and another memorial plaque is found honoring Morris K and Maria De Witt Jesup.

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The Kane Path traverses some beaver-built marshy areas before reaching the Tarn
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The Kane Path along the Tarn is another rocky, stepping-stone trail – no blue blazes but it’s not hard to follow!!

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The 5.5 mile loop took me about 3 hours to complete – with time out for photographs and a quick snack on Dorr Mountain.  I highly recommend experiencing the Gorge Path – it was fun and magical especially after a day of rain!!


Photo Challenge: Acadia: May 29

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Rhododendron schlippenbachii – Royal Azalea

Asticou Azalea Garden is one of the public gardens managed by the Land and Garden Preserve.  As the name indicates, it is mostly centered around azalea and rhododendron plantings.  There are a number of other unique specimen plants as well including a very nice Acer griseum, an aged Cercidiphyllum japonicum and a beautiful Stewart pseudocamllia.   The Royal Azalea’s were all in full bloom today and with the rainy, cold, cloudy weather it was a great photographic subject.

Photo Challenge: Acadia: May 28

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Rhododendron canadense – Rhodora

The walk around Witch Hole Pond on the carriage road was full of surprises today.  The bog-friendly Rhododendron canadense was in full bloom all around the loop and absolutely wins the prize for outstanding bloom of the day!

We also saw many, many painted turtles basking in the sun in the marshy water, watched a black-and-white warbler making the rounds in a birch tree, and observed two bald eagles soaring high in the sky above us.

Other blooming plants included blueberries, Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) and Hobblebush Viburnum.  A good day overall!!