Yesterday we ventured over to Acadia National Park to hike up Mount Cadillac — the towering peak situated right on the coastline that is the first place in America struck by the rays of the rising sun. It’s a popular destination that offers staggering views of the jagged Maine coast. Most people drive up to the top — but heck, anybody can do that. Hiking up is more fun and a bit of a challenge, besides.
We chose the south ridge trail, which begins along a road and, for the first mile of so, takes you through a dense, almost primeval forest. At that point you emerge above the tree line and are exposed to the first of the sweeping vistas that this hike affords — with views that just get better and better as you gain altitude. You follow blue trailblazing signs painted on trees and then on the granite of the mountain itself, as well as rock cairns that also mark the way.
The trail takes you along the granite spine of the mountain, shown in the first picture above, and you actually feel like you are moving from knob to knob on the gigantic backbone of a huge, hunched-over creature. Eventually you are treated to a commanding view in all directions and can see dozens of miles to faraway peaks in the Appalachian chain. You also pass a beautiful pond that is covered with velvety, impossibly green shoots, shown toward the middle of the photo below, and you wonder: “what is that doing way up here?”
It’s not a difficult climb, but it’s a rewarding one nevertheless. When you reach the top, having clambered up the last few rock faces, you can stare slack jawed in any direction. The rocks at the top are covered with people, and no wonder — the scenery is spectacular. It’s one of those spots that simply can’t be captured in a photograph. But I’ll always remember it.
There’s a community boat dock in Southwest Harbor, Maine. And when they say “community,” they mean community — every square inch of mooring space is taken, and then some.
I found this completely engaged community dock curiously encouraging. Obviously, the boaters of Southwest Harbor, with diverse crafts of all shapes, sizes, and conditions, can get together and make accommodations tthat permit their mutual use of, and benefit from, this single dock.
Who knows? Maybe there’s hope that the rest of us can do likewise.
The day began with a sense of awesome quiet along the waterfront and ended the same way — with a beautiful color show from Mother Nature thrown in for good measure. Peaceful, calm, tranquil — choose the synonym of your preference to describe a placid setting, add boats and salt water and wonderfully fresh seafood and locals who speak with a charming accent to the mix, and you have largely captured coastal Maine outside of Bar Harbor. It’s a great place for a getaway vacation.
Today we checked out the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. It’s one of dozens of lighthouses that are found along the rockbound Maine coastline — each of which has it distinctive combination of light color and lighting sequence, so experienced mariners who are at sea at night can both steer clear of the rocks and determine exactly where they are, even in the darkest hours.
At the lighthouse, you can follow a path and a steep set of wooden stairs that take you down to sea level, where intrepid tourists (like me) can climb out onto the rocky coastline to position themselves for the best photographic vantage point that will allow them to snap a seaside shot of the iconic white lighthouse. It’s comical to see people of all ages scrambling out onto the rocks — with no guard rails or identified path — and of course many of the visitors were taking selfies, apparently oblivious to the risk they might slip as they were positioning themselves and go plunging into the ocean below. Fortunately, no one was injured while we were there.
I appreciate the fact that the Coast Guard, which operates the lighthouse and its grounds, has left the coastline in its natural state and trusts visitors to fend for themselves. It was fun to let the inner mountain goat out for a rocky adventure.
It’s a picture-perfect day in Maine, with cool temperatures, bright blue skies and sunshine, and just enough breeze to send Old Glory flapping on the flagpole. I took a morning walk along the rim of the harbor, where there are working wharves and docks aplenty. For a landlubber like me, docks extending far out into the water, over the rocky shoreline and seaweed, are a source of beauty and fascination.
It’s a beautiful, clear morning at the Bass Harbor Ferry Terminal on Mount Desert Island. Photographs are nice, but they can’t fully capture the totally sensory feel of this place — the cries of the gulls and other birds skimming low across the water, the salty tang of the air and its coolness against your skin, and the feel of wet grass underfoot. It’s a good place to sit on a front porch and read on a calm Sunday morning.