Thursday, June 7, 2012

The twenty-fifth luminous thing...

...the elementals: land, sea, sky.

Today seemed a day of elements, on this island one is never unaware of one of the three. The granite of the earth breaks through everywhere in great slabs, boulders, cliffs, broken shoreline. The water surrounds us (we are on an island) and after a while the entire world seems made up of islands as far as one can see, no connected land at all, just dots of rock and dirt scattered over the surface of the planet. The sky reaches down to touch and connect earth and water, and sometimes contains them—the wet fog in the morning that drifts in and then lifts, the misting rain that makes everything part of the same moist soup of life. I like the tangible reminders of the planet, feeling part of the elements, seeing them change.


We walked along the shore path after breakfast, a short three-quarter mile hike along Frenchman's Bay heading north. It was a gray and foggy morning but the harbor was pretty active nonetheless.

We turned to head back to Main Street, and walked past a lot of bed and breakfasts and lovely summer "cottages." The first one below is not typical, I just liked the mossy roof. The second is more typical of a small house on the island.

Ice cream later, maybe?

After lunch, we took the Acadia Bus Tour through (part of) Acadia National Park. Rob, our driver, is a local guy and very helpful and informative. The bus wasn't at all full so we could move around and see a lot. It was such a treat not to have to drive!! Very relaxing and a nice way to see and learn about the park.

We went to the top of Cadillac Mountain. It's 1532 feet high, and the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard between here and Rio de Janiero. It's also where the sun first hits the continental U.S. every morning.

The native americans called the islands here "Porcupine Islands" and if you look at their shape and their snouty ends, you'll see they do look very much like porcupines.

Mt. Desert Island (where Bar Harbor is located) used to have a big granite industry, the Brooklyn Bridge and Library of Congress are built from Bar Harbor granite. That's gone, but most of the rock is pink granite. The Rockefellers were big influences in developing Bar Harbor, setting aside the park, and building the rock bridges and carriage roads throughout the park.

After Cadillac Mountain we drove to Sieur de Monts spring, where there are the Wild Gardens of Acadia (originally planted by the Bar Harbor Garden Club in the 1950s), a nature center, and the Abbe Museum of prehistory. We didn't have a lot of time there, but were certainly impressed by the ferns!

We then drove out Ocean drive, which does go along the ocean. The only sand beach around is along this side of the park, the sand actually the broken fragments of oyster and mussel shells the prehistoric Indians left there, now pulverized by water into sand.

From there we went to Thunder Hole, a blowhole that makes a thundering sound when the tide and waves are just right. Wild roses grow along the cliff and this is the part of Maine you see in a lot of calendars and post cards.

Rob, our helpful native bus driver!

We continued on to Otter Cove and then cut through the village of Otter Creek and back into Bar Harbor. From the bus we walked up main street, poked around in a couple of shops, and ended up at McKays for dinner.

Village Green

Lobster mac and cheese--with a 1.5 pound lobster--and Gritty's Cascading Red beer. YUM!

outside seating at McKays

Church founded in 1800s with old graveyard and lovely stained glass

A walk after dinner seemed like a great idea, so about an hour before sunset I headed out to do the Meadow Loop Walk in Acadia National Park, which can be reached from our b&b. It's about three miles, so I was racing the sun.

It was an eerie sort of walk. Dusk had fallen under the trees (so many of the photos are blurry--but that does give a better sense of the mood of the place, actually) and I saw NO one on the walk. I passed houses, and an empty golf course, but for company I really only had the inhabitants of the two cemeteries, and the 7 or 8 deer I saw.

start of the walk

stream bed with iris at dusk

Cadillac Mountain, I think, at sunset

trail continues after crossing the road by the cemetery

a small tarn

boulders everywhere, like trolls turned to stone

bridge with lupines and deer (off to the side, not visible)

deer in the back right side

deer watching me

getting darker now, harder to take pictures! the light softened everything

the last cemetery near the end of the trail. it was much darker than this in real life, and very creepy!

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