July 26, 2013

The "Maine" Event; Day 4: Beach, Berries, Bar Harbor

Tuesday, July 9, 2013: I started off this morning early by making another loop around Acadia National Park. This time, my first stop would be at a spot called Sand Beach. As I parked the car and started walking down the wooden staircase from the road, I found a beautiful shoreline surrounded on both sides by jagged cliffs with untamed wilderness jutting up from behind the rocks; a postcard scene, to be sure. As I strolled to the water's edge, the gentle waves looked very inviting, but, unfortunately, the day was overcast, drizzly, and a little bit chilly -- not good conditions at all for wading into the sea. The edges of the beach are littered with driftwood and vividly-colored stones of all sizes. I found a few snails as I explored here. Someone had erected a miniature Stonehenge by the cliff face which I though was pretty cool. In the distance, I could make out the silhouette of a cruise ship at sail, most likely bound for Canada. A small stream runs from the woods to meet the ocean. I followed the flow of the water for as long as I could, crossing over the stream a few times on the stepping stones that span it, before the trail proved impassable among fronds of tall sea grasses. It was here that I took notice of the sweet scent that pervades the air. It is the distinct fragrance of pine needles that seems to be ever-present in Acadia National Park. It is very subtle, but, once noticed, is an absolute delight to the olfactory system. 

From Sand Beach, it is a short drive to the Gorham Mountain Trailhead. This path is made up of larger boulders and is very fun to hike. About halfway up the mountainside, it started to rain. The droplets felt clean and refreshing on my face and arms. It lasted only for a few minutes and never came to a downpour. I'm happy to say that I never had to use the ponchos that I had brought along in my backpack. Before long, I was standing at the pinnacle of Gorham Mountain -- my second mountain conquered in as many days. The haze of the day didn't allow for the same type of panoramic view that I had seen on top of Dorr Mountain, but Gorham Mountain has its own kind of payoff. The summit is covered in bushes full of the famous wild blueberries of Maine. I plucked a handful of the ripe fruits and popped them in my mouth (once again, not innuendo). A little taste of local nature at the end of a rugged hike is a beautiful thing to experience. "This is Living!" I heard my voice proclaim to the gray sky.

The next point on the map is called Otter Point. This is a great place to climb and explore the rocky coastlines of Acadia National Park. I sat here for a long time on a large stone, watching the waves creating tiny waterfalls and splashes among the crevices and espying all kinds of ducks and sea birds afloat on the water.

As I continued around the loop, I pulled to the right side of the road when I saw another small path cutting into the forest that looked interesting. I got out just to give it a quick look and discovered a babbling stream. Lots of fallen trees had spanned the stream creating natural bridges. The ground beneath my feet was soft and mossy, the air in my lungs fresh and cool. That is one of the things that really amazes me -- at Acadia National Park, every path leads to something wonderful.

As dinnertime approached, I went into Bar Harbor. It is a trendy, port town full of novelty shops. I soon found a restaurant in the shape of a lighthouse and decided that I had to try it, but, in this case, the curb appeal was better than the cuisine. The taste here was a tad bland. I enjoyed the wild blueberries on Gorham Mountain much more...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten
us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead."

~1 Peter 1:3