Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Water, water everywhere. Except I’m really not that thirsty.

If Captain Planet were real (don’t tell Don Cheadle it’s not), the girl with the 4th ring would have loved today, because it was all about water. It made its presence known before today technically began, by way of a massive rogue thunderless storm whose path was trained directly on Mt. Desert Island from 10pm until about 3am. I know because it woke me up and kept me nervously checking the corners of the tent for the water that never did manage to get inside.

Only an hour after the storm, my alarm went off so that Gordo and I could reach the top of Cadillac Mountain in time for sunrise. I assume we made it because the clocks told me so, but there wasn’t really any sunrise to speak of. Much like yesterday’s experience in Portland, our view was obscured by clouds, except this time we were actually in them.

So we returned to camp, where I made a traditional bacon and eggs breakfast (with an extra half piece of bacon for Gordo) before setting out for today’s main destination – the park loop road. Traversing the island’s eastern half, many of the park’s main attractions are along it. I had planned two hikes and noted several spots where there’d be something interesting to see.

Again, however, water got in the way. The ubiquitous Acadian fog limited visibility to a few hundred feet, so it became pointless to embark on hikes where the reward at the end was an expansive view of the park. So I postponed one of the hikes until the afternoon and the other until tomorrow.

The one I did decide to take was the Great Head Trail, which circumnavigates the Great Head – am elevated peninsula ringed with sheer drop-offs into the ocean. With Gordo securely in his Carrier I set out to climb the stone stairs from sea level to the top of the head (in Hebrew would that be Rosh harosh?) The views were impressive and I basically had the trail to myself, but I couldn’t help but wonder how much better it would have been without the fog.

The fog did have one advantage – it made today a perfect day to take the Bubble Rock hike I had skipped yesterday. The nice thing about hikes in Acadia is that since most of them are so short (less than 2 miles) every time I check my progress on my awesome Acadia app I’ve made significant progress. The Bubble Rock trail took me to the top of one of the Bubbles, which is also nice because now every time I see a picture of Jordan Pond I can point to the mountains in the background and boast that I’ve climbed one. 

Upon reaching Bubble Rock at the end, the view succeeded in getting Harry Chapin’s The Rock stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

Water didn’t just play a role in my hiking adventures today – it also raised and killed my lunch. When I reorganized my hiking schedule and realized I had nothing that I wanted to do for a few hours, I dedicated myself to finding a good lobster and a place where I could eat it without leaving Gordo to bark in the car. Yelp helped me with the latter, but I did run into some trouble with the former. Apparently it’s soft shell lobster season, so they’re ridiculously cheap (a few places are selling them live for $4 a pound), except I don’t think those really count as Maine lobsters. So my only option in the hard shelled department was a “jumbo” lobster. In my case, jumbo meant 2.68 pounds. Not a problem, since most of a lobster’s weight is shell and you have to work so hard to get the meat the can justify eating it since you’ve just exercised. So I got my jumbo lobster to go, found the Seawall picnic area with an impressive view of a natural stone seawall across the street from my campground, and went to town. Gordo was clearly interested in this creature as well, so he got a couple of half bites as compensation for having to sit in the Gordo Carrier for much of this trip. The best part of the jumbo lobster? My hands looked and smelled like jumbo lobster for the rest of the day.

That just left the sunset (I’m a bit out of chronological order. I’ve been up since 4am. Sue me.) I decided to give Bass Harbor Light another chance, since I wasn’t really happy with last night’s results and the only other sunset location on my list was Cadillac Mountain, but I’d already grown tired of the view there (if it even decided to come out). I knew I was in for a better sunset when I arrived at the lighthouse and could actually see the ocean and even some distant landforms. By the end of the evening, the sun had even produced a little color in the clouds for a few moments. Mission accomplished.

I’d thought about going out to the seawall to try come night sky pictures, since there aren’t as many clouds as last night, but I can’t imagine seeing anything to rival those Grand Canyon Milky Way pictures from last summer. And besides, night sky pictures are an enormous pain in the neck to work on in Photoshop. Plus, I’ve still been up since 4am.

So what am I going to do differently tomorrow? I’m going to sleep late --- 4:30am this time. I’ll see if there’s a decent sunrise to be had at the seawall. And since it’s right across the street, if it’s nothing special I’ll just leave and go back to bed. If I drive halfway across the island like I did this morning, I’ll feel obligated to stay to justify the trip. I just hope the only water I see is lapping against the rocky shore.

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