Today there is rain. It is off-on again as it cleanses the earth and performs nature’s ritual of baptism. Coastal Maine has an aura about it when it rains unlike any other place I have visited. Perhaps it is the communion of salt air and the scent of pine: potent yet calming.
My day has been spent in a flurry of small activities: packing, organizing, and doing last minute errands before I leave the Bar Harbor area for Bass Harbor and Southwest Harbor tomorrow morning. I managed to take one more picture of the view fifty paces from my cottage and loved what I saw. One boat. Alone. Not even a seagull.
While today is not at its close, it is yesterday with which I want to fill your eyes. After an intense morning of writing, phone calls, and a three-mile walk, I finally sat down to breakfast at noon. I was up well before sunrise and I cannot imagine how or why I allowed myself to go so long without food. I mention this only because it becomes relevant to my hike at Witch Hole Pond.
I started out about two o’clock at the entrance to the carriage road that loops around The Pond. It is a three-mile walk with some steep grades but nothing serious. Since I ate breakfast late, I only took a fruit and nut bar plus my water. With my camera backpack containing cameras, lenses, and tripod, I carried about twenty-five pounds. Because I walk between three and four miles almost every day, I did not think this mere three-mile trek would be any problem at all.
My first stop was when I reached the actual pond at Witch Hole. There are no words to describe this unaltered place and it would be futile for me to try. Here is the first image I took.
I walked another mile, maybe less, and decided to drink some water. I looked around and another vantage point of this great Pond presented itself in a different light. I had to capture it.
It was just after taking this image and walking another half-mile that I became ravenously hungry to the point of a hypoglycemic attack. I took off my backpack and grabbed the fruit and nut bar cursing myself for not having packed something more substantial. As a means of soothing my angry stomach, I reasoned that this was only three miles and I was almost finished with the loop. So, I walked on and on and on until I had to stop and take more water hoping it would fill my stomach.
Once again the break for water surfaced a new facet of the Pond after the continuous, stunning panoramic views. I love the intimacy of this image because it says I am rarely seen for I hug the shore of this great Pond. And, I have never been touched by anything other than the hands of time and nature’s will.
I continued my walk with an irritability building due to what I was beginning to believe was the onset of starvation as I came across a stump in a very shallow part of the Pond. I forgot all about being hungry and experimented with different lenses (perhaps in the back of my mind lurked a hope that an old chocolate bar would fall out of my backpack, but alas, it did not) and took this picture.
I was so thrilled about this image that there was a new spring to my step and I walked further on knowing that at any moment I would be heading back down towards the visitor’s center where my trek began. But no. I found I was walking up hill once again and in so doing encountered this old bridge and the road across the bridge. A note: I am not certain if this is a cobble bridge or granite or perhaps both. When I learn more, I will update this writing. However, I do know that the road across the bridge is a wide carriage road of small, loose stone (as are the carriage trails) built for horse and carriage rides in the 1800s by the wealthy patrons of Bar Harbor. There are many carriage roads to traverse in Acadia.
I was losing light by this time and I knew something was wrong. I believed I followed all the posted signs yet I seemed to be the only person left on the path. The bikers, walking couples, and runners had vanished. I finally started a descent and saw the sign to Hull’s Cove and the visitor’s center. Relief passed over me. As I walked into the parking lot though, I saw that my car was the only one there. I don’t know what happened but when I got into my car and saw that it was past five o’clock, I realized I had walked for three hours.
I drove to the nearest restaurant and am embarrassed to tell you what I consumed: a steaming bowl of New England clam chowder, every oyster cracker I could summon up, a buttered roll, broiled haddock, a baked potato not only with sour cream but butter too, sugar snap peas and baby carrots in more butter … all washed down with homemade vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. I could have stuffed even more into myself. So, a lesson learned: take enough food on a hike. Even a small one. My only consolation was that I walked about seven miles between my morning walk and afternoon trek.
When I arrived home, there was little light left but I noticed a slight bit of pink-orange through the pine trees so I walked around the corner to the water’s edge with camera in hand just in case I was right. And I was. Another beautiful sunset … almost gone.
Tomorrow I arrive on the west side of Mount Desert between Southwest Harbor and Bass Harbor. More to come in a few days.