Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Lost Loons - Somes Pond

Thursday July 6, 2017                                                                 Most Recent Posts:
Acadia National Park                                                            A Picnic and Great Head Point, TWICE
Bar Harbor, Maine                                                                         Echo Lake Paddle       




Narrows Too on the mapOne of these days we have to do some serious planning and put our kayaks in down here on our own shore and paddle around to see how far we can go. The problem is the map. We are the Blue Dot near the top middle. The water on our coast is the Mount Desert Narrows which is part of all the greater bays and the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, it’s a bit unpredictable.  You have to know the winds, the tides and often the former change their minds from what is predicted.  It’s hard to plan when you could take a flat water, not an ocean kayak out.





But we’d still like to do it. Who wouldn’t with this view from the put in.





Although clearly in this picture the water is far too shallow for launching from the shore.  You’d have to wade out beyond all those picturesque rocks.




20170706_072404So not  today.   This morning  we go to Somes Pond which is a sweet spot as well. 

We have no more than gotten the boats in the water when the loons start calling and we see 5 of them in the distance.  I grab my camera and put it up to my eye to take a shot and am informed that there is “no memory card”. 

That means no pictures.  I’d left the card in my computer from the day before.   I can’t believe it.  So I tell David he’ll have to be the photographer and he informs me he’s forgotten his camera all together.


20170706_073415We’re some pair.  Here we are with the greatest number of loons either one of his has ever seen in one place and all we have is my Samsung Gallaxy S5 camera.  

So here’s what I took with that.   The color is not accurate, faces are dark and the zoom is a measley 4X   But it records our day, sort of, without any pictures of the loon group or any of the other birds including an eagle that we saw.  While I took a lot of pictures as usual these are literally the only ones that look remotely like what we saw.  Clearly we will have to return to Somes Pond.

It’s about 7:15am when all this happens.



The loons were way out there where my Canon’s zoom would have picked them up easily.  But a 4X is pretty much useless.



Areas of the pond are covered with Spatterdock and other water plants.





There is a small island in the middle of the pond.



Must be a bit disconcerting to have people paddling around your house.  The “dock” is in the water.  Wonder what happens when the pond rises?  Is it in your living room??



Beautiful views from your deck.



Somes Pond is 102 acres with a 3.2 mile perimeter around which we paddle.  Along the shore we come to a the North End put in which requires a bit of a carry from your car.  This is actually private property though the owner generously allows the public to use it.   It is very near the headquarters of he Somes-Maynell Wildlife Sanctuary.  The Sanctuary protects and conserves over 230 acres of forested and wetland areas surrounding Somes Pond.  On their acreage they maintain a network of walking trails which are open to the public during daylight hours.



Just a bit further on we turn up what looks like an interesting water path and find ourselves in the sanctuary.



Below the Wood Duck house is a small Somes Maynell sign.



I’m a bit behind him and when he comes back and says it doesn’t go very far, I still have to see for myself.  How far one can go is sometimes a matter of opinon.   I think this is the spot he felt was getting too narrow.  I go on through and wind around and around.  Love these sorts of places.   It widens and narrows in turn.




But eventually even though I can see it is wide enough for me on the other side of this barrier, the beavers have decided I’m to go no further.



I have to paddle backwards until I can find a spot wide enough to turn my 13.5 foot boat around.

David is waiting for me and pointing to the only wildlife we see all day that are close enough to photograph.  Mallards often seem to be fine with human company.




The pond is glistening in the sunlight as we head back.


Pictures or no, it was a wonderful morning.  We saw much more than we were able to share.  Hopefully next time.  Wish I could call the loons for a repeat performance. 

Patient Ruby waits by the side of the road.  There is room for two or three cars at the most if one of them isn’t a truck.  That pretty much guarantees you’ll have at least the south end of the pond to yourself.  Today we had the entirety to our selves.  Can’t wait to come again



A Picnic and Great Head Point, TWICE

July 4 & 5, 2017                                                                                                  Most Recent Posts:
Tuesday and Wednesday                                                                                       Echo Lake Paddle      
Acadia National Park                                                                                       Two Bubbles and a Nubble
Bar Harbor, Maine




IMG_5696Yes I’m 2 weeks behind but I’m at least in July now.  On July 4 Nancy invited us over for a picnic.  It was to be the classic American 4th picnic.  Nancy had hot dogs, cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad.  We brought corn on the cob and a Blueberry Mountain cobbler with vanilla ice cream. 

Most of you know that about 90% or more of the time we are all vegans but there are exceptions as in lobster rolls, ice cream and picnics.

Bill is pondering the fire situation but does an excellent job of getting the perfect one to cook both corn and dogs.  David of course has the 4th of July brew in his hand.



David gets a head start on cooking his dogs.  Good thing the Mills have these metal prong forks since we have nothing of the sort.  Hot dogs and marshmallows are not often on our menu.


Bill prefers a chair for his roasting.



And here we are in their screen room.  We all have our plates loaded when Nancy takes this picture.



I didn’t mean to cut off half of David’s face but these things happen when you jump up to get a picture and your plate is full of food you want to get back to. 


Can’t say that anyone looks particularly happy with the dessert although we all cleaned our bowls.  Another one of those no thought in it quick shots that I must stop doing.   Great time!  Worthy celebration.





IMG_0001This morning we set out early to hike the Great Head trail from Sand Beach.  This lot is bigger than the picture shows.  As you can imagine, the only beach with sand and not rocks in the park is going to be very popular but apparently not this early in the morning   The lot is good size, say 100-125 cars in this lot but not one was here this morning at  7:30am. 

I love pictures of empty parking lots!    Especially pretty ones like this with stone barriers and beautiful scenery all around



Here’s Ruby all by herself in the very first spot which we hope will be shady although the temperatures here in Maine are rarely out of the 70’s and the highest so far has been 85.   Low 70’s is predicted for today.  PERFECT hiking weather.




We take the steps down to Sand Beach which we’ll cross to get to the trail head.  David gets a fairly decent picture shooting into the sun.   Remember this picture.



At the far end of the beach is  this little pond, open to the ocean and deeper and wider at high than at low tide.  It must be crossed to get to the trail head.  Behind it is the Beehive Trail with rungs and ladders going up the face of the mountain.  David hiked it on our last visit in 2013 and thought it was great.  I passed and spent the morning on Sand Beach




Beyond the water in the above picture is the trail up to Great Head.  It starts out looking easy, stairs even.



Next part looks easy too, a walk in the woods.


Pretty things to see on the way like these just pinking up rose hips  with morning dew.  They are from the beach rose flower and hopefully will be ready for me to eat with their huge amounts of vitamin C before we have to leave.



Who but Mother Nature could create such a beautiful picture?





We pause and look back at Sand Beach and the Beehive while I contemplate the next section not designed for short legs.




More up hill flat rock face but then we’re at the top.






The whole point of climbing to Great Head is to look at the views so we spend quite a bit of time looking around.  In one direction we get another fuller view of Sand Beach and the Beehive.   Notice there is no one on the beach.  Remember this picture for later.




From the other direction we see the gorgeous rocky coast of Maine, as well as a lobster boat probably coming in with its catch, a beautiful schooner and Old Soaker, right, left and center respectively



Zooming in on the lobster boat I’m judging from the excitement of its followers that it must be loaded and coming in to market this morning.  The lobstermen are up before dawn to check their traps for the days catch.

Old Soaker is the reason for the rarity of Sand Beach which is one of the few cold-water shell-based  sand beaches in the world I have read.  Sand Beaches are uncommon in Maine because cold water traps the gasses that dissolve seashells and most of the coastline consists of hard granite that erodes slowly.  But Old Soaker is an off shore rock that diverts a strong current into a  glacially formed pocket which captures shell fragments.  This beach is also affected typically by a 12’ variance between high and low tides and currents.  The surface sands rest on a huge bed of granite cobbles so if a hurricane dispells the sand you could have a cobble beach or just a granite beach.

You can book schooner cruises out of either Bar Harbor or Southwest Harbor.  They are out early this morning.  It’s only 8:30 am



We walk on around Great Head where there are so many “great” views, I’ll try not to get carried away.  I think that’s Otter Cliffs in the background beyond Old Soaker.




Blue blazes say the trail goes this way.



More views.



Further along, David stays up top while I climb down to the rocky edge.



It’s amazing how these flowers will grow in just a little niche in a seemingly barren rock face.






Looks like it could be another thunder hole.




All over the rocks on MDI are the marks of the scraping of the glaciers.




So many spots to ponder Nature’s greatness and our own insignificance in the grand scheme of things.




We’re thinking perhaps this is the spot which gave Great Head its name.



Heading back down, this enthusiastic song sparrow serenades us from his Fir tree perch.






IMG_0115We reach a fork in the road which tells us if we want to go to Great Head Parking go this way and if we want to go to Sand Beach go that way.  We have a memory lapse from the last time we were here and forget that if we want to take the FLAT path back to Sand Beach rather than go back up and around Great Head we need to go toward Great Head Parking.  We realize we could have parked there but we wanted to see Sand Beach since we had not seen it yet this year.


So, back up and around we foolishly went.  Oh well, I always say a trail looks different when going backwards.



What’s a little straight up climb?   Not sure the guy with the heart condition feels the same way.  Although he’s the one who was certain we didn’t want to go to Great Head parking.Smile






We get to see the great views again and I spy something I missed the first time around.








Looking out from Great Head at 2:00 is Old Soaker but looking out at 10:00 I see what I think is Egg Rock.  I zoom in and sure enough there is Egg Rock Light.   It is a square tower coming up from within the square keeper’s house.  Unfortunately it is not open to the public.  You can get close to the island on any number of cruises out of Bar Harbor but it is owned by US Fish and Wildlife and managed by the Coast Guard for whatever sense that makes.  Still it’s a cutie and I’m glad I noticed it on my second trip around.





Our view of Sand Beach on the way down looks totally different from the one on the way up.  The troops have arrived.  Well it is July in Acadia after all.



Down on solid ground, we cross the waterway and the beach.



On the beach we discover this mermaid complete with tail.




Although we started out at 7:30, we managed to spend 4 hours walking up around down and up around and down again on Great Head.   We had a Great Time…..One last look back and we leave the beach to the bunnies.   David looks in a bit of a hurry to get away.