Thursday, August 19, 2010

Maine Lighthouse Tour
Day 5

We begin where we left off the day before and head into Acadia National Park. Our first stop is the visitor center for first things first; INK! With the stamp in place, (National Parks Passport Book) we watch the video presentation about the history and natural habitat of the park. Then off to and up Cadillac Mountain, a destination that has long been on my list. Once there I find the geological marker and take a few photographs to commemorate the moment.

The views from here are absolutely beautiful. The posted placards help us understand what we are looking at below. The signs also indicate that at certain times of the year, the sun rises here first on the US of A. Cool! The ride up Cadillac Mountain is easy, with many turn-outs for viewing. As mountains go, it isn’t very high, but can boast being the highest point on the eastern coast. (Not to be confused with the highest point in the Northeast which we know is Mount Washington in NH.) We end our Acadia visit with the completion of the loop and make for our next destination.

If there is one thing I’m learning on this tour, is that lighthouses aren’t as easy to find as one might imagine. Despite waypoints marking them, so far most are not possible to see until you are upon them. Even then, a few are right under our noses, but so nestled into their spot as to be hidden from the inland approach. Since lighthouses sit on points and bluffs, they are also typically at dead end roads, most of which aren’t well maintained. While Blaze did a magnificent job navigating these roads, Andy complained the Vulcan dragged bottom a few times. Finding the lighthouses is one thing, all the backtracking away from dead end roads is another and time consuming. We decide we are on no one’s time schedule except our own.

Our first official lighthouse this day is Dice Head. This is a beautiful spot set so far off the beaten path I would have never ventured here except in finding this lighthouse. As with many of the lighthouses, the home attached is a private residence. It was good to see that the people we come upon at these spots are respectful and follow the signs pointing to footpaths. Dice Head Lighthouse sits atop a rocky bluff. From our vantage point we can see the sailboats below, hear the bell in the channel coming to us on the breeze. The path leads around back and downward. We discover a staircase built into the granite rock that leads to the water. On our return we eat handfuls of blackberries that are ripe and ready for eating. A great snack for our trek upward.

Back again we go over jaw jarring roads and around to our next light, Fort Point. Off the beaten track we go. We are pleasantly surprised to find that as we approach the road improves. I think it’s because this light abuts a state park. Here too is the former site of Fort Pownal. The grounds are spacious. This light is at the mouth of the west side of upper Penobscot bay at the tip of Cape Jellison. We find a few artists painting their renditions. The artist to the right more to my liking. The one to the left is painting in monochrome and puffing a stogy which spoils the smell of the ocean breeze.

The day is getting away from us as we make our way to Rockland Breakwater Light. We have been to this one about seven years ago, so we don’t take the mile walk out on the breakwater. I’ve done a bit of hiking today already and the back may not like the uneven stones that lead to the light. We take some time to appreciate the quiet of this evening, inspect the flora, and read a few of the names on benches along the path, paid for by families to remember loved ones. We decide to save Owls Head for tomorrow. Here too in Rockland we find the Lighthouse Museum. We may just have to visit that too.

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