Driving north on Maine 3 – a surprisingly fruitful joyride
Knowing that John was still driving from Boston, I wanted to try and soak in some more of Maine. I do not typically go for the “just start driving in a direction” approach to exploration, but I am quite thankful I did in this case.
Some time in Bar Harbor again
The beginning of the day saw my exploring more of the Bar Harbor area, including the fact that it REALLY sits RIGHT on the ocean:
These photos continued to gain weird looks from local folks, because it was JUST local folks, plus me, in the area – they didn’t seem to know what to do with a tourist in the dead of winter!
It was interesting to see what I mentioned in an earlier post, the boom and bust nature of Bar Harbor, in action – both in terms of multiple restaurants being closed, and also the seafood industry being in repose:
Quite the delightful admixture of civilization and the wilderness, closely juxtaposed with one another, encountered time and again:
From there, it occurred to me that the campsite on Maine 3 is likely NOT the end of Maine 3… not least of all because the road kept going beyond the site.
In a move very abnormal for me, I decided to 1) not research my end destination(s) and instead 2) pick a direction and drive, to see what I found. The results follow herebelow:
Traveling further north on Maine 3, from Acadia
After a series of increasingly mountainous curves, and my beginning to worry that I would be offroading instead of driving, I came upon the first of many picturesque coves and harbors (see above), and was quite pleased with my choice to do so!
Continuing the motif of seasonal economies, all the crabbing and fishing ships were moored and shut down for the winter, which made for better photos but tighter local budgets I would guess.
Of the very few instances of wildlife I encountered on this trip, it was my joyride that saw me encounter the largest volume – some sort of contingent of Viking ducks, which didn’t give a damn HOW cold the ocean was in dead of winter:
Not as iconic as seeing a moose? Sure.
Far less deadly than hitting a moose at night on the highway? Probably.
Beech Mountain and the College of the Atlantic’s sustainable farm
As I continued along the way I saw signs for Beech Mountain, and was looking forward to the chance at seeing the terrain from a higher vantage point.
As seems to be the case in Maine, the road got progressively crappier and more mountainous… and I eventually drove past this gorgeous little setup:
At the time, all I knew was that it had a sign as being part of the College of the Atlantic, and it looked like a really cleverly constructed sustainable farming project – solar panels, wind turbines, and an attached greenhouse to help maintain warmth and humidity.
Plus, if THEY can do it, *I* can do something like this in my future 😀
Turns out that they have a website with further information, so if anyone is interested, here it is.
Further up the road, I finally arrived at… the fallen tree across the road which they just plowed up into and then stopped trying. No dice on the scenic overlook, but I was glad to have encountered the farm.
Bass Harbor Lighthouse
Further up Maine 3, I stopped for some food in a grocery store and I am glad I did – the lady working the checkout and a gentleman in line behind me told me all about the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, and also the naturally-occurring Seawall in Acadia Park.
While at the lighthouse (and I made it brief, as the wind off the sea meant BUSINESS and was cold), I got a good look at just how rocky the coast of Maine can be (as per above), and by seeing a lighthouse in Maine I checked off some kind of unspoken requirement for people visiting the state – see a damned lighthouse.
The ocean and I made friends, and parted ways amicably.
Acadia National Park’s Seawall
A natural formation of loose granite, this seawall allows for a very calm harbor around Cranberry Island and was getting seriously pummeled by the winter sea!
It is possible I ought to have gone swimming, but I passed on the opportunity.
The snows began to fall lightly as I headed back towards the campsite to meet John, but I still jumped out to snap several photos.
It was a delight, to continually encounter deep wilderness DIRECTLY off main roads. Yet another reason why it was hard to leave that place, and as to how much I would like to live there or in a place very similar.
John’s arrival, reliving the pyromania of our Scouting days, and cooking over a fire
John finally got into town (and given that I had to drive to get cellular signal, its nice that we ran into each other), and we met up in the tiny parking lot to the campsite:
So after getting John’s gear to the site (which was QUITE icy, having frozen after the rainstorm Thursday night), we did the obvious: started a roaring fire, cooked food, had drink, and made merriment!
With enough of Jim Beam’s help, we relived several of our childhood’s Scouting experiences with fire – as per above, smoldering stick with melting plastic wrapped on the tip = plastic flowing through the air as it melts down towards the ground, releasing light and strikingly Mario-esque noises. And also AMAZINGLY healthy fumes, to be sure.
Once we finally bedded down for the night, we both heard a dog howling…. and then several of them. Almost certainly, those were wolves, as no dog has ever made noises quite like that. Given that we saw some HUGE pawprints on the mountain the next day, perhaps we did camp with the wolves!
A great day, out of a great week.