NECE 3, Day 4 – exploring north of Acadia, John’s arrival

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:

Bar Harbor simply goes directly into the sea

Bar Harbor simply goes directly into the sea

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!

Maine is gorgeous even in the snow... especially in the snow, in my opinion

Maine is gorgeous even in the snow… especially in the snow, in my opinion

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:

Too cold for crabbing, I suppose

Too cold for crabbing, I suppose

Quite the delightful admixture of civilization and the wilderness, closely juxtaposed with one another, encountered time and again:

I *think* I have found my preferred locale to live the rest of my days

I *think* I have found my preferred locale to live the rest of my days

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

Just gorgeous.

Just gorgeous.

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!

Ships at harbor...

Ships at harbor…

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.

... but after seeing the options, I decided against a winter boat ride

… but after seeing the options, I decided against a winter boat ride

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:

Ducks are SERIOUSLY Viking in terms of their winterproofing

Ducks are SERIOUSLY Viking in terms of their winterproofing

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:

I ended up finding this awesome sustainable farm in the middle of no where

I ended up finding this awesome sustainable farm in the middle of no where

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.

Beech Mountain was going to be awesome... except they simply stopped plowing the road to it at a certain point

Beech Mountain was going to be awesome… except they simply stopped plowing the road to it at a certain point

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

Bass Harbor Lighthouse

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.

The coast near Bass Harbor, pummeled time and again by waves

The coast near Bass Harbor, pummeled time and again by waves

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.

Other than Tuesday night, this was the coldest experience of winds off the Atlantic all week (next to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse)

Other than Tuesday night, this was the coldest experience of winds off the Atlantic all week (next to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse)

The ocean and I made friends, and parted ways amicably.

Acadia National Park’s Seawall

MFALCON in front of the natural Seawall

MFALCON in front of the natural 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!

the Seawall in all its glory

the Seawall in all its glory

It is possible I ought to have gone swimming, but I passed on the opportunity.

Idyllic pond near the road

Idyllic pond near the road

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.

All snow, all the time.  My favorite.

All snow, all the time. My favorite.

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:

All parties arrived, we are ready to continue the wintry week

All parties arrived, we are ready to continue the wintry week

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!

John doing what he does best - *fire*

John doing what he does best – *fire*

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.

John got a candid shot of me trying to get a clean shot of the moon and stars (too many tree branches + light pollution from our fire ruined all the shots, sadly) - photo reproduced here with John's permission

John got a candid shot of me trying to get a clean shot of the moon and stars (too many tree branches + light pollution from our fire ruined all the shots, sadly) – photo reproduced here with John’s permission

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.

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