Thursday, October 28, 2010

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park was the first National Park to be designated east of the Mississippi River, and is now the third-most-visited park in the system. It is within easy reach of large population centers on the east coast, but draws people from around the world. They come for the gulls, but stay for the scenery and a taste of fresh lobster.

Here's a Herring Gull on a rock, one of many quintessential Maine scenes.

These are Greater Black-backed Gulls. No dump gulls, these. They prefer the ocean to a landfill, and are larger than the Herring Gulls that make up much of the gull population. Here they're drinking fresh water at the edge of the ocean, where a small stream trickles into the sea.

The relentless wave action breaks apart the granite on Schoodic Peninsula and polishes it into cobblestones, making a wonderful wind-chime noise as the smooth rocks roll in heavy surf and clank and bonk against one another.

The Black Guillemot has changed into winter plumage, and its natty tuxedo is mottled like the snow and spume which are soon to arrive as winter blows onshore.

This is a view of Frenchman Bay, looking out at islands and a lighthouse.

Near the park headquarters, a stand of birches with peeling bark create a shady grove.

Sand Beach is one of the few places in that part of Maine where sand is to be found. Here it draws sunbathers in the summer, and even in October a few fearless youngsters were swimming in the ocean ... well, at least jumping in and running out. That's about the extent of "swimming" to be had in the cold Labrador Current and local rip tides.

At low tide the black and olive rock weed lies draped over the rocks, and above them white barnacles coat the granite. The barnacles remain tightly closed until the return of the ocean waters with the incoming tide.

Offshore, Common Eider paddle just beyond the crashing surf.

Cyndi and I stopped for mid afternoon tea and scones at Jordan Pond House, and enjoyed the view of the Bubbles in autumn with many other vacationers (or "leaf peepers" as we all are collectively known in the fall).

Throughout Acadia National Park (formerly the Rockefeller estate, before it was donated), carriage paths wind near the most scenic spots and many hand-crafted stone bridges can be viewed. Each is unique.

This small stream had collected some of the most vibrant leaves. The smell of years of moist, decomposing forest duff mixes with the clean, salty ocean air. Footsteps are muffled by moss and soft earth. It really is a magical place.

The American Black Duck often interbreeds with Mallards, but this one does look to me to be the American Black Duck because of the olive colored bill.

Both sunset and sunrise from Cadillac Mountain are always crowd-pleasers, and even on a cold, windy, rainy evening many people had made the trek to the summit to watch the last rays of day fade from view. The body of water seen here is Frenchman Bay, looking toward my parents' home in West Sullivan across the bay on the mainland.

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