Thursday August 22, 2013
Sunset Point RV Park
**I’ve been having quite a bit of trouble with the internet in the early mornings and later evenings here. Yesterday’s post on the gorgeous hiking on Campobello Island was up and down so if you have not seen it and you’d like to, you can read it here.
It’s a foggy morn in Lubec town.
I’m learning that morning fog is not the exception here, it is the rule. A clear sky sunny morning is the exception.
Even in the fog, Cecile and her husband are serious birders and point out things to me that I would never see without their spotting scope. The fog is pretty heavy this morning but there are birds in close on the mud flats at low tide. All of this is right in my front or side yard. WOW!
The eider are fishing and I am able to get a somewhat credible shot of whatever it is this one has caught.
I found these sitting around and thought I’d stick them in here.
They are panorama shots of the campground taken on a previous day. This is what I see looking straight ahead or to the right from Winnona.
Here are the RVs in sites 3 to 12. Winnona is second from the right. There is a shorter row of RVs right on the water to the far right in this picture.
There are no sites in front of # 3-12 they are just further from the water with the campground road and a large grassy area in front of the sites.
Today we drive over to Quoddy Head State Park to see the Lighthouse.
This means we turn left out of the campground drive, make the first right and follow the road to the end. West Quoddy is one of the most photographed light houses in the country probably because of its striped tower.
I walk around to the side and take this picture which I really like. Looks like Pippy Longstockings’s stockings doesn’t it??
Inside the visitor center are two very friendly men who ask us to sign their guest book and chat enthusiastically with everyone who comes in.
In the center we learn all about the West Quoddy light. It seems to be pronounced Coddy here in Maine. In 1808 it became the Eastern most lighthouse in the United States. Its light and fog canon (that’s right fog CANON-which you can hear in the visitors center) warned mariners of these rocky and fog shrouded waters with dangerous cliffs and ledges. The current lighthouse and keeper’s house date from 1857 making them more than 150 years old. The light was automated in 1988 but still shines through its original Fresnel lens. Now that’s amazing. There sure is nothing made anymore that could possibly last that long.
The first keeper was a revolutionary war veteran and its last was a Coast Guard First Class Boatswain’s Mate.
Sadly the lighthouse is only open twice a year on Maine Lighthouse days when all the lighthouses in the state – and there are a lot – are open to the public. The next one is September 15. We’ll be gone by then darn it.
Along with information on the lighthouse itself and its history, there is information on the fishing industry in the area. I don’t think anyone has seen one of these wooden lobster traps in a long time. They are all metal now.
I also learn why the tides are so high here. The Bay of Fundy gets narrower and narrower as it passes down the channel to Lubec. At Fundy National Park it is 39 feet wide, by the time it reaches the lighthouse at West Quoddy, it has shrunk to only 19 feet wide. The bay has become narrower and shallower squeezing the water higher. The tides while we have been here have ranged from 20.4 feet to –1.6 feet. Not sure how you can have a minus tide height but that’s what the posted tide chart says.
This map of the area shows the four local lighthouses. We’ve now seen two of them, Mulholland and West Quoddy. We might get a look at the Lubec Channel Light later today. We are saving the very interesting East Quoddy Lighthouse on the northern tip of Campobello for next week.
I get great inspiration in the visitor center.
How about this for a costume party??? If you see a horizontal red and white striped nightgown, let me know. I can go as the West Quoddy Lighthouse.
Before we leave to hike some of the park trails we have our picture taken.
There are lots of fun things to see and to learn in the West Quoddy Lighthouse visitor’s center. And there are several trails in the park. One is a short one mile called the Coast Guard Trail and leads to a “view point”. The others can be chained together to make a nearly 7 mile hike. I’d like to do that but it is nearly 12:30 when we leave the lighthouse and at our one mile an hour usual hiking pace, it would be nearly dark before we would finish.
So off we go to the Coast Guard Trail. I’m hoping the “view” is of the lighthouse.
The first sign at the trail head says it is half a mile to the “high point”. It’s a loop trail so I guess that means it is half a mile back around.
We walk up the trail you see above and around that bend and just before we enter the woods we are told we’ve already gone 1/10th of that mile. Really??? The distance to the “high point” is now 4/10th of a mile.
The hike is not nearly as well maintained as those in the International Park on Campobello but it is a beautiful trail and I find all kinds of lovely things all around. Many of them are the same boggy plants we have seen in both Acadia and on Campobello on our hikes. There are lots of signs of fall likes these bunchberry berries.
I particularly love this cluster of Indian Pipe also known as the ghost plant. It doesn't’ have chlorophyll so it can’t make its own nutrients so it is usually parasitic upon hardwood trees and the fungus with which the tree has a symbiotic relationship. Thus it can grow in dark forest environments. I’m always surprised to see this bright white little pipe in the darkest of forests. It turns black when it gets old.
The path cuts through mats of bunchberry.
Now what is this? If anyone has an idea please let me know.
Toadstools are all around as are thick coverings of wood sorrel (false shamrock). I love its heart shaped leaves (shamrock leaves are oval)and I believe all parts of all varieties are edible. I know the ones at the farm were.
Fall is evident as this fern is turning a beautiful bronze like color. Nature is so lovely in every stage.
This woods is filled with birch trees whose bark is shredding. I am not used to seeing birches and find them fascinating and beautiful the way their bark just peels off in sheets.
I stop in my tracks when I see the colors of this tree. I don’t know anything really about birch trees so I hope this bark has come off naturally and has not been stripped and the tree damaged by someone.
The trail runs high above the waters’ edge. The views along the way are spectacular.
I climb down to this rocky point to take the panorama below.
Here’s David climbing down to join me on the rocky point from which I turn back to the land and take the panorama below. The panorama gives a much better feel for what I am experiencing than the individual shots, though beautiful, do.
The clarity of the water is amazing even this far above it.
At one point David spots a nest part way down on these cliffs. I didn’t see it, do you? He has mighty sharp vision.
I am overwhelmed by the beauty around me. I am so lucky to be here having these experiences.
Finally we reach the “high point” where we have expected to find some views. Take a look. Absolutely nothing like what we have seen just at the openings and spurs off of the main trail. Not sure why they spent the money to put this here. The foliage is obscuring the view as it is not out on a point. BUT the hike is well worth taking even without the “high point’.
Big stairs to get up and down to it. But it still does not seem to me to be any higher than many other spots on the trail.
On along the trail we find a viewing bench and a warning sign. They are not kidding about the drop off.
It is a pretty spectacular drop off I’d say. The water is gorgeous today.
Down from the tower spur we rejoin the trail. To the left is the one we have come on and to the right is the one back. The one we have come on has been rough, muddy and not well kept. The second section from the tower back seems like a gravel road. I’m wondering if we have done the trail backwards although the sign at the trail head gave no indication that it might actually be the foot.
The gravel road trail has its gems as well.
In a VERY short time we are back at the lighthouse. Not only do I think the trail is longer than a mile, but I also think the first part to the ‘high point’ from the parking lot down the gravel road is about 1/4 of the distance while the part from the lighthouse to the high point is 3/4 of the trail. Not the half and half indicated on the map.
One last look at this lovely lighthouse and we are on our way.
Because nothing is more than 3 or 4 miles from anything else in Lubec we decide to check out Mowry Beach in town. It is a property of the Down East Coastal Conservancy. In Acadia we first were introduced to the Coastal Conservancies and I am very impressed with the work they do to protect coastal lands, beaches and views.
Mowry Beach is at the end of the road on which the Elementary school is located.
It has a rosa rugosa lined path to the shore and I pick up a few snacks along the way.
The tide is out. The mud flats are full of wading birds.
From here we can see Lubec Channel Light in the distance.
Because it sits out in the channel, getting a good shot of it from any where other than a boat will be difficult for my camera. But I am pretty happy with this one.
The Lubec Channel Light was built in 1889 for $20,000. A LOT of money back then. It is cast iron with a brick lining and was automated in 1939. The light is 55 feet above sea level. Originally the light was Fresnel but now it is 6 inch solar powered. It is known throughout the area affectionately as sparkplug.
We’ve now seen three of the area’s four lighthouses.
Everyone seems to love lighthouses and I wonder if it is merely their proximity to the sea or if there is something more.
A beautiful light of another sort brings our day to another lovely close.