Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

First Real Day in Acadia

Tuesday June 13, 2017                                                                               Most Recent Posts:
Acadia National Park                                                                                  Happy Summer Solstice
Bar Harbor, Maine                                                                                     On the Road Again


Yes my last post was about the Summer Solstice on June 21st and now I’m jumping back to fill in our first real day in Acadia.

My On the Road Again post (link above) ended with our Sunday  arrival at our campsite in Seawall Campground in the Southwest section of Acadia National Park.


IMG_0003After spending all day yesterday at the Cancer Center in Brewer Maine, this is our first full day in the park.

As always our first stop is at the Visitor Center.   This picture is just the parking lot kiosk with all sorts of information but none that you can take with you.  For that you have to climb up the 58 steps.  They must have been asked how many steps so many often that they posted it at the bottom of the first set of steps up to the first landing.


1st set                                                                                    2nd set of 3




When we get inside we find this place is humming for a Tuesday in fairly early June. Seems early in the season for so much activity.  We’ve been to the park several times before so we don’t get in line to ask any questions.  We peruse the store for new information we might want and don’t find any so we watch the excellent 15 minute film just to remind ourselves how really spectacular this national park is.



Inside the theater they have a large map of Mount Desert Island (no one can agree on whether it is pronounced desert, as in sand, or dessert as in treats).   Advice about this dilemma is to refer to the island as MDI. 

The areas in green are the national park on MDI.  Also in green are some islands in Frenchman’s Bay and an area on the Schoodic Peninsula, about an hour away to the east.   Seawall campground (red arrow) is about 15 miles south west of the Visitor’s center (blue arrow) which is in the north east. 




On our way home, David decides to park in the nearby town of Somesville on of my favorite towns on the island. Walking around is great fun.   We have no internet at Seawall and he hoped to check his email at the library but it isn’t open on Tuesdays.  Only Wednesday and Friday.  There is a bench outside.  He didn’t check to see if he could pick it up there.  Or did he and I don’t remember?



The town is all in bloom.  The weather is so cool here in the summer that flowering plants are everywhere.



I’m happy to see the bees.  What will we do, seriously, if the danger they are in eliminates them?




This is the view from behind the library.  WOW is what we think.   It’s just amazing that there are views like this all over the island.



There is a small pond on the side and back of the library and this dam.  The water spills over into the stream above leading into the harbor and ultimately Somes Sound.   This little pond and dam will be important later.  Keep them in mind.  This is the Mill Pond dam on the map below.




Lupine grows all over the island!  I love it.


We walk down the road from the library and I turn around to take a picture of the flower boxes on both sides of the bridge.   What a setting for the library.




It’s only a few hundred steps across the road to the Somesville Historical Museum.  Abraham Somes was the first settler on MDI and Somesville the first town.  Below is one of the museum’s two buildings.  How quaint is this?  The other building is across the darling bridge. 

Sadly for us both museums are closed.  There is scaffolding on this one and men replacing the roof on the second.   They are obviously getting ready for the big tourist days of July and August.







Here’s the second building across the bridge.  Darling too.  Although the museum is closed, they have information boards outside which teach us about something we didn’t know.  





Before I get to what we didn’t know, I have to show these beautiful pink bells.  Hanging Bell Flower is  what the plant is known as but its scientific name is Enkianthus Campanulatus.  I’ve heard it is the “white coral” bells of the Girl Scout song often done in a round.  Does anyone else remember that?  Take a listen here.  Such a lovely bush completely covered in the little precious bells.





OK so do you know what a fish ladder is??   I didn’t.  I think we all know that dams make it impossible for fish to travel anywhere including to their spawning grounds. 

This is one of the many reasons I, and lots of others, don’t like dams.  It seems the Mill Pond across the road and adjacent to the library was erected in 1763 when Abraham Somes erected a sawmill to produce lumber. Later a grist mill and a woolen mill operated up stream from here.  See the map above.

The problem with all this is that each spring thousands of adult alewives fish made an upstream pilgrimage moving from salt water to Somes Pond and Long Pond to spawn in freshwater.  Obviously dams present a problem for fish returning upstream to spawn.


IMG_3555For some fish, passage can be made possible by fish ladders and apparently that was the case here. In the early 20th century fishways or ladders were constructed between Somes Sound and Long Pond.  Over time the ladders fell into disrepair drastically reducing the local sea-run fish populations and affecting the fishing economy.  Alewives are the most popular lobster bait for one thing.  In 2006 ladder restoration work began in order to help rebuild the local fish populations.  That’s 11 years ago.  I wish the museum had been open so I could find out if the fish still come or what’s happened to them.  I looked on line, but no answers so we’ll have to return.  In the meantime, we hike up the stream to these two mill sites to see the fish ladders and whether they are “restored”. 

We hadn’t noticed a fish ladder at the first dam behind the library.  Even though we didn’t know what they were, I think we’d have noticed it had it been there.  11 years seems long enough to get it done.

We follow the stream up along Brookside road which dead ends into a cemetary but the stream goes on and so do we.



We don’t see a second dam walking up the stream but at the third dam we do see a fish ladder.  It appears to be in good shape but it seems fairly obvious that if the fish have no way to get from the salt water past the first mill dam at the library, they will never make it to here. 







This third dam leads to a lovely wetland.  There is a bench at the back of the cemtery overlooking the wetland where we sit and enjoy this beautiful view.




While sitting there we notice carnivorous pitcher plants.  They are so cool.  Ha to the insects unawares in the grasses.




I also saw this female wood duck who had 4 little ducklings that she zoomed out of sight before I could get their pictures.



On our walk back, I spy this Solomon’s Seal in full bloom.  The bells on it last only for a few days.   This is my day for bells.






On the other end of the cemetary is a short lane that goes to this metal gate beyond which is a home overlooking the lovely field of wildflowers.

It really is great fun just wandering around the lanes of the little towns on MDI.  I hope we can come back here on another day and do it again.  But by now, it is time to head home for dinner.





Back home I’m cooking outside and we enjoy dinner at the picnic table.  No bugs yet.






After dinner, David wants to bike down the campground road and cross the main park road to the picnic area on the water.

It’s so foggy we probably can’t see anything but we go anyway. 



We find the rocky coast of Maine and small tide pools.









Tomorrow is Wednesday and David’s first infusion in Maine.  It will take all day long as he has to drive nearly an hour to Brewer to the cancer center there and another hour back.   He’ll have the car, the park’s bus service doesn’t begin until Friday June 25, so I’m not sure how I’ll spend my day.  Stay tuned.


Happy Summer Solstice

June 21, 2017 Wednesday                                               Most Recent Posts:
Narrows Too Campground                                                On the Road Again
Acadia National Park                                                        Nature Journaling Workshop in Shenandoah National Park
Mount Desert Island, Maine


I’m skipping ahead a week to wish you all a wonderful Summer Solstice on the very day.  Well actually if you are in a time zone west of Eastern, then the solstice was yesterday since the actual time was 12:24am today Eastern Time.

I was up in the dark for the 4:48am sunrise. The moon was a sliver as the dawn was barely beginning.



By 3:45, Nancy Mills and I are driving up Cadillac Mountain to greet the day at the top of one of the first spots in the US to get the sun’s rays.   Unlike the last few foggy, rainy, cloudy days, this morning dawns bright and clear.  As we reach the bottom of the mountain the cars are pouring in.  Looks like all the people we invited to our party are on time.




The show begins.
















The moon is still up in the sky as the sun as the colors gather down at the horizon.








And here it comes.  Just a glimmer.



We’ve begun the longest day of the year.  What a great beginning.



David has to spend today at the clinic for his infusion so he is unable to join Nancy and Bill and I later in the morning when we head in to Bar Harbor for a walk on the former estate of George Dorr who is known as the father of Acadia National Park.  The story of the park is an intersting one in that it is the only national park to be created entirely from donated land.  Much of that came from George Dorr whose family fortune financed the purchase of many pieces of land that were later donated to create the park.  Dorr actually died in near povery in 1944 after having been the park’s first superintendent.  It seemed fitting to visit the land he so loved on the day of Summer Solstice.

The grounds of the estate are beautiful. 





Unfortunately his lovely home is no longer standing. A very sad story in my mind. Only the foundation, a patio or two and stairs leading into and from the house remain. 




But beautiful Compass Point that he so loved is now available for all to enjoy.





















Later in the day, David and I continue our celebration by setting up our bird station.  I have wanted a set up for the birds since we first began full timing 7 years ago but we really do not have a place for the  sheperds hook to travel with us.  Our car isn’t big enough for it and neither are any of our outside storage bins.   But this year, after seeing the one Nancy and Bill have set up, I decided that I wanted it badly enough to wrap the pole in a blanket and put it in living room of the motorhome while we travel.  

There are 4 feeders – one song bird mix, a suet, a thistle sock and a hummingbird feeder.
Ok guys, dinner is served!!   This way.



And of course there must be a Solstice Cake.  Nancy and Bill are going to help us with it since Carrie isn’t here.   Help us eat it that is.





David’s cutting a little corner for Nancy at her request and the rest of the slice for Bill at his request.  Bill is watching carefully.




Summer Solstice marks the turning point in the year which has been waxing since the Winter Solstice in December. We’ve all been cheering as the days get longer and warmer, the nights shorter and less cold. But now things are turning once again. 

With Summer Solstice, we begin the waning process. It’s easy not to notice it with the Earth so green and full of bountiful harvest but things are always changing.   It’s the Wheel of the Year.

Wishing all of you Bright Blessings on this longest day of the year. 
I hope you did something to celebrate that despite our arrogance toward the intricacy and fragility of our environment, the sun is still on its yearly rounds.  
May it always be so.