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

Henry David Thoreau

Walking to Wonderland

Wednesday June 14, 2017                                                                                        Most Recent Posts
Seawall Campground                                                                                                First Real Day in Acadia
Acadia National Park                                                                                               Happy Summer Solstice
Southwest Harbor, Maine


Wednesday is David’s first treatment of this new plan.  Those who follow know that his previous treatment (#9) failed just as we were leaving to come here.  Since, at the moment, there are no other treatments that he has not had that are approved by the FDA.  His doctor decided to recombine some of the drugs he’s already had.  I’m concerned about how well this could possibly work since he’s sort of “been there, done that” but they are different combinations and when you have no other choices then you do what you can.


IMG_3649The treatment is an infusion and with the hour drive to the Cancer Center will take all day.  David takes the car and the Island Explorer free bus shuttles in the park don’t begin until a week from Friday on June 23rd.  Luckily for me, since I’m at Seawall Campground which is inside Acadia, there are hikes close enough to walk to.   A couple of those are a mile and a mile and a half down the park road.  That will add 3 miles to the hikes but they are short.


How can I pass up a hike known as Wonderland?  It does test my determination with a one mile walk on the park road.  Blacktop is not my favorite hiking surface.  This picture shows one of the only sections where I could easily get off the road.  Thank goodness the high today is to be 68 rather than the 86 of yesterday

All the time I was ‘Walking to Wonderland’ I was wondering why they hadn’t put a shore path between the Seawall picnic area and the one mile away ‘Wonderland Trail’.   Maybe it’s not possible.  I couldn’t tell from here.   But this is certainly no yellow brick road.  It is Route 102A and runs along the eastern shoreline of the area known as Seawall.  The Big Heath, a wet marshy area, occupies most of the acreage in the central part of this peninsula and lies to the right of the road as I walk. 

A small peninsula stretches into the sea between here on what is known as the “quiet side” of MDI.  This peninsula’s topography contrasts with MDI’s generally moutainous features. Both my trails for today are here.

Wonderland is 1.4 mile round trip easy level stroll to the ocean front.  There are wonderful flowers along the way and wonderful rocky coastline with tidepools at low tide, and wonderful water front spots to sit and enjoy, picnic, contemplate or sketch.  Unfortunately my backpack for carrying sketching materials is with David in the car.   

The path starts out through the flat rocks some with lovely flower outcroppings.





On its way to the sea, It wanders through evergreen woods  where birds are singing.






There are little walk overs from the main path to the water.



And views like this when you get there.




Or you can stay on the path to its end and find yourself here.





The shore is covered with shells.  Rough walking in bare feet or even flip flops.  I suggest real shoes at all times.



Shoes are important here too where the shells are between the larger rocks.  .




This is actually one of the tide pools. The water is so clear, you cannot see it.  No fancy star fish from the pacific here but lovely non the less.




You really can spend hours walking on these rocks looking in at the tide pools.   Ask me how I know.



Here is more of what you’ll see.  I’m sorry that beige blob doesn’t look like the feathery thing it was.  Sea creatures are sometimes so very unusual looking.   The white splotch is sunlight reflection on the water.








The walking gets rough some times.



And then you get to turn around and do it all again going back.  No trail is ever the same going the opposite direction.   You see things you missed the first time as in this lovely Northern Starflower.






From Wonderland, I walk on down the road another half mile to what is known as Ship  Harbor Trail.   Ship Harbor cuts into the island’s southwest peninsula between the Wonderland area and the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. 

The first thing I see on my right just past the sign is a wildflower meadow filled with orange and yellow hawkweed.

ship harbor








The trail is a 1.3 mile figure 8 which again could take up an entire day depending on how long you linger in one of the beautiful spots. 



Just as I arrive at the first intersection with a sign telling me Ship Harbor Trail goes to the left and to the right, my attention is totally distracted by this fantastic blooming Cinnamon Fern on the left as I approach the sign.









Carrying on, I get my first glimpse of the harbor through the trees.



When I walk down to it, to my left is the mouth.  I’m admiring it when I hear someone yell – Whooooooooooo!!




I look to my right and there is a man who obviously just dove into the harbor.  It hasn’t even reached today’s high of 68 degrees outside yet and I can’t imagine what the water temperature in the harbor is.




I remark to his companion that they must be from Canada and she says in one of the world’s most wonderful accents “No we’re from Scotland, he likes to swim in the Lochs”.   And swim he does.





Back up on the path above the shoreline, I walk toward the mouth of the harbor.





The huge rock walls seem to vary in type.



I wish I were a better biologist.



The trail becomes more rugged as I climb.




The park service has done just a wonderful job of protecting these fragile areas by the sea.  Now if tourists and hikers would just stay on the trails, be respectful and mindful of the damage they can do.





These beautiful rocky ledges are on either side of the opening to the harbor.  They are a lovely reward for very little hiking effort.  I take up a wonderful spot and just stay.





As I sit, I spot 2 ducks off the tip of the other side of the harbor channel opening.




With the big cheek patches and the dark cap, I guess one as a Ruddy Duck.  But that is such a guess.  I can’t tell if the bill is blue from this distance and he has a very light neck.   Actually it might be a Black Scoter in his early spring.  Eric and Laurel please come to my aid.



And then there’s the traveling companion.  Normally I’d expect a male and a female but this one has the orange bill with a black tip and only a white neck band.  He doesn’t look like either of my previous guesses.  If it weren’t for the white neck band perhaps I’d guess an adult Black Scoter.  I need help again.  I am such a bad birder.  Why did the bird lady of blogland drop out of sight?



Shouldn’t he be called the ring necked duck?  I looked that up in Sibley’s and the bird of that name has no ring around his neck that I could see.


So back to the beautiful scenery.




It’s about 4:00 and time for me to call it a day when two boats come flying by the harbor opening maybe on their way to the docks at Southwest Harbor or Bernard.  I don’t know the waterways here well enough yet to determine if both of those are possible from here.  Clearly they are working fishermen but they are really hauling it so fast I can’t keep both of them in my sights at the same time.



On my way back, I get myself turned around on the figure eight  and end up where I was rather than back at the trail head.  Watch out for that second part of the 8.  My long hike, just got longer.


I do manage to find my way and before trudging the mile and a half back down the road to the campground. I  pass a beautiful group of oxeye daisy I hadn’t seen on my way in.  Out and back is good.    By the time I arrive, I’ve done over 8 miles and I am tired.






David gets back almost at the same time I do and we have no trouble agreeing to visit Thurston’s Lobster Pound for our second Lobster Roll of this visit so far.  We’ll be moving from Seawall tomorrow and Thurston’s is much further from our new spot than from our current one.  Or at least that’s our excuse.



Lots of yummy things on the menu.  When we get to our table we see many many people are eating full lobster dinners which are priced by the pound and size lobster you choose.  The dinner comes with corn, cole slaw, dinner roll and blueberry spice cake.

We choose the regular lobster roll at $16.99.  Down a bit from Red’s price but then perhaps we should have chosen the Jumbo roll at $22.99 for a fair comparison. 




We order, they give us a number, we take it to our table and enjoy the fabulous view of the Bernard waterfront.  Bernard is a little town off the beaten path on “the quiet side” of the island.  It is a town filled with working watermen and Thurston’s Lobster pound where I suspect they all can sell their catch judging from the number of people here in mid June on a Wednesday.  No  pleasure boats in the picture below.  Wonder if the two I saw from the cliff at Ship Harbor are here?




I’d say David looks pretty happy with his dinner even if he does claim not to be the real lobster lover in this family.



Forgot to take the picture until the food was half eaten.  Oh well!


David has another infusion tomorrow but not until the afternoon.  In the morning we are moving just off MDI to Trenton Maine where we’ll stay two months at a private campground, Narrows Too.  I’d love to stay 2 months in the National Park campgrounds.  I find them more beautiful and less expensive  than private campgrounds but in order to accomodate everyone who wants to camp in the park, the park service only allow you to camp two weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  We’ve just used up 4 of our days.  So we’ll tack the rest on to the end of our stay in Trenton.  New campsite tomorrow.


  1. Oh, it really is wonderland. I love the big rocks. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Just spectacular views and beautiful scenery. I have never cared for lobster and I'd probably order a hot dog! You really had a great day for a hike. Hope you have many more this trip.

  3. I could sit there all day and watch over the water. Those rock walls over the other side of where you were reminded me a childhood place we used to go in NJ to picnic.

  4. Wonderland indeed! So different from our coast :-) The beautiful Starflower looks like it's floating in the air, it's so light. That lobster looks delicious. Hope David's treatments do the trick.

  5. Oh, what a gorgeous coastline! Your two hikes were wonderful -- I couldn't resist a hike named "Wonderland" either. I enjoy seeing all of your wildflowers as well as the coast views. The days that David has treatments seem like the perfect opportunity for you to relax somewhere beautiful and use your new nature sketching skills. :-) Eric says he thinks you have two Black Scoters in your photo -- a juvenile with the white belly patch, and either another juvenile or a female. You're a much better birder than you give yourself credit for!

  6. Is Reds still in the lead on the Lobster Rolls;o)) What a great day of just walking and wondering in Wonderland!!!

  7. I hope David's new treatment continues to keep him enjoying this wonderful life. I guess the treatments don't tire him since he goes alone. I would worry about the drain and his driving home. Glad he got a lobster roll for a treat:)

    1. The treatments tire him a couple of days later. They give him dexamethazone with the treatments which is of course a steroid which makes him about as hyper as any laid back guy ever gets.
      He has no trouble driving. I went with him to everything at first and eventually it became clear that there was nothing I could do to help and I just sat for hours while he went from one thing to another at the center. He’s not fond of my advice so I’ve learned to stay home and keep my worry to myself.

  8. Definitely a Wonderland, both with the flowers and the rocky coast views. Nice!

  9. We stayed at Hadley's Point. Loved the boat ride on the Margaret Todd. Loved your hike pictures!

  10. Very picturesque! Love the duck that landed in the water and the wildflower meadow is lovely. Also the daisies. The rocks are huge. In one picture, it looked like there was a huge slab of concrete but I guess it was a huge rock. Walking near water is the best! I had fun looking at tide pools in CA. Glad you two got another good dinner (poor lobsters.....)

  11. Wonderful I can't wait to get to Maine again soon! SO Much to see there. I would go with Black Scoter a hen with the white cheeks, and a young/immature male with the orange on top of the bill. Ring necked ducks are different shape, and have grey and white on the bill. You are right about the ruddy duck having white cheek patches, but the ruddy has a brown stripe in the white patch. Awesome find by the way!! Great duck.

  12. That turned into quite the hike. Would have taken me more than a day at my chosen slow pace. Tide pools are like an every changing treasure chest.

  13. Here is hoping David's new combo works. We thought that park was amazing:)

  14. Those lobster rolls look amazing! I bet you'll have a welcoming Bowl of Nancy soup waiting for you at Narrow's too. :-) Wish we were there with you four.

  15. Love the pictures. Thanks for taking me along on your hike! The lobster rolls look fantastic!

  16. Beautiful views and so many rocks. A lovely sunny day for great hikes!! And, yummy lobster :)

  17. I sure missed some beautiful landscapes there! I do remember appreciating that the Wonderland Trail was well named as there were many wonders to behold in just a short distance. Glad you found something so lovely & so close!


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