Short hikes in Downeast Maine (August 20-25, 2020)

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Peter Gordon  The Harbor Walk in Belfast

Janice and I took a six-day trip to downeast Maine with the opportunity for several short hikes. We stopped in Portland to see our friend Peter Gordon (left) and in Belfast to do the Harbor Walk (right).

Mt. Desert Island  Mt. Desert Island

We stayed at the Bluff House Inn in Gouldsboro on the Schoodic Peninsula just north of Mt. Desert Island. The inn had a great view of MDI and a path down to a stone beach (left and right) where the water was warm enough to swim.

Schoodic Peninsula.  Schoodic Peninsula.

The next day we rented bikes in Winter Harbor and circled around the Schoodic Peninsula, stopping at little coastal paths along the way (left and right).

Schoodic Institute at Schoodic Point.  Schoodic Point.

We visited the Schoodic Institute at Schoodic Point (left), which is operated for research by the National Park Service. It was a really cool campus, complete with tennis courts, that reminded me a lot of Woods Hole. We went on to Schoodic Point itself (right), which is just off a parking lot and was packed with people (the Covid summer!)

Schoodic Head.  Janice and Daniel with COVID masks.

We then climbed Schoodic Head, which is a 2.5 miles loop to a ledgy summit, with great views all around (left). This being the Covid summer the proper etiquette is to carry a mask to wear when you cross people (right).

Coastal views.  Overlooking the harbor.

We got back on our bikes to complete the loop, with continuous coastal views (left). After returning our bikes in Winter Harbor we picked up some beer and plunked ourselves down on some inviting chairs overlooking the harbor next to a house with a For Sale sign (right). It turns out the house was occupied but they were cool and invited us in for a visit.

Winter Harbor.  Blueberry theme park in Columbia.

The following hot day we rented kayaks to explore Jones Pond, hanging out and swimming around various islands and that was very nice. We again got back to Winter Harbor for a beer overlooking the harbor but from a public bench this time (left). The next day we continued the drive up Route 1 through commercial (though "wild") blueberry fields and wreath farms. There was a kitsch blueberry theme park in Columbia (right) with everything in blueberry blue paint. There were a depressing number of Trump signs whose messages of hate ruined the scenery.

It was interesting to see that the Trump signs were always in front of the most run-down houses...

Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land trailhead.Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land panorama.

But the real purpose that day was to hike the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land, a long swath of wild coastline north of Cutler. From the trailhead (left) we hiked 1.5 miles to the coast, which opened up a splendid panorama (right).

Cliffs plunging into the sea.  Daniel and Janice.

We then continued on the coastal trail, which hugged the cliffs plunging into the sea with a lot of ups and downs (left). Janice's back started to seriously complain - an aftermath of the kayaking the day before - and she couldn't go on much longer (right).

Attractive beach.  Attractive beach.

We got to the midway point where there is an attractive beach (left and right). I left her there and continued on for a while, passing a campsite and more ups and downs, and was satisfied that the scenery all continued to be the same.

Bog bridges.  Border was closed because Covid.

So I returned to pick up Janice and we took the Black Brook Cut-Off to return by the inland trail, with much fewer ups and downs to avoid stressing her back further. It was interesting coming back that way, through a variety of forest terrain and some nice bog bridges (left) and not a soul around. But when we got to the inland trail a sign warned us that the trail had just been re-routed (not on the map!) and this would add 1.2 miles to our return. Not good news for Janice but she was a trouper. In the end this was a six-hour hike, not bad. We then drove on to Lubec at the Canadian border, but the border was closed because Covid (right).

Harbor full of lobster boats.  Harbor with fog.

In Lubec we stayed at the Inn at the Wharf, which was a converted sardine factory right in the harbor with a great restaurant next door serving local sardines for $6 and lobster dinners for $19. Lubec is at the tip of a peninsula and the harbor is full of lobster boats (left), with views towards various islands including Campobello in Canada. It looks even better in fog (right). I really enjoyed exploring the little town, though most was closed because of Covid. It reminded me quite a bit of my usual summer place in Prefailles, which I had to pass on this summer (did I mention Covid?). Lubec had more Biden and love signs than Trump signs, which made me appreciate the town even more.

Quoddy Head State Park candy-cane lighthouse.  Scenery similar to the Cutler Coast.

We went to Quoddy Head State Park, for an obligatory photo of the candy-cane lighthouse (left) and then hiked the peninsula which is about 4 miles and with scenery similar to the Cutler Coast (right). At the end was a wide crescent beach (below left).

Wide crescent beach.  Shackford Head peninsula.

After that we drove all the way around the bay to Eastport, where I hiked the Shackford Head State Park while Janice explored the town. There was no one there, likely because of a warning sign about an infestation of fire ants. That made for some trepidation but turned out to be no problem. Going around the Shackford Head peninsula in a 2.5 miles hike I had more coastal views of the bay (right) and eventually got to the tip with a view of salmon rings and a fish processing plant across the water in Eastport (below left).

Fish processing plant across the water in Eastport.  Blueberry stand.

On the drive back home to Bretton Woods we stopped at a blueberry stand to get a 5-lb box (right), but much as I would like to say that these Maine blueberries are great they don't have that much flavor - and we tried everything from blueberry scones to pies to ice cream to mouthful. Not great. Next time we should try the wreaths. We stopped again in Belfast for a swim, and I was re-surprised by how warm the water was. We then cut inland to Bethel and back to the mountains.

See also: 2020 Hikes