The Coast Walk Project

Coast Walk 13: Hunters Beach to East Point, Seal Harbor; Part 2

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July 24, 2015: 10:15am-12:30pm. 70º, humid and sweaty with a little cool breeze, mix of clouds and sun, started to rain just after we finished.

Before we get started I’d like to thank the people who donated to the Coast Walk last month, you are awesome! (In case someone reading this didn’t get to the end of the last post,  I’m saving up for a couple of wireless microphones that should help record and transcribe the interviews better. That’s what the ‘donate’ button over at the side of the blog post is for.) Okay, on to the main story!

CW13

Walkers: Sarah Booker, personal trainer, Manchester Athletic Club; Annie Johnson, science teacher, Brookwood School; Otis and Tegan, adorable lab mix mutts.

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It’s difficult to tell exactly where you are on a map when you are at the bottom of a long cliff, and when I got home and looked at the GPS of my iPhone recording, it turned out that Tim and I had turned back a little short of the end of the publicly-accessible shoreline. My cousin and her wife were in town and up for adventure, so we headed back to Hunters Beach to fill in the missing segment.

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We took the path at the top of the cliff to about where I thought Tim and I had come up from the shore, and then headed back down toward the water.

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J: It must be humid because I’m all sweaty and I don’t feel like we’re working that hard.

S: So I have a little bit of a pulled quad … but I’m going to be kind of stubborn and I want to run up Cadillac tomorrow morning.

J: Oh my god, you’re crazy.

S: I know! Well I wanted to do it today because I thought it would be the clearest sunrise but I’ll give my muscle 24 more hours and go up on a cloudy morning. … I have a friend at work who runs up all these mountains and she posted it on Facebook and it has me totally intrigued.

J: Cool

S: Haven’t done it yet.

J: Well, Cadillac’s a good one to start with!

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J: This kind of landscape just makes me happy. With the low-growing bushes and the exposed stone…

S: Is there a landscape type that’s off-putting to you?

J: You know those municipal parks that have sundials made out of marigolds and ornamental cabbages? That.

A: How do you feel about orbs?

J: Like, round objects?

A: You how people put orbs in their yard?

J: Well, if they put it in the middle of marigolds and ornamental cabbages – not into it. But if you put an orb in this landscape it would be gorgeous. Oh look, there’s little arrows. Just in case we can’t read cairns.

S: Oh, I see some pipes!

J: Oh good, so this must be where we came up then. Oh yeah, see where it looks like there used to be a stairway? That’s where we came up from the ocean.

[Transcribing this part was tricky – the sound of waves breaking on the rocks was deafening!]

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J: Don’t you feel like a kid?
A: Yeah, just like you could explore all day!
J: Yeah, like, is that a cave under there?!
S: All these crevices and
A: And what’s in that tide pool!

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S: I kind of half expected that to be like Thunder Hole. That last wave coming in.
J: Well I’ll bet once the tide’s higher and it’s going in to the crevice there I’ll bet it does blow.
S: Low tide was at 11?
J: 11:30
S: Oh perfect! It’s 11:20.
J: So that means anything that’s still a tide pool has consistent water all the time, so these are the ones where we might find interesting things.

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[Yup, they sure were!]

 Breadcrumb Sponge, Halichondria panicea, Rock crab, Cancer irroratus

Rock crab, Breadcrumb sponge, and crustose coralline. Also barnacles and kelp.

S: The water’s pretty inviting.
J: Yeah, don’t go in here though.
A: No, bad place! There’d be bashing.
J: You’d get swept out pretty quickly, although the tide’s coming in, so yeah, there’d be more bashing than sweeping.
S: I’m not going in, but it’s inviting nonetheless.

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A: Otis, I’d like to encourage you not to put your paws on the barnacles.
S: He doesn’t care.
A: I have a feeling he doesn’t care, but he doesn’t know any better. It’s abrasive enough that it’ll totally chew up their paws, right?
J: It’ll slice them. That stuff is like broken glass. I find that sometimes I don’t even know I’ve been cut until I get [salt] water in it later and it starts to sting.
S: Is that a good way? [Pointing around a boulder.]
A: Nope. I mean, for humans, yes.

[There were a few points where the dogs just couldn’t climb, so Sarah and Annie lifted them up to the next level. Traveling through this landscape with the dogs gave me a very different perspective on it.]

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J: [Looking into a shallow depression in the rock where seawater had evaporated.] Oh cool, look at the depth of the salt in this one.
A: Oh, woah! That’s crazy.
S: Oh my gosh.
J: Salt.
S: Blech!
A: Did you taste it?

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J: Of course! … It’s sea salt. [It tasted like salt, but slightly bitter.]
S: Electrolytes.
J: It’s kind of good once you [get used to it.]
S: It is kind of good in a weird way.
A: In a very weird way. Why is it good?
J: Cause we’ve been sweating and we need salt?

Sarah loaned me a carabiner clip to hold my camera back when climbing – enormously helpful, should have done that months ago!
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J: That’s Hunters Point [ed.note. it’s actually called Hunter’s Head], Hunters Beach, where we came from, and the other side is Little Hunters Beach. You can only get to Little Hunters Beach from the Park Loop Road; you can see the cars parked on it there? And you can only get to Hunters Beach from Cooksey Drive. It’s like these two overlapping transportation systems that you can’t get here from there. Unless you go through the woods, which is what I did, the woods and the rocks. I cannot believe that I came around that point!

Eventually we reached the property line of the next estate, and backtracked up to the top of the cliff to re-find the path. It lead through wide swaths of blueberry bushes loaded with perfectly ripe berries, and as we walked, we picked handfuls. Otis and Tegan demanded their share.

J: Oh, the dogs like blueberries?
A: Yeah! We discovered this on one of our first hikes in Bar Harbor with them, we had just come from Colorado
S: The top of the Beehive I think
A: Yeah, it was up to the Beehive, and we got up there and Sarah and I had these handfuls and they came over and were like [munching noises]. And then they started eating them off the bushes themselves.
J: Oh my gosh! Smart dogs.
J: I wonder what kind of scat that is. Fox, maybe?
A: No fur in it though, eh?
J: No, a lot of berries. It’s not deer.
A: No, definitely not. It’s a lot, though, for a raccoon or a possum
J: Oh don’t step in that Tegan! Gah.
A: Oh good job, T.
J: Well, I guess raccoon…
A: And that’s deer…

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J: I’m just hoping I don’t deliver you back home covered in poison ivy and ticks.
A: There will be a big soapy scrub when we get home.
J: I’m going throw my shoes in the wash, too.

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S: I’d like to get a lobster roll before we leave, please. I mean before we leave the island.
A: I saw some place that had one for $10, which I thought was reasonable.
S: Yeah, well it’s better than Essex.
J: Thirsty Whale has good lobster rolls. I don’t know how much they are, though.
S: You can get a double for $15. It says ‘Please no sharing the doubles.’ They’re onto us.
J: You could always get it to go.
A: Why is there no sharing of doubles? That’s so silly.
S: Because the double is $15.
A: But – they can’t regulate how I eat my double!
S: Right? And it would be perfect for us since you can’t eat the bun. I assume it’s one bun with double lobster.
J: You know if you want we could just get lobsters and cook em up. Do a lobster feast?
S: I have thing about the buttered bun, fries, and the basket.
J: It is pretty awesome.
S: Coleslaw.
J: I also really like the fried clams at the Whale. You can have my coleslaw.

And then we were back at Hunters Beach, heading up the path to the parking lot. The first really sour note of the Coast Walk was running into a jerk who had loaded his pockets with rocks from the beach. I told him there was a fine for taking rocks, and, can you believe this, he smirked and said he hadn’t taken them from the beach, he was just carrying them around. There’s no cell phone signal in the area til Otter Creek or you bet your britches I would have turned that asshole in. Those beach stones are 400 million years old; it’s not exactly a renewable resource.

Then we ran into a group of people with 3 small dogs off leash, who of course came straight for our (leashed) dogs. Grr. FYI, three reasons not to let your dog off the leash in Acadia: 1) They scare the wildlife. Sometimes they hurt the animals, and sometimes the animals, like porcupines, hurt them. 2) They scare other hikers – I don’t care how cute your dog is, to little kids even a terrier looks huge, and if your unleashed dog goes bounding up to a toddler you’re going to ruin some family’s day. 3) There are other dogs there; some are friendly and some are not. Don’t be the twit who starts a dog fight.

OK, off my soapbox, sorry. I love this island, and I guess I’m kind of protective of it. All these months later and I still get mad thinking about it! How about a photo of those gorgeous stones at Hunters Beach so we can end on a more cheerful note:

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