Traveling In the Time of COVID – A Piece of Middle Earth on MDI

We woke to a cooler morning. Lots of people are out on the sand bar. We breakfasted on Pineapple “Cairns” topped with banana with broiled brown sugar topping and followed by Eggs Benedict, traditional for hubby and California style (with avocado) for me.

We set off for Hunter’s Beach. Not to be confused with the more well known Little Hunter’s Beach which is off the Park Loop Road, this cobblestone beach located is off Route 3 on Cooksey Drive. You have to be on the lookout for the turn-off as the street sign is small. Once on Cooksey Drive, be on the lookout for a very small pull-off parking area that holds up to 4 vehicles. As we pull in, another couple is leaving and there is only one other car. The couple tells us the other folks are 2 women and 2 children down on the beach at the moment.

I revel in the solitude of this trail that winds through lush green balsam forest. The twisted trees, roots and moss covered ground along with little wood bridges, make you think you have stumbled into a section of Middle Earth. At any minute, could one spy hobbits or fairies? Could there be trolls under the bridges? Having grown up and played in woods similar to this near Machias, the 9 – 11 year old in me knows the answer. You will have to come and see for yourself. I fill my lungs with the beautifully fragrant air.

Due to shade and moisture, mushrooms are abundant on live as well as fallen tress and nestled in the moss. Thanks to my 8th grade Science teacher at Union Street Junior High in Bangor, I fell in love with and am fascinated by mushrooms and fungi.

We continue on down the trail navigating tree roots, a tree tunnel, another wood bridge and wood plank walkways. To the left, Hunter’s Brook flows along the trail winding it’s way to the beach. I think this is were I want my ashes scattered when I leave this earthly life. I want to stay here forever.

The trail rises a little bit by means of some dirt and wood tie steps, then goes down to the beach of cobblestones of all sizes hemmed in on both side by pine covered rocky cliffs. There is a trail that leads up to the top of the cliffs to the right, but it looked like a workout we were not prepared for after yesterday’s hike. Two young boys proudly show their coastal finds. Their Mom says it’s time to go, leaving us alone in this beautiful place. There is lobster trap rests on the beach as well as an interesting curved piece of driftwood. Someone has propped a hat that was left behind on a small rock. We stay on the beach, carefully balancing and picking our way across the cobbles to reach the edge where waves lap at the rocks. I see some cobbles that have been stacked “cairn style”. As the tide comes in, it washes them apart. I photograph the incoming waves crashing on the rocky cliffs to the right and long to get closer. I am so intent on what I see, I don’t realize how fast the tide is coming in until one wave soaks my hiking boots.

We retreat back up the trail into the lovely woods, meeting a young couple with their young son in a pack and two black labs. As the man approaches the tree tunnel, I see an “Orvis moment” (For those who aren’t familiar, Orvis is a outdoor clothing catalog that holds a yearly contest featuring the winning dog photos on its catalog cover and pages. The man was willing to let me photograph them. Such a happy picture of what hiking with you beloved canines is all about. I didn’t get his name, but if he is reading this, thank you.

As we are getting back in the car, I notice a birch with markings on it that look like a puppy dog face. Unfortunately, at that moment the battery on my camera quit. I think of my iPhone, but know the memory is full. I forget I have another camera in the car trunk.

We decide to drive on and see whatever we come across. There is still some good fall color and we see spectacular expensive homes tucked in between trees. Who owns Eventide? We see a new home being constructed at 75 Cooksey Drive named Raven’s Cleft. Lucky people. I can only imagine what is must be like to have a home there.

We end up in Northeast Harbor. Unfortunately, Asticou Inn has closed early for the season due to the pandemic. We opt not to stop at Asticou Gardens today.

We return to Bar Harbor and have lunch at Galyn’s. There was no wait and we got a table at the window overlooking Agamont Park and the harbor. We enjoy a light lunch of salad with mixed greens, apple slices, nuts & goat cheese and hubby has the Haddock sandwich with chips and slaw. We try to think of an activity for the afternoon. I call La Rochelle to see if we can get tickets for a tour of this amazing mansion. Sadly, they have also decided to close early for the season as well due to the pandemic and are only open on Halloween night for a special event. As we walk back to our inn, we see a bride doing a photo shoot on the pier. We spend the afternoon relaxing in our room with a beautiful view of Frenchman Bay. Sometimes a little unplanned down time isn’t such a bad thing in such a beautiful place.

About J. Matlock, Director of Fantasies

Jeanette's wanderlust started as an Air Force brat crisscrossing the US visiting almost every state. Writing has always been a part of her life. While earning a BA in Journalism from the University of Central Florida, Jeanette found photography was the perfect compliment to writing. She is always on the outlook for what she calls "Right Time, Right Place" photographs that capture a once-in-a- lifetime moment. Her adult travels have taken her to Scotland, England, France, Switzerland and all over the US and she continues to crave going to places to experience adventure, great food and lifestyles. She has written travel journals for the web site IGOUGO.com to share her experiences to guide and encourage other travelers. Her descriptive writing style makes one feel as if they are there sharing the experience. Her love of writing is based on this simple truth: "When I am writing, I know that I am doing the thing I was born to do." (Anne Sexton).
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