Traveling in the Tine of COVID – A Gloomy Gray Day Has Its Own Special Rewards

A lot of people freak whenever the weather isn’t perfect when they vacation in Maine and Acadia. From past experience, I know a gloomy day can have unexpected rewards for those who know how to find them. A proper attitude and raingear can make for an enjoyable day. Don’t have a plan; just let the day unfold and see where it takes you.

After a satisfyingly breakfast at the Saltair Inn of homemade waffles with cinnamon brown-sugar and fresh mixed berries (loving the sweet blackberries this year), we were off to explore.

The mist on a bog beckons me to stop and photograph. Another photographer is already working so I try to stay out of his way. (These images are as I shot them. Haven’t had a chance to work with them in Lightroom.)

Next we attempt to locate some hidden (abandoned?) trails off Schooner Head Road I stumbled across when doing research for this trip. Took a bit of searching but did find #4 on my map (hint: between High Seas and Low Seas). Most would not recognize the tiny pull off and the trail head hidden by trees. At the beginning of the trail almost buried in the fallen fall leaves are a stone foundation of a house long gone. The trail is not marked with blazes that I could see, was short and only lead deeper into the woods going towards but not terminating at the cliffs and ocean that could be glimpsed through the trees. Still it was a gift to be alone in the solitude and golden beauty of the fall foliage.

We stop at Schooner Head Overlook and walk down the trail to the rocky cliffs but don’t go far on the rocks due to the weather. Damp granite is not friendly.

Driving the Park Loop Road is always a good idea on a gloomy cloudy day. Pick your stops and be on the lookout for interesting views. I see that the wind is driving large waves at Western Point. I feel such a rush at watching and photographing hoping to catch the perfect crest. I realize I am now officially a Wave Junkie. I get such an adrenaline rush from watching crashing waves. I am even drawn to the interesting color of the water – sometimes pale green and other times gray. It begins to drizzle harder. Since I was using my recently acquired Nikon Coolpix P950 which is not weatherized, I retreat back to the car.

We return to Bar Harbor to have lunch at Blaze, arriving just as they open, so no problem finding close parking and no wait for a table. I have the wood oven roasted wings dusted with parmesan and truffle. BEST WINGS EVER!!!! This will ruin me for all other wings. Duckfat fries with aioli are the perfect side.

After lunch, we drive to Otter Point Road like we did back in 2013 when we visited during the government shutdown that closed national parks. Someone at a local hotel told us about this road. I want to see if I can get down close to Otter Cove as I saw a van there earlier in the day as well as locate a bridge I photographed with a Panasonic camera that produced disappointing photos. I fail to find the way to either, so we decide to walk on this portion of the Ocean Path. The crashing waves are putting on quite a show. We encounter very few people, but for the most part, we have stretches of the path to ourselves. In the direction we walk, there is a lot of uphill incline. The air is cool and fresh and filled with pine scent. As we walk, we realize fog is rolling in, feeling it was it wraps it’s misty tendrils around everything. We go as far as Otter Cliffs and climb up to the road to walk back to our car.

Next stop is Bubble Pond to scout it out for possible sunset or blue hour photoshoot planned for the next day. The fog has followed us, lending a shrouded mystic feel to the scene. I note that there is still a good amount of orange fall foliage in the area.

Next we do something completely wacky – drive up the road to Cadillac. The fog was now so dense that you could not see past the edge of the road. No expansive views of the harbor below. It was like the mountain was wrapped in thick cotton making one feel cut off from the rest of the world. It was eerie and a bit scary, but a unique experience at the same time. There were only a couple other cars at the top and no one at Blue Hill Overlook. Uncrowded Cadillac, who would have thought it!

I wanted to go to Sand Beach but my husband nixed the idea. I felt it was a missed opportunity as fog does interesting things to the landscape, especially near the ocean.

We went on to Thunder Hole, hoping for fog-shrouded cliffs, but it was more gray than foggy. We were also hoping for more wave action but since it was low tide, nothing was happening. (That’s what you get when you don’t check tide charts.)

A frightening thing happened while we were there. Most people are aware that people have been swept off the rocks by crashing waves. I have seen people climb to the every edge of the cliffs risking their lives to get that Instagram shot. This was a bit different but no less scary. A young couple was walking on the wet rocky cliffs with their infant daughter in a stroller. The father proceeded to take the baby out and toss her into the air several times as we all watched in horror. There were a fair amount of people who witnessed this and it like watching a car wreck, all of us were frozen, left speechless and powerless to stop this reckless act. I was thinking if he missed catching the baby this could easily have become a chapter in the next edition of the book “Death in Acadia.” The wife/mother never objected, just watched. (BTW, the baby was not laughing.) Makes you kind of wonder why people like this are allowed to pro-create. Eek!

As we climbed the stairs back to the parking lot, I got my biggest reward for the day – I saw a spider web bejeweled with raindrops. I have always wanted to photograph a dew drenched spider web’s beauty. How many people walked by it without seeing this natural treasure? A couple guys walked by asking “What is she trying to photograph?” as they didn’t see it at first. It took some analyzing to line the shot up as people were on the walk just below the web and yes, I did have to ask a couple that was staring at me and it to move out of the frame). The other problem is there was no solid color to frame behind the web to make it stand out – just asphalt path, gray sky, withering bushes and a few fall leaves. Still I captured it well enough to get a lot of good reactions from those who have seen the photos. Take a look and tell me what you think. Definitely made my day.

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 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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