Written from Matsumoto Joe Cafe in Bar Harbor. Begin 9:13am.
Yesterday I pushed myself.
There’s a 27 mile loop around the eastern side of Acadia National Park (map / wiki). Instead of biking the road up Cadillac Mountain I opted to hike a more direct route. The days total came to ~20 miles of biking and 4 miles of hiking. It’s interesting to focus on what it feels like when my muscles start to shut down. Specifically my right hamstring which I sprained seriously last fall. I’ve experienced leg cramps before, but these were hellacious.
Anyways – my legs did their job and only seized up as I was coasting downhill with the parking lot in sight. It’s times like that which convince me of the minds power over body. I came within sight of my finish line and my legs hardly waited for their deserved pat on the back before giving out.
The park is phenomenal.
The few streams and creeks I saw are quiet. The ponds have different elevations and they step down into each other through dams of sticks that resemble beaver lodges (or beaver lodges that resemble random gatherings of sticks – I don’t know..) I had never seen a beaver in the wild before this trip. I haven’t seen one up here in Maine yet, but there are large piles of logs and sticks assembled in the lakes which are clearly made by beavers.
The coastline was my favorite.
I’ll be revisiting it this afternoon. The south western waves strike, and deflect around outcroppings of rocks before being rebuffed by the mainland. I like shorelines because they are always an area of active geology – in a state of transition. Most geological processes take such long periods of time it’s hard to see how any change can take place. So to see the action and excitement of an active shore gives me the sense of being an observer of the frontlines of nature.
I was hypnotized by this particular flat topped rock that was at just the right elevation to be submerged by each wave crest and exposed by each trough. Water would drain between the barnacles on all sides, pause, and then rush to the center, again from all sides, and meet constructively in a vault of artful unpredictability.
The rocks throughout the park are alive. Generally, they are grainy granite with white or tan mixed in with the usual grey and black. The cliff faces are splattered with moss which takes refuge in cracks and drapes downward like Dali’s clocks, and they are speckled with black and green lichen in a style Jackson Pollock would approve of. They take geometric shapes, rounded squares and triangles, and stack along vertical fissures and horizontal cracks.
On the trail up Cadillac Mountain the rocks showed deep scrapes from glaciers, and occasionally there were smooth fine grained rocks perched atop slabs which are clearly non-native and were likely carried by glaciers from where they were formed. Looking at the orientation of the mountain ranges in the park, it becomes clear that the pattern of north-south ridgelines were formed through persistent glacial movement.