Hitting the Trails

Isle Au Haut Travel Blog

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Classic coastal Maine views along the Cliff Trail

I just love Maine to death.  Despite a mostly gray day, I reveled in every minute.

 

Between the delicious Maine weather, a comfy bed and total quiet I slept unusually late.  Arose at 7AM (usually up at 5:30AM) and heard my personal attendants (ha! nothing like being the sole guest with four people to wait on you hand and foot) pattering about.  I came downstairs for a sumptuous breakfast featuring an egg frittata.

 

Then it was time to hit the trails, but not before receiving complete service from my hosts.  Julie and Char packaged up a beefy lunch to fuel my ambitious hike, including a tempeh salad, apple and some custom trail mix whipped up just for me (excluded all the sweet crap you usually find embedded).

Is that really necessary? Doubt many folks will be zipping down "Main Road"!
  Then I had to review my itinerary with Tracy – if I didn’t return timely he would come a-hunting.  Marshall dug a hiking pole out of a closet in the kitchen and offered it to me, which I gratefully accepted.  Finally, Julie handed me a bottle of bug juice in case I encountered a swarm of mosquitoes.  Sheesh, I almost exclaimed “thanks, mom” to everyone as I headed out the door!

 

In light rain I departed down the ‘road’ which leads from Main Road (the sole passage on the island which is partially paved) to Robinson Point, where the lighthouse sits.  Both of these so called roads more closely resembled glorified trails that I would only take a four wheeler down.

Even in the rain, walking down Main Road is scenic - this is by Moore's Harbor
  Being on foot I was not complaining, however, especially since there was no need to constantly hunt trail blazes to remain on track.

 

It was roughly a mile before I reached the signpost for my first trail – Duck Harbor.  Surprisingly, the trail was a bit tougher than I anticipated (I suspect all trail maps of overstating perils and this was labeled as moderate).  Nothing particularly nasty, mind you, just the pathways were blanketed in roots and with the rain every step was a potential slip fest.  I thought it would be useful to write a review for each trail as a reference (and keep blog entries shorter), so I will limit further trail comments here.

 

After checking out a short spur trail (Deep Cove, see separate review) and getting turned around for a bit, I crossed over Main Road again and followed this rather than continuing with Duck Harbor Trail.

Shark's Point - nice views, but not so much in the rain.
  My motivation was insider information from Tracy, who pointed out this stretch of road led to Shark’s Point, offering some quality views.

 

Shark’s Point was a good vantage point, though not so brilliant on a gray, rainy day.  However, the other opportunity presented by abandoning Duck Harbor Trail was hiking the Ebens (pronounced EBB-ens) Head Trail, which may have been my favorite (also reviewed below).

 

Ebens Head begins and ends along Main Road, so after regaining this thoroughfare I walked around Duck Harbor inlet to the southern side and checked out the Duck Harbor campground.  A nice site, though it appeared uninhabited during my inspection. Not surprising since it remains chilly at night (also not surprising is a review of the campground, below).

 

Followed the road further south to the Western Head Trail, a path which winds along the coast around the bottom of the island.

You are here (Duck Harbor Campground). Directly above is the lighthouse, where the day started...though I wasn't exactly progressing as the crow flies!
  This trail plugs into the Cliff Trail at Western Ear, an uninhabited island at Isle au Haut’s southern tip.  More details on either trail in the wealth of reviews, below.  Both trails are above average!

 

Up to now I had followed the itinerary shared with Tracy this morning.  The plan was to begin heading back along the Goat Trail to Duck Harbor Mountain Trail, but it was mid-afternoon and I estimated begin six miles from the inn (I had gone nine miles thus far).  I hadn’t even stopped for lunch yet and knowing those tasty appetizers would be served at six o’clock sharp, I decided to blow off any more trails and take the road back home.

 

Immediately after I made this decision the skies cleared.

Further along the Cliff Trail.....isn't Maine awesome?
  And I mean the clouds just vanished.  Seemed the glorious break owed to a cold front moving in - it got windy and chilly at the same time.  Both were accepted since they were accompanied by vast, drenching sunshine, but I was disappointed all the pretty trails I hiked didn’t enjoy this showcase lighting by Mother Nature.

 

Walked briskly back to Duck Harbor Campground, sitting at one of the picnic tables there to enjoy the tempeh salad Char had packed for my lunch.  Really felt good sitting in the sun and I started writing up the day’s travels.  Didn’t tarry, however, and soon I was on the road again.  It was fun to snap pictures at places I had passed earlier in the rain, like Shark’s Point, which were infinitely more appealing in a sunny backdrop.

The sun added great vibrancy to Isle au Haut's colors.

 

I was contentedly striding back down Main Road when my mind started recounting the day.  I had been out hiking for roughly seven hours now without encountering a single other human being.  Clearly a record in any national park I’ve been to!  A few moments later, of course, a guy in full backpack and toting a pair of bulging hand bags came trudging past, apparently on his way to Duck Harbor Campground.  The year’s first camper?  A hundred yards behind was his female companion, similarly bogged down with pack and bags.  They both smiled but it was rather obvious they were struggling under the weight and I didn’t have the heart to tell them they had two miles to go.

 

Abandoning the trails worked perfectly and I was back at the Inn at 6PM on the dot.

Why I made it back by 6PM - deviled cucumber slices, roasted beets and a warming cup of joe!
  Dropped my pack, returned the hiking pole and bug juice, and sat down to more yummy appetizers.  After catching the crew up with my day it was on to another fabulous feast.  Tonight’s entrée featured a nice halibut, caught by an islander yesterday.  Everybody hung around until 9PM or so, and we sat in the parlor enjoying coffee and conversation.  A totally relaxing day.

Travel2014 says:
Yeah, I think I will have to keep going North next month! :)
Posted on: Aug 29, 2014
vances says:
Thanks, Anupa...and right now I am kicking myself to get to Cappodocia! What an adventure!
Posted on: Jun 25, 2014
anupa_rk says:
Ah you make me kick myself for not exploring Maine when I was in the States. I'm going to have to come back for that, if not anything else!
Nicely written :)
Posted on: Jun 25, 2014
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Classic coastal Maine views along …
Classic coastal Maine views along…
Is that really necessary?  Doubt m…
Is that really necessary? Doubt …
Even in the rain, walking down Mai…
Even in the rain, walking down Ma…
Sharks Point - nice views, but no…
Shark's Point - nice views, but n…
You are here (Duck Harbor Campgrou…
You are here (Duck Harbor Campgro…
Further along the Cliff Trail.....…
Further along the Cliff Trail....…
The sun added great vibrancy to Is…
The sun added great vibrancy to I…
Why I made it back by 6PM - devile…
Why I made it back by 6PM - devil…
Crossing a pretty waterway along D…
Crossing a pretty waterway along …
Ebens Head Trail runs mostly along…
Ebens Head Trail runs mostly alon…
Hard to miss these trailhead marke…
Hard to miss these trailhead mark…
Hiking along Western Head Trail.
Hiking along Western Head Trail.
I needed to duck some obstacles al…
I needed to duck some obstacles a…
Creek along Main Road.
Creek along Main Road.
I was actually exiting Acadia, but…
I was actually exiting Acadia, bu…
Heading for home along Main Road...
Heading for home along Main Road...
Dessert at the Innkeepers House -…
Dessert at the Innkeeper's House …
Isle Au Haut Sights & Attractions review
Duck!
Probably the most hiked trail on Isle au Haut, Duck Harbor originates at the Ranger Station near the Town Landing and proceeds primarily south towards… read entire review
Isle Au Haut Sights & Attractions review
Not a shallow trail
A really short spur trail off of Duck Harbor Trail. The cove didn’t strike me as anything special (well, I suppose the competition is tougher in Ma… read entire review
Isle Au Haut Sights & Attractions review
Heading for another trail...
Eben’s Head (pronounced “Ebbens”) is a splendid, short trail in Acadia National Park on Isle au Haut. The trail begins and ends by plugging int… read entire review
Isle Au Haut Sights & Attractions review
Head West, young man.
One of the better trails I hiked on Isle au Haut, Western Head offers plenty of diversity. The trail length is probably less than 1.5 miles with a fa… read entire review
Isle Au Haut Sights & Attractions review
Getting High
Another trail reinforcing the need to “look back from whence you came”. I initially thought this path would run along the high rises of Isle au H… read entire review
Isle Au Haut
photo by: vances