Hitting the Trails
Isle Au Haut Travel Blog› entry 47 of 51 › view all entries
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.