Monday, September 24, 2012

Isle Au Haut , the Island on High

The wind was whipping out of the NW as we crossed over from one island, Deer Isle, to our destination island. We were making the cruise on The Mail Boat out of Stonington and on our way to the town dock on Isle Au Haut.

 Isle Au Haut is actually part of Knox County but one would logically think, as you look at driving distances,  that it should be part of Hancock County. But as the crow flies or rather seagull flies, on a straight line from Rockland thru Vinalhaven ,it makes a little more sense, I guess...

We were soon saying goodbye to the shelter of Stonington harbor, with a boat loaded down with campers and their gear, members of The Island Institute and day trippers such as my party of four. And as we moved out of the lee of Crotch Island and it's granite quarry,
  the spray from the first wave came over the side of the boat where I was once sitting. Falling back on my vast experience of getting soaked by big waves, I had anticipated such an event and just moments before moved forward to the shelter of the wheelhouse.  Excusing my lack of chivalry by explaining that I had yet to pay for my ticket, leaving the nice young woman from the Institute to bare the cold water .

It was going to be a long 45 minute ride for the old timers sitting on the stern bench but this old tima' was going to stick to the wheelhouse..

However once we finally crossed over, and entered the thoroughfare between Isle Au Haut and Kimball Island ,  the cold Atlantic wind was blocked out and

the huddled masses soon enjoyed the effect of the mild September sun. And with the town dock behind us, we would soon be on our trek.

According to the 2000 census the island has a permanent population of around 79 or so but probably more now, by maybe another 50 with the post office reflecting the burden of that population.

We then walked down the main drag which would lead us to the ranger station (most of the island is part of Acadia National Park) for some hoped for information. Of course there was no one around but we did gather some intel and were off again toward Duck Harbor using the Duck Harbor Trail.

But first..unbeknownst to me, Isle Au Haut is apparently the home of a world famous chocolate shoppe, and web cafe, The Black Dinah. I of course had absolutely no knowledge of it's existence, since my experience with chocolate begins and ends with Hershey bars. But no matter as my fellow hikers were well aware of it and in no time we had arrived.

After our chocolate break, we found Duck Harbor Trail. 

The trail follows the island's coastline but a lot of it is in the island's woodlands with occasional portions actually traversing some of the island's "beaches".

Once at Duck Harbor it wasn't too long before our ride back showed up at the landing

and we were soon pounding past the Isle Au Haut Lighthouse on Robinson's Point , marking the entrance to the thoroughfare.

Once securely tied up to the town landing again we took on more passengers and managed a celebrity sighting...

Linda Greenlaw coming to the floats in a tender.

Again into the breech, but the wind was not quite as bad as the earlier crossing, with Stonington fast approaching.

After a quick bowl of clam chowda' to warm up, we bid Stonington adieu.

But we will return to the Island On High next year, for sure.

Friday, September 21, 2012

20th Annual L.L.Bean Hunting Expo

Sep 21 - Sep 23
20th Annual L.L.Bean Hunting Expo
 Learn new skills with free expert seminars and free lessons with our Outdoor Discovery School instructors. ( Including game cam tips from our own Rabid Outdoorsman)!

 New This Year - try out shotguns and bows before you buy - Dog training demos and fun kids' activities. FREE game cookout Saturday! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fly Fishing With Big Ray, My Big Marshmallow Pup

As the end of open water season for most streams and brooks is fast approaching Big Ray and I decided to take advantage of a very quiet and peaceful morning to do some fly fishing in one of my favorite streams here in Waldo County. 

For those of you who haven't been introduced to Ray, check out many of my older postings to maine-matters. Ray is our 9 year old yellow lab. He's is a ready, set, go sort of boy..boating, hiking or fishing..he travels light and free.

So with the Jeep duly packed with waders, ultra-light fly rod, fishing vest, camera and kibbles, we headed out Rt 3.

It wasn't long before we found ourselves on the bank of that placid stream. I was into my third cast and Ray was chest deep

and soon plowing through the water with 4-Paw Drive.

Fun to watch but not exactly in stealth mode as I'm sure any and all fish noticed.

Occasionally he would hop up on the bank and do some exploring,

but was ever watchful on where I was so as not to loose track of his steady supply of Milk Bones.
And it was on one of his explorations that I finally hooked up.  Hoping it was a wild brookie starting to show some fall colors, reality set in as I brought to net a...

10" pickerel. 

Ray upon noticing the action, immediately came over to investigate

and of course be rewarded with another snack.

So that was it. No brook trout on this trip, not that I really expected one as this stream is really a May / June type of place. But just the same it was a nice outing with my big marshmallow pup, with hopefully many more to come.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Belfast Harbor, A Pretty Nice Place To Be.

If you know anything about the history of Belfast, you know it wasn’t all that long ago that Belfast had a reputation as Schmaltzport, indicating the amount of chicken fat in our fair waters. Back then about the only boats in the harbor were the tugs and some pretty beat up and fat laden work boats.  Not so today as a few of my photos from that one evening testify.
(Didn’t get her name) from Hilo Hawaii 
The “Almost Perfect” out of Treasure Island Florida
The “Oasis” from Kodiak Alaska
Here’s a beauty from The British Virgin Islands 
Of course we wouldn’t be complete without one from Newport RI 
And the prize for farthest travels.. the “Hassebas” from Eemnes, The Netherlands
I understand the the presence of these boats from their many different Ports of Call would mean little to the harbors of Camden, or Bar Harbor, or Boothbay. But to my knowledge those esteemed yachting destinations haven’t been through the transformation that Belfast has seen.
We’ve got some catching up to do but we’re on our way. Right now though, Belfast is a pretty nice place to be.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Ballad of Fly Rod Crosby .. Rangeley Maine

I found this video on the internet this morning. Normally I post only my original video  but I found this extremely entertaining and hope you do as well…

The Fly Rod Crosby Trail is a new heritage trail in Western Maine celebrating the life and Times of Maine’s first registered Guide: Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby. The trail will stretch approximately 45 miles from Strong where she is buried, through Phillips where she lived and Rangeley where she guided and finally end up at the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum in Oquossoc. This video was created to help promote the new trail. The cast and crew are all volunteers and the music was written by The Sandy River Ramblers, a local Maine Bluegrass band.
Thanks to MoldyChum…