Postcard from Maine (7)

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4-22-14 Lupine 4

Coming soon! I always love when spring finally really springs and the landscape begins to green up. Though it take it’s sweet time to get here, the fresh breath of post-winter life that eventually washes over the landscape is well worth the wait. The greens can be electric, and the smells and sound of new growth are intoxicating. By early June we have an additional bonus where swathes of purple and pink begin to dot the landscape, and I have to admit, it’s a favorite time of mine. If you’re in Acadia looking for Lupine, you’ll of course find it scattered randomly in places all over Mount Desert Island, but there are also several cool places – that I know of – where you can find it in abundance.

There’s a lush and full field of Lupine that grows wild in the heart of Bar Island, just offshore from Bar Harbor. The good news… at low tide you can access this treasure by walking across an uncovered spit of land. Be careful though, the ocean waits for no-one and you need to pay attention to the time and tide. Tread with care and make nice photographs.

Another beautiful example of Acadia Lupine can be found along the Beech Hill Cliffs Road. When coming onto the island, travel south through the quaint village of Somesville and look for a right turn toward Beech Hill. After about quarter of a mile make a left and follow the road toward Beech Hill… at the end of this dead-end route there are some wonderful views from above Echo Lake on some very pretty quiet side trails that also offer ocean views to the south of Acadia – and along the way you’ll see two large fields that will be overflowing with colorful Lupine in June. Enjoy!

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Paying with blood…

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For a couple of glorious weeks starting in mid-June, my favorite wildflower bursts into life and can be seen all over Maine. Considered by some to be a nuisance, I just love the color that lupine brings to the countryside, and I try to photograph it every chance I get. This tall spindly flower thrives on hillsides where it can get lots of sun, and growing in bunches, it also seems to like its own company. As I make my commute to work, it can be found scattered in large swathes all along I-95, and at this time of year I almost don’t mind the drive.

There are a couple of fields along the Beech Hill Road in Acadia National Park that fill to the brim with lupine each year, though this isn’t the only thing coming to life right around this time. Depending on how wet the spring is, the Maine state bird – the Blackfly – is also enjoying it’s re-birth, and on this particular occasion it seemed very happy to see both Jack and me. I used my 70-200mm lens and a large aperture (f5.6 or f6.3) to create a shallow depth of field and isolate some of the beautiful flowers in what was a very full and almost chaotic scene. The light breeze which made it quite challenging to get a sharp photograph of the lupine did little to save me from the hungry blackflies – I must have surrendered half a pint of blood as the little buggers feasted on me.

Beech Mountain, Acadia

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Our rainy camping weekend saw us exploring a couple of new trails – at least new for us – when we left our centrally located Mount Desert Campground and headed south through Somesville before making a right turn toward the Beech Hill Road. High above Echo Lake, Beech Mountain provides spectacular views toward the ocean and islands, and also back north across Echo Lake and Somes Sound.

Leaving the Beech Hill parking lot, we started out on the very gentle Valley Trail before joining the Canada Cliff Trail as we made our way through a nice variety of terrain. We climbed over large and small boulders, balanced along narrow wooden bogwalks, and maneuvered exposed tree roots as we meandered around the southern side of the mountain. The views were spectacular, and since we were on the quiet side of the island, we pretty much had the place all to ourselves.

Dodging raindrops all the way, the forest was lush and green. The whole hike took – with some stops to enjoy the view – about an hour, and seven year-old Jack had no trouble with the route we took. The combination of Valley Trail, Canada Cliff Trail, and Beech Cliff Trail made for a pretty cool afternoon, and as I soaked in the view below, I couldn’t help wondering how spectacular it might be at first light when the fall foliage is changing color.

The so-so weather didn’t do anything to dampen our spirits, especially since we knew that next up was some well-earned Rosalies Pizza and delicious ice cream from Ben and Bill’s in Bar Harbor. As always… neither disappointed 🙂