Lately I haven’t been making many landscape photographs, and certainly not many I have felt worthy of adding to my portfolio. My portfolio is a collection of photographs that I personally like… and while I enjoy sharing my favorites, I realize that not everyone will like what I like. Anyhoo… here’s the latest addition to my online portfolio. This scene is from the Wonderland Trail in Acadia National Park, Maine. On this particular morning the area was socked in with heavy fog, and I can remember soaking in the cool, wet air on what was a pretty peaceful and tranquil morning. I was drawn to the jagged rocks of all shapes and sizes that had obviously been tossed and broken by the force of the Atlantic Ocean, and although you can’t hear it in this photograph, the fog-muffled sound of the incoming tide breaking just beyond these rocks was quite something.
…sort of. Maybe “ship” isn’t the right terminology to use… maybe it should be boat? Either way, this was a classic Maine summer morning spent on the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park. After a short walk through an oceanside forest, this trail opens up to the Atlantic, offering incredible views of the Ship Harbor coastline and islands laying offshore in the Blue Hill Bay. Just as we arrived, the lobstermen began pulling their pots, so we chilled for a while watching them work. Sitting on the rocks and enjoying the view, I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a better way to start the day.
I’ve blogged about this little trail on the quiet side of Acadia National Park before, and for good reason. It’s a short trail – one that is very family friendly – and it’s a place we got in the habit of visiting with Oliver during our recent summer vacation in Bass Harbor. Oliver rises early… usually he’s stirring and gently letting us know he’s awake by about 5:30am. Every morning we would load him up in the car and drive the mile or so to the Wonderland trailhead, and more often than not, the parking lot would be empty and we’d have this little gem of a trail all to ourselves. We were so confident about the solitude, we had no worries letting him off the leash – this is actually where Oliver first learned to swim. Although we encountered foggy conditions on most of our visits, this one particular morning gave us the bluest of blue skies and the warm summer sun felt good on our faces. After what seemed like weeks of cloudy weather, I was happy to finally see the sun and excitedly spent a few minutes scampering over the rocks in search of an interesting foreground… it’s amazing how a wide-angle lens will exaggerate the perspective, and as you can see, I was even photo-bombed by Oliver!
A while back I asked for some help in finding “new” places to find inspiration and photograph within Acadia National Park. You guys came up with some great ideas, and despite the not-so-good weather during our vacation, I had a fun time following up on many of your suggestions. I promised if I was able to photograph the location you mentioned, that I’d make you a print. I sincerely do appreciate the advice you all gave me, and I enjoyed the challenge of photographing new – or at least less familiar – Acadia landscapes. Now it’s time for me to pay up. If you were one of the people who helped me with a location suggestion, and if you would like a print from that location, drop me a line via email with your address and mention the location you suggested – I’ll have something nice printed up and mailed to you. If you like anything specific from my “real” site, holler and I can print from there too. I can be reached at pattersond at roadrunner.com
…that’s the theme for most of our vacation in Acadia. Seems like every day started out that way, though on a few rare occasions the fog burned off by mid-morning and we were blessed with some warm sunshine in the afternoon. Strange though… as if by clockwork, the clouds would then roll in again for sunset, putting the kabosh on my attempts at getting a decent photograph. In about tens days of vacation, we had a total of maybe three or four days when the weather was other than blah, but needless to say, we made the most of those opportunities to enjoy our favorite national park.
This little series is from the Ship Harbor Trail… an easy hike that was located no more than about a mile from where we were staying. Oliver is used to an early morning walk, and even though we were on vacation, I wasn’t going to disappoint him. We bought him a SENSE-ible harness to help temper his eagerness to show us where he wants to go, and boy does it work as advertised. He has always walked pretty well for me, but with others he can get a little frisky. Instead of attaching to his collar and pulling on his neck, the leash attaches to the harness in the front of his chest. This apparently reduces his reflex to pull, and it makes him incredibly easy to walk with… sort of like gently leading a horse.
Anyway… here’s a foggy and wet Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park. The temperatures were cool, and the bugs were out in full force – something we don’t seem to recall from years past. They were chomping away at us even out on the rocks at the edge of the ocean, but despite their nuisance, we enjoyed an incredibly peaceful early morning walk with Oliver in what was an idyllic setting.
Located on the quieter side of Mount Desert Island and Acadia NP, this 1.2 mile trail meanders briefly through lush forest but soon opens up offering spectacular ocean views of Great Gott and Placentia Islands out in the Atlantic. It’s a beautiful and relatively easy loop that provides opportunities to experience both ocean and forest views, and although you likely won’t have this walk all to yourself, it sure beats the crowded trails on the more popular eastern side of Mount Desert Island. Actually… if you’re on this trail at 7:00am like we were, you might just have it all to yourself! This was the first photograph I made during our recent vacation, and the foggy conditions on this particular morning were a precursor of the weather we would have for most of our time in Acadia. Foggy, relatively colorless morning… why not black and white?
Wonderland is probably one of the most accessible and easy to navigate trails in Acadia National Park. Located on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, this short hike offers great value in terms of scenery as it gently slopes down along a beautiful forest path toward the ocean shore. If interested in a more peaceful time, and if you feel like leaving the crowds from the Loop Road behind, then this might be the trail for you. Neighboring the similarly picturesque Ship Harbor Trail, the Wonderland Trail parking lot has room for maybe a dozen cars, though in the unlikely event that you get there and it is full, there is room to park along the road.
The trailhead starts out wandering through some typical Maine coastal woodland, though as you emerge from the early forested part of the trail, you quickly get a glimpse of the rugged granite rocks and deep blue ocean. Meandering along the circular loop, there are many opportunities to leave the trail and explore the classically Maine rocky shoreline. Low tide opens a whole new world, with views of the mountains of Acadia to the east and tide pools galore exposed – a true wonderland of nature to enjoy.
A nice, easy 1.2 mile trail for all the family. Located on the quieter side of Mount Desert Island and Acadia NP, this trail meanders briefly through some forest but soon opens up offering spectacular ocean views of Great Gott and Placentia Islands out in the Atlantic. It is a beautiful and relatively easy loop that provides opportunities to experience both ocean and forest views, and although you likely won’t have this walk all to yourself, it sure beats the crowded trails on the more popular eastern side of Mount Desert Island.
To get here, follow Route 102 to Southwest Harbor, and after admiring the view of a working New England harbor, take a left onto 102A toward Manset and Seawall. About a mile past the entrance to the Seawall campground and picnic area you will find a small parking lot on your left that is capable of holding maybe 8-10 cars. The trailhead is well marked, and it doesn’t take long to see why this little trail fast becomes a favorite for many people. Don’t forget the very picturesque neighboring Wonderland Trail, also on the left about half a mile before you reach the Ship Harbor Trail. On the day we hiked this trail, we had blue skies, warm temperatures and an amazing ocean breeze that combined for a very enjoyable late afternoon walk. This is what I would call classic Acadia, and if you are looking for a way to beat the heat – and the crowds in the summer – this little trail is just the ticket.