Up in northern Maine, or what they call "down east", away from the more touristy area of the Maine coastline, we enjoyed a great day of hiking and beautiful scenery followed by a couple fresh Maine lobsters for dinner.
With excellent weather, hiking the "Bold Coast" of Maine was on the agenda.
Boot Head Preserve
About six miles from our campground is a hidden gem of a place called Boot Head Preserve. It is a 700-acre parcel of land owned by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
There are no directional signs and the parking area is just a pull-off, with this sign back off the road.
It has about four miles of trails that meander through the mossy-floored forest ....
and along the rugged coastline.
There is a short side trail to this cute little observation deck in a bog.
At the bog, we saw some White-throated Sparrows and really cool plants, like pitcher plants, but not much else.
From there we took the trail to Boot Bay Beach. It's a typical, rock beach bordering some private property. We could've skipped the last 300 feet to the beach and not missed much.
Returning and going straight on the trail instead of backtracking to the right, we again climbed through the forest. It was like the forest floor was covered in a thick, lush green carpet with various lichens and fungi and berries poking out along the way.
I told Linda it looked like a place "hobbits" would live.
Along the way, we saw various warblers that wouldn't stop moving long enough to get a good view. And we heard chickadees. We stopped to try to call the small birds closer with some "pishing", and a flock of Boreal Chickadees came from all sides to talk to us.
These brown-capped chickadees live in the certain parts of the northern U.S. and much of Canada. We hadn't seen one since Alaska back in 2004. Our guide back then said their chickdee call is distinguishable because the "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" sounds like they're drunk.
Eventually, we came back to the coastline. But by then, the fog was rolling in.
At first I was bummed, because it had been so pretty just moments before. But it made for some interesting images ....
and it started to clear a bit later.
I was happy to see this bench and platform.
It was the view from there that I had seen online in a photo while I was digging up info about the area. That one image is what made me want to come see it for myself.
The clear, aquamarine water below enhanced the view .....
as the fog lingered beyond.
We sat there for the better part of an hour as the lighting and scene changed.
We watched sea ducks with binoculars, and we could hear the lobstermen talking as they checked their traps far below. Their engines were the only sounds we could hear except for the waves on the rocks.
I kept thinking "Now this is what I envisioned when I thought about visiting coastal Maine".
What a gorgeous morning hike! We had 700 acres and incredibile views all to ourselves. I told ya - a hidden gem. :)
Quoddy Head State Park
From Boot Head Preserve it was about six miles back to Quoddy Head State Park.
There are two parking areas, one near the often-photographed lighthouse .....
and one near a picnic area and trailheads.
We started the Coastal Trail which combines with other trails to make about a four-mile loop. Not long into the hike was a set of steps down to the beach.
I took pictures while Linda looked for sea glass among the rocks.
The smooth stones were beautiful in the water below the lighthouse.
After a little time there, we climbed back up the steps and continued on the trail. It took us a long time to get anywhere because of the great views and photo ops.
The first part of the trail had the highest cliffs.
Eventually, we got to Green Point which is a grassy peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic and transitions into dark gray, jagged rocks. We found a natural loveseat and sat down to have lunch above this little cove.
We hung out there for a long time. We watched a family of ten Common Eiders swim into the mouth of the cove and feed. The four adults and ten half-grown chicks dove and popped up over and over again.
As we scoured the water for other birds, I caught a glimpse of a Harbor Seal. Linda didn't believe me, but eventually a seal made two more appearances while we were there and she got quick looks. Cool.
There were quite a few people in the park, but most didn't go any farther than Green Point on the Coastal Trail. We continued to follow the trail along the shoreline as it went up and down from short and medium cliffs to flatter areas.
It may not have been quite as dramatic as earlier in the hike, but the views were still great as we looked back over our shoulders.
We followed the Coastal Trail until it intersected with the inland trail back toward the parking lot. That was a straight, fairly flat trail through mossy woods. It was damp and much like the forested parts of the Boot Head hike. The peat moss trail was spongy, kind of like stepping on a wet washcloth, and there were several different types of mushrooms and other fungi.
We had one last great photo stop as the inland trail connected with the Coastal Trail.
Need I say more about this hike?
Soon, we were back at the Jeep. We hiked about six miles total for the day and really enjoyed both stops as the Maine coast showed off for us. Just beautiful.
Before going back to our rig, we went into town to the wharf. I was determined to get some lobster even though lobster buying and cooking isn't exactly a strong suit of these Kentucy hillbillies. Yep, didn't really have a clue.
I ended up with two 1 1/4 pound lobsters. At $8 per pound, they were a bit more than the $5 - $6 per pound I had heard about, but that was okay.
Linda put on a pot of boiling water. She felt sorry for them, but I didn't have any problem plopping them head first into the pot.
She cooked up some red-skinned potatoes and soon dinner was ready. Eating a whole lobster isn't exactly "elegant", so we took them out to the picnic table to make our mess.
I had to Google "Eating Lobster" to get a refresher on how to get all the meat out. We may not have done it like true Mainers, but we did just fine even though we needed showers afterwards.
What a perfect Maine day!