We love being on the water, and paddling is often a way to enjoy beauty, wildlife, and solitude. So, on this day, we chose to find a place to paddle away from the crowds in Acadia National Park.
It took us a long time to figure out what to do today. We knew we wanted to do some paddling, but we didn't really know where.
I sort of wanted to paddle on saltwater, and picked out a place where I thought we could do that and get close to seals. Unfortunately, when we got to Indian Point Blagden Preserve on the northwest side of Mt. Desert Island, owned by the Nature Conservancy, there was a rule against launching boats.
The parking area for the Preserve is about a mile from the coast, but there is a local access road where you can drop people off and then drive back to the parking area. It's one spot where you are able to see seals from shore, but we didn't take time to do that since we had quite a day of seal-watching the day before.
We continued on down the western edge of the island, stopping and looking at the various harbors and trying to decide whether to launch on the ocean. Ultimately, we decided to stick with fresh water as there wouldn't be any worries about tides or big water condition changes.
There are several lake-size ponds within Acadia National Park that can be paddled. Many have boat launches, some have kayak/canoe accessibility without designated launches, and some are just hard to get to or require long carry-ins.
We were trying to find a smaller pond on the western side of the island. Ultimately, we ended up taking a gravel road into the park (Long Pond Road) to see where it would take us. We ended up at a nice quiet place right along Long Pond, a huge lake.
Though it wasn't a smaller pond and we could see lots of activity way across on the other side, where we launched was remote and we basically had the western side of the lake to ourselves.
We inflated the Sea Eagle SE 370 and got ready to launch.
It was an easy access and a good place to step into the boat from some rocks right along shore.
We paddled around the edges looking for wildlife.
Water lilies where blooming in some of the coves.
The water was incredibly clear and the shallow waters were rocky.
I spotted an eagle's nest and, shortly thereafter, Linda spotted a juvenile Bald Eagle in the trees nearby. It wasn't in the open enough to get a picture, but we got some good looks through the binoculars.
At one point, we got as close as we had ever been to a couple of loons, well, the bird-type of loons anyway.
They are large, beautiful birds.
They dive to feed and they can stay down for a long time and travel quite a distance underwater. Part of the fun is trying to figure out where they are going to pop up.
Then the wind came up and the waves got larger. Of course, the wind also changed direction, so we were paddling into it trying to get back to our launch point. It's kind of a paddlers' Murphy's law - Whatever direction you are going, the wind shifts so that it is in your face.
We were going to cut our time on the water short, but as we got close to the Jeep, the wind settled down and the skies cleared. We continued on into some more quiet coves .....
and along more rocky shoreline.
After paddling/floating for about three hours and covering about four miles, we crossed back over and took some shots of the mountains from open water.
It was a successful afternoon of quiet paddling.
Once the boat was wiped down, deflated, and packed away, we continued driving down the west side of the island all the way to Bass Harbor and then back up through Southwest Harbor ....
before heading back to our campground.