Acadia Adventures 2016 – Day 8

A very friendly praying mantis, Jesup Path
A very friendly praying mantis, Jesup Path

After the trail-finding adventures of the last two days, today was intended to be a day of relaxation, and it was. We began with a leisurely light breakfast of sticky bun and bagel with veggie cream cheese from Morning Glory, eaten at the gazebo. We watched a huge group of kids getting their photos taken before boarding some kind of boat for a tour. The sun was out at this time but it was gradually becoming overcast, so our plan to head toward Sieur de Monts for some photography was confirmed.

Following an old route from town into the park we walked up Kebo Street and entered the Jesup Path at the intersection with Cromwell Harbor Road. The Jesup Path winds along the edge of the Great Meadow and along Kebo Street, eventually crossing the road near the golf course (we can’t forget the guy with the remote controlled golf bag – “making the world’s laziest sport even lazier!”) and cemetery and entering the woods again near Harden Farm Road, where it passes an old quarry.

We took several hours to walk a little over a mile, taking photos and learning about our cameras as we went. Conditions changed from cloudy to sunny to overcast and back again as we wandered. Early on in the hike we spotted a small hawk in a tree. He soon took off down the trail. During one of the sunny periods, I spotted a praying mantis. As soon as I knelt down to try to take a photo this friendly critter came over to investigate the legs of my tripod, and then he hopped right on my leg! He was so cool. I played with him for a few minutes until I could no longer hold the kneeling position.

Once we entered the boardwalk section of the Jesup Path we were in for more treats. This typically wet area is very dry this year, so we didn’t see as much color as usual, the ferns are drying out as is the moss. No Jack-in-the-Pulpit to be found. But if you sit for a while and are quiet and observant, you’ll see great things! At one point I noticed a flash of movement and a wide wingspan soaring to a distant tree. I could see the bird through a stand of trees in front—I was almost sure it was an owl! And it was—a beautiful barred owl. We watched him about half an hour as he flew to three different perches. Rich was able to get some nice photos even without his long lens. What a fantastic sight! We were even able to share him with the few other people who came along the trail who were quiet and curious.

We were very close to Sieur de Monts when the few raindrops we’d been feeling began coming down more heavily. We hurried to find cover at Sieur de Monts, but things were very different there. The Nature Center is closed, as were the restrooms, and we discovered that this year the bus no longer stops there either. It was raining heavily by this time and the tree we were hiding beneath was no longer offering much shelter. It looked like we’d have to go out to the Park Loop Road to find a bus anyway, so we walked quickly and within a few minutes, a bus came by. It was going all the way to Blackwoods Campground at the southern end of the island before heading to the village green, but we were just happy to have a dry and warm place to sit.

We didn’t mind the hour-long bus ride. At least it gave us a chance to check out the situation near the campgrounds. It does seem like we could take the bus to and from the Cadillac South Ridge trail if we just walked a hundred feet or so from the trailhead to the entrance to the campgrounds. We learned from the driver that they’re redoing the septic system at Sieur de Monts, so services there are limited for the rest of the season. By the time we got back to Bar Harbor, the rain was done.

We chose the Black Friar for our supper tonight. It was a chilly evening after the rain came through and the Friar is always cozy and warm. (And quiet, if you get there early, which we always do!) We were there by 5:15 and we had the place to ourselves. We sat at the little table for two in the back dining room and started with two beers (Gritty’s IPA and Gritty’s Pub Style) which went right to our heads since we hadn’t had anything much to eat all day. We were both chilled so we started with soup—leek and potato for Rich and French onion for me, both of which were steaming hot and very satisfying—delicious! The leek soup was actually pretty light for a cream soup. French onion can be overly salty, but this wasn’t.

Rich, of course, was thrilled to see halibut on the menu. Even in Maine it can be hard to come by. He ordered it while I had another special, the Boursin-stuffed chicken wrapped in prosciutto. Both were phenomenal! The halibut was served over rice with a leek and pancetta cream sauce. The chicken had a beautiful glossy sheen, was cooked perfectly and was served over a potato cake. Vegetables were cauliflower and green beans and I also had two tomato slices. Beautiful presentation. As expected we were way too stuffed for dessert!

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