Monday, July 15, 2013

A Mountain and a Lighthouse - Photos from Maine.

This blog has been silent for the last two weeks.  I was on vacation in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine - camping much of the time, with no internet access (or interest in blogging on vacation).  I am only going to bore you with eight photos of scientific/cultural interest and then resume regular posts on topics that relate to Mid-Michigan.

The first six photographs are from Cadillac Mountain.  Cadillac Mountain is the highest in Acadia National Park - Acadia National Park is located near the Town of Bar Harbor on Maine's central coast and was the first National Park established east of the Rocky Mountains.  Interestingly, Mount Cadillac is the highest point within 25 miles of the East Coast of the United States.  It rises to a height of 1530 above sea level according to the benchmark on the summit.  The mountain (an much of the bedrock of Acadia National Park) is composed of two primary types of rock - Mount Cadillac Granite and Ellsworth Schist.  Like Mid-Michigan, Mount Cadillac was covered by glaciers during successive Ice Ages.  Unlike, Mid-Michigan, Mount Cadillac did not receive deep deposits of glacial till but rather was scraped clean.  (Another Ice Age note: Acadia National park is also home to the only glacial fiord on the East Coast - Somes Sound.) There is a road to the summit of Mount Cadillac and also several hiking trails.  So what does it look like from the top?

On a clear day this is your view...

View from Cadillac Mountain - looking roughly South
This view is roughly to the North-Northeast.  Parts of the summit have been roped off in an attempt to restore the sensitive alpine vegetation.  The body of water is called Frenchman Bay
The photos above were taken from an open area that is adjacent to the parking area at the top of Mount Cadillac.  There were probably over 200 people at the summit when we were there - It took a lot of patience to get photos that were not full of people.  This area sees very heavy foot traffic from visitors and offers the best views, but it is not the actual summit of Mount Cadillac.  The actual summit sits a little further south and is hidden by trees, it can be accessed by a gravel trail from the parking lot.  Very few people go to the actual summit - my guess is less than 1% of visitors to the top of Cadillac find the actual summit.  In two trips to the top of Cadillac, we saw four other people looking for the benchmark at the summit - out of hundreds of people at the summit.

Here is the actual summit.

That bump of rock in the center of the photo is the actual summit of Cadillac Mountain.

The USGS benchmark at the summit.

We drove to the summit of Mount Cadillac on two separate occasions during our trip.  Our first trip was clear and sunny.  The day of our second trip was foggy with a heavy mist throughout the day.  Under those conditions this is what you can see from the summit.

View from Mount Cadillac on a less than clear day
There are also several parking areas along the road to the summit - these are best accessed of the way down and also offer stunning views.

View looking to the Northwest - the body of water in the middle left of the photo is called Eagle Lake.  The water to the right of the photo is an arm of Frenchman Bay.

As the highest point around, Cadillac Mount is visible from many points along the coast of Maine.  I took this photograph from Lamoine State Park across Frenchman Bay.  If you look closely you can see the lights of cars as they come down Cadillac Mountain.

So where is Cadillac Mountain in relation to Mid-Michigan?  It is roughly on the same latitude as Houghton Lake, but to drive there by the fastest route will take approximately 17 hours and cover more than 1,130 miles of driving across Michigan, Ontario, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

The other two photos that I want to share are of West Quoddy Head Lighthouse near Lubec, Maine.  Located a further two hours "Down East" from Acadia National Park.  West Quoddy He8ad is the easternmost point of the United States.

A lighthouse at West Quoddy Head was first authorized by Congress in 1809.  The current lighthouse was constructed in 1858.  With its distinctive paintjob of red and white stripes it is one of the most recognized lighthouses on the East Coast.

So where is West Quoddy Head Light in relation to Mid-Michigan?  It is little further north, roughly on the same latitude as Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  If you wanted to drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes to West Quoddy Head it would take you over 20 hours and cover nearly 1300 miles by the fastest route.

1 comment: