Valley Cove Trail & St. Sauveur Mountain, July 4, 2012

It was a beautiful Independence Day and so Brian and I set out to explore. We kayaked from anchored Rode Trip up Somes Sound into Valley Cove. Somes Sound is a fjord; a narrow inlet of sea between steep cliffs or slopes. Somes Sound, as we learned from our trusty Maine Cruising Guide, was formed by glaciers and is the only fjord on the Atlantic seaboard. The cliffs plunged into the water and there was no bottom to be seen!

Valley Cove was a potential anchorage on our list, but we didn’t want to be quite that isolated. As we rounded the cove we found that another cruiser was enjoying this secluded spot.

We beached the kayaks and started out on Valley Cove Trail. This was a rocky trail that rounded the cove. We spotted our first land dwelling wildlife among the rocks…spiders!


We kept a lookout for blueberries too but they weren’t quite ready to eat.

We climbed Valley Cove Trail toward the summit of St. Sauveur Mountain, and took in several views of the cove along the way. Below you see the view of Somes Sound extending toward the north beyond Valley Cove.


And here, Somes Sound extending south from the direction we kayaked.

We spotted some other wildlife too, the crafty red squirrel who froze to “hide” from our gawking. Guess we’ve been out to sea long enough when a squirrel becomes this interesting.

At last, the summit!


Then, we looped down to the Valley Peak summit.


As you can see, fog was rolling into Somes Sound. Along with the fog came a light rain shower.

Back at the base of Valley Cove it was low tide at our departure. I nearly stepped on a sea star that was as big as Brian’s hand! When I paused to look around a bit more closely, I found sea stars all around of various sizes and colors. They were pink, purple, grey, and orange. They were devouring mussels which also appeared to be plentiful. We looked for a bit and then launched the kayaks on account of the rain. Paddling back through Somes Sound we hugged the rock walls and found many more sea stars, sponges, and kelp thriving just where the water had lowered at low tide. The landscape on the way back to Rode Trip was much different in low tide and fog. It was easy to see how Maine can be difficult to navigate! We found our way back to Rode Trip and got ourselves inside to dry and prepare dinner.

Brian created a mushroom gallery along our hike. Below you can see all the different fungi we spotted. Still working to identify these although none seemed to be familiar as being edible from our previous days mushroom hunting.



We didn’t make the fireworks display at Bar Harbor because there was so much fog after dinner we weren’t sure which direction to paddle to land!

We heard fireworks being fired-off from all directions of the harbor and saw some glimmers of red and green colored fog. Loud cheers from land indicated the fireworks were lovely. We didn’t let the fog spoil our 4th of July, we made our own light show with the camera and the most visible dock light.


It was touching to us that the 4th of July was our first holiday on Rode Trip as it was also our first holiday upon entering “couple-hood” when we celebrated nearly six years ago in Honesdale, PA. Happy Independence Day!



Tide Pools at Otter Cliffs July 3, 2012

Our morning in Southwest Harbor got off to a slow start…thank you, gin fizz. (Actually, we were TIRED and having a few beers the night before was the perfect combo for sleeping late.) We had breakfast in the cockpit at our guest mooring. The harbormaster paid us a visit. Our entire plan for the day was to get groceries. After checking the wind, weather, and reviewing Active Captain reviews, we also decided to move Rode Trip back to the anchorage that we scouted last night and do some exploring via dinghy to find a good landing ashore.

We anchored at the Mill Dam anchorage, just north of Southwest Harbor. We found good holding and no crowds. Once Rode Trip was settled, we took the dinghy ashore and beached near the Mill Dam just below the tennis courts of the Causeway Club. This area is affected by tides so we brought the dinghy as far up as we could to avoid it being cast away at high tide. We walked across the dam and took a footbridge across to South Causeway Road which led us into town.

Brian and I had plans to meet Ryan and Jocelyn to explore tide pools this afternoon. Once ashore we had about 45mins to waste, so we took in the sights of Southwest Harbor town. This, as it turns out, took only about 10mins…but we did find ourselves in West Marine and were able to finally get a rod holder so that Brian can do some trolling.

Ryan and Jocelyn took us to a fabulous restaurant, Eat-A-Pita, en-route to Otter Cliffs. So delicious! Brian and I shared a chicken curry pita complete with all the veggies and extra curry dressing. MMMMM!

We arrived at Otter Cliffs and met with Mr. & Mrs. Haley to explore the tide pools during the final hour of low tide. This was a very successful venture! We found hermit crabs, sea urchins, sea stars, and green crabs.












The boys had big sticks for poking critters…so you can imagine they were very curious! Brian and Ryan fished out a huge starfish and huge green crab from a deep, small tide pool. Brave boys!





More amazing sights were seen along the drive back to Southwest Harbor, including a man with a very thick, black toupee. Yes, not only was it clearly visible as a toupee from our car but it also clearly matched the thick, black hair of the large dog this man was walking.

We had the privilege of using Ryan’s car for grocery shopping while he and Jocelyn joined the Haleys for dinner. Many thanks! This significantly eased the transport of the restocking that was necessary. We walked and dinghy-ed our groceries to Rode Trip, then brought the car back to Southwest Harbor. We caught a beautiful moon-rise on our way back ashore. I love seeing Rode Trip with her anchor light lit because it looks like she has her own little star above.



Since it was late in the evening, we decided to have dinner in town. We found Sips and thoroughly enjoyed our experience there. From the beginning our drinks were tasty; a sailor’s martini (rum, orange juice, lime juice, and crystalized ginger) and Scottish stout. Our meals were scrumptious; chilled blueberry soup and an apple chèvre salad and duck sausage risotto with butternut squash and zucchini. Ryan and Jocelyn shared they also had a delicious dinner when the stopped by to retrieve the car keys.

We had an unexpected adventure on our walk back to Rode Trip. The tide was high when we approached the footbridge. So high, in fact, that water was rushing over sections of the footbridge and Mill Dam. Brian attributed some of this rushing water the the full moon, which by the way was beautiful and lit our entire walk until this point. We lit up our headlamps to investigate a bit further. The water was ankle deep and there was a cable/railing across most of the path. We moved out slowly across the bridge and continued over the dam. And then…the cable/railing ended! What kind of planning is that!?! I guess picking up that huge green crab had Brian still feeling brave. He walked across the un-cabled section of the dam and around the beach to the dinghy. Thank goodness the dinghy was still there! Brian rowed over to this damsel in distress and I was able to board the dinghy from the highest part of the dam. We paddled back under the full moon.