Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cliff Trail on Great Island, Maine

Mud season is a great time to hike in Maine. The snow has finally melted by mid April, but the woods are not yet buzzing with insects and tourists. The Cliff Trail is an easy/moderate 2.3-mile loop trail on Great Island in Harpswell. The bare trees afford wonderful views of the water.

To reach the nature sanctuary, drive along the Mountain Road (above) 
to the Harpswell Town Offices. The trailhead is in the far left corner of the parking lot.

  Can you believe this is the view from the parking lot entrance? 
The camera lens flattens the landscape.

I painted the same view of Harpswell Sound, sitting in the marsh at mid-tide.  
The price of a true perspective was paid in blood to the summer mosquitoes.

The Cliff Trail passes tidal estuaries, marshes and thick woods 
before climbing to the cliffs.

 Near the peak, there are signs warning you to hold onto children and to leash your dog. 
Watch out! My friend’s dog once fell off the cliff and had to be rescued.

The view is spectacular (first and above photo.)

The bare rock summit is perfect for a picnic . . .

. . . or to watch the Osprey. . .

. . . build a nest on the island below.

This magical kingdom has ice falls . . .

. . . and fairy houses.

My enchanted daughter watched the surf from Bailey Island
(a 10 minute drive) after lunch at Cook's Lobster House.
Harpswell is a collection of islands and a long neck of land,
extending into the Atlantic Ocean from midcoast Maine.

Blog Watch: 
The Story Siren checked with publishers for 
guidelines on posting book covers when you review a book.  
It's a must read post for book bloggers. 

Note: next week is my kids' spring vacation 
so I'm taking a blog vacation.
Next post: Wednesday April 28.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sarah, As you so rightly say, this is indeed a 'magical kingdom'. The excitement for me in reading this posting and studying the pictures of such a wonderful and varied landscape is that it allows me to experience a part of the world completely unknown to me previously.

The trails, which do indeed appear to be very natural, allow the walker to be at one with Nature. I loved the glimpses afforded throughout of the sea.

Delwyn said...

Hi Sarah

it sounds like you earned your lunch at the lobster house. The images are wonderful and a reward for the hiker, or in our case the vicarious hiker.

Your painting added a moody and enchanting depth to the scene you showed. Thank you Sarah

Happy days

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Sarah: Thank you for showing us your house. I suspected that you were an ocean/woodland/writing fairie!

You have left us with a magical post that will sustain us until you return. Great photos and commentary.

tina said...

I'm from this little part of town but never knew of this trail. I must try it out the next time I visit. I wonder if my sister knows of it-she works at the town offices. I'll ask her next week when she come to Tennessee. My daughter is getting married in Louisvile. An exciting time for us all and it's spring! Gorgeous photos!

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...


Thank-You for sharing your magical walk with your readers. I love the picture of the "ice falls" and your painting is lovely!

Have a great week-Off!

Tracy :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, the ice falls. Tolkien worthy!
Do you have any problems with pollen in Maine. We are trapped in a yellow fog here at the moment.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Magical kingdom indeed! Oh, how I want to walk these trails. The one shot from the parking lot made me want to walk right into and keep on going.

Angie Muresan said...

How adorable the fairy house!
I must say that painting by you is so lovely. Thank you for sharing it with your readers, Sarah.

Stacy said...

Those are some gorgeous photos! Very magical.

Sarah Laurence said...

Edith, yes the trail does feel natural and at one with nature, especially the mud! The estuary views make it worthwhile.

Delwyn, welcome back from New Zealand! I think I earned my lunch but maybe not the mud pie parfait! It just seemed the right dessert to order in mud season. I’m glad you saw that depth in my painting.

Bonnie, if only fairies would sprinkle some magic dust on my manuscript.

Tina, I only “discovered” this hike after 12 years in Maine. It makes me feel better that it’s new to you too. Congratulations to your daughter!

Tracy, thank you and good luck with your procedure!

Pamela, my husband said the falls were Tolkien-ish too. The white pine flower is our state flower. We get a lot of yellow pine pollen in June, some years are worse than others. Our spring is later than yours. I hope the fog clears for you soon.

Tricia, luckily you are walking online – those are boot sucking mud flats out there. Still, it is beautiful to see in person. The trail is in the drier woods.

Angie, I can’t take credit for the fairy house – we just found it in the woods. The park has a designated fairy house building zone for children (and fairies?) to protect the natural habitat. My children used to love building them when they were younger.

Stacy, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Sarah! mosquitos and tourists.......
hm,,,,,,,yes...but it makes me laugh!
The ice falls are, indeed, magical.
The water always delights.

David Cranmer said...

Some absolutely marvelous photos. The one from parking lot entrance is very sharp looking.

cynthia newberry martin said...

I know winter lasted a long time, but it's always startling to see how fast spring is here. All this fullness and green is almost shocking. Love the closeup of the trees at the peak. And thanks for the blog watch tip on posting book covers. Nice to know. Have a fun spring break.

Kelly H-Y said...

I must visit Maine! Gorgeous! Your photography is so beautiful ... and your painting ... stunning! Enjoy your spring break!

☆sapphire said...

Hello Sarah

Your magical kingdom also enchanted me! The third photo and your painting of the view are so nice! Oh ice falls! They remind me of the ones in the Rokko Mountains in my hometown in winter. The fairy house looks like a small secret fortress children made!! Thank you, Sarah.

Rose said...

What magnificent views, Sarah! I'm not much of a hiker, but this beautiful scenery would get me motivated to get moving again. Your painting really captures the view so well--you are so talented!

Sarah Laurence said...

Ewix, laughter is welcome. Thanks!

David, that view is right from the road, absolutely amazing!

Cynthia, yes, I love the bright greens of early spring. It has been a warm and sunny week, but now it has shifted to wet and cold, sadly. April is very unpredictable.

Kelly, Maine is well worth a visit. Thanks!

Sapphire, thank you! I’d love to hear more about your childhood in the Rokko Mountains. That sounds truly magical.

Rose, this is not a very strenuous hike and well worth it for the view. I get more pleasure from relatively short hikes with big view pay offs than long treks. Thanks!

Les said...

You know I loved these photos. We can't get the altitude here to see the water from above, unless you rent a hotel room.

I have some friends who will be visiting England this summer, if there are no volcano complications. I was trying to remember the name of the church in Oxford that you can climb to the top to get a roof-top view of the city. Can you tell me the name of it?

Sarah Laurence said...

Les, most of midcoast Maine is pretty flat. Mountain Road should really be called Hill Road.

Yeah, my agent was just telling me how the volcanic ash is disrupting next week’s London Book Fair. It better be clear by this summer or we’ll go the way of the dinosaurs!

It’s St. Mary’s Church and here's the link: Best Lunch and Tea in Oxford. You also get nice views from the top of the Sheldonian Theater (easiest climb) and Carfax Tower. I’ve been working on NOT CRICKET and getting nostalgic.

Rosaria Williams said...

This looks like a perfect spring hike. I bet it's not so calm and serene with summer tourists around. The views are breathtaking.

Les said...

Thank you very much. I thought it was St. Mary's, but I don't trust my memory all the time.

Sarah Laurence said...

Lakeviewer, the hike is perfect on any spring day but today: it snowed!

Les, a blog is a good memory cache.

Charlotte said...

Nice little route, isn't it? Last time I was there, we saw a porcupine up in a tree, always a treat.

Bee said...

Posts like this reaffirm why so many artists and writers gravitate to Maine. The picture of the ice falls is like a launching pad into fantasy.

A Cuban In London said...

Well, since you took last Wednesday off, I see I'm not too late to enjoy your latest pictures. If that was the view that greeted me everytime I went to my local Tesco car park, I would probably move my digs over there straight away.

I'm back home, finally back home.

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

Charlotte, a porcupine? Cool!

Bee, Maine was set for fiction.

ACIL, welcome back! I’ve been worrying about you (and Bee too) stranded from the UK due to the volcano. I’ve been away communing with less hostile peaks. More on Wednesday.

TBM said...

Oh, Spring walks! I enjoyed this one very much. Thanks for sharing, Sarah.

And hope you had a lovely spring break :-)

Sarah Laurence said...

JAPRA, thanks, we did have a great spring break hiking in Maine. I'm publishing that post very soon.