It happened to be the Korean Chuseok holiday when our ferry docked at Donghae and we spent our first few days in country enjoying very quiet streets as most people were spending time with family. But with the arrival of the weekend and after a couple of hours bus ride north to the coastal city of Sokcho, things picked up a bit.
Sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean at Acadia National Park! We crawled out of our tent about 4:30 in the morning to make sure we captured the moment. It was absolutely serene watching the sun come up over Otter Point and paint the sky and water, first in pastels and then in vivid blues and pinks. It was one of those moments when it was if all the elements of nature had converged to gift us with a picture perfect glimpse of this point in the universe. The tide, winds, clouds, sun, air, sea, salt, and even the passing gulls and geese, each played their part in turn, as if performing a dance to welcome the new day. It was a spectacular performance and it is even more amazing when you consider the fact that these same characters have been gathering every day for thousands of years to put on this same show morning after morning – not caring if any human is watching or not. It was an honor to be part of this day’s pageant, even if only as an observer.
The weather of late has been a mixed bag of rain, gray, wind, gray, clouds, gray, sleet, gray, and then suddenly a day of sun! Amber has been compiling a list of things we want to see and do in the area so when we get a sunny day we can jump in the car and head out to take pictures in good lighting. Maine is home to about 70 lighthouses and we have visited at least five so far. The Owls Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1852 and manned until it was automated in 1989. It is still a working lighthouse today and the keepers house is home to the American Lighthouse Foundation, Interpretive Center & Gift Shop. This was the first Maine lighthouse we were able to actually spend much time walking around – our previous visits, it was just too dang cold! Whether you are looking out over the Pacific or Atlantic, a lighthouse is an enchanted place. Just stepping on to the grounds you feel a sense of history, purpose, substance and resolution. Lighthouses are built to withstand the absolute extreme of weather an ocean can conjure – and do it perched, purposely, atop the most exposed location their builders can secure. Because of this, a lighthouse generates much more than light waves in the visible spectrum. Their combination of hardy build, exposed location, gravity of mission, history, and pristine condition, cause a lighthouse to generate veneration as well. I always feel a sense of reverence when visiting a lighthouse.
Well Amber and I had separate adventures this week. She climbed into the Gothic Basin off the Mountain Loop Highway on the west side of the state and I soloed into Lake Janus just on the east side of Stevens pass to search for some late season trout. I got a fairly early start, hitting the trail by 8:30. The drive in from Highway 2 was a little frustrating. The Smith Brook road is extremely popular with novice hikers and the trail head always gets packed with the cars of people looking more correctly prepared for a day picnicking in the park than taking a hike on a backcountry trail. Their back road driving skills usually reflect their trail experience and I wound up in a caravan of little city cars being lead by a gigantic 4 wheel drive truck that looked like it had never seen a week without a trip to the car wash. When we hit the parking area I was out of my rig, had my pack on and was signing the trailhead log book before most of them were out of their Subarus and Priuses. I hit the trail hard because I wanted to get into the lake. I did the 3.6 mile, 1550 feet of elevation gain trek in an hour and 5 minutes! I was feeling good. Amber and I had explored this lake a couple of weeks earlier and I knew where I wanted to look for the best fishing spot. I worked my way around the opposite way we had gone last time.