Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY

If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Corning New York, check out the World Famous glass museum. The museum features multiple exhibits of functional, artistic, industrial, and historic glass.

Here’s a few examples we saw during our self tour, which took us about 4 hours. Entry is reasonable and you can wander about the place at will.

Early Terra Cotta relief.

Ancient (from the exhibit 35 centuries of glass).

Artistic, from the stunning, to the bizarre.

There are many daily demonstrations of the art & science of glass blowing and manufacture.

And some absolutely gorgeous stained glass.

There are plenty of hands on, fun, and humorous things too.

It’s a great place to spend a day.


Finding Basalt in the Granite State

Ossipee Mountain Ring Dike (Dia. = 14Km)

Ossipee Mountain Ring Dike (Dia. = 14Km)

On a recent hike into the Ossipee Ring Dike Complex in NH we went looking for Basalt.  To put it simply a Ring Dike is the extinct core of an old (many millions of years old) volcano and Basalt is a rock, quite similar to granite, that is formed from extruded lava that cools under certain conditions to form hexagonal columns.  If you want more info on Ring Dikes and Basalt I’ll include some links at the bottom.

Anyway, The Ossipee Mountain Ring Dike is the largest and most complete ring dike in the U.S. so it follows that there should be lots of basalt there.  Here’s some hiding under a birch tree.

Basalt and Birch Tree

Basalt and Birch Tree

A few years ago we were traveling in the Sierra Mountains in California and we came upon a Geological site called the Columns of the Giants.  This site included some towering cliffs of basalt columns.

How Columns Form

How Columns Form

Columns of the Giants, Stanislaus National Forest, CA

Columns of the Giants, Stanislaus National Forest, CA

Curved Columns

Curved Columns

Columner Basalt and Talus Slope.

Columner Basalt and Talus Slope.

Other examples of Columnar Basalt include Devils Tower in Wyoming (known as the Bear Lodge, by local Native American tribes)

Devil's Tower - Wikipedia Public Domain Photo

Devil’s Tower – Wikipedia Public Domain Photo

and the Devil’s Postpile near Yosemite National Park in California.

"Devils Postpile National Monument near Mammoth Lakes" by Frank Kovalchek

“Devils Postpile National Monument near Mammoth Lakes” by Frank Kovalchek

So our thought was that we might find some similar formations in the Ossipee’s.  Our hike took us to the summit of Turtleback Mountain.

Turtleback Mountain

Turtleback Mountain

The summit of 2203 feet does not have a spectacular view, but it’s a bare summit (is that Basalt or is that Granite) with a nice view and a good crop of blueberries at their absolute peak.

Wild NH Blueberries

Wild NH Blueberries

Two Cedar Waxwings were hanging around picking blueberries too.

Cedar Waxwing - Bombycilla Cedrorum

Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla Cedrorum

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

Checking for UAVs

Checking for UAVs

After all the hiking, blueberry picking, bird watching, etc. I thought I had better check for unwanted Drones flying around.  Seems from the news that they are just about everywhere these days.  After my nap observations it was only a short hike off the summit to a connecting trail that leads down to a series of gorgeous waterfalls, but still no significant basalt formations.  We did see some nice Fungi though.DSC06660-pretty shroomDSC06632-an interesting growth.And then we found what we were looking for.  A large outcropping of columnar basalt

Columnar Basalt

Columnar Basalt

You must keep in mind that these mountains in the Northern Appalachian Range are almost half a billion years old.  By comparison the Rockies are about 80 million years old and the Sierras and Tetons less than 10 million years old.  These mountains are really, really, old and have been ground down by wind, water, and ice to their current altitude of less then 6,288 feet (Mount Washington).  Who knows how high they were when new, it is believed that the Ossipee Ring Dike Volcano was over 10,000 feet..  And to all our Western Friends who sneer at our puny little mountains, keep in mind that we are often hiking a vertical of over 4,000 feet up 35〫-45〫  talus slopes, across bogs and rivers, and through thick forest with roots that like nothing better than to trip you up. Come on out and try it some day.  But I digress.  What I’m trying to say is; to find an outcropping like this still existing in these old mountains is nothing short of thrilling.

DSC06643-columnar basalt

You can easily see the sharp edged breaks that are so distinctive to this type of formation.

Note the broken hexagonal piece in the lower left of the above picture. Detail below.

Basalt Column - detail

Basalt Column – detail

DSC06649-explanation of columnar

How It Happens

Here you cans see the fracture lines on a large broken piece of the cliffside.

Hexagonal Fracture Lines

Hexagonal Fracture Lines

We were totally blown away with this find and it turned an average hike on a small mountain into a spectacular hike. As we proceeded down the trail we found several of the waterfalls that this region, overseen by the “Lakes Region Conservation Trust“, is famous for.

"Falls of Song"

“Falls of Song”

"Emerald Falls"

“Emerald Falls”

And lastly, for our friend Tom, the requisite fish picture from the small pond at the trailhead.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

Plymouth State University – Ossipee Ring Dike

Columnar Basalt – Worldwide

Granite and Basalt (Igneous Rocks)

Obsidian – The King of the Igneous Rocks – at Big Obsidan Flow, Oregon


Seal (and Eagle) watching on Campobello Island

 Gray Seals

DSCN0532-a real cutie_edited-1

DSCN0568-3 seal delight

DSCN0591-2 aweet faces

DSCN0666-synchronized seal dance


DSCN0702-eagle flying

DSCN0750-eagle landing

DSCN0752-a little old man

Whale blowing (center between the boats).

Whale blowing (center between the boats).

East Wuoddy Head Light (Canada)

East Quoddy Head Light (Canada)

West Quoddy Head Light (Maine)

West Quoddy Head Light (Maine)

 A few last pictures before leaving for Quebec.

Artistic Scum on an inland pond

Artistic Scum on an inland pond

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

A plover and his friends (sandpipers)

A plover and his friends (sandpipers) (Click on this picture to get a larger view)

Preening Loon

Preening Loon

One last lazy paddle.

One last lazy paddle.

More Cobscook Bay Photos

Sculpture in Lubec, ME

DSCN0158-from Lubec to Campobello_edited-1During our stay at Coobscook Bay we took numerous day trips to Lubec, Machias, and Campobello Island

East Quoddy Head light at low tide

East Quoddy Head light at low tide

Very, VERY, Low Tide

Very, VERY, Low Tide

The bridge to Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada

The bridge to Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada

DSCN0240-beach stones-Campobello

Beach Stones

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Campobello Island Beach

DSCN0255-Campobello rocks

The rocks come alive with color when wet.

Back at the campsite for some kayaking.

Kayakers passing our campsite.

Kayakers passing our campsite.

Launching at low (lowish) tide.

Launching at low (lowish) tide.

A happy test pilot trying out Cheryl's kayak

A happy test pilot trying out Cheryl’s kayak

Another day - another eagle

Another day – another eagle

Cobscook Bay State Park, Maine

Hello from Downeast Maine.

Hello from Downeast Maine.

In the last post I discussed the term Downeast Maine.  Well, go as far downeast as you can and you reach the area where the Maine and New Brunswick coasts, along with Campobello Island, meet.  This is where you will find Cobscook Bay.  Cobscook Bay is an inland bay fed by the tides of Passamaquoddy Bay and the Bay of Fundy.  Unlike Passamaquoddy Bay (20-30 foot tide range) and the Bay of Fundy (30-40 foot range) this bay has a more moderate average tide range of 24 feet.

DSCN0376-bay and islands around Rev Falls_edited-1

Cobscook Bay.

From many of the sites in the state park you can launch a kayak at just about any tide, and even at low tide the bay is navigable except for some of the smaller inlets and channels.  That’s why we are here.  That, and the large populations of bald eagles, harbor and grey seals, and numerous birds.

DSCN0017-our own little sunrise paradise_edited-1

Our own little sunrise paradise

Blue Heron on takeoff.

Harbor Seal

Harbor Seal

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle on Birch Island


Immature Loon

The name Cobscook is the Passamaquoddy name for “Boiling Tide”.  An apt name when you visit Reversing Falls.  A short drive to near Eastport, reportedly the eastermost city in the U.S., and a short walk down a rocky trail, took us to the falls.

DSCN0204-seals in the current_edited-1

Seals fishing in the current below Reversing Falls.

The falls are created when the incoming, or outgoing, tide passes over a band of rocks in a channel.  The channel is several hundred feet across, with a gap on the far side that creates a series of rapids as the water rushes around the falls.  The falls roar for hours as the bay either fills or empties, followed by a short period of eerie quiet at slack tide, then back to roaring in the other direction.  Suffice it to say that it is hard to describe, but wonderful to watch, and you should go see it if you ever get the chance.

DSCN0135-wild waters of Rev Falls_edited-1

Reversing Falls – nearing high tide.

DSCN0137-Rev falls_edited-1

Rapids in the sluice at Reversing Falls

Reversing Falls are about 3 miles, by kayak, from the campground.  We will look into the possibility of kayaking out there later in the week.  Being able to launch at just about any tide level, gave us the opportunity for some early morning paddling while the fog was still sitting in the bay.

DSCN0176-low tide toward Sisters_edited-1

Foggy morning view from the campsite towards the Sisters (Islands).

DSCN9895-ted in the fog_edited-1

Waiting for the sun.

One of the marvelous things about kayaking on the ocean, or ocean bays, is that the sounds, light, and surface conditions change constantly and every day is a new adventure.

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Sunrise from the campsite.

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Sunrise Visitor – Kingfisher

One of the campers at Cobscook, builds rock art sculptures and this sculpture, we dubbed “The Sea Nymph”, was still standing when we left after two weeks.

DSCN0104-sea nymph

The Sea Nymph.

DSCN0236-height comparison_edited-1

Cheryl, Ted, and the Nymph at low tide.

DSCN9829-C & the sea nymph_edited-1

the Nymph gets her feet wet twice a day.

Each day’s paddle in Cobscook Bay brought new delights.  I mean, really, how often does one get to watch eagles fishing.

DSCN0191-eagle fishing in rev falls

Eagle fishing at slack tide near Reversing Falls.

DSCN0048-a nice paddle_edited-1

Exploring one of the many coves of Cobscook Bay.

The bay is relatively unihabited, (it’s mostly State owned land) so there are numerous places to land and explore this beautiful coast.


“Connemara” (Cheryl’s Kayak) at a rest stop.

DSCN0099-young loon

Our young loon visited every day.

DSCN0128-got eyes on me_edited-1

DSCN0358-from across the bay_edited-1

Across the bay from the campsite.

DSCN9909-campsite from kayak

Our campsite from the kayak.

Just up the road a piece from the State Park there is a rail trail that runs from Dennysville to Machais, about 20 miles.  The surface is a bit rough for biking (It is mainly used as a snowmobile corridor), but we figured it would be nice for a short ride.  We rode about 10 miles, 20 round trip.

DSCN9940-along the rocky trail

Rail Trail

The trail meanders through woods and meadows, with numerous stream crossings and ponds, and some great old bridges.

DSCN9931-flora along trail

Flora along the trail

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Stream crossing.

DSCN9928-rail trail trestle 1902

American Bridge Company of New York. – 1902

There’s more to come from our two weeks at Cobscook Bay State Park.

DSCN9881-view from  campsite4_edited-1

Morning at Cobscook Bay.

Seawall Campground – Acadia Nation Park

We are off on a new adventure to Coastal Maine and on to Quebec.  We spent last night in the Parking lot of the L L Bean Outdoor Store in Freeport, Maine.  Beans is one of those places that allows truck campers to stay overnight in their lots, though it always seems they make out financially from the deal as we spend way too much time in store.  There’s always something we or the camper need.  From Freeport we traveled Downeast along the coast.  For those who are not familiar with the term “Downeast” it refers to travel in a Northeasterly direction along the Maine coast.  Most folks would say “Up” the coast, but in Maine, which most definitely has a mind of it’s own, the term is “Down” the coast.  This is because in the days of sailing vessels, the prevailing winds in the Gulf of Maine ran from Cape Cod, south of Boston, along the coast to far eastern Maine.  Thus one sailed “Down” to Maine and “Up” to Boston.  To this day ask a Mainer, traveling south on I-95, where he is going and he will tell you he’s going up to Boston.

Natural Granite Seawall at Acadia National Park

Natural Granite Seawall at Acadia National Park

We have been to Acadia National Park before, but never camped at Seawall.  Seawall, which is named after a natural granite seawall that runs along the coast, is on the southwest lobe of Mount Desert Island, far from the crowds of Bar Harbor and the major attractions of Acadia.  We arrived at Seawall to meet up with some friends before heading further Downeast to the very eastern edge of the United States. Seawall is a great place for some quiet camping, hiking, a bit of auto or bike touring, and sunrises.

DSCN0026-spectacular sunrise

First Peek

Geese at Sunrise - Seawall, Acadia National Park

Geese at Sunrise – Seawall, Acadia National Park

Sunrise, Coffee, Friends, Beach...Yes!

Sunrise, Coffee, Friends, Beach…Yes!

The Bass Harbor Head Light is one of the attractions of this part of Acadia National Park.  Built in 1858 the brick lighthouse stands 56 feet above the water at high tide.  The lighthouse is not generally open for tours, but there’s a small hiking trail to get different views of this most photogenic lighthouse.  The light, now on the National Register of Historic Places as the “Bass Harbor Head Light Station”, is now automated with a fourth order Fresnel Lens which makes it visible for 13 Nautical Miles.  The US Coast Guard owns the light, but it is situated in the National Park.  This is the first of Many lighthouses we expect to see on this trip.


Bass Harbor Head Light

Bass Harbor Head Light

Bass harbor

Bass harbor

DSCN9959-low tide at lobster pier-Bass Harbor

Bass harbor at Low Tide – A Working Harbor

We rode our bikes from the Campground to Bass Harbor Light and on the way back stopped for a short hike to Ship Harbor.

Ship Harbor.

Ship Harbor.

The hike to ship harbor was a loop hike, and on the return leg we found a Rock Gnome Construction Site.

Rock Gnomes

Rock Gnomes

DSCN9986-Beach gnomes

It has become quite common in the mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire, and on the Coast of Maine, to find extensive installations of rock gnomes.  People spend hours, sometimes days, working on these stone sculptures.

Beach Roses on the Wonderland Trail.

Beach Roses on the Wonderland Trail.

Beach Roses / Rose Hips.

Beach Roses / Rose Hips.


Lupines in the Mountains – Sand Castles on the Coast

The Annual Spring Lupine Festival in Sugar Hill NH

Fields of Lupines bloom in June in the Franconia Notch Region of the Western White Mountain National Forest

IMG_9089-late day roadside delights_edited-1IMG_8960-purple sampler_edited-1 IMG_8917-pink lupines purple mts_edited-1 DSCN8534Pearl Lake Rd....the pinkest _edited-1DSCN8515 through the lobes_edited-1 DSCN8499melted buttercups_edited-1 DSCN8395lupinedaisymania_edited-1DSCN8551-Pearl VIsion_edited-1

The International, Invitational, Sand Sculpture Contest at Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach State Park, NH

IMG_9124_edited-1.-sand sculpture competitionSand Sculptors from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Ontario, Quebec,Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, Washington, and British Columbia were invited to compete at this years event.

IMG_9123she's busyThe sand, which is better than beach sand for scuplting, comes from a quarry in NH.  Each competitor gets 10 tons of sand.  Look closely at the pictures and you may see some tiny wires sticking out of the top, those are to discourage birds from landing on the work.


IMG_9105a few more

IMG_9109-MichaelsSome of the sculptures are sponsored and are not part of the competition.IMG_9100-putting down roots

IMG_9117 eagle in progressThe solo sculptors must work alone.  They are allowed three 8 hour days to finish the work and all sculpting must be done by hand.  No molds are allowed.  A mixture of school glue and water is sprayed on the finished sculptures to protect them from wind erosion.

We visited on the second day of competition and most of the solo sculptures were not completely finished.  The Sculptures will remain at the beach until July 6th and will be lighted at night.  If we get a chance to revisit before the 6th we will post some pictures of the finished work.


art therapy in India

Winter in the Desert, Summer in the Mtns

Sharing our love of America's Natural Wonders


Sharing our love of America's Natural Wonders