Category Archives: State Parks

Seal (and Eagle) watching on Campobello Island

 Gray Seals

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Eagles

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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.

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.

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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.

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Our own little sunrise paradise

Blue Heron on takeoff.

Harbor Seal

Harbor Seal

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle on Birch Island

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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.

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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.

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Reversing Falls – nearing high tide.

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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.

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

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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.

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The Sea Nymph.

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Cheryl, Ted, and the Nymph at low tide.

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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.

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Eagle fishing at slack tide near Reversing Falls.

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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.

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

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Our young loon visited every day.

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Across the bay from the campsite.

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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.

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Rail Trail

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

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Flora along the trail

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Stream crossing.

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American Bridge Company of New York. – 1902

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

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Morning at Cobscook Bay.

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

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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.

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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.

City of Rocks State Park, New Mexico

We seem to have a tendency to find little gems in the middle of nowhere.  City of Rocks certainly qualifies.  We are in southwest New Mexico, a little south of the Gila National Forest, smack dab in the middle of a flat dry desert and here we find the “City of Rocks”.

THE CITY

The City.

Established in 1952 this tiny (less than a square mile) state park is a geological gem in the midst of miles of rather barren Chihuahuan desert.  Driving the dusty road in from the highway gives no clue as to what awaits here.  Only in the last quarter mile do you get a glimpse of the namesake volcanic tuff features that make up the City of Rocks.

We re tucked in on the left

Entering the City

The Emory Caldera erupted 35 million years ago in a massive years long eruption believed to be 1000 times great than the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption.  The ash cloud, several hundred cubic miles of it, traveled over 100 miles from the caldera depositing a thick layer of hot ash and pumice.The great heat and pressure on the layers of ash converted it into a dense rock called tuff. This is quite similar to the process that formed the Chiricahua National Monument that we recently visited.  What is different here is that there was no uplift to raise the solidified ash into mountains. As the layers cooled and contracted vertical cracks formed Gradual wind erosion, vegetative pressure and freeze-thaw cycles exposed the long buried tuff.

A silly one

Barely Balanced Rock

Dining hall

Our Dining Hall.

From dining to camper

Tucked in amongst the rocks

The myriad features in the park were formed by these erosive forces working in the cracks, breaking away rock and leaving these fantastic forms.  It has been a blast wandering, as we do, around this fantastic little park.

Jack the Hare

Jackrabbit

Great Horned Owl

Evening Sentinel

Hoot wants to know

Great Horned Owl

The park is home to Cottontails and Jackrabbits, several species of Rattlesnake,coyotes, lizards, and many birds.

Nestled in

Nestled In

Sunset at the supperbowl

Sunset on the Rocks

We especially appreciate that the designers of the park sited the campground in the middle of the “City” and we are surrounded by the whimsical figures.

Blogman

In closing I would like to remind you all that one never knows what disasters may hover over our heads, so get out and see some of this great country while you still can.

City of Rocks Gallery

City of Rocks Gallery

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A Neighboring Community

A Rock on my Head.

A Rock on my Head.

Tight Fit.

Tight Fit.

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Going Out is Really Going In.

Going Out is Really Going In.

Main Street in the City.

Main Street in the City.

Sunset Rocks

Sunset Rocks

That's a Stretch.

That’s a Stretch.

 

 

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