Denise Goldberg's blog

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Chased by a bird

Hey, look! Denise & I can both write on the same day!

The afternoon started with a sky that was a copy of yesterdays. Not blue, more light gray... But as we reached the high point of our hike up Gorham Mountain, the sky turned blue with white decorations. I like the blue, and Denise liked the contrast the blue brought to her photos of the tree-covered mountains.

Our hike started at the Sand Beach parking lot. We bounced along the path overlooking the ocean, following it to the point where the Gorham Mountain trail headed up into the woods. It went up and up. We followed blue blazes on the granite and cairns (piles of rocks) that marked the trail. There were places where the trail was obvious - mostly in the woods - and other places where we really had to look from blue marking to blue marking. Following a trail on granite can be a bit of a puzzle.

Denise really liked the section of the trail at the top of the mountain. It helped that the weather wizard turned the sky blue for us, but even if it ha stayed gray it was absolutely amazing how far we could see.

Oh! We saw a peregrine falcon up in the sky. I've never seen one before, and Denise said she hadn't either. She was chatting with someone who was doing the trail in the opposite direction, and he pointed out a peregrine falcon flying high. It was soaring, and then it dove down. Apparently they grab dive and grab their prey - little birds - in their claws.

But you're probably wondering about the bird that chased us, aren't you? After walking across the granite at the top of the mountain, we dropped back to a wooded trail. All of a sudden we heard a noise, and then Denise saw a funny bird with ruffled feathers around it's neck hurrying down the path towards us, making a loud squawk. Denise was very careful where she was stepping because she assumed that the bird was protecting eggs or baby birds. She thought we were OK when the bird hurried past us, but then it turned around and ran at us again. We kept walking, but Denise was getting nervous - she thought the bird might attack us! We walked faster, and faster still. And then we must have passed through the area the bird was protecting because it stopped chasing us. Denise was quite happy that we could keep moving forward, that we didn't need to turn around and repeat three quarters of our walk in the other direction. (We found out later that the bird was a ruffed grouse.)

There was still a little more down to go. After our bird encounter, the trail was covered with running water in spots. I jumped into Denise's pack at that point; I didn't want to get my red feet all muddy! And Denise managed to walk from rock to rock. We weren't sure how much further it was to the trail end, but then we started hearing the crashing of the ocean. Oh! we're back at Sand Beach. I thought we were going to leave Sand Beach for another day, but Denise decided to walk across the beach and around the back where there is a wonderful view of flowing water between green grass with mountains rising behind it.

If you're planning your own visit to Acadia and want to do some walking, Evin has copies of a trail guide to the park that guests can borrow. Denise found the book to be very helpful and a nice addition to the map I had her buy. If you'd like your own copy, the book is called A Walk in the Park, Acadia's Hiking Guide. It was written by Tom St. Germain.
--- a happy Rover