Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leg 21. January 27, from Moffit's to the back side of Tip Toe and by the time I reached this precipice I was so warm I took my jacket off and tied it around my waist. Most of the shore looked like this and it was impossible to stay down next
to the water, below high tide.

When I rounded Crockett Point and headed north again, Reynolds' place, its boathouse and long dock, came into view. I was suddenly awash in memory, tenuous memory (like most of it nowadays) but I found myself eager to give it full flower and scrambled toward a big offshore ledge where I sensed I had some history. As I crested the rock I dimly recalled being here with my dad and Ken Webster, not today's Kenny but his father. I could nearly see him standing at the end of the dock tossing a line to me on the ledge. We'd have been hauling a float or maybe setting a mooring, late 50's or early 60's. Ken worked for my Dad around that time but he might also have been the Reynolds' caretaker. That specific recollection was attended by an abundance of vague familiarity, less particular but omnipresent.

After a while, a few minutes, it faded a little and a different incident was recalled, one unsanctioned but there it is nonetheless and it was typical of much of my youthful enterprise. Another kid and I were leaving this place, having been up to some mischief. We'd exited the driveway and were walking up the very rough dirt road leading back toward Tip Toe. Suddenly a big old Lincoln, a truly unlikely conveyance on this road, came careening through the 'canyon' I've photographed and talked about in the most recent postings. At the wheel was an older man, a notorious drinker and with him was his customary sidekick, no less accomplished. Each might have stepped fron 'Deliverance' and neither is still with us. Although it seemed pretty clear they regarded us as potential amusement, we foolishly accepted an offer of a ride back to town (I have no recollection of how we came to be here in the first place). Ten minutes later, ascending Mirch's Hill on the North Haven Road, having expressed some concern to our hosts about the direction in which this adventure seemed to be heading, we were given the option of jumping out of the still moving (not very fast) car and we took it. We re-gained our footing and, unhurt, had begun walking when we heard the Lincoln, which had continued up and over the hill, returning at high speed. As it crested the rise above us the passenger let go a blast in our direction from a shotgun he held in his right hand, the barrel of which bounced up and down on the car's right front fender. We both headed for the woods and ran for our lives as gunfire erupted in our wake, probably over our heads but we were not sure at the time.

It took a long time to navigate the western shore of Crockett Point. There are a lot of little islands and, because it was low tide, I could reach and therefore, of course, had to walk around each of them. Brown's head is in the distance.

This site reminded me of one of my favorite photographs, Peter Ralston's, of a submerged lobster trap in an area just like this, from which was broadcast a magic sparkle, as if Tinkerbelle were in residence. These shoals and ledges litter the area just offshore.

When I got to the head of a narrow fjord this little island, its rocky foundation a little more resilient than the surrounding terrain, stood stubbornly amidst marshy grassland. It's base is above high tide and it doesn't seem the little meander that runs down through the marsh could ever have mustered enough breadth or depth or force to have eroded all that away but clearly something did.

Looking back up the inlet, a little pond of fresh water is held in place by the residual stone wall some industrious person took many long hours to build a long time ago, perhaps to capture fresh water for livestock; the upland being some very appealing pasture.

Leg 21, during the first week of February, will at last get me around Brown's head.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I've navigated this beautiful passage at Big Tip Toe twice now during this exercise and will do so once more before I complete my
tour around Crockett Point. I never tire of it. Fifty years ago I was involved in a ridiculous car chase through this pristine gully. I'm grateful for this opportunity to appreciate the spot a little more fully and certainly a little more responsibly.

I've been looking at Dogfish for some time now, from one vantage or another, ever since I left the Basin. I'll get a glimpse of it over my shoulder when I round Brown's Head but this is my last view of it's entirety.

Having turned my back on Dogfish and the last of Leadbetter Narrows I enjoyed my first unfettered mainland panorama and a look at Crabtree point and the narrow piece of real estate that is North Haven's southern extremity. By February North Haven will be my constant companion for a while.

It was suggested, before I struck out for walk # 20 that I might want to take snow shoes, certainly something mositure resistant. I stubbornly stuck to my sneakers. A couple of hours later, having failed to find reliable footing, or any footing for that matter, in places like this below the high tide mark, I found myself struggling mightly through big snow drifts high above but right next to the shore. By the time this leg of my journey was over I found myself
thinking seriously, again, about taking Elaine's advice to heart.

The wind was howling out of the north and when I rounded the point it blew my hat off and nearly toppled me from a ledge. I ducked down into this little nook, lingered a while out of the wind and found, in this singular little environ all the things found elsewhere nearby but each was a little different -barnacles, mussels, even seaweed looked a little less careworn, having found this relatively sheltered place to live.

These deer wallows remain a mystery. I'd only seen one before this and it was on the south side of the old Moffit place in full view of the front of the house. This, the next one, was encountered after coming around Crockett Point and back to the road. It is on the north side of the same house, again in full view of it. I haven't seen any big ones like this in the privacy of the woods.

Leg 21, next week, will get me into the nooks and crannies behind Brown's Head.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I began leg 19 on the shore of Whitmore Pond just opposite the juncture of Brown's Head Light and Crockett River Roads and headed south along the western shore of Crockett Cove. Before leaving the Pond I climbed to this little bluff at the northern end of the VLT trail to look back up the cove. From this same spot Elaine and I watched an anxious deer, who'd spotted us and had no where else to go, swim across to the western shore a few years ago.

This was an early morning walk and the sun was so bright from across the cove it was blinding to even look in that direction making it easy to concentrate on where I was going. This was my first look at Tip Toe Mountain just after rounding the little peninsula at the entrance to Whitmore Pond. The owners of this little spit of land just below the mountain have made the most of its charms without compromising its integrity.

The little mountain looked somewhat more formidable once I'd come abreast of it and I thought it might be necessary to forego sticking to the shore and walk on up to the road to travel around. When I got up to it though I could see a foothold here and there and so stayed down near the water. I alluded in an earlier entry, when I first saw Tip Toe after walking through Leadbetter Narrows, to having dimly recalled a romantic interlude on the mountain. The object of those interests has since come forward to edit my recollection, reminding me that if there was anything romantic about my inclinations that night it certainly escaped her. At any rate we are each content with the outcome.

There were places, beyond Tip Toe, where it was impossible to stay below the high tide mark and I had to climb up to find the ever present animal trail. The westerly shore had taken a real pounding in recent storms and blow downs were across the path everywhere making it necessary to crawl under or over fallen one fallen Spruce after another. I can't imagine how they manage it but the deer tracks lead right through the jumble of trunks and branches. Theirs is certainly a tougher hide than my own. Here the trail, uncharacteristically clear of debris, leads by the beginnings of a treehouse, albeit the builders were not looking for much altitude. Perhaps it was a fort to monitor the comings and goings in the narrows leading into Crockett Cove.

A last look back up Crockett River taken from the end of a long dock belonging to someone I know I know but can't remember.

Of all the secluded places along the way where deer might have rolled around on the ground for a good back scratch I can't imagine why they chose this place in full view of several homes. Maybe they knew they were seasonal.

I left my bike at the far end of Crockett's Point and biked back out over this icy road. I had told Elaine I thought this could be done safely. In fact it could not and ultimately I only pedalled along little patches of exposed dirt or over crusty snow but one near miss on the ice convinced me that (for once) she was right and I walked the bike along those stretches from that point on. Passing through the gut at Big Tip Toe I turned around to look back at these ice formations.

Next week I'll round Crockett Point and get my first look at Crabtree Point on North Haven. May by week's end I'll be on the Thorofare

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Leg 18, from Elisofon's to Tip Toe Mountain, took me to a place I've always intended to visit but have not, Whitmore Pond and the deep inner reaches of Crockett's Cove. That I have not can be said, though, of pretty much everywhere I've been during this walk and while it's taken me sixty years to get around to it I'm supremely glad I eventually did.
Two sets of rapids allow the tide to come to and drain from the marshy upland area. This is the innermost of those.

A pastel rainbow drips from this little ledge as a miniature glacier advances toward the precipice. Now and then a speck of dirt is carried away until, over time, well - you know.
Ice in all its forms is ever present, underfoot, overhead and in beautiful displays like this.

I was prompted to take this picture to bring home and compare, with Elaine, it to the condition of my own hair more often than not but when I saw it framed on the upload it was strikingly beautiful (not that it doesn't still remind each of us of my own condition now and then).

I'll try to get a photo, each trip, of the ever present animal trail. It's nearly continuous, all around the island perimeter, sometimes just inside the woods, other times, like this, where the going is easier but always there where other species have trod before and are probably bringing up the rear.

Approaching the most pronounced of the several headwaters of Crockett's River, I find the stream has certainly settled into a course it was familar with. As I got nearer the roar ahead signalled a significant waterfall. It was, rather, a piece of equipment being used at the substation, just beyond the trees.

The marsh is ribboned with these gullies, some so narrow the grass folds deceivingly over them but many several feet deep, inviting a mis-step. This, heading back from the headwaters is one of the two or three more significant and seems ancient.

Heading back out of the marsh and southwesterly exiting Crockett's River, I stopped to admire this ice covered ledge that had the appearance of an over-filled container, merinque perhaps, or ice cream.
Leg 19, next week sometime, should take me by Tip Toe and around Crockett's Point toward Brown's Head.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One foot in sea and one on shore, to one thing constant never. Shakespeare

Leg 17 took me from Rhinelander's (now Lowry/Rodrigez) to Elisofon's yesterday, January 5, at mid morning. Although the Crockett River Road was ice covered I took my bike figuring if Brian Meehan can ride around all winter so can I. I left it near the Elisofon driveway and drove the mile or so down the peninsula to Rhinelander's. I'd planned this walk at low tide thinking all the snow we had recently would make walking along the upper shore and, when necessary, through the woods, more difficult.
As soon as I stepped out of the deep snow and onto the shore I encountered this fellow, denizen of the bimodal intrusions, heaving himself up from the everlasting fires to urge me on.

The sedimentary rock, fractured virtually every few inches and covered with seaweed, made it difficult to keep my eyes on the views, one perfect vista after another. This, of Rockland and the Camden Hills is between Dogfish Island and Crockett Point. The Drunkard monument is just visible beyond the latter. Every step taken while looking at this instead of at my feet was a mistep.

Having learned to identify the five intertidal zones, I know that this very compact and luminous pile of mussell shells is occupying the uppermost, the Spray Zone, of this tiny cove. Why they are so concentrated here but virtually absent in nearby nooks that seem just as inviting is a mystery.

Denizon of the Spray Zone.

The concentration of mussel shells above was a mystery and so was this. Every surface of this exposed ledge is covered with small barnacles while similar areas elsewhere had only spotty communities.

About thirty years ago a friend and I looked together at this place, at the foot of Tip Toe Mountain which was for sale for something like $25,000. We offered $23,000 or so but they wouldn't come down so we stormed off in a huff muttering 'we'll show 'em'. We did too, showed 'em how many more astute folks there are out there than the two of us.

All along this difficult shore folks have found a way to get to the water. In this case there was no room for a shoreside dock so the stairs lead right to the (summer) ramp.

I took someone up to Tip Toe around 1960 and told her I loved her but I can't remember who. Neither can she.

The reliable animal trail I've referred to before circumscribed this inlet and led out to a little promontory for this view back up the cove. The path reached a dead end at this viewing spot so whichever critter came out here had to turn around and go back to resume it's walk. Clearly, from the beaten down path and evidence of lingering at this spot, other species, besides my own, enjoy this view and often. A roaring brook is gushing beneath a wall of ice just beyond but I couldn't reach a place from which it could be photographed. The source, I think, is Dyer Pond, above and beyond on Middle Mountain.

Leg 18, probably this weekend will take me up and maybe around Whitmore Pond