Saturday, April 24, 2010

Leg 32, from the old Kulka Farm to the Carrying Place Bridge, 23 April, 2010

Phots are zoomable.

This was the least interesting of all my walks so far. Although I could look across Mill River at the many houses and cottages my dad or I or he and I together built over the last sixty years not much else caught my eye.

The ever present animal trail aligned itself with this companionable backdrop as it meandered along the shore.

I've gone on about firths recently and with good reason. They are as significant a geological feature of the island as the granite itself, evidence of surface water making its timeless way to the sea. Each, too, has seen man's efforts to rein in that inexorable march, to corral the fresh water or keep the salt at bay. Their purpose may be clearer to island historians. In each case, however, the more relentless of the two has prevailed, the water relentlesssly washing away or circumventingefforts to forestall.

A pair of raccoons made their way across the flats, nearly to Boy Scout Point a little earlier, when the tide was way out. Every now and then there's a pause in the tracks, evidence of a little activity, discarded shells.

It was very discouraging to come around the point and see the Carrying Place Bridge from the water. An engineering firm was recently contracted with to make repairs to this granite bridge, one of only seven island bridges each painstakingly crafted from island granite. I'm not sure what strutural repairs were made to make the bridge more sound but a fiber reinforced concrete coating has been sprayed across the entire surface obliteriating all that history and all that effort. It may be that the coating, the industrial equivilant of Brickbond, gives the bridge more strength, will perhaps help it to stand up under ever heavier machinery making its way up Calderwood Neck for residential development but it has certainly not done anything for the aesthetic appeal of this historic monument to Vinalhaven's industrious past. Six bridges left.

Next leg, #33, from the Carrying Place Bridge to Mill Pond.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Leg 31, from Holt Point to the old Kulka farm, April 11, 2010

Blackflies. It seems a little early but there's no mistaking them.

The little peninsula that is home to the Holt place is configured in such a way as to offer the house views in every direction. Straight ahead to North Haven, east to Calderwood Neck, south all the way down Mill River and west to the other side of Seal Cove. It's quite a spot and another that holds particular memories.

When I was in high school, I answered an ad asking for a seasonal handyman out in this area. The gracious but naive summer lady to whom I reported for an interview found me satisfactory, hired me on the spot and ran me through my responsibilities, mowing the lawn, a little painting, bailing out boats, that sort of thing but then she added that I'd be expected to go into town every day for the mail and supplies and I was to use 'the Jeep' on those occasions. That was really exciting since the 46 Willys was a sweet ride in mint condition and particularly since I had no license, not even a permit. As an added bonus she said there was beer in the spare fridge in the entry and I was to help myself whenever I felt the need to refresh myself. She really had no sense that I was as young as I was; had she only not assigned me the task of re-finishing the hull of her prized North Haven Dinghy I'd have been sitting pretty that summer but once I'd gone to work on the hull with a disc sander and a handful of #36 discs my shortlived career was over.

At the entrance to Dyer's Pond, one of the smallest of Vinalhaven's ten or so significant firths, is the remains of an old mill site. Wherever there are rapids, the Basin, Crockett River, Mill pond, Carver's Pond, Old Harbor Pond, Mill Creek and here at Dyers Pond there will almost surely be evidence of an effort having been made to harness the power. Some were more successful than others.

In nearly all these places too the upland was salt marsh and the remains of dams in these areas reflect efforts to either hold the incoming tides at bay to protect the grassland for pasture perhaps or to retain the fresh water that inevitably feeds each of these inland waterways.

Next leg, this weekend, from the Kulka farm to Carrying Place Bridge, then on to Calderwood Neck.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Leg 30, April 3, from Stepping Stone Brook to and around Holt Point.

Stepping Stone Brook meanders through a long salt march before finally reaching the estuary this side of the Mill Creek Bridge. It's worn a deep gully in the clay. Halfway to the bridge is the remains, like those in similar areas on the island, of a makeshift dam, an effort to hold water back or maybe to keep the coming tide at bay. This is a large area to dam off, much larger than those found elsewhere, and it appears to have been abandoned before it was completed. It now serves as a cafeteria of sorts for racoons and birds feeding on shellfish they've dismembered on the rocks.

Vinalhaven is the same size as Manhattan and each island has seven bridges. Here's one of ours.
It's not as busy as the Brooklyn Bridge but both were constructed using Vinalhaven granite.

Allthough its been my practice to only photograph what I could see from the shore, I knew this area to be home to a great symbiotic relationship and so I walked up the road a way to photograph it.

Dr. Marion Loizeaux was a physician in the Second World War. For decades she kept a little camp next to the Mill Creek Bridge and spent as much of each summer there as she could. That the little cottage had no conveniences and was served by an outhouse didn't trouble this formidable lady a bit, even as she advanced into old age. For years Dr. Loizeaux was an instituion on Vinalhaven. She never ceased to express her gratitude for the island and for her little place on it. Now that I've lingered there I can certainly understand. It's a pristine oasis of natural beauty; even the bridge and the little camp seem to have been there since creation and the prospect of falling asleep, to the ambient sounds of the water flowing in and out of the Creek, was very appealing. Although I've photographed every structure or utility building visible from my walk, I have made it a point not to publish the photos on this blog, fearing, perhaps, an invasion of privacy. This is an exception. I know Wazzy wouldn't mind.


The ubiquitious animal trail I've written about in earlier blogs wound its way through a colorful carpet of moss just next to the creek. The critters seem to select the best routes.

When I was a kid one of the eight girls in my class lived out here on Holt's Point at the Mills Farm. I came out once or twice to play as a youngster but those oppportunities faded as I got older and became more of a handful and a nemisis of sorts to her father, who served on the school board. Betty was the smartest kid in our class of 16 as I recall. The farm was very well kept, still is, and is home to several carefully constructed and lovingly maintained stone walls. Again I ventured up from the shore to showcase on of them.

Elaine bought me a pair of nice L L Bean walking shoes. I promised to take good care of them.

Looking ahead to the next leg, from Holt Point to somewhere around the former Kulka place, opposite a little spot identified on the map as Mt. Ephraim Island. I'm looking forward to seeing what that can possibly be.