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Quoddy Head, Part 1

>> Tuesday, July 27, 2010

At the moment my favorite State Park pretty much anywhere is Quoddy Head State Park.  Located at the easternmost point of the US, it sports a lovely lighthouse.

But far better than the lighthouse, it's got miles and miles of trails through some of the most pristine, enchanting, magical forest and coastline I have ever had the privilege of exploring.  Quoddy Head is located on a rocky point of land that is very often shrouded in mist (hence the lighthouse).  All that mist and the rocky soils have created deep, dark, damp, craggy, green woods, coated in moss and dripping with lichen.  The rocky shoreline is glorious on a sunshiny afternoon, and the tide pools teem with mysterious life.  No matter how hard I try, I know I won't be able to do proper justice to the Quoddy Head State Park, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

The first place you arrive is the lighthouse, and from there trails lead into the woods and along the coastline.  For this first post I'll focus on the coast, and then in subsequent posts I'll move inland into those mysterious green woods.

The photos largely speak for themselves.  Forgive me for any repetitive shots, but there are so many good photo opportunities along the shore at Quoddy Head that I can't seem to weed many out.  Suffice it to say it was a supremely hot and sticky afternoon inland, and the cool fresh air at Quoddy Head felt good down to my toes.  The sun was shining, with just enough clouds to make the sky interesting.  The blues and greens were so intense it almost hurt, and the rhythmic crash of waves was hypnotizing.  I just couldn't stop taking pictures.

We spent a long time just sitting still on the rocks in the sun and watching the waves crash.  We sat there long enough to give me some lovely tan lines from my Merrell sandals.

The trail slowly meanders along the cost, weaving into and out of the woods.  At each point where it comes back to the coast the scene has changed a little, and each spot seemed more breathtaking than the last.

The woods right along the coast contain a lot of dead trees that bleach white after they die.  Whole stands of dead white tree trunks were rather haunting, and the stumps looked like abstract art.


Then, after a long stretch through the trees, we came to an open rocky point that people had constructed dozens and dozens of stone cairns on.

I love cairns anyway, and all of them sitting there looked somehow ancient and symbolic and important, even though I'm sure that point of land sees enough rough weather that they won't stand there for long.

I am not in any way, shape or form a religious person.  When people ask, I generally say that I'm a recovering Catholic who is now agnostic on a good day.  But do you know what I mean when I say there are just some places that feel sacred?  That's the way Quoddy Head is for me.  I feel as though I'm afraid to breathe or touch anything, for fear I will shatter the fragile illusion of such spectacular shimmering beauty. There aren't many places in the world that are that way for me, but a few.  Oxford was the other significant place in my life that felt so magically surreal.

Although the drive is long and we have already explored many areas around Cobscook Bay, I think the Quoddy Head will keep me coming back to the area.  At least I hope I will have the chance to go back many more times in my life.


Woodswalker July 27, 2010 at 6:56 PM  

Your vacation pictures are spectacular! The tourist bureau should pay you big bucks for them, they show off the land and seascape so beautifully. I can smell the salt air and hear the roar and crash of the waves just looking at these shots. Have a great vacation!

swamp4me August 19, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

Awesome!! We were just there a couple of weeks ago. I have a set of pictures that look quite similar to yours (except yours are MUCH better!). Quoddy is great. I love being able to walk along and smell the ocean and the scent of balsam at the same time ;)

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