Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Road Trip/Sketchbook Journal: DownEast (Part 6)

The climax of the trip was a required pilgrimage to the artsy-fartsy mecca of Maine: the Bass Harbor Head Light House is one of the iconic images of the region, and I dutifully assumed the position, faithful sketchbook in hand (also trying not to slip and fall on the rocks).

Here in one spot was ultimate culmination of elements and visual stereotypes brought to vivid life: sketching amidst the seagulls (okay, I made those up in the sketch, and yes, sometimes I can't draw a straight line), dinging buoys, sailboats, lighthouses, crashing waves and milling herds of likeminded tourists. Conscious of the long tradition of artists literally drawn to this flame of antiquity, it was something ya just gotta do, like taking the requisite picture of Denali while in Alaska. Speaking of mountains, we also bagged the peak drove up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard. During the fall and spring it's the very first place the sunrise hits the US, which is a nice change from living in the last damn place on earth it hits in Fairbanks. Couldn't see Russia from there, but you can catch sight a hundred miles away of both Nova Scotia and Mount Katahdin, highest point in Maine and the northern terminus of the AT. The Insolent Alaskan bust out laughing at reading the 1,532-foot elevation marker: even if it's all just a matter of perspective, one really mustn't make fun of how small other people's mountains are in polite company.

Lastly was a side-trip to visit Petit Manan Point National Wildlife Refuge, one of five such sanctuaries occupying over 250 miles of Maine shoreline. A real sweet-spot was the hike over the Hollingsworth Trail, where I was able to sketch a good example of both a "cobble beach" - smoothly rounded granite stones - shot through by "magma dykes" - basalt upthrusts in the surrounding granite - a geologic feature of volcanic activity. And no, I didn't make up the lighthouse. And while out exploring the tidal pools I learned that it is physically impossible to stay upright when attempting to walk on seaweed. Don't even try.

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