~Sunday, September 5, 2021~
What a difference in weather today. High clouds and fog. We’re still having trouble with our water tank in terms of the city water filling up our freshwater tank, without our intent. We’re simply just trying to connect to the water, not fill our tank. Personally, I think it’s a valve issue, but what do I know. So in the meantime, we just turn the city water off, and use up what’s in our fresh tank until we’ve remedied the problem.
Instead of tackling our water issue, we thought it a perfect day for a hike with Sadie. But first, a stop at Maine Sports Outfitters in Rockport.
We had stopped yesterday in their boutique sized store in downtown Camden. But this is the “mother ship” and it truly is amazing, especially if you’re outdoor enthusiasts like us. Kind of like REI, but not corporate feeling. There were 4 levels of this amazing place. At first I was on a mission to find the perfect sized flannel shirt I had spotted at their other store, yesterday. But they didn’t have my size. No problem….we managed to find a few other goodies. Jeff got a Kuhl (brand name) flannel shirt, and I got a cute casual floral print skirt and black pants for the winter. I’d say we scored, even if I didn’t find my Patagonia shirt.☹️
Our plan was to do the Belfast Rail Trail, then head over to the trailhead for the Belfast Harbor Walk. Instead, we simply combined the two trails into one long walk. The 2.3 long, packed gravel Belfast Rail Trail
runs along the Passagassawaukeag River (pronounced pas-uh-gas-uh-WAH-keg). Our timing was such that it was low tide (which seems to be the norm for us while in Maine so far). We would have brought our bikes, but we really wanted Sadie to join us today. The trail is fairly young, opening in 2016 and follows the old southern section of railbed set by the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad back in the 19th century. About a ½ a mile in, we came to a 92-acre Head of Tide Preserve marking the end of the river’s tidal zone, which I said before, was low. Though we did see a few winged creatures, there were no eagles or ospreys to be seen today. They say you can occasionally see seals in the area. But we did see a potato processing plant after we crossed under Highway 1 (kind of an unexpected site along such a beautiful trail).
As we continued walking we realized we were already coming to the Harbor Walk section (another 2-mile stroll). It begins and ends at the east end of the Armistice Footbridge across the Passagassawakeag River where it then flows into the Penobscot Bay. Along the way, one of the standouts was the Front Street Shipyard. It was amazing to see a yard full of sea vessels on DRY LAND, all waiting their turn to be worked on. They cater to the needs of every vessel type ranging from small recreational boats to commercial vessels and superyachts. They also build from scratch. It was quite impressive to see the super 440-ton capacity lift with a super-yacht on it.
I believe this was the largest lift, but there were quite a few others, a bit smaller in size. You can also check them out on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/frontstreetshipyard/ to see what current boats they’re working on.
It’s also really cool along the trail, there were a few great eateries (at least it smelled that way), but we also stumbled on the Marshall Wharf Brewing Company, which we ended up going back to after we finished the trail. Jeff had a flight of IPA’s and I had a Hefeweizen. The views of the harbor were awesome, but even better than that were the people we met. We have had the best encounters with people at breweries. Maybe it’s the Sadie factor since she does seem to attract any dog lover. One guy in particular, a young world traveler, asked if he could pet Sadie. He was visiting family in Maine and really missed his chocolate lab. He just got done with a trip to Germany, so we really enjoyed exchanging some of our trip experiences. Then an older woman who was with her family, came over to ask if she could pet Sadie. She was not born in Maine, so I guess you can’t officially call her a Mainer. But she has lived here 30 years, married to her husband of 47 years, whom we finally met when he made his way over to our table to get her back to their family conversation. Evidently, her husband has Parkinson’s so she doesn’t get to socialize too much. She found the right table. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her. Through the people we meet, we’re also learning about all the nuances of what makes Maine, Maine. Its people, climate, and unique vibe. Of course when you live near the coast, it’s all about the sea. Many of the people we’re meeting are not mariners, but simple sea-farers like us…. paddle boarders and kayakers. Because you’re so close to the ocean, you don’t get the snow and the cold that inland gets. The scenery is stunning, even on a cloudy day, with its variety of evergreen trees and maples. It is known as the pine tree state after all. Here are a few fun facts we’ve learned:
🦞Maine is known for their lobster and harvests about 40 million pounds annually.
⚓️3, 478 miles of Coastline
⚓️3,166 offshore islands
⚓️Maine’s highest mountain….Mt. Katahdin at 5,268 feet
⚓️Summer high average is 70 degrees
⚓️Winter low average is 20 degrees
⚓️Maine is a top producer of potatoes and broccoli
⚓️Maine produces 90% of the country’s toothpick supply (must be all those pine trees)
⚓️It’s nickname is Vacationland or Vacation State
⚓️Maine has no professional sports teams
Though we hoped to get to downtown Belfast, it was getting too late, and we still had the 3 miles back to walk to our car. It was actually beautiful walking the trail at sunset. I don’t think we ran into a single person on the way back (no one is crazy like us). At least we made it back to the car before dark.