The wind was whipping out of the NW as we crossed over from one island, Deer Isle, to our destination island. We were making the cruise on The Mail Boat out of Stonington and on our way to the town dock on Isle Au Haut.
Isle Au Haut is actually part of Knox County but one would logically think, as you look at driving distances, that it should be part of Hancock County. But as the crow flies or rather seagull flies, on a straight line from Rockland thru Vinalhaven ,it makes a little more sense, I guess…
We were soon saying goodbye to the shelter of Stonington harbor, with a boat loaded down with campers and their gear, members of The Island Institute and day trippers such as my party of four. And as we moved out of the lee of Crotch Island and it’s granite quarry,
the spray from the first wave came over the side of the boat where I was once sitting. Falling back on my vast experience of getting soaked by big waves, I had anticipated such an event and just moments before moved forward to the shelter of the wheelhouse. Excusing my lack of chivalry by explaining that I had yet to pay for my ticket, I left the nice young woman from the Institute sitting next to me to bare the cold water .
It was going to be a long 45 minute ride for the old timers sitting on the stern bench but this old tima’ was going to stick to the wheelhouse..
However once we finally crossed over, and entered the thoroughfare between Isle Au Haut and Kimball Island , the cold Atlantic wind was blocked out and
the huddled masses soon enjoyed the effect of the mild September sun. And with the town dock behind us, we would soon be on our trek.
According to the 2000 census the island has a permanent population of around 79 or so but probably more now, by maybe another 50 with the post office reflecting the burden of that population.
We then walked down the main drag which would lead us to the ranger station (most of the island is part of Acadia National Park) for some hoped for information. Of course there was no one around but we did gather some intel and were off again toward Duck Harbor using the Duck Harbor Trail.
But first..unbeknownst to me, Isle Au Haut is apparently the home of a world famous chocolate shoppe, and web cafe, The Black Dinah. I of course had absolutely no knowledge of it’s existence, since my experience with chocolate begins and ends with Hershey bars. But no matter as my fellow hikers were well aware of it and in no time we had arrived.
After our chocolate break, we found Duck Harbor Trail.
The trail follows the island’s coastline but a lot of it is in the island’s woodlands with occasional portions actually traversing some of the island’s “beaches”.
Once at Duck Harbor it wasn’t too long before our ride back showed up at the landing
and we were soon pounding past the Isle Au Haut Lighthouse on Robinson’s Point , marking the entrance to the thoroughfare.
Once securely tied up to the town landing again we took on more passengers and managed a celebrity sighting…
(Linda Greenlaw coming to the floats in a tender.)
Again into the breech, but the wind was not quite as bad as the earlier crossing, with Stonington fast approaching.
After a quick bowl of clam chowda’ to warm up, we bid Stonington adieu.
But we will return to the Island On High next year, for sure.
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