After completing the Wonderland Trail in about 40 minutes, we drove the ½ mile to the Ship Harbor Nature Trail for a slightly longer walk of about 1.3 miles. A quick look at the kiosk, showed a figure-eight trail configuration traversing a variety of environmental habitats. Not far from this starting point, I noticed the maples still in the early blooming stage. Although the blossoms were beautiful and would generally give a winter weary populace hope that warmer weather was not far behind, one would have expected to find full leaves on this last day of April.
Our walk began on a gravel walkway along an open field. Though not a particularly warm day, the sun was very bright so there was a little too much glare to really study our surrounding. It wasn’t long before we entered the woods, consisting mostly of Spruce trees and other conifers. As we entered the woods, there was a large display board painted with a forest scene that pointed out what the explorer should look for in this new area. Once our eyes adjusted to the shade, we were able to make some discoveries; notably the number of trees dressed with Old Man’s Beard lichen. A little further on, I stopped to contemplate the artistic efforts of nature in the twisted remains of an old tree.
Emerging from the forest, we continued our journey towards the sea; the trail changing from gravel to boardwalk along the way. Now we had continuous views of the water in front of us. It wasn’t long before we were once again on the rocky shore. Here was another display board, depicting the various species to be found in the tidal pools. We spent some time on the beach, taking in the serenity of the scene before continuing on our way to the top of the pink granite boulders.
Away from the beach, the trail continued following the water towards an inlet. Since we were now above the water, we were able to study the tidal motion of the inlet. There were enough places where even I could tell that the tide was heading out to sea. In fact, as we wandered closer to the cove, our noses informed us that it was definitely low tide. Sure enough, a break through the trees showed us a large expanse of mudflats below. A set of stairs led down to the pebbly shore. We descended and watched the gulls for a time before continuing our journey.
We completed the Ship Harbor Nature trail in about an hour. Of the two trails we had traversed that morning, I believe I preferred the Ship Harbor trail because of the diversity of habitats. With two hikes completed, it was time to head to Bar Harbor for lunch with a friend. But first, we had to stop at the fabric shop along the way.