“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” Ansel Adams
In an earlier blog, Puffin & Puffin, I had mentioned how Cobscook Bay deserved its own review. Well, here it is…
It can be quite hard to find the right words at times to describe truly what your heart and mind want to say. You might feel like the words just don’t justify exactly how you feel. I have that problem when I talk about Cobscook Bay State Park. Located along the northeastern coast of Maine (also known as Down East Maine), Cobscook bay sits on the Bay of Fundy and the St.Croix River. Yup, you would be right on the Canadian border.
As a (very) frequent guest over the past twenty years to Cobscook and vicinity, I am a self-proclaimed expert on the area. Well, I would like to think I am. Yes, there are mosquitos, but if you love coniferous forests, the fresh ocean air, and plenty of wildlife, you won’t go wrong. From my campsite, I have seen porpoise, seals, and yes….. lots and lots of birds.
There are plenty of campsites for both tents and RVs, but they do fill up. However, there are a few non-reservable sites as well. Even with all the occupied sites, it is still very quiet. There is also plenty of space between the campsites that provide ample privacy.
There are showers available too, and I have never had to wait to use one. The staff at Cobscook clean them everyday around 2 pm. There are plenty of fresh water spigots throughout the park, but please don’t do your dishes by them. The pit toilets, well, there pit toilets. If you have read my previous post Water Water Everywhere But, then you are aware of the dangers of what lives in them. Well, I have never been attacked by any of those monsters.
I usually spend a week in the summer, and after so many years of camping there I have a pretty well honed itinerary. My schedule consists of two to three hikes, a visit to Eastport for lobster and steamers, and relaxing at the campsite (or what I like to call; Watching the tide go in and the tide go out), while listening to the hermit thrushes song echo through the woods. The Bay of Fundy, in case you didn’t know, have the highest tides in the world. If you are so inclined, at low tide, at Cobscook Bay State Park, you can go clamming, in the mud, with all the creepy crawly things slithering around your feet.
Fire and Ice
Two staples for my camping experience are firewood and ice. Firewood can be purchased right at the check-in at Cobscook. Since a lot of the wood can be damp around the campsite from morning fog or rain, it is a good idea to purchase a bundle from the park rangers. More importantly, leave the would around your campsite where it is. Those dead logs and branches are vital to ecosystem. They provide shelter for an abundance of amphibians, and supply the surrounding vegetation with much needed nutrients. It also provides seating for the red squirrels and chipmunks who are entertained by watching the large bi-pedaled mammals.
As for the other staple, it’s ice. I will usually make a daily pit stop at the Whiting Store. If you are heading north on route one to Cobscook, you will pass the Whiting Store. Not only can you purchase ice, but they also have a nice beer selection (if that’s your thing). They also provide various supplies from propane, gas, bug repellent, to a wide assortment of snacks. To add to the plethora of merchandise, they have a deli and make yummy pizza. On the NotSoNomad Scale of Libation from One to Ten, they score a 250!
One of the attractions Maine has to offer are the majestic granite cliffs along the ocean. Quoddy Head State Park, in Lubec, offers the visitor such an opportunity with a scenic hike along the coast. It also provides the opportunity to stand on the most eastern point in the United States.
To get there from Cobscook Bay State Park, head back towards the Whiting Store and take a left towards Lubec. After about twelve miles, take right after Monica’s Chocolate. Yes, stop in and by some chocolate. They are wonderful people, and so is their chocolate.
From the parking lot at Quoddy Head you will be near the Quoddy lighthouse and the trailhead for The coastal trail. The trail is a four mile round trip hike, and traverses the cliffs to Green Point, where you can erect a cairn to accompany all the other ones there.
There is a little path that can be accessed near the coastal trail. This is the bog trail. A one mile interpretive loop where you can see an abundance of carnivorous plants. Yup, you heard right, plants that eat bugs!
Before heading into Eastport (north of the campgrounds), I like to make two stops just after the turn on to route 190 to Eastport. The first is at the 45th Parallel, which marks the halfway point between the equator and the north pole.
The second is the Saint Croix Island International Historic Site. Located just under ten miles after the 45th parallel, this historical site tells the tragic story of a group French settlers in the winter of 1604 to 1605. It is a short interpretive trail where the story of Pierre Dugua’s expedition is told through dioramas and bronze statues. The historic site won’t give you access to St.Croix Island where the tragedy took place, but you have plenty of views from the interpretive trail.
Now I am sure there are plenty of fine dining experiences in Eastport, but for the past twenty years, I have only gone to one, Quoddy Bay Lobster. I get to sit out side, enjoy my steamers and lobster, and have a nice view of Canada. If you are lucky, like I was, you might spot Minke whales, bald eagles, gray seals, and porpoise.
Boot Head Cove
The Quoddy Head hike attracts a lot of tourists. So if yo are looking for a hike with more solitude, Boot Head Cove is for you. The two mile loop starts off winding through a forest of hemlocks and firs. With the mist and fog that comes off the ocean, the trees are decorated with moss and lichen. After a bit of a walk through the woods, you end up on “part two” of the hike, which is along the cliffs looking out over the Bay of Fundy. Traversing the cliffs, the trail heads down to Boot Head Cove. At this point, I recommend kicking the shoes off and dipping your feet into the icy cold crystal clear waters. Don’t worry, you only scream a little bit while your feet acclimate to the temperature of the water. You won’t scare the seals off either.
The 7.5 hour drive from Boston is well worth it. Especially if you are into wildlife viewing, and the ocean. Cobscook Bay just happens to be the breeding ground for several species of warblers. Since you made it to the end of this blog, here is the secret. In order to get one of the really nice camping sites you need to reserve your campsite as soon as the Maine State Parks reservation page is available to reserve sites the beginning of February. Look for the bayside camp sites on Cobscook Point.
Cobscook Bay State Park breaks the NotSoNomad Scale of Libation from One to Ten…. In case you were wondering.