Even though we’d won the first leg of our Amazing Race adventure, we were disappointed with the start time we received for today’s journey. We couldn’t leave home until 10:24 a.m. But, despite that, we’d read the clue carefully, checked the maps and navigated to the starting point:
The world-famous cribstone bridge that connects Bailey Island and Orr’s Island in Harpswell, Maine. Though it may look rickety, it’s stood since 1927 and as far as we knew had only been repaired once–in 2010. The stacked granite blocks are held together only by gravity and allow the tide to flow freely. The bridge was placed on the the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Would we make it across?
We did. And continued on to Land’s End, where our next clue awaited by the Maine Fishermen’s memorial. It was also a memorial to my mother, for the only other time we’d been to this place was either before we were married or shortly after and Mom was with us–enjoying most the Land’s End Gift Shop. Today–it was closed for the season. It was also a memorial to Dad for he would have told us to fill the innermost recesses of our lungs with salt air. And so we did.
Out to the rugged coast of Maine we headed. Just a few days ago, a Nor’easter had made its presence known in these parts and still today the surf spoke to its force.
Our task–to be mesmerized.
And to record it in a variety of renditions.
And so we did both.
Numerous ohs and ahs escaped our lips.
And we hadn’t even ventured far.
Finally, we arrived at Thunder Hole and though the wave action wasn’t all that spectacular, we did hear the thunder. Our job–to note which side sounded louder. We chose the left and received our next clue.
One of us had to get as close to the surf as possible. And so he did.
Together, we needed to appreciate the power.
And so we stood.
As water exploded.
And then we received our next clue–to move on to the next spot.
The Giant’s Stairs.
The blocky formation earned it the whimsical name of the Giant’s Staircase many years ago. We were reminded of the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland and prior to arriving wondered if it might look the same. It didn’t, but every giant leaves his own mark on the world. Fortunately, we didn’t need to climb down for today’s challenge–just to acknowledge it. Which we did with pleasure. It seemed only the waves were allowed to ascend and immediately descend–so quick was their exit.
Having accomplished that leg of the race, we next needed to spy five rainbows. One.
Task done. And then my guy had to tell me when to take a shot for dramatic effect.
He nailed it.
We were feeling good about our position when our next clue told us to eat locally so we grabbed sandwiches at “BIGS,” aka Bailey Island General Store and Eatery. And then we headed to our next destination located on Orr’s Island–Devil’s Back. The name was curious to us, but the trail system is located on either side of Route 24, which apparently is known locally as Devil’s Back. It does form an obvious spine between the two sides of the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust property.
Winds had wreaked havoc mainly on the Gun Point Cove side where we walked all of the trails first.
And then we slipped across the spine or Devil’s Back to the Long Cove side. Curiously, the land trust describes the forest here as being mixed, but mostly I noted evergreens including cedars like these, spruce, fir, and pine, with a few maples and paper birch in the mix. I suppose it’s all in the eye of the beholder.
As we were cruising along, we did get U-turned. It happens on the Amazing Race and was to be expected because we had been in the lead for so long.
And so we had to recall the folds of the rock along Casco Bay. By looking at the angle, our eyes began to see the metamorphic rock turned on its side due to intense pressure in its long-term history and understood that over time various pressures and results of heating and cooling events caused the variation in color and mineral size of the bands. We could also see the arc the folds created that had since eroded.
An easy one for us (well, me anyway) was to identify the fern that grew on the rocks along the Long Cove side of Devil’s Back–Common Polypody it was.
And then there was the geologic formation–an igneous dike (lighter color) that cut across the metamorphic rock created we believed by the pinching and swelling from compression and shearing to the Northeast that formed sausage-shaped boudins.
And we had to name that lichen–sunburst with deep orange disks of its fruiting body or apothecia. Again, we were feeling kinda confident, but one never knows in a race such as this.
Our final U-turn challenge was to locate a stone wall–and we did. Island style is so much different from inland style.
We thought we were done, but discovered we still had a couple of more challenges to complete. The first was to locate two whimsical sites–in keeping with the Giant’s Stairs. And so we found a fairy house.
And an octopus.
Our last challenge before we headed to the mat–to locate two American flags blowing in the breeze at Cundy’s Harbor. Bingo. One.
At last we arrived at the mat and much to our surprise–got a wee bit sprayed! But that didn’t matter for we’d beat our imaginary contestants and once again finished first. Our prize from the Gnome and Travelocity–a leftover homemade pizza dinner. That meant we didn’t have to prepare a meal when we arrived home on this Mondate. Yippee.
The Amazing Race–Our Style: episode 2. Check back in with us in April to see what challenges we’ll face next.