Hiking on Isle au Haut
|For 16 years my dear friend from school who summers in Castine has been inviting me to go hiking with her on Isle au Haut. And for 15 years somehow I always had "work" to do: running the Inn, running the restaurant, running the ice cream business, bushhogging on our farm. This year I realized if I didn't make the time to go that I probably never would. Better late than never, right? Here are just a few photos of my incredibly fabulous day on Isle au Haut. (My friend, Betsy, appears in several of the photos as she was my guide.)
When you arrive at Duck Harbor you are greeted by a ranger. There is a "pottie", read outhouse, and that's it. Oh yes, there is a well to pump for drinking water but it is also at the head of the trail. Once you venture off there are NO facilities at all. Zero.
One very important thing to keep in mind when hiking this wilderness is that the Park Rangers have labelled the trails: easy, moderate & difficult.
When they say "Easy Trail" they mean this:
"Moderate" means this:
We never ventured onto a "Difficult" trail... but I have been told it means climbing hand over hand up vertical rocks. (But we did that on a "Moderate Trail" didn't we???)
Here are the rewards:
On a scale of 1 to 10, my day hiking Isle au Haut was a 12! But after giving "advice" to hikers for the past 15 years based on what others have told me - I wouldn't change a single word of my advice. Which is "hike the fabulous preserves on Deer Isle first". You can hike for a few hours then go have a great lunch and then go to a 2nd preserve after lunch. If the weather turns, you're not far from your car. On Isle au Haut there are no services what so ever after you leave the trail head. You must bring with you in a back pack: bug spray - really good, proven bug spray, toilet paper, lots and lots of water, a picnic, a hat, a watch, good walking shoes, your camera, sunglasses, a rain poncho, perhaps a mileage gauge (Betsy had one and it was very handy), the ability to read a map and not over estimate the pace of the slowest member in your group!
You can also just take a boat ride out to Isle au Haut and back for half price! It's one of the best deals on Deer Isle.