National Geographic : 1968 Jun
capsizes in the surf. We had to content our selves with the sight of storm-hurried puffins careering toward the light and the knowledge that we would not have to risk meeting the ghost of Matinicus Rock, alleged to be the specter of a lighthouse keeper who committed suicide here by hanging many years ago. His appearance is believed to presage all sorts of trouble in the operation of the light. There's a generous supply of such grisly folklore. My favorite example is this: A grave in Bucksport holds all that's mor tal of Col. Jonathan Buck, who founded the town a couple of hundred years ago. He also served as the local judge and once sentenced a man to be hanged on the evidence of a female body that turned up minus one leg. The poor man roundly cursed Judge Buck and faced the hangman still shouting his innocence. When the judge died in his own turn, a tall granite marker was placed above his grave. To the consternation of the towns people, a dark stain in the shape of a woman's leg promptly appeared on it. I can't vouch for the story, but there's no question about the stain. It's still there, and the monument stands right beside the road where Route 1 goes through Bucksport. You can see the stain without even getting out of your car. Acadia in Winter Offers Fresh Charms But let's get back to our islands. There's no contest, of course, as to which one enjoys the greatest popularity. Most visitors, naturally, come to Mount Desert Island for a tour of Acadia National Park. They come in sum mer, when it's many degrees cooler than New York or Boston, and crowd so densely around Anemone Cave that you can barely squeeze your way to the tide pools where the flower like creatures live. Bar Harbor's streets are jammed, and so is the road that coils to the top of Cadillac Mountain, a 1,530-foot grand stand from which you can see a dazzling 360 degree panorama of sparkling water and glacier-carved rock (pages 798-9). But people are beginning to realize that Acadia has another face-one that an in creasing number of them prefer. The park's ranger staff keeps Ocean Drive open now throughout the year. Photographer Stewart and I threaded it one snowy afternoon with Chief Park Naturalist Paul Favour, Jr. Driv ing snow all but obscured the surf pounding in from the open Atlantic as we watched a bald eagle wing its stately way across Otter Cove. Then, next morning, in bright winter 832 sunlight, we joined a party of Bar Harbor residents on snowmobiles and clawed our way over a foot of untrodden snow to the top of Cadillac Mountain (pages 838-9). The town of Bar Harbor, too, puts on a different face in winter. The lavish "cottages" of the wealthy stand shuttered and empty. The crowds and the bustle, the music festi vals and the antique auto parades are seem ingly forgotten. Darkness comes early and snow mantles half-deserted streets. Only a couple of restaurants remain open, catering largely to year-round residents. Prices are down, and the local people have time to linger and chat with you over a mug of coffee. The talk is apt to turn to serious things- to the great fire of 1947 or to the mice at the Jackson Laboratory. In Bar Harbor, conver sation rarely touches on one without having the other one come up.