Sand Beach is one of the most popular destinations in Acadia National Park. While Maine has a long coastline, most of it is rocky. In late October, the area is populated by a few dozen people (in summer, when the water temperature is no warmer than 55°F/13°C, huge crowds come to swim). The outlet for Beehive Lagoon cuts through the beach next to Great Head. Otter Cliffs and Baker Island can be seen on the horizon. Click on the image for a larger view.
The summit of Great Head in Acadia National Park is a testament of the resilience and diversity of life. Spruce/fir forests dominate the harsh coastal environment. Plants take any opportunity in every small patch of soil between the granite slabs. Late fall stratifies these colonists into a diverse palette of color. Click on the image for a larger view.
The oaks seem to be the last of the hardwoods to lose their leaves. Away from the coast, Acadia National Park has beautiful groves of oak trees. The rich, golden-brown canopy may not compete with aspen and maple for dazzling color, but now, without that competition, oak dominates the landscape. Click on the image for a larger view.
The view of the fading day from Little Hunters Beach. Acadia National Park is often described as a timeless, unchanging landscape. Perhaps on a human scale, but the land is changing. Every rainfall, every tide takes a little away. The winter ice splits rock. And the colonizing biology leaves its mark. Click on the image for a larger view.
Little Hunters Beach is just down the coast from Otter Cliffs. It is a geologic junkyard. This detritus shows the metamorphosis of our planet through time. The colors mark events and transitions. Click on the image for a larger view.
Bladder wrack, Fucus vesiculosis, colonizing the faults in the rock of Otter Cliffs. Also known as rockweed, this seaweed carves out its life in the high intertidal zone. Click on the image for a larger view.
I am a sucker for color. This time of year, I simply get drunk on the stuff. There is a quiet section of road in Acadia National Park that has a stand of young quaking aspen. It is a delightful place at any time of the year, but, in the fall, it is magic. Click on the image for a larger view.