Bar Harbor and the Porcupines

Bar Harbor, Maine

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With the Porcupines—Long, Burnt, Bald, and Sheep—sit just to the east of Bar Harbor and feature impressive and many-hued geological formations with fascinating shapes and textures that speak of glacial activity long ago. You’ll definitely want to bring plenty of film for your camera: Every angle offers fresh views of these island shores, and a glance to the west places the historical rusticator mansions against a backdrop of the mountains. Numerous seabirds and shorebirds frequent this area, and harbor porpoises are common sights. Everywhere you look you can see signs of glacial activity and lessons in geology. You’ll spot erratics that dot the shore; fascinating layers of rock called the Bar Harbor formation, with streaks of white, reddish, and darker-hued rock; sea caves and jagged overhangs, where glaciers tore chunks from the bedrock; and an incredible variety of beach shapes and materials, from “popplestones” (local term for cobblestones, or rocks rounded smooth by wave action) to layered sand. Even the sloping shape of the islands as they rise from their southern to northern ends is a record of glacial movement and pressures. These are commonly called whalebacks and are noticeable throughout the area.
Guide to Sea Kayaking in Maine

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Guide to Sea Kayaking in Maine

by Shelley Johnson & Vaughan Smith (The Globe Pequot Press)

With the Porcupines—Long, Burnt, Bald, and Sheep—sit just to the east of Bar Harbor and feature impressive and many-hued geological formations with fascinating shapes and textures that speak of glacial activity long ago. You’ll definitely want to bring plenty of film for your camera: Every angle offers fresh views of these island shores, and a glance to the west places the historical rusticator mansions against a backdrop of the mountains. Numerous seabirds and shorebirds frequent this area, and harbor porpoises are common sights. Everywhere you look you can see signs of glacial activity and lessons in geology.

You’ll spot erratics that dot the shore; fascinating layers of rock called the Bar Harbor formation, with streaks of white, reddish, and darker-hued rock; sea caves and jagged overhangs, where glaciers tore chunks from the bedrock; and an incredible variety of beach shapes and materials, from “popplestones” (local term for cobblestones, or rocks rounded smooth by wave action) to layered sand. Even the sloping shape of the islands as they rise from their southern to northern ends is a record of glacial movement and pressures. These are commonly called whalebacks and are noticeable throughout the area.

©  Shelley Johnson & Vaughan Smith/The Globe Pequot Press. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Bar Harbor
Distance: 13
Duration: Day trip
Season: Best in summer months
Local Maps: NOAA Chart 13316 Frenchman Bay and Mount Desert Island
Driving Directions: Directions to Bar Harbor and the Porcupines

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Apr 2018