Reversing Water Falls

Mahar's Point

Pembroke, ME

September 18th, 1999


Wandering Map namethe back roads of Maine is an nature lover's paradise. Nature abounds with all its rugged landscapes, large, strong and attractive. Everywhere we turned we were confronted with Maine's stark, pristine beauty. On the coastline we found the most profound changes. The ocean and its tremendous tides cause strange and unusual natural wonders. The reversing salt water falls at Mahar's Point in West Pembroke was one that we discovered. This half-mile long set of falls in undoubtedly one of the least known but most fantastic natural phenomena in the country. Through a 300-yard gap passes most of the tidal flow which alternately fills and drains both Whiting and Dennys Bays. image-05The salt water flows at a 25-knot speed into the bays over jutting rocks which cause the "falls" effect. As the tidal current slows, the roar of the water gradually diminishes until at slack tide the channel is like a mirror and the sound of birds and the image-03wind in the trees can be heard again. Gradually, the direction of the water changes and the seaweed is swept in the opposite direction, ripples appear around the jutting rocks and within ten minutes the six-hour long roar has begun again. Lying along the rocky shoreline are hundreds of fossiliferous rocks bearing imprints of ancient shell forms. The Washington County Development Authority and the town of Pembroke, image-02have build a two-mile long road and picnicking area into the Falls. We sat on the banks and wandered the shores as the tide came in and then went out again as Seals played on and around the rocks in the falls. I worked my way partway through the thick woods and partway down the rocky shoreline to get to a distant ship wreck at the very image-04end of one of the inlets. I sat, all alone, with the sound of nature resounding all around me. Chipmunks scampered and birds flew. An eagle soared overhead, while a caterpillar quietly consumed its lunch beside me. The loneliness of the shipwreck, bleak and abandoned, seemed to personify this part of Main's rejection of the human invasion. Although civilization was no more then a half hours hard walk back, it was like I had left the influence of mankind for a moment. I sat quietly on a large stump and watched and listened. This world was in harmony with itself.

NOTE for RV'ers: while the road was passable I wouldn't recommend it for rigs as the last part was a narrow gravel road.

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