The Fort Williams Cache

43.620983 -70.21405

Several months ago Gert and I were planning to visit Maine. We found out Gert was pregnant and aborted the trip. But we had another trip planned too and despite the pregnancy, we made arrangements to stay in Portland for several days. While chatting with brdad, he mentioned that this cache would be worth my time.

My SIL, BIL, his girlfriend, and I drove out to the Head Light yesterday. What views! We ran into some folks that my SIL knew and got distracted. B4 we knew it, we had left the park and not looked for the cache. The way events were stacking up, it didn’t look good to get any caching in on this trip. 🙁

Ah, but Portland is more east than NJ. The sun rose at 4:45 AM and Gert is good about waking me when she hits the head throughout the night. Wide awake, I decided to take off for a couple quick ones b4 the graduation. I darted out to the lighthouse again. I had to wait at the bridge for it rose to let a ship pass through. I parked about 300′ away and found this historic cache. #296 and Maine’s first cache! It wasn’t a hard find, but it is neat to log such an old cache. Cache is in good condition and is well stocked. It has been logged numerous times: old and in a vacation spot to boot. I walked out to the ocean again. It was more rough on this dreary morn. I also spotted a stone, one I hadn’t seen yesterday, rumored to be where Longfellow sat when he wrote, The Lighthouse.

The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point, some miles away,
The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
In the white lip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light
With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

Not one alone; from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.

Like the great giant Christopher it stands
Upon the brink of the tempestuous wave,
Wading far out among the rocks and sands,
The night-o’ertaken mariner to save.

And the great ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.

The mariner remembers when a child,
On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink;
And when, returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.

Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!

It sees the ocean to its bosom clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace;
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.

The startled waves leap over it; the storm
Smites it with all the scourges of the rain,
And steadily against its solid form
Press the great shoulders of the hurricane.

The sea-bird wheeling round it, with the din
Of wings and winds and solitary cries,
Blinded and maddened by the light within,
Dashes himself against the glare, and dies.

A new Prometheus, chained upon the rock,
Still grasping in his hand the fire of Jove,
It does not hear the cry, nor heed the shock,
But hails the mariner with words of love.

“Sail on!” it says, “sail on, ye stately ships!
And with your floating bridge the ocean span;
Be mine to guard this light from all eclipse,
Be yours to bring man nearer unto man!”

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