Welcome to our Adventure!

Al and I are thrilled that you have found your way to our blog. We hope you enjoy reading our journal and viewing our photographs of the natural wonder of our United States of America. Let's hit the road together!
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ship Harbor and Bernard

Last week we had a nice day for our day off, but for reasons you all know, we needed to stay within cell service. After doing some chores around the campsite, we took the dogs for a ride down to Southwest Harbor, picked up a cheese pizza at Little Notch bakery, and had a picnic lunch at the Seawall Picnic area. It was very busy there, and all the tables on the water were already occupied, but that was ok, we still had a beautiful view and could hear the waves crashing on the shoreline. Between that and the buoys clanging in the distance, there's no other sound quite like it.

We then took a walk on one of our favorite trails, Ship Harbor, and I got some pictures of the scenery in the sun!
One thing I've noticed is that the wildflowers bloom quite prolifically up here

A side path down to the water's edge

The first half of the loop trail follows the harbor edge

Very tall pine trees

At the mouth of the harbor

Maine's rocky shore...we sat here for awhile to let Chelsea rest, and had a nice conversation with a couple from South Carolina who were here on vacation. The dogs naturally pull people in!
The trail loops through the forest pack to the parking area. 

We then continued driving around the "Quiet Side" of the island, and decided to follow the signs to the town of Bernard and check it out. It's on the other side of Bass Harbor, and very cute. Not much of a business district, just a couple of artist shops, a restaurant I'd like to go back and try (Thurston for Lobster, isn't that cute?) and some very picturesque photo opportunities. These photos made me think of "the real Maine":

Lobster boats in the harbor...it was about docking time, and we sat awhile watching them unload the boxes off of a lobster boat.

Fisherman's Memorial set up at the docks.

It's pretty cool how such a simple adornment of hanging buoys can transform this shack into such a beautiful picture.

Lobster pots stacked on the dock, with their transportation in the background. Bass Harbor residences line the opposite shore.

I hope you enjoyed some sunny pictures from me today. And again our family thanks everyone of you for your kind words and thoughts of the past week. Al is flying back today, and Casey is anxiously awaiting his return...as am I!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Thanks to Everyone

We wish to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers. It is humbling to know that so many folks out there are pulling for you and your family. Sadly, Al's mom passed away quietly very early Thursday morning. She held in there long enough for all the children to get to Florida in time for their farewells. She was 88 years old, and had a full, happy life. Now she is in the great card room beyond where I'm sure she's together with her husband, brothers and sisters having an awesome game!


I really have no eloquent words to write, just to say Thanks, Ma, for raising such a wonderful family for me to be a part of all these years. Love you lots!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Trouble

It hasn't been a very good year for us so far. As I write this, Al is in Philadelphia waiting for the second leg of his flight home to Homosassa. Sunday, we received a call that no-one wants to get, that his Mom, Anne had taken a fall and was being taken to the hospital. She was in a lot of pain, and tests revealed that she had cracked her hip. Being that she is on blood thinners, they were extra cautious and had her transferred to Bayonet Point Hospital in Hudson, a Level 1 Trauma Center. Fortunately, her CAT scans looked fine (they were worried about a bleed in her brain from the fall), and they were able to do surgery on Monday to repair the hip. We were grateful that the hip didn't need replacing.

She seemed to be progressing ok, until yesterday afternoon when her breathing and vital signs started deteriorating very quickly...within a half hour we received a call that they needed to place her on a ventilator. That's when plans swung into full tilt, and we got Al on a 6AM flight out of Bangor this morning. I'm here with the dogs for now, and God willing won't be needed back there as well.

We just know there will be plenty of good wishes going out, and thanks to all our friendly readers. I'll be back when I can.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Catching Up

I feel like a slacker this year with postings....I just haven't felt that there's been very much to talk about! I've taken some pictures, but overall I'm not happy with the quality of them. The air seems awfully hazy much of the time, and I'm having a difficult time catching colors and composing what I feel are nice pictures. I'm especially frustrated when I see the beautiful pictures Sherry over at In The Direction of Our Dreams has been taking. So if you want to see some gorgeous pictures of Acadia, head over there :-).

Regardless of the weather, we have gone out and about. There is a lot to do and see without going too far.
We went geocaching one day on a scenic drive I had read about, on Highway 182 between Franklin and Cherryfield. The was a sign as we were entering Cherryfield stating that it was "the blueberry capital of the world"; so why is it named Cherryfield?? :-). Anyway, there was a cache in this neat little park...
The vehicle that is on exhibit is a galamander. This vehicle, whose name means granite lifter, was used in local quarries for nearly 100 years. It could lift several tons of granite and carry it over miles of rough roads. As far as they know it is the only surviving intact garamander in existence. 

The cache was very well hidden, but we were persistent and eventually found it.

There is a beautiful sculpture of granite on the grounds as well. What a difference from rough to finished.

We found a short trail leading to a very pretty lake that had no other visitors.

One day we stopped in Hancock and had lunch at a local hangout, Ruth and Wimpy's...

home of Wilbur, the lobster!

We took the dogs for a walk on Gorham Mountain Trail

Most of the trails around here go across rock...

and often involve some rock scrambling! Chelsea did ok, but we do have to stop and let her rest more often than we used to. Occasionally she does need a boost up some of the higher steps.


The views from the summit were great!

One of our favorite places to eat out this year is the microbrewery Maine-ly Meat. This is their small sampler platter :-)

 
Of course, let's not forget ice cream....this "Halo"...vanilla ice cream in between two chocolate chip cookies then dunked and coated in milk chocolate....lasted me 5 nights :-)!

We've had visits from lots of road friends...we had a campfire with the Carolina Clan one night at their campground, the Narrows Too.

Then they joined us for a lobster boil! 

Look at all those lobsters!!

Have to have corn-on-the-cob as well...

These lucky folks had a competent crew of "lobster preppers" to make the feasting easier.

We also had friends Jim and Judy visit us. We've been friends from NY for a long time, and stay in touch even though we've all left the Island. They were close by in New Hampshire, and came up for a few days. It was a busy couple of days, and ended with a late afternoon ride up Cadillac Mountain and dinner at Testa's in Bar Harbor.

So that's pretty much what we've been up to the past couple of weeks. Good friends, good food, and good times. We'll have to see what we can get up to in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fourth of July Antics

Well, all I can say is WOW!!

I knew we were coming to a big resort area, so I really shouldn't whine :-). But boy, was the Fourth of July completely crazy. What is it about that holiday that seems to bring out the worst in people?

I have no pictures to show you for this posting, I apologize. Between the weather and work, there was simply no time for anything besides collapsing :-).

The weather up here, like the rest of the country, has been completely bizarre. The Tuesday before the Fourth, it was raining and cold enough that we had our heater going. Wednesday, the sun came out, the temperature flew up to the high eighties with rampant humidity, and the air conditioner didn't go off for days!

Our pool issues are finally resolved. The new liner came in, and was installed. The pool was filled, and treated, and opened today! That bear is finally off our back!

Some snippets of conversations we had over our busiest days, Wednesday and Thursday (we had over 110 check-ins those two days):

"I'd like to book a tent site please."
    "OK, would you like a primitive site, or one with electric and water?"
"I'd like one that comes with a refrigerator"
      Say what??

"I don't like the site I'm in. It smells bad during low tide. Do you have a waterfront site that's not as close to the water?"
   
"I don't like my site it's too close to the playground" or
"I don't like my site, it's too far from the playground"

"I'm in site so-and-so, and a camper van just pulled in in front of my site and it's blocking my view, can you please make them move?"

We had a report of a possible theft of a kayak, that turned out to be his brother-in-law left it too close to the shore and the tide carried it out. Thankfully, the next morning, someone out in the bay saw it floating and towed it into the campground.

Tow different people turned in two rings that appeared to be a wedding band/engagement ring set that was found in the bath house...Monday morning a completely frantic woman was extremely happy :-).

Al had quite an interesting weekend finding things...a total of three panties and a thong laying in various roads around the bath house :-).

Speaking of bath house, I had a phone call first thing Sunday morning: "I'm really sorry to have to call you, but there's really no delicate way to put this: some a***ole took a d**p on the men's room floor"....ok, thanks for calling, I'll have maintenance come right away. Really??!!

Maybe it's because I now work in a campground office, but does it really make sense to call the office on a holiday to make a reservation for two months from now? Don't you think they're a bit busy?

Well, I guess that's enough whining for now :-). We had 99 check-outs on Sunday, and we've been busy getting the park put back into shape. We did manage to go on two shorter hikes the past two days, in between the raindrops, and had a GREAT night visiting some of the Carolina Clan at a campfire on Monday night. If I can wheedle Nancy into sending me a couple pictures she took, as I forgot my camera, I'll get them posted soon. I'm hoping the sun comes out again soon, (but we don't need temps in the 90's and the humidity) and we can start taking some nice pictures again!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seals and Whales and Puffins...Oh My!

Our days off last week were some of the best we've seen since our arrival in Bar Harbor. By that I mean there was actually some sun in the sky, and rains weren't supposed to start until late afternoon :-). Monday was supposed to have thunderstorms in the afternoon, so we chose that day to do our weekly shopping, laundry and a short excursion close to home. Lamoine State Park is just over the bridge on the mainland, with a few caches in the area, so we took some lunch over that way for a picnic and some easy caching. Whereas it was pretty nice out, it had gotten pretty warm and humid, so strenuous hiking was not going to happen.
We found a cache here at this pretty spot, a tidal creek called Mud Creek.

This momma osprey was not happy about us being here though!

We made it to the top of Cadillac Mountain when there was no fog! Miracles will never cease :-). Pretty view of Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands in the distance.

Tuesday was the best day, with sunshine all day long and hot temperatures. There was room on the Islander, which is the boat doing the Puffins, Seabirds and Lighthouses tours for Acadia Nature Cruises, so we booked the afternoon trip. I'm finally going to see puffins!

The boat left the dock from the Atlantic Hotel, near where the old Seacat ferry terminal. Sadly, this ferry service to Yarmouth Novia Scotia has been discontinued. We passed by Bar Island, which is accessible from Bar Harbor during low tide. The sandbar is uncovered at low tide, so you have a couple of hours to walk over, explore, and come back. Of course if you linger too long, you'll have twelve hours to explore before the next low tide :-).

Heading out of Frenchman's Bay

A great example of the craggy coastline. Notice here how the treeline comes right to the edge

St. Mark's Lighthouse, also known as Winter Harbor Lighthouse. Winter Harbor is a town on the Schoodic Peninsula, to the north of Mount Desert Island. Another section of Acadia National Park is on Schoodic Peninsula. Winter Harbor is named for the fact that due to unique characteristics the harbor never freezes, so fishermen can still go in and out of this harbor all year long.

We passed the point of Schoodic Peninsula, and notice here that the treeline is much further back. This point of land juts out the furthest into the Atlantic Ocean, taking the brunt of the waves and the wind, causing the vegetation to be much further back from the shoreline. At this point, the natural air conditioning started to kick in, and I was glad I had on jeans and brought my sweatshirt. We also had a sighting of a minke whale, but it was way to fast going down into a dive for me to get a picture. It is a bit early in the season for the whales.

We approached the puffin roosting area about 40 minutes later, here on Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.

Getting closer...

First view of puffins!

Puffins are only on land from April to August, while they are breeding and raising their young. The rest of the year they are out at sea in the North Atlantic. Razorbills also roost on the rocky ledges with the puffins.

Common eider ducks also nest here, and we saw a female with several chicks.

Hundreds of common and roseate terns call Petit Manan home as well.

Puffins are often called "clowns of the sea" because of their bright colored beak, rotund profile and their "helicopter-like" flapping as they fly. I just think they're cute! 

It was hard to get a good picture of them on land as the boat doesn't get that close, and it was a'rockin'!
Puffins were once over-hunted for food and feathers, and came extremely close to disappearing from the Maine coast altogether. By 1901 only one mating pair was left on Mantinicus Island. Conservation efforts and re-introduction projects have brought the population back. Climate change is heralding a new challenge for these cuties, though. Herring, their main food source, has been in short supply, and the parents have been bringing back an alternative fish called butterfish. Unfortunately, many times the butterfish are too big for the chicks to eat. Researchers have found deceased chicks, surrounded by large butterfish. Very sad.

It was time to bid adieu to our cute little feathered friends and head back to Bar Harbor. As you can see, the fog was starting to descend, making an eerie landscape for us to head towards.

Before heading back into the harbor, though, we had a drive-by of Egg Island lighthouse. Maybe we could see some seals!

Oh yeah, there's a few!

And some more!

and even more! They remind me of Chelsea when she's flopped in the grass in the sun :-). Fat and happy.

A bald eagle is sitting in the distance, looking for fish I imagine.


Good-bye, Egg Island!