Sorry, guys. I haven’t been blogging lately. I actually haven’t been writing at all. I forget sometimes that blogging is not a one-way street; that I’m not really just writing for myself, but for those rare few that may be keeping up with us through the blog. Apologies; I’ve been a little lazy; we haven’t fallen off the earth. Actually we’ve been to some pretty neat places. We’ve been to so many places since I last wrote (I had to check) that it seems pointless to simply list them all. More apologies. I’ll just write about the good experiences and sights moving forward since I certainly have no lack of good places to write about.
Our latest stop was Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. Amazing; beautiful green forests, rugged coastline, mountains that reach right up out of the ocean, great hiking with epic views, deep bays with plentiful lobster to enjoy (more than once), friendly people that talk funny, great ice cream…OK, sorry, I got lost there. It truly was all we had expected and more. Mt. Desert Island encompasses the cities of Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert as well as the Park.
We stayed at a nice campground along the northern shore, right across the narrow neck that connects to the mainland. We were tucked back into the trees, a little closer to our neighbors that we wanted, but still good. Just as I had hoped, the area reminded me of the Northwest, namely Washington State where I lived for several years while still in the Navy and Navy Reserves. Washington and Maine are along the same line of Latitude and very similar in topography and climate, although Washington enjoys some warm currents that help to keep their climate enjoyable for more than just 2-3 months out of the year.
We did experience considerable rain during our first week, so much so that a young Canadian couple camping next to us in a Pop-Up camper for their annual vacation pulled out a day early because everything was totally soaked. We smiled a little sheepishly and waved goodbye before climbing back into our dry and warm RV. Face it; we’re not exactly roughing it. Fortunately the second week was much more enjoyable due to clear weather, at least in our part of the state. Carrie got a full-on introduction to northeastern summers where the locals consider 80 degrees with a little humidity “muggy”. When the local weather guy would use that word she would look at me incredulously and all I could do was shrug. I advised her of a lesson I learned in the Pacific Northwest: Put layers of clothing on in the morning and remove them as the day wears on. You may even put some on again before the day is over. Oh, and if you won’t go out because you think it might rain…don’t bother going out anywhere.
The local transportation system provided superb buses at no cost that covered the entire island and across the neck to the mainland, funded by a very generous grant from the outdoor outfitter REI. Lloyd and Mary Anderson started REI in Freeport, Maine in 1938. The buses didn’t always keep to their schedule, mostly because they were so busy moving so many people, both locals and tourists, around the island during the height of their summer season. We didn’t even bother renting a car during our 2-week stay and left without seeing everything that was available. Guess we’ll have to come back.
The hiking was stellar, with numerous trails around the park ranging in difficulty from a leisurely walk along the ocean to scrambling almost vertically up the rocks to Beehive Mountain. We did four hikes together during our stay and opted out of the rocky scramble up Beehive, instead circling around the back side for a more sensible climb to the top. Poor Carrie was a little overwhelmed by the difficulty of some of the trails. Living on a boat for years can do that to you. I was pretty sore myself but couldn’t get enough of the scenery. The island’s highest peak is Cadillac Mountain at 1,530 feet off the ocean. It boasts the first sunrise in North America each day at the summit. Over the last 150 years there have been 3 different small hotels at the top and even a climbing railroad that brought visitors to the summit from Eagle Lake. These days there is just a 2-lane road, a parking lot and concrete walkways at the top that permits just about anyone to enjoy the view. The buses don’t go there so I did the trek up the north ridge of Cadillac Mountain on my own the day before we left.
The day started out a little humid and overcast but when I got to the top I was literally in the clouds with visibility at about 5 feet. They have a saying in Maine (and in Washington too) that “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes”, so I hunkered down in my raingear behind some pine bushes out of the wind and munched on my trail mix until the clouds cleared off, then enjoyed the spectacular views of the entire island and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean before starting down. I’ve always hiked with walking sticks and was particularly glad to have them on this trip. They’re often helpful both going up and coming down.
The goal we set for our first RV adventure was to see the family members along the East Coast and visit Maine before the end of summer. We certainly accomplished that and quite a bit more with many sights in between. Our next goal is to attend an RV rally in central Florida in mid-October to network with some of the big RV bloggers we’ve been following on the Internet and find a warm place to sit out the winter months. Next we will hopefully head west to see more family and friends and the many spectacular sights. Stay tuned.