The Bee Hive trail ..one of the coolest hikes at Acadia.. although I am sure that this is a topic for serious debate!

beehive warning signIf you can’t read the sign,  it says “Falls on this mountain have resulted in serious injury and death”..  sounds like our kind of trail!   It also says ” Dogs are Prohibited”   Well, we know of at least one family that totally missed the sign.. and brought their dog..   they were in for a surprise…  but,  I should say from the outset that they survived just fine. and the dog made it as well..  but I am sure that he did not enjoy it one bit!

An earlier post of mine has a pic of Janet and me on this trail during our honeymoon..  I tried to find the exact same spot where that pic was taken, but I was not successful.  Instead,  here we are at the top..the two of us top of beehive

here is a pic of the BeeHive from the parking lot at sand beach..

beehive from sand beach parking lot

My kids did this hike when they were small, and they have fond memories of the experience..  when I told my step daughters about the hike, the older got very excited.. the younger got very nervous.  In time, they had the opportunity to hike it with us, and both agreed to come along, the younger with some reservations..  but  now she looks back on it with fond memories as well!

Here are some pics of Janet making her way to the top…

janet on beehive 2

janet on beehive 1

and here is Sand Beach from the top..

sand beach from beehive

we enjoyed some gorp and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the top and then descended down the back of the mountain, using the bowl trail, a much easier way down than trying to retrace our steps!

One would think that would be enough excitement for one day, but no…  in fact, we were using the  Island Explorer Bus for the first time..  after the climb, we  boarded the bus and ended up back in Bar Harbor where we did a minimal food shopping before heading back to the campground on the #7 Southwest Harbor bus..  imagine that.. the bus is free, and it stops right at the campground office!

I spent the rest of  the afternoon baking a shortcake and preparing the strawberries that we picked up the previous day..  we invited our neighbors and co-workers for desert..  Before we knew it, the four of us had devoured the cake..   we enjoyed the evening in front of the fire as Art and Sue told stories about their earlier years..  shortcake at the campthe local strawberries were worth every penny!   LIfe is good here at Mt Desert Campground 🙂

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a new week… new adventures!

frenchman bay from winter harbor loopWe decided to head off island and take our bikes to  another section of Acadia located on the Schoodic Peninsula – a trip of about 40 minutes.   We stopped in Winter Harbor and did a ten mile loop on our bikes..  the picture is above is taken from the end of Grindstone Neck looking over at the section of Acadia that we would ride later in the day…  While we were in Winter Harbor we stopped at a great little shop that featured  both local crafts as well as the work from folks who are “from away” .. we had a delightful conversation with Roger, who owns the shop along with his wife..   we will definitely make it a point to stop back again when we have some money with us and when we are not on bikes!

We then proceeded to  Frazer Point Picnic area at Adacia where we enjoyed our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, along with a spectacular view, accompanied by a sea gull who was determined that we would leave some morsel behind.. he was rather disappointed, I am afraid..   then back on the bikes for  a 12 mile loop  ..  beautiful roads,  beautiful views..  and  not too crowded..  who could ask for more than that?    At one of the scenic outlooks, we  ran into a family from Hatboro PA  who had a load of bikes on their car.  I asked them why they were not riding, and they pointed out that the bikes were trashed.. on their way north, a bolt on their bike carrier sheared and the bikes fell to the pavement at 60 mph…  that is a sad story, but they did not let it spoil their vacation 🙂

On the way back to the campground we stopped and picked up a quart of local strawberries..  that is a story for the next post!

There has to be some sort of trade-off…

I have posted some very favorable thoughts about how we are spending our days off.. but what about work?   Well,  we did find that it rains in Maine..  in fact,  two of the past four days it poured, but that is really not such a big deal.   we are working at what is most certainly the most beautiful campground that we have ever visited, and many of the campers here have made the same claim.   viewofthesound  this is a view from one of the camp sites across from where we are living for the summer.   The typical work day is broken into three segments ..  a project like building a picnic table in the morning ( just mention the word “build”  and I am super excited..)  gets us started.  Then we move on to cleaning sites and getting them prepped for new campers, and finally, after lunch, we tackle the bathrooms – making them clean and inviting.   Usually, by 2:30 the day is over, although sometimes, like today, we spend some additional time finishing up our chores.   Today, happened to be a rainy day, and we were replacing the deck on one of the tent platforms.   It was damp when we began putting the new deck down.  When the job was about half way complete, it began to rain, and soon after, it began to rain in earnest!   I chuckled and remarked to my co-worker ” When I told my students that I was retiring at the end of the school year and moving to Maine to work at a campground, I had no idea that it was going to be this much fun!”    I am not sure if my humor registered with him,  but we got the job done – a warm cup of tea at lunch time and a quick change into dry clothes made all the difference as we tackled the final tasks of the day.  Perhaps the fact that we have the next 3 days off and the weather prediction for those three days is quite nice made the whole experience that much more tolerable.  But, the truth is, we already feel invested in not only the job but also the campground community – what a great place to be at this point in our lives 🙂

3 more days off.. let’s go!

kayak on somes sound 2High tide was around 10:30 so we hauled the boats down to the water’s edge and joined our neighbors, Art and Sue,  who led us on a 5 mile journey around the inner part of Some’s Sound..   we spent a little over 2 hours on the water ..  saw lots of pretty boats, 3 seals, and a loon.. talked with one sailor who was cruising aboard his 51 year old wooden ketch along with his wife and cat..  and had a a very pleasant experience..   returned to the campground and washed the boats and then had lunch!       I decided to try out the oven for a second time  ( made cookies already)  and mixed up a chocolate mayonaise cake..   we only had a glass dish so  I dropped the temp a bit and set the timer for 30 minutes..  just enough time for a nap!    we awoke to the sound of the timer and a distinct aroma of burning cake!    Not to worry, though..  we were able to salvage it, and we shared it with our co workers, Jim and Janice later in the evening..    with a full afternoon ahead, we planned  a hike to otter point..  kayak on sommes sound 1

We parked at Sand Beach – early in the season and already the parking lot was full so we had to park on the road..   we headed out on the shore path,  a route which parallels the road for quite a while and then heads out on its own..

otter cliffs we ran into some rock climbers at the cliffs –  I sent a text to my son, asking him to bring his climbing gear when he comes to visit..  I am feeling pretty adventurous these days!

we enjoyed a rest on the cliffs..  this is the view back to sand beach..

sand beach from otter cliffs..

On the way back, we decided to take the Gorham Mt trail .. the summit is only about 525 feet, and Janet had already hiked it once,  so off we went..   along the route we opted to take the Cadillac Cliffs spur..  what a great trail that is!    Here are a few pics…

cadillac cliff trail janetcadillac cliffs 2

the cake sure tasted good after a day full of activity!

Yesterday we started the day with a  bike ride to the summit of Cadillac Mtn..  felt much better this time, and Janet joined me..  we agreed to meet at the summit..  cadillac summit 2nd rideit was a nice, clear morning.. encountered a few other cyclists..  most of whom seemed rather intent on staying on the road.. as they descended..  ( in other words.. they completely ignored my friendly greetings  🙂  )

got back to the campground and had enjoyed nice hot showers and then headed out on a day trip to the Blue Hill area with the ultimate goal of attending a lecture on 3 female photographers from the turn of the last century who documented the Maine way of life..  Along the way we stopped at a market in Blue Hill,  we ate a picnic lunch at  the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin where we befriended a soft grey cat at the docks ( and just missed a launching 😦  )  ..   we spent some time in Castine, home of the Maine Maritime Academy  castine harbor  and talked with the owner of a book shop there.    And then we headed towards Searsport for the lecture, stopping at  Just Barb’s  in Stockton Springs  for a wonderful dinner of fish and chips..

The lecture was by the Maine State Historian, and was very informative..  Janet is excited to return to the museum.. and that is just fine with me!

Today dawned grey with a few sprinkles..   a nice day to kick back and relax and just enjoy being alive 🙂    and maybe working on a project or two!

What do we do with 3 days off??

lupine bar island 2So what is there to do on Mount Desert Island when we have 3 days off ?  Plenty!!  The first day we rode our bikes into Bar Harbor..  walked along the shore path.. then walked over to Bar Island during low tide.. enjoyed our lunch at the top of the trail.. looking over at town… and then  scrambled back before the tide came in a covered the path!   On the way back to the campground, I decided to give the road up to Cadillac Mtn.   I was prepared to turn back before reaching the summit, but I took my time and  ended up reaching the top..  great views..  and a wonderful and somewhat exciting decent..   But, the car in front of me decided that the posted 25 mph speed limit was for real, so  I had to brake a lot more than I was hoping to do 🙂  .. slept very well that night!

the next day we were joined by  friends from New Hampshire on a ride around the loop road.. 18 miles of up and down…. with a few breaks to enjoy the sights.. riding the loop roadwhat a beautiful day for a ride!    slept well that night too 🙂    And the third day,  along with our friends, we hiked the north ridge trail to the top of Cadillac Mtn..    and enjoyed our lunch on the summit..  summit of cadillacwe were pretty beat at the end of three days off!  Getting back to work was  just the thing we needed to slow us down a bit..  but we enjoyed smores each night with our friends who just left this morning..   tomorrow is the beginning of our next three day stretch for fun and adventure..  so far this early retirement thing is working out just fine – I highly recommend it 🙂

A week has passed by already!

My wife and I  finished our first 4 day work week together and we are still talking!  🙂   that is a good sign..    Sunday after work we hit the carriage trails on our bikes with some co-workers ..  we did an 11.5 mile loop..   when our friend mentioned that the finish was a long downhill,  the conclusion was that the beginning was a considerable up-hill.    But,  it seems like more “up”  than he described!    As we were riding, I mentioned to my wife that we needed to make a special effort to not take this environment for granted..   what a wonderful resource the carriage trails are..  not to mention the  hiking trials and the views  that are simply stunning …  in one word, Mt Desert is a GEM

Before I left PA to come up and join my wife who had begun work two weeks earlier, my father-in-law told me that he had a conversation with someone in which he stated that  his “daughter and son-in-law were leaving  good teaching jobs at a prestigious school  to go to Maine and clean toilets..”     I smiled and responded.. ” that is right!”     in fact, we are taking pride in how well we are managing the bathrooms at the campground, but there is so much more..   this week we  replaced decks on on two sites,  prepped sites for new visitors, met some interesting campers, cleared brush  and shared in a wonderful lobster dinner with our co-workers and the owners of the campground..     My impression so far is that the situation  is turning out to be just the positive working environment that we anticipated..   and we are looking forward to  meeting lots of interesting folks who will be passing through the next  three months..   happy hiker lower hadlock pond trail

One of the highlights of the week was talking to a father and his two kids from Missouri  who were catching crabs from the floats…   having the time of their life..  just like my kids did at this very spot 18 or so years ago…

dockat campground

Retirement is a reality!

Janet has been here for two weeks…  she has been learning the ropes..   and I just finished my last faculty meeting  on Tuesday of this week..  left 5 minutes after the meeting was over..  and headed to  NH where I spent the night with my son  – always enjoy seeing him!   The next morning, I stopped by my daughter’s  for breakfast – a wonderful start to the day – both the company and the food!   and then turned east and north to  Mt Desert Island – home for the next 4 months.

It just so happened that I showed up for our days off –  so yesterday we just walked around the campground – did the short nature hike on site  acadia2-trail at campgroundit is a pretty rocky area!

we then went back to our new home..  a 23 foot travel trailer  and sat around the campfire before turning in for a cool, but  very sound sleep.

Today we enjoyed an early breakfast and then planned our day..   a hike in the morning..  the goat trail which leads to the top of Norumbeaga Mountain …   852 feet    a rather steep climb right off the bat

acadia4 goat trail

we climbed the trail..   picked up the Norumbega trail at the top and followed it down to Lower Hadlock Pond.    hiked around the pond and then looked for the  trail that would complete the loop and take us back to the  trailhead where we began..  missed it!   and ended up climbing Norumbega a second time!!  oops..     realized our mistake about a third of the way up.  no sense in turning around at that point..  so we really got our exercise !

came home for lunch and then got our road bikes out and  cycled into Northeast Harbor.. along  Sargent Drive..  what a beautiful day for a ride and what a stunning setting..  the road borders Somes Sound, and there are spectacular views along the way.. but at  15 mph, i was not about to pull out my camera and try to capture the sights..   guess I will have to stop next  time!     I am reminded of the days of summer during my youth..  activities planned from sunrise to sunset..  the only difference is that I had more energy back then 🙂

One more day off and then  my first work day in my new job..  I am looking forward to it..  the physical activity is great, both on the job and  off..   We are truly blessed to  find ourselves in such a beautiful setting..   acadia3lake