Summer 2016 (where did it go?) – part 3 – Acadia National Park


So much to explore.. we could spend years at this campground job and still not cover all of Acadia.  This is a shot from Otter Cove, along the loop road –  it was a great place for a picnic lunch 🙂



Hunter’s Beach –  the destination of  a combination bike ride and hike..  definitely a quieter spot, because you can’t just jump out of the car and be there!   worth the hike, for sure…


a view from the ocean path  which runs from Sand Beach to Otter Cove..  this tends to be one of the more crowded areas of the park.. awfully nice though on a foggy day…


view from Sand Beach..   typically one of the busiest places in the park.. but not on this evening..


it is always fun to ask campers who are returning from an early morning trip to Cadillac Mt if they happened to see anyone else up there for the sunrise… knowing full well, of course that there were probably 1500 other people with the same idea!    It was a challenge to find a parking spot the morning that we went up..  but it was worth doing once…


As an alternative,  you could hike the Precipice trail very early in the morning ( after it opens in mid August – it is typically closed during most of the summer due to nesting falcons)   we were the only ones in the parking lot the morning that we caught this photo..  I highly recommend this idea as long as there is no dew on the rocks..  the Precipice is not a trail to be on when it is wet!


view from Dorr Point.. Compass Harbor to the left..  Bar Harbor, out of site,  around the next point   and Bald Porcupine Island directly ahead…   This is the property where George Dorr had his home.   He is often referred to as the Father of Acadia, and his story is quite interesting..   the home no longer stands, but one can find parts of the foundation..    very nice short hike on the grounds…


Eagle Lake..  great access to the carriage trails.  we have not kayaked on the lake yet.. perhaps next season.   acadia-2016-10

we can’t say enough about the carriage trail system..  what a great resource for biking..  what we have found, however, is that the island is rather hilly, and that goes for the carriage trails.. seems that we are always on a grade.. flat sections are rare!


the Bubbles.. a classic shot taken from the shore of Jordan Pond near the Jordan Pond House..    our destination this day was the top of South Bubble.. the one closest to us..  we hiked around the east side of the pond.. then climbed the Bubble and then returned along the west side of the pond..  and then rewarded ourselves with soup and pop overs at the Jordan Pond House  🙂


view from the top of South Bubble..  the ascent was pretty steep..  very cool..  but you can access the top from the back on a less strenuous trail..   we followed that one on our way down.


A view of outer Frenchman Bay looking from the rear of Anemone Cave…   There are reasons that the park service has taken this hike off of the maps..   it can be dangerous..  very wet and slippery,   and this is all under water at high tide..    but, with some care, one can navigate the hazards and explore the shallow cave and cool tide pools…

Believe it or not, we have encountered folks at the campground who have said after their second day that they “did Acadia”  is there anything else to see on the island..    We have spent two seasons on the island, and we have barely scratched the surface!   But we do understand that the appeal is somewhat limited if your sense of adventure is to get off of the bus, snap a photo, and then return to the bus before you begin to sweat  🙂     If you decide to visit Acadia and you are campers..  be sure to check out  Mount Desert Campground.. you will not be disappointed..  and stop by to say hello.. we are at site B 18…

what could possibly be more important than continuing with my summer summary? A wedding!!


this is no ordinary hike..   we were climbing the path to Cathedral Ledge,  located in N Conway , NH .. the venue for my son’s wedding..   we took the easy way.   Erik and Liz started the trek up the face of the mountain 2 hours earlier …


they were not alone.. it is a popular destination for climbers.  last fall, Janet and I watched a show containing aerial photography of New Hampshire which featured Cathedral Ledge.  I told her that I would take her there..  little did I know that I would fulfill that promise in this way!

we beat them to the top 🙂wedding-step-mom-of-the-groomjanet at the top of Cathedral Ledge..


father of the groom  ( that would be me 🙂  )   also at the top of Cathedral Ledge..  it was a warm day.. particularly for mid-october!


not long after we made it to the top.. Liz and Erik topped out… is there really any other activity that demonstrates the level of trust that marriage requires?


Erik and his sister, Alison, enjoying a light moment before the ceremony..  to the left are our dear friends, Vicki and Chris who lent support to Anne and me when the kids were born and who are now colleagues of Erik at  the Holderness School..   how time flies!    to the right is Chris, brother of Liz  who magically got certified to perform the wedding.. how cool was that!


this is the spread for the pre-ceremony snack..  one can’t simply climb Cathedral Ledge,  to a swift change and then get married..   🙂wedding-10-riley-the-ring-bearer

this is Riley, the ring bearer dog..  how cooperative she is!


the ceremony..  what a beautiful spot to share such a meaningful time..


the new married, couple…  gotta love those boots!    we sure are lucky parents to have gained Liz as a daughter  in law…wedding-6-house

we soaked up as much NH beauty as possible..  this is the house where we all stayed.. located in  Jackson NH,  a center for cross country skiing.. from the porch we had a wonderful view of Mt Washington..


The day after the wedding, Liz, Erik, Janet, and I climbed Doublehead..   elevation 3054 feet… a short distance from where we stayed.. this is the view from on top..  it was quite a climb, but a beautiful day… and the view made every step worthwhile!


on the drive back to Hebron, NH we stopped by the swift river ..  this is a shot taken just before we turned onto the Kancamagus Highway..   a drive that one should not miss if you find yourself anywhere near the white mountains…


taken from one of the many turn outs along the  “Kanc” ..    this area is national forest.. lots of campgrounds  in the area, as well as the opportunity to do primitive camping for free…  what a great recreational resource!


we packed a lot into a long weekend..  finishing off by meeting Liz and Erik for breakfast on our last day..  after that,  Erik took us for a short walk behind their house, down to the banks of the Pemigewassit  River..    how fortunate that he recently discovered the joy of fly fishing..

And now we are on our way back to PA.. for a second time in a week..   maybe a couple days of easy living are in store, before we tackle the question of..  what next?

Heading back to PA


The scramble is on to get prepared for our trip back home.   So I will put the synopsis of the summer of 2016 on hold  while we winterize our trailer, pack our vehicles and lend a hand with a few final projects around the campground…  Amidst the flurry of activity, I took time to snap this pic on the road leading down into the campground.   We are already beginning to miss this place, and we have not even headed south yet!

Summer 2016 (where did it go?) part 2 – working as a crew member on the Margaret Todd


One of the neat things about being off 3 days a week is that time is created to pursue other interests.   Ever since I was a boy, I dreamed of working on a ship..  it took a long time ( I am about to celebrate my 57th birthday), but I finally turned that dream into reality.   On a bit of a whim, I wrote a nice letter to Down East Windjammer Cruise Lines  soon after arriving on MDI in late April.   My hope was that they might need  a part time crew member on the Margaret Todd, a 4 masted schooner, sailing out of Bar Harbor.   I was somewhat surprised when I got a favorable response, and, within a few weeks, I was invited to an interview sail on the Bailey Louise Todd.    In the picture above, the BLT is in the foreground, and the MLT is behind her.   This was taken one of the first mornings that I arrived in Bar Harbor as an official member of the crew.



It was pretty chilly the first few weeks on Frenchman Bay… The first thing I learned is that I had a lot to learn!   But, I found that my fellow crew mates were very supportive, and that was, and continued to be, a huge positive part of the job.


This is  a shot of folks boarding for the evening cruise.   In the foreground is the friendship sloop Chrissy.  She is over 100 years old and was used for trips for small groups of 6 or less.


A couple of shots that I took at the conclusion of the sunset cruises..  these tended to be quite popular trips…mt-8

There were lots of things to get done after the passengers left…  it was usually dark before we were able to call it a day…


we were treated to some spectacular sunsets!


on the 4th of july, we encouraged the passengers to remain on board for the fire works after we returned to the dock.  That was a popular option..  we certainly had great seats!


fellow crew mates,  Amanda and Greg, backing the jib during a tack.   The passengers enjoyed watching us tend to sailing duties, and especially enjoyed engaging in conversation…   I found it a bit challenging to maintain a watchful eye, while also carrying on a discussion with passengers..   i really like to talk 🙂


Janet and I had the opportunity to ride the ferry to Schoodic Peninsula …  we took our bikes and had a great day.  on the way back, we got pretty close to the Margaret Todd under sail.


one of my goals for the summer was to get a chance to climb the rigging – not something that we did on a routine basis – but one morning there was a job to be performed at the top of the main mast on the BLT , and I quickly jumped at the chance..   this is a pic taken from the top of the mast..   it never seems that high from the deck!


I did not get my phone out in time to get a good shot of this rainbow, but it is still there – if you squint and use your imagination 🙂    It was a beautiful evening, and we certainly did not expect a rainbow, but there it was…


the routine is that we show up at 8 am  and perform some maintenance tasks aboard the boats and then prepare for the 10 am cruise.    This was taken recently, early in the morning..   I am going to miss this part of the job – and lots of other things as well.   Halfway through the summer I decided that I should set a goal for trying to get through an entire day without making a stupid mistake..      soon after that  prepared to raise the sail on the foremast when there was no sail to be raised!   When one of the crew members pointed that out with a smile..  I told him ” my goal is to get through a day with no stupid mistakes… i guess today will not be that day”  🙂      in fact,  last week i kind of made it through the day… one minor goof – up..    Tomorrow is my last day on the boat..  so, one more chance!

Summer 2016 (where did it go?) part 1 – Mount Desert Campground


Once again, Janet and I had the opportunity to live, work and play on Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park)  as members of the staff at Mount Desert Campground.   How did we get to the end of the season so fast?    Perhaps it has to do with age… so many folks have advised that life slips past at an ever increasing rate, especially after 50…  This certainly may play a role, particularly in my case as I quickly approach my 57th birthday.   But I suspect that it has more to do with the fact that, since our arrival at the end of April, our lives have been filled with spectacular visual stimulation, laughter and fellowship with friends and colleagues,  and opportunities to meet new people with interesting stories…  it has been a busy summer, and I have certainly ignored this blog, but, over the next few weeks, I plan on catching up.  This first segment had to do with the campground itself  –  a stunning piece of property on the shores of Somes Sound.   It is a privilege to be able to spend the entire season in Maine, and especially, to work and live here.   I encourage anyone thinking of planning a camping trip to Maine in 2017 to look us up..   and if you happen to stay here next year, stop by for a visit and a cup of tea at site B18!


a view looking across the road at site B7 with the sound just beyond..  this was taken just after I arrived at the end of April ( Janet joined me a couple of weeks later)

2-mdc-maya view of the sound and Sheep island from one of our waterfront sites… early May3-mdc-may

sites along our waterfront…  DownEast Magazine printed a special publication touting  100 best things about Mount Desert Island  ( part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park)     Our campground was recognized as having the 7 best campsites on the island…  that was pretty special!

4-mdc-mayanother view of our waterfront, taken from a campsite…5-mdc-july

another look at  sites B7 and B8.. Janet’s garden is well-established at this point.   Evening in the campground is such a special time…


one of our jobs is the check on the boats twice each week… usually early in the morning… the view from the docks is constantly changing…  this is looking out towards Somesville Harbor


taken the same morning… looking between our waterfront on the right and Sheep Island on the left with a glimpse of  The Lamb  ( a small rock ledge close by the docks)


Low tide in the evening..  The Lamb is pretty prominent at low tide!    the tidal range here is around 10 feet, give or take – even more dramatic around the full moon…


can’t quite get enough of the scene taken from the docks!   Sunsets here are often dramatic.

10-mdc-septView of the floats taken from site C25 ..   the dory has not been in the water for a number of years.  My son and I built is when he was a freshman in high school..  he is now 27 and about to be married…   I did some quick rehab on it and launched it with the plan of doing some more work on it next spring so that it will be in great shape for the 2017 season.    The Lamb takes a prominent spot in this photo..  approaching low tide.. near the end of the season  as we have already reduced the rental fleet of canoes and kayaks..


taken just this morning..   some of the trees are beginning to turn… pretty chilly morning at 32 degrees, but the sun warmed us up rather quickly, and we had a wonderful day working in the campground..  built two picnic tables,  cleaned sites,  built the framework for a new tent platform, cleaned up flower gardens,  removed tree debris after cutting down a tree..   all in a days work!

It was a great summer …  we plan on returning next year.  Unfortunately, some of our colleagues will be doing other things and will not be rejoining us… but we look forward to keeping out friendships alive..   and, we look forward to greeting our campground friends as they return during the 2017 season!    jt