Camping in Maine – August

maris

What does a picture of my grandson have to do with camping in Maine?   not a whole lot, really, but then, we aren’t actually camping either!   For anyone who has followed this blog, it comes as no surprise that our job as workampers enables us to live and work and play at Mount Desert Campground the entire season… I often comment to my wife that  “we live in a campground, but we don’t go camping any more”!   We  are in the midst of our third season, and we are appreciating every moment of our time here as it will be out last summer here… we are preparing to move on to the next chapter of our lives which will present new and interesting opportunities including making Maine our permanent home.. but more on that later.

A recent trip to NH to attend a delayed wedding reception for my son and his  still new bride was also a chance to visit my grandson and friends..  it was a wonderful weekend.   Maris is  showing so much growth each time we see him, and I treasure the opportunity to watch him interact with his parents…

bath band concert

We are spending two days each week in Georgetown as we prepare to make that our new home.  It is a lot of fun to explore around the area as time permits… two weeks ago, we celebrated our anniversary with dinner in Bath, followed by a band concert in the park… I was struck by the idea that, as we sat and listened to the music,  the same scenario was probably playing out in towns all across the US… folks bringing their lawn chairs to parks to listen to community bands play old favorites which never seem to lose their appeal.   When she was quite young and just learning to play the flute, my daughter and I played in just such a band.. the Cate Park Band in Wolfeboro NH…  what fond memories!

bar island

This summer has been more hectic than the past two, but we are still carving time out to get out in our kayaks… this is from a recent paddle on Somes Sound…  a typical Maine scene of  the forest meeting a rocky shore line… this is Bar Island  in the sound ( not the more famous Bar Island in Bar Harbor)

bikes

The nature of the campground will be changing soon as schools open for the 2017-18 academic year, but for now, kids of all ages abound!  It is amazing to watch the role of bikes in the development of independence for them… even in a short week, we watch as young ones make huge strides in their cycling skills…   this is a picture of the float parking area in the evening.. and what are all of these kids doing?

evening at the docks

hanging out on the docks.. catching crabs,  interacting with one another…  this is the place to be!

blueberry pie

the blueberries have been great this year.. how fortunate we are to be able to walk out in the meadow and pick fresh berries, bring them home and bake a pie…

peach shortcakes

chances are that these peaches were not grown in Maine, but we enjoyed them nevertheless!  We made these in preparation for yet another staff gathering here at the campground.. and our colleagues shared many of their special dishes as well…  we are looking ahead to new opportunities with anticipation, but there will surely be a lot that we will miss about the campground at the conclusion of this season…  especially the relationships that we have formed here!

chip

speaking of relationships.. this is my buddy, Chip.   I have a short movie of him trying to figure out how many sunflower seeds he can stuff into his cheeks, but I could not figure out how to attach it to this blog… so we will have to settle for this still picture…  everyone has a story, and this is true for Chip as well..  he only has half a tail…  I sure wish he could tell me about that!   I guess I just have to settle for watching him come over, stand up on his hind legs and look at me,  and asking with his eyes if there happen to be any more sunflower seeds around!

And that is what life has been about in recent weeks…  of course, we have the daily chores of building picnic tables,  filling potholes in the road after rainstorms,  plunging clogged toilets,  cleaning the boats, cleaning sites, and cleaning the bathrooms and greeting old friends and making new ones each passing week…   It is remarkable to hear from so many people how they wish that they could adopt the same lifestyle..   we are truly blessed to have had the opportunity to be here!

A stroll around the neighborhood?

kayak 1

( a shot that I took yesterday morning while we were cleaning campsites… )

Well not exactly, but kind of…   I was thinking about an evening stroll around the neighborhood many years ago.  We had just moved into a new development, and it was quite small, but it still merited a short walk after dinner.  We looked at the houses ( all of which looked the same)  and stopped to say hello to neighbors who happened to be sitting on the front stoop of their homes…  last night we did the water version of this same experience.   We walked down to the floats, got in our kayaks and took off!  This time we headed for Abels Marina.   But along the way, we stopped to chat with folks who happened to be on their moored boats, enjoying dinner and the sunset.

boat 1After stopping by to say hello to the couple who own this vintage Egg Harbor yacht ( built in NJ 50 years ago) we continued on our way towards Bar Island..

somes sound 2

The tides in Somes Sound range from 10 – 12 feet..  on the right is Bar Island ( not the more popular island in Bar Harbor that goes by the same name). At high tide, we can sneak through the cut that you see to the left…

We stopped along the way  to say hi to these guys….

seals

but we got a little to close  😦

seals 2

sorry guys!!!

There are a number of vintage boats at the marina.. unlike my neighborhood where all of the houses were cookie cutter townhouses with the only distinction being the color of the brick and whether they had two or three bedrooms,  these boats have wonderful and unique character.

boat 4boat 8boat 9boat 10boat 5boat 7

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the time we spent talking with the couple who lives aboard this boat, along with their dog and two cats!boat 3_193951boat 2

Like us, they are working on the island this summer.. but their living arrangement is just a tad cooler than ours!

Life at Mound Desert Campground has been great this summer…  this past week we had a staff potluck with a Mexican theme…  so much good food!

food 1this is just one of two tables filled with food…

food 2not only does Barbara have talent with constructing salad,  but she also has a wonderful green thumb..  I could not pass up taking a photo of the color in her garden on this, yet another beautiful moring in Maine!

garden

Early Summer Highlights

floats

The camping season is in full swing – there are two very popular spaces at Mount Desert Campground –  lots of activity at the floats…  crabbing, swimming,  and boating.   The kids can keep busy for hours down here!   The other space is the Gathering Place –  coffee and donuts in the morning, ice cream in the evening…  it is definitely the place to meet other campers!

Our campers tend to be a friendly bunch – often leaving firewood behind for the next occupants when they leave, but sometimes they go a step further.   Here are examples of the good will that campers share with each other.

flowers

sculpture 1

It has been a busy summer, so we are not getting to venture out on trails very much, but we did find time to visit one of our favorite bakeries on the island!

cookies

from our point of view, Cookies is an example of life in Maine at its finest!

We are also getting to enjoy one of the favorite Maine pastimes –  wild blueberries!    There are some home made blueberry pies in the near future!

blueberries

Even though it is a bit of a different summer, we are loving life… more to come!

So what is workamping all about?

C point 1

Well, our experience is somewhat limited.  We understand that many jobs at campgrounds come under the title of camp host.   At Mount Desert Campground, there is a bit of emphasis on the work part of  workamping…   and we like it that way 🙂

This is a pic of  the point in the C section of the campground after  a number of trees were cut down…   We arrived at this location around 8:30 this morning, after enjoying a strategy session in the warmth of the office….   we are told that the temperature could break 80 degrees on Thursday, but today was cold and foggy and drizzly.   So, this type of work is good for generating heat!

2 hours later, this is what the site looked like.

c point 2There is so much truth to the phrase “many hands make light work” … well,  maybe not.. this was not light work, but  it certainly was completed in a relatively short amount of time!   of course, it was many hands aided by a tractor 🙂

this is what the campers will see when they arrive late next week.

c point 3

looks pretty nice!   and where did all of this stuff go?

on the pile 🙂

c point 4 A large truck will come by to pick this up in the next few days…    of course, not every day of workamping is like this, but we do spend the month of May  preparing the campground for the season.  It is great work – very rewarding both physically and mentally..  and we sleep really well 🙂

 

Back in Maine!

mdc 17 first pic

We have returned to Mount Desert Campground for our third season.  So far, we have probably seen more rain than we did in an entire month last year, but it is beautiful just the same.   This pic was taken the evening that we arrived at our campsite.

mdc 17 mossy stump

First order of the day is to rake the campground.. actually that has been the first order the last three and a half days, and it will continue to be a priority for the next week or two..  I took a quick break to take a photograph of this mossy stump…

mdc 17 campfire

We had a beautiful day yesterday, and we celebrated with our first campfire.. inviting our fellow workers to join us for the first smores of the season…    Janet made lentil soup in the morning while I whipped up a batch of molasses cookies…   life does not get much better than this!    If you happen to be camping at Mount Desert Campground this summer, be sure to stop by B 18 to say hello!

Heading home…

trip home 1We awoke at 5:15 last Tuesday morning and were on the road by 6 ..  as we turned onto the Poudre Canyon road from the parking lot at Glen Echo, we were treated to this site, looking west ….   just a few hundred yards down the road we spied the herd of elk in the meadow to our right..  we were quite pleased to get one final glimpse of them as we began our trip east.

First stop.. the Howling Cow Cafe.. our last visit – time to turn in the last milk bottle and to enjoy a bagel and cup of Madame Grey tea before heading to Cheyenne where we would pick up route 80 east…

trip home 2we were fortunate to have great weather for traveling.. and our plan was to attempt to drive straight through to PA…  Every 100 miles we alternated driving.  That seemed to make the time go by quickly.. except that Nebraska is a very long state..  it seemed like forever till we hit the eastern border of the state!    We ended up spending an hour or so napping at a rest stop Tuesday evening, but then resumed out trip in the dark… somewhere along the way, I ended up headed towards Detroit… oops!   but we quickly noticed the error and google maps got us back on track..

We arrived in Wapwallopen late Wednesday afternoon…  excited to be staying in our tiny house and visiting with relatives..

trip home 4Sunny, the cat quickly got reacquainted with the tiny house…  climbed the ladder and settled in his favorite spot….trip home 5

we missed the cherries, but made it home in time for the peach blossoms…

trip home 3 and it looks like the plums are beginning to blossom as well, so we should get to see them in full bloom while we are here…

lots to do during our short stay in PA…  and then, soon, we will be headed north for the summer season!

Our time in Colorado is growing short…

poudre river early morning

We have just a week left before we have to pack the subaru and head back to PA… starting to think about the things we will miss.  The list will be long, but this picture sums up a few …  sitting by the river after work with a cup of tea… watching trout rise in the pool behind the rustic cottages..  and early morning views like this one..  blue skies with the warmth of the sun on our backs.. but still the frosting of fresh snow on the mountain tops just a little west of us..   we probably will not begin to realize the full impact of this experience until long after we are gone…   jt