Season Finale

It is pretty quiet at Mount Desert Campground  tonight.  I am the only one left, and tomorrow I will finish packing and head to Georgetown, ME,  three hours down route 1 where my wife and I will settle into our new jobs as farm care takers..   We are excited about the opportunity to live and work on a beautiful piece of land and to remain in Maine full time, but we are also a bit sad to see this, our final season at the campground come to an end.   Five days ago, every site was occupied for the Columbus Day Weekend holiday.. How quickly things change!   The squirrels have already begun to take over until May of 2018 when workampers return, energized, and ready to prepare the campground for another season.

I thought I would share some photos from the past few days …

a pointI paused to take this photo as we were cleaning sites on the “A” point at the beginning of the week.. the tide is out and there is some color showing near the tree that holds an active eagle’s nest which we observed throughout the season.

albino deer I caught this albino deer venturing across the road leading down into the campground… she has been a constant resident since we arrived for our first season, but we don’t see much of her once the campers arrive.

six hour canoethe boat project that the campground owner’s son and I have been working on… I put what i hope is the final coat of epoxy on  this week..  I will return later in the fall to help fit the gunnels, and then it will be time to test it out!

sunny under covers

Sunny, our cat, waiting under the covers till i got home for lunch… my wife left early, and I am now the  cat caretaker…  he tolerates me just fine as long as a refresh his food and water and clean his litter box…

b7

Site B7, just across the road from us… how nice when it happens to be vacant… the view is wonderful!  But we do enjoy the company of the campers, and it is a bit lonely to drive down there now with out a single neighbor..

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Today was my final sail aboard the Margarett Todd… it was a beautiful day, but the wind let us down.   I did the last two trips of the day..  It was a lot of fun to get back on the schooner these past few weeks.. it has been a neat opportunity to sail aboard a 4 masted schooner… surely the fulfillment of a boyhood dream of mine…

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Tomorrow, I will winterize our trailer, pack the remaining bags in my truck and say good bye to Mount Desert Island.  We have been blessed in so many ways these past three seasons.. enjoying working with great people,  exploring Acadia National Park, living in a beautiful setting, meeting interesting people…  but as this chapter draws to an end, we are also eager to begin a new one in an equally stunning part of Maine, taking on new responsibilities,  learning new skills, making new friends…  stay tuned!

 

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Sunsets in Bar Harbor

sunset 1

The past month or so, I have had the opportunity to fill in as a deck hand on the Margaret Todd, sailing out of Bar Harbor.  Most of the trips that I have been on have been the 2 hour ( more like an hour and a half at this time of the year)  sunset cruises.

A musician joins the crew for these trips, and the passengers are often treated to beautiful sunsets ( when the fog does not roll in) …  this post is simply a small collection of some photos I took during the last few cruises.

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taken from my position, tending the fore sail sheet…

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passenger taking part in the sing along part of the evening.. hope she turns around to enjoy the view!

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sails have been lowered, dock lines secured, and the last passenger has disembarked.. another beautiful evening on Frenchman Bay…

jt

Mount Desert Campground activities- revisited

We are always looking for new adventures, but there are so many hikes and camping activities that we enjoy year in and year out… can one ever really have enough smores?   Our opportunities to hike here on the island have been limited this season, but we were certain that we wanted to hike the Precipice Trail .. again  (and maybe yet again later this year)    Last week the owner of the campground and his son joined us on the Precipice Trail..  the weather was picture perfect, so I will let the pictures tell the story…

precipice1obviously, near the start.. lots of energy left.. no anxiety 🙂

precipice2

these ladders used to bother Janet..

precipice3great views all along the way… if you are not too focused on where to take the next step…

precipice6at many points along the trail, it is a good idea to be focused on where to put the next step!

precipice5the Porcupine Islands off in the distance…

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sometimes it is hard to decide.. hold on?  or grab the phone to take another picture 🙂

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getting close to the top..  that is the  Holland American Line ship  Maasdam   at anchor in Bar Harbor.. the same ship that brought us to Bar Harbor on our Honeymoon 11 years ago.. precipice8

made it to the top.. not exactly in record time, but we did just fine for the first significant ascent of the season..

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Bar Harbor off in the distance..

Other events worth revisiting…  Funnel Cake Friday!

funnelcakefriday

we had the opportunity to join our fellow workampers last friday at a waterfront site that just happened to be open that evening  for funnel cakes…  this is a favorite .. I am sure that we will do this once again before the end of the season…

The Margaret Todd..

last year I worked part time as a deckhand aboard the MT… not much time for that sort of thing this year, but I did get a call to see if I could fill in for a trip, so last night I joined my former crew mates for a sunset cruise…MT 2

Unfortunately, we did not see a whole lot of sun, but we did enjoy a nice breeze with plenty of time of sailing along with no engine…  it was nice to once againe feel the deck beneath my feet, to enjoy the activity of tending the sails, to chat with passengers, and to rejoin the members of the crew for an evening..

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We will never tire of visiting Mount Desert Island … so much to see and do…

jt    cp23_1983@yahoo.com

August Light

august light 1There are all sorts of clues which remind us that the summer season is quickly drawing to a close…  Last night the temperature dipped into the 40’s, and we felt compelled to turn on the heater in our RV for a while this morning.   Kids are talking about the upcoming school year, and a family who was camping next to us had to leave earlier than planned because the father had to attend an event at the school where he works.   The swarms of mosquitoes ( ever present in Maine)  seem a little smaller, and the bees have made their presence known.. perhaps a bit more than in years past…

But one of the most striking signs is the light..  of course, there is less of it…  the sun vanished well before 8 pm last night, but we have enjoyed that special glow that is a hallmark of August Sunsets… and last night was particularly special.   The picture above is looking from our site across the road to B7 and to the sound beyond…

I took this as we were leaving for a walk around the campground.   We took a detour down to the docks and spent way more time there than we imagined… doing what we so love.. talking with campers, in this case, with a family who had just arrived for their first stay at Mount Desert Campground..    They could not have arrived on a nicer day.

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low tide on Somes Sound…

august light 3sailboats hidden from view behind  “The Lamb”  , a large rock next to our floats which barely break the surface at high tide…

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We will never get tired of this scene….

jt     cp23_1983@yahoo.com

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?

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( 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….

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but we got a little to close  😦

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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.

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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

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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!