Last day of our trip and a long drive ahead. Today started as many of our travel days have: wake up, eat something, pack up sleeping bags and pads, move tent contents to car, take down tent, pack it into the back of the car last. We’ve done this so much that we’re almost on auto pilot.
Our drive home was supposed to take five and a half hours. Add a couple of hours when you have kids. Construction on the Interstate also slowed things a bit. We arrived home just after 6PM.
Since we left two weeks ago we’ve covered 2,230 road miles, nine states, and two national parks. I didn’t record our miles hiked but I’d say quite a few. The kids did a really good job scaling mountains and I’m very proud of their “I can do it” attitudes!
So what’s the next adventure? Only time will tell.
Today is waterfall day! Basically this is Amanda’s only reason for coming on vacation.
First up was a hike to Raymondskill Falls. Hard packed trails greeted us and made the hike easy. The falls were active and full. Elise spotted a snake attempting to sun itself on a stick. All-in-all, a nice waterfall to visit.
Next was a stop at the Dingmans Falls Visitor Center. The kids started their Junior Ranger program. We then walked down the boardwalk-like path to see both Silver Thread Falls and Dingmans Falls. These, too, were very pretty.
After lunch we went up to the Pocono Environmental Education Center. There are many hiking trails here and Amanda chose the Tumbling Waters Trail to hike while I fought off a migraine in the car.
We were all fairly tired by the time we got back to the tent. Amanda read a bit and then we were all asleep.
Oh boy, another travel day. This time we were headed to Dingmans in Pennsylvania. What was supposed to be a three-hour trip took longer due to several iterations of road constructions.
Overnight the skies opened up and rained down water in great quantities. It was a calming noise for those of us on the bottom bunks. Apparently the top bunks were quite loud.
Upon arrival at Dingmans the weather radio was squawking about a line of severe thunderstorms heading our way. The tent went up and we put the rain cover on it for the first time since Camden Hills. As we headed out for supper the storms hit dropping a lot of rain.
Word from Maine is that similar conditions are occurring there as well. Looks like we left just in the nick of time.
Did I mention the rainbow? At supper, just after the downpour, a teacher at a table behind us very excitedly began pointing out the window and inviting the kids to “come and see”. A double rainbow had formed in the sky just minutes after the downpour ended. The wait staff was quite confused when most of their customers got up and walked out. I informed them that we’d be back shortly. At one point they even came out to see what all the fuss was about. I was busily explaining the physics behind rainbows, light, and whatnot that I forgot about our food coming. That left Amanda alone at a table for four with lots of food and no guests!
Showers were had by all when we returned to camp and then Mom (Amanda) read the rest of a book to the kids. It wasn’t long before little snores were heard from all the sleeping bags.
The forecast said rain. With the exception of Camden Hills we haven’t really experienced any adverse weather along our trip. Today showed the possibility of sustained precipitation with thunderstorms. With that in mind, we hit the trails early.
The climb to the top of Carpenters Rocks wasn’t difficult but the mosquitoes were thick. Walk and they were like a fog around you. Stop and they were on you faster than you could swat them away.
At the overlook, a rock lay atop a ~50-foot cliff that overlooked the west. It was a beautiful spot to sit and watch the distant happenings.
The hike down was faster than the ascent with fewer biting insects. The rest of the day was just a lazy day. Amanda and the kids went down to the pond where Harlan took a chunk out of his knee. It was shortly thereafter that the rain began. Thankfully we were in a yurt and wouldn’t have to worry about packing up wet stuff for our journey to Pennsylvania.
There were thunderstorm watches and warning and then came the flood warnings. I haven’t looked but I suspect several inches of rain fell over the area.
We ended the evening with pizza at a local restaurant before returning to camp to head to bed. The rain lulled us to sleep fairly early. Tomorrow we head to Dingmans in Pennsylvania.
Ugh, another travel day and this one would be long. Today we bid farewell to Maine and start heading south back towards home. Our destination is Wells State Parks in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. There isn’t really anything of interest here except it’s along our way and we get to stay in a yurt! But first we have to leave the Schootic Peninsula.
The kids had been working on their Junior Ranger programs for Acadia National Park since we arrived. They had to do lots of observations, a ranger program, and other fun stuff to complete the program. Before we left, we stopped by the ranger’s station and the kids got to prove their worth and get sworn in. Mom and Dad also got sworn in (I think we got credit for helping!). And then it was on to the road for us all.
The trip was long and mostly uneventful. Upon arrival at the park it was announced that everyone would be taking a shower. Showers had been a spotty experience since our arrival in Acadia since none of the campgrounds had them. Luckily, there were hot showers right across from our yurt. I’m not sure if we clogged the drains with our B.O. but we all felt better, or were instructed to feel better, by Amanda, post shower. Then it was lights-out! I had no problems going to sleep after the long car ride. I don’t think anyone else did either.
We can see Canada from here! Well, lets not get ahead of ourselves. Somewhere along our route I saw an advertisement for the lighthouse that is furthest east in the U. S. A. Everyone seemed to be on-board for the two-hour drive along the coast toward Lubic.
The scenery was beautiful along the way. Lots of fur trees and inlets. When the trees would part you could see mountains or islands or both!
The West Quoddy Head Light Station isn’t along a Main(e) thoroughfare. You have to actually look for it if you’re going to get there. Several turns off of US-1 and we arrived at the red and white-stripped structure.
The light station sits on a piece of land that juts out into the water a bit. This point of land is designated the Easternmost Point in the U. S. A. The island across the way? Canada. The island to the north? Canada, too. We’re surrounded!
We explored the grounds and the house that is now a visitors center. Lots of history documented here.
We then hiked the Coast Guard Trail which had some nice views from on top of steep bluffs. The trail circled around back to the parking lot, which makes it easy to return to the vehicle when done.
Everyone was hungry for some meal. We didn’t know exactly what time it was as my phone had thought I had travelled too closely to the ocean and, thus, was stuck in the Atlantic Time Zone. Amanda’s phone would only associate with Canadian cellular providers. It was a technological fiasco. Not that it mattered much to us, really. I was mostly amused by the whole thing.
We went into the Village of Lubic for a late lunch and ate at a nice little restaurant (Frank’s) that overlooked the water. The Mulholland Point Light was clearly visible on the opposite shore but it’s difficult to explain the absurdities of political borders to kids who just want to cross a bridge and go visit another lighthouse.
After lunch we walked around the Water Street area a bit and visited the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial. The seals were out fishing in the narrows which was fun to watch.
We drove back through Cutler and was surprised to see a perfect view of the one station I always wanted to get orders to but never could: NCTAMSLANT Det Cutler. This radio station has one purpose in life: letting the our submarines know they have mail. The mission is simple but extremely important. And, hey, they have huge antennas (two of them!).
By the time we got back to camp the kids were exhausted. We ended the day by looking for shooting stars in the cloud-free sky.
Today we packed up and headed over to the Schoodic Peninsula. If you have a vision of what Wild Maine looks like, this is probably it. Much less traveled by tourists, there aren’t as many tourist amenities over here.
The campground is newer here. It’s nice to have a fresh, new place to stay.
Before making it over to the Schoodic Peninsula we stopped at the Common Good Cafe, again, for breakfast. The threat of almost having twenty ukulele players on the weekends nearly came true. There were roughly twenty musicians playing instruments but the instruments were everything from formal to homemade, double-base to fiddle. It was quite awesome.
Back on the peninsula, we took a short along Lower Harbor Trail that overlooks Frenchman Bay. The tide was out so the kids spent time slipping on the rocks before giving up and just sitting down. Another star-filled night lulled us to sleep as another day is done.
Our last full day on Desert Island began with breakfast at Little Notch Cafe and Bakery. Quite tasty! Then we hiked up Beech Mountain to explore the historic fire tour that is open for tours on Saturday mornings only. We made it with just minutes to spare.
The tower was only in service a few years (from the mid-60s to the mid-70s) but replaced an older wooden shed that was on the same site. Desert Island has had several devastating forest fires in recorded history. Now fire watches are done by aircraft and satellite.
It should be noted that Harlan and Elise both hiked up Beech Mountain mostly unaided. They are both becoming accomplished hikers. Harlan is experimenting with rock climbing now, too. In the parking lot of Beech Mountain is a large boulder. Harlan wanted to climb it when we got there but was convinced to wait until we returned. Upon returning, Harlan noted there were two guys on top of the boulder. These guys were experienced rock climbers, Harlan was not. That said, he made it to within three feet of the top before needing help. One of the experienced hikers climbers grabbed him and hoisted him up. He was quite proud of himself until he realized he’d have to get down. Because he had received assistance getting up, he was unsure of how to get down. A rescue mission was launched and Harlan eventually slid down holding on to me, the guy who had helped him up, and a tree. With everyone back on the ground we headed for lunch.
No trip to Maine can be complete without a visit to a lighthouse. We met this requirement at the Bass Harbor Light Station. This was followed by more shoreline rock climbing.
While Elise and I napped, Amanda and Harlan went to a nearby camp store to take a shower. We then went into town to get supper at the Quietside Cafe. Very yummy food and excellent service.
One week on the road and we’re in full explore mode. Today started with a stop at the Common Good Soup Kitchen and Cafe. We learned about this place the last time we were here. Since then, they have moved their operation and simplified their menu.
After breakfast we hit the Park Loop Road and, once parked, hiked to Thunder Hole. No big waves today so no thunder or big splashes but it’s still cool to watch.
We then drove down to Otter Point and climbed on the rocks and watched the water. A couple of splashes got close to Harlan but he didn’t seem to notice or mind.
We then headed into town for lunch at Jalepenos in Bar Harbor. Nothing quite says Maine like Mexican food…
A quick walk over to Bar Island via the sand bar, now exposed at low tide, and we were on our way to Cadillac Mountain for sunset views and stargazing. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t heed our suggestions to take a nap before we got to the mountain, so, of course, as soon as the sun went down, both of them fell asleep… on the rocks… on Amanda. After fumbling over the rocks with the kids in the dark, we packed them into the car and drove them back to the tent.
Owl conference. Not sure when it started or ended but there was definitely a meeting going on. It was pretty cool listening to the owls calling and answering each other. Just another benefit to camping outdoors.
When the sun came up, and everyone had awoken, we had pancakes with blueberries in them. The pancakes were courtesy of Dave who has a history of being our “cookie” on camping trips. The food is always great.
After packing everything up into the car we drove up to Mount Battie. Similar views to what we had seen from yesterday’s hike but it was a lot easier to get to. The kids enjoyed climbing the stone tower and exploring the nearby hiking trails.
It was here we said goodbye to Dave and Lila who were heading west while we were headed north-northeast.
We made it to the next town up when we found the perfect stop: a laundromat attached to a pizza place! While our clothes went round and round we ate lunch next door. With our bellies full, and our clothes clean, we ventured onward to Desert Island.