Sunday, August 28, 2005

The perfect vacation...even with pee

We are back from a week on Mount Desert Island in Maine. There is no finer place in the state; I am sure of this. We stayed in a charming cottage on Frenchman's Bay, into which we settled immediately upon arriving on Saturday evening. You can see the domestic bliss for yourself.

Across from Phil and Joe Pete is a lovely fireplace crackling away and adding rather effectively to the charm of the place. On our second night, we toasted marshmallows and made s'mores.

Sunday, our first day of hiking, was gray and misty and foggy. This was not so much a problem as perhaps it sounds. We hiked Parkman and Bald Mountains--lovely hikes. Ok, so we couldn't see the view, but we have seen Acadia National Park views before and knew we would see them again. We enjoyed the coolness of the day and will likely do these hikes again--they were so fun! The pups are amazing hikers. They even help pull us up at the steepest parts. Joe Pete, who whimpered and had to be lifted off of the bed, will scale equally high clefts of rock above ravines with no difficulty. Instincts, I guess. Here is the view we saw from the top of Parkman. I'm sure there was ocean and mountain out there, but we couldn't see it (and my glasses kept fogging up which struck me was funny rather than annoying--it's quite something to literally walk in the clouds).

Monday dawned beautiful and clear and took us up Acadia Mountain. Not too high but steep in places and fun to climb, and the summit was sheer delight. Here is a better sense of the view from these mountain peaks.

Miss Otis was eager to go over the ledge behind us--an actual trail--but we had already planned to go back the way we came, so we're saving that particular route down for another day.

Tuesday involved a trip to the beach below our cabin, and I mean BELOW. At high tide, the stairs down end in deep water. At low tide, there is a wide rocky shore to explore. All along the coast are enormous sea caves. We'd be done for without scuba gear in this very spot at high tide!

After the beach walk, we hiked up St. Sauveur, Acadia's twin peak (sort of). There was no view at the top--too many trees, but a short hike from there to Valley Peak provided us with one of the best lunch spots we found all week. Joe Pete appreciated views more than Miss Otis who, when she wasn't sharing our snacks, wanted to GO GO GO!!! Here is Joe Pete and the view.

Wednesday was our big hike day. We hiked up Penobscot (the first mountain we ever hiked in Acadia some years back) and from there went on to Sargent Mountain, the second highest peak on the island. The first highest is Cadillac Mountain. We hiked that on our first trip. While I feel very accomplished for having done such a hike, getting to the top is rather a disappointment. The view is spectacular, but Cadillac is the only mountain in the park with a road that goes to the top of it. So after a long, hot climb, we came around the bend and found before us the following: 1) a gift shop; 2) black-stretch-pants-and-high-heeled-sandles-clad tourists; 3) a parking lot; 4) no bottled water at the gift shop (last bottle purchased by said black-clad tourist). We ate our lunch that day hunkered under some trees on a little island in the sea of pavement. So Sargent is a much more exciting place to arrive and only 200 feet shorter than Cadillac. The climb was much more pleasant, too. Here is Phil on top of Penobscot with Sargent looming in the background.

And here is what such a hike does to good hiking puppies:

We were all quite tired after our exciting climb, and the next day was spent in relaxing persuits. We spent part of the day at Seawall, a lovely spot on the southwestern side of the island. We had a little picnic, explored the tide pools, read, wrote letters, and of course, knit!! This part of our vacation is where the extraneous pee comes in. Remeber the title of this entry? Miss Otis decided, all on a whim, to pee on that blanket. Very strange. As this blanket is Joe Pete's nightly sleeping place, something had to be done, so part of the afternoon was spent at the laundry mat in Bar Harbor. You know what? We were having such a good vacation that the whole pee situation didn't dampen our spirits at all (ha ha! That's for you, dad.) We just popped the blanket into the laundry machines and walked around town a bit.

I don't think the following qualifies as extreme knitting, but it would if it were high tide. I'd be about ten feet under water. I didn't end up starting my new project. I just worked on my good ol' scarf. It's got two balls of yarn into it now, and I think it will just take one more to be an appropriate length (and boy hasn't it already been around my kneck several times! What joys!)

We also drove up Cadillac to catch a sunset.

Our last full day found us in a Kayak on Great Long Pond (which was in fact both great and long). The pups missed out on this adventure, but I think they were happy to have the day off. I'll admit to being terrified as we started out. I have not kayaked before (ok, once in Hawaii but that seemed strangely less frightening and tippy). After a while, though, I settled in and had fun. We found a lovely little island in the middle of the pond on which to have our lunch, and Phil even went for a swim. I also (I can't believe I'm blogging this) took my first pee in the woods on that little island. It was quite a liberating experience, if not a bit drafty. Here is Phil at our lunch spot (see the kayak? And what a view!!)

I'm leaving out lots about our trip, like tea on the lawn at Jordan Pond (Phil had lemonade, but I dutifully had a pot of delicious tea). We ate baked brie and fresh popovers. Also tomato basil bisque and a yummy salad. We also ate at the most delicious steakhouse on the planet (sorry, ye vegetarians). The place is called Jack Russell's, named after a rather fiesty Jack Russell terrier who didn't like people, dogs, fun, or any of the usual dog persuits but who did like good food and good beer. Anyhow, I liked eating at a place named after a pooch, and they made the very best onion rings ever. These were so good that on our last day we stopped in and picked up an order to go. I took a picture of them, but as Phil pointed out, they only look good to me. To the average viewer who didn't share the experience, a photo of fried food looks rather unpleasant. Let's see...what else? We tasted wine at a winery and beer at a brewery (and bought some of each). We enjoyed the town of Bar Harbor, of course. I love tourists. We had great meals and did a speck of shopping. We walked out to Bar Island, only reachable on foot at low tide. Phil had blueberry pancakes and I had blueberry pie for breakfast. We ate blueberries we picked on the trail (but only ones way back from the edge, having watched Joe Pete water a few of the bushes close to the path). One night our dinner consisted entirely of yummy cheese and a loaf of bread. I'm noticing that my non-hiking adventures are pretty much centered around food. So be it. We ate and hiked our way through a glorious week.

If you've read this far, thanks for sticking it out. I enjoyed remembering these moments and will be glad to have this record! (I also kept notes about each day in my journal.)

School starts--gasp!--tomorrow for teachers, Wednesday for students, but I need to remember that vacations wouldn't be half so fabulous if they happened every day, right? Thanks of course to my pups and my honey for such a perfect week (and to Julie and Maureen and their partners who watched Milton back at home...from all counts he, too, had a great week.)


Sorka said...

Ahhh you make me even more excited for Friday to come (even with all the packing and cleaning that needs to be done!)
We are headed up there for a week! It is beautiful in Acadia! I love it! And hopefully I will get a little more hiking in this time. Last time I was mondo pregnant!
Looks like you had fun! Too bad you will be in school! I'm up for some extreme beach knitting~

obscure said...

With all that hiking, you certainly deserved to eat well and often. It's still too hot to bake down here, so I haven't tried the lemon blueberry cake recipe yet. However, my daughter and grandaughter went blueberrying locally and we made blitzes with peaches, mangoes and slightly runny (so as to be less sweet) blueberry jam. And no hiking was involved!

Franklin said...

How would you feel about a coupla gay guys coming out to camp and hike with you next year? We're good with dogs and we like to share the cooking duties.

No need to answer now. Just consider, consider.

Buzz said...

love LOVE the dog pictures :)

obscure said...

Loved Rabbitch's comment to Franklin about the seagulls you put in harm's way! My OS is so old and demented that I can't comment on his blog--the protection is to much for this machine.

Take those gay guys along next time, but watch out for the local fauna.