Frenchman’s Bay Conservancy

We had been here before when we hiked Schoodic Mountain a few weeks ago. There are many more trails here so we knew we would be back! The hike was along ridges overlooking great views and through some beautiful Maine woodlands. No big ups or downs today, just a wonderful saunter in the great outdoors!

This area offers so much of what Maine is all about…Pine forests, mossy bogs, the sounds of Hermit Thrushes just out of sight, boulders the size of mini vans…… and mosquitos…..!

We meandered around for several hours just enjoying the total Maine emersion. We do feel blessed to have this opportunity and are doing our best not to take it for granted. We even found a friend out doing the same thing!

Another of the unexpected highlights was coming across a stone stairway in the middle of our hike.

We finished the hike back along the ledges and enjoyed a nice cool breeze working its way in from the sea.

Kayaking Patten Pond!

A beautiful sunny day beckoned us to get out on the pond so off we went! One of the perks here is the kayaks are free as long as no one else wants them… We grabbed two and were off to see what we could find.

There are two islands in the pond. We stopped at the first to have a look and scope out possible tent sites for an overnight. Much to our delight there were no mosquitos because there is nothing warm blooded on the island! There is a doable tent site so that is good news! As we wandered around we came upon a plethora of blooming wildflowers highlighted by Lady slippers.

We headed on to see what we could find on the other island. We had been told there was a cabin anyone could stay in overnight so we were eager to find it. On the way to the island a loon popped up next to us which was exciting and frustrating because the camera was stowed away in a safe place..

We arrived at the island and found the cabin…with locks on the door and all the windows…. Not sure what is up with that but we will find out! We wandered around and found a couple enormous shelf mushrooms! We made it to a sandy point only to find some butterflies hanging out on the beach. Suzie took the opportunity to take her first swim of the season also!!

We headed back for now knowing we will be back many times this summer to enjoy the solitude this area will provide!!!

Summer employment at Patten Pond

When we were looking for our first gig we were looking for something off the beaten path but close enough to experience all Maine has to offer. We have found it! Patten Pond Campground is 25 miles from Bar Harbor and Acadia. You will find us three quarters of a mile down a gravel road nestled along the shore of a 749 acre pond.

The park has full hook up sites for RVs of all sizes, 3 apartments, 5 cabins, and 2 tiny house cottages. There is also a cottage that overlooks the pond from about 10 feet away.

There is plenty to do here from the play ground for the kids, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, bike rentals, and canoe and kayak rentals.

Suzie and I have settled into our roles with a great group of coworkers. Suzie is part of the office staff fielding phone calls, taking reservations, running the camp store, and handling housekeeping for the apartments and cabins. My role is working with the maintenance crew keeping the grounds mowed, fire pits cleaned, filling propane, keeping the bathhouse clean, and doing pump outs with the “Honey Wagon”…. All in all a pretty sweet gig!

Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory

Fort Knox…The one in Maine not Kentucky!!!

Another day off so off we went!!! We didn’t have to go too far this time though, about 12 miles down the road to Fort Knox. This fortification is one of the best preserved on the New England coastline. Built from quarried granite and into the hillside overlooking the Penobscot Narrows it is quite the forbidding fortress. Construction began in 1844 and finished in 1869.

Suzie and I being the history geeks we are were like pigs in slop!!! We spent 3 hours pouring over every nook and cranny, enjoying all the architectural thought that goes into these buildings…. So much more than the forts of my childhood out in the woods…

We always find it interesting reading about the daily life of the soldiers. Seeing the living conditions of the Enlisted men and that of the Officers. Trying to imagine the concussion to the body just from firing the cannons while enclosed by granite walls…

The fort was manned during the Civil War and the Spanish American War but never had a reason to fire any of these massive cannons. The greatest challenge would have been from blackflies, mosquitos, and boredom….

Penobscot Narrows Observatory

Next up was the Observatory which is right next door. This is the tallest bridge observatory open to the public in the world. The elevator travels up 420 feet in 50 seconds. Yes you do get that butterfly feeling way down deep when the doors open and you step out looking down on the river. The views were not perfect today but we could see to the ocean and as far west as Saddleback Mountain 71 miles away. We were told on a clear day you can see the shadow of Katahdin… We may return for that!!! The price for both the fort and the observatory was $8 each for non residents. Another successful outing for the Mules!

Happy Memorial Day!

We had the day off so we wanted to make the most of it! That means we were up at 4:30 because the sun rises here at 4:45…. We have been doing some bike rides on the Down East Sunrise Trail in the evenings so we decided to get in a good stretch today.

We started biking around 7 and had the trail to ourselves for a while until the ATV’s started to make there presence known. Most of them are respectful of us lowly bicyclists but a few blow right by leaving us in a cloud of dust. We really do enjoy this trail in spite of the ATVs.

The trail passes beautiful wetlands and springs working their way down the mountains to the sea.

By the time we finished our day we had knocked out 22 miles and had given the bodies a good workout!!!

Next up, as we were heading back home we spied a little antique store so of course we stopped in to have a look. A couple of days earlier we were antiquing and came across a cast iron griddle with a gate mark on the bottom. This means it is older than the 1890’s…. It had a price tag of $125.00 so it stayed on the shelf… Today we came across another one… $18.50 is a much better price!!! All in all a great day and we finished up with hot dogs, corn on the cob, and baked beans!!!

Gulf Hagas Hike

Back in 2012 we had the opportunity to see this spectacular gorge but our minds were on getting through the 100 mile wilderness and on top of Katahdin. Seems silly now that we didn’t do the 5 and a half mile loop trail but we didn’t…

Once we paid our 20 dollar entrance fee we tracked down the parking lot for the start of the hike. We slipped out of our warm jeans and into our hiking shorts in order to ford the Pleasant River. Lets just say it was anything but pleasant.. The water was thigh high and just above freezing!!! The last time we crossed here it was ankle deep and a nice sunny August afternoon. Safe on the other side we dried off and put our boots back on to continue. Our brains were so cold we didn’t get a picture of the river… which we crossed twice. Suzie did get a shot of me crossing one of the smaller creeks.

As we got moving we were passing leftover snow and ice waterfalls. The small ponds along the trail were also frozen over. The first falls we came to was the Corkscrew Auger falls. This was just the beginning of the eye candy to come.

We wandered through the forest heading to the gorge. We knew we were getting close with the sound of roaring water. We worked our way out onto the cliff edges to take in the view of the Jaws. Suzie wasn’t happy with my vantage point…

As we moved on the cliff walls continued to climb until we were standing 150 feet above the water below. The slate walls were just so impressive and imposing. Very cool!!

The trail just kept moving in and out of the forest onto the cliffs for more views. Each more breathtaking than the last…

We finished up at the Head of the Gulf where the gorge begins and then headed back for 2 more river fords before getting back to the truck. We are not sure why the Appalachian Trail doesn’t take this trail for it’s footpath rather than parallel it a mile away… Wish we had been forced to take this route and have this memory from our AT hike.

Mules with a view…

Note to self… Never plan a hike from a 17 year old book on hiking in Maine..

We picked up a book on Great Hikes in Maine from the library the other day and decided on a hike up Schoodic Mountain on our day off. We had breakfast in town at Martha’s Diner and then headed off to the trailhead… or so we thought. I put the mountain in the GPS and off we went. After about a half an hour we seemed to be moving away from our destination so Suzie pulled out the book that said we were supposed to be on a different road so we turned around and headed in the right direction. When we arrived where the book said the trail head was it wasn’t… No sign of it!

At this point Suzie went online and got the directions from the Conservancy and we finally arrived after 2 and a half hours of chasing our tails. Not really sure what happened with the old trailhead but at some point in the last 17 years it was moved…

Right off we had a great view of our destination as we moved along a forest road heading for the climb. Not long into the hike we came upon water across the trail thanks to the local beaver. He must have been hear a while since the Conservancy had re-routed the trail.

We really enjoyed traveling through the Maine forest for several miles before we began the climb. Remember it has been a while since we have had trail legs and it showed as we huffed and puffed up the side of the mountain. As it turned out the cardiac workout was well worth the view! The 360 degree view of the Maine wilderness was breathtaking.

From this vantage point we could see all of the mountains in Acadia and the ocean as well. We had a snack and soaked up the moment we were in, realizing these moments are the reason we have chosen to spend a summer in Maine!

Day Off Outing!!

After 4 days of computer work and some hands on learning we were itching to stretch our legs. Turns out the Down East Sunrise trail is just around the corner. This is an 87 mile Rails to Trails multi-use trail that also serves as the beginning of the East Coast Greenway that runs from Maine to Key West Florida.

The trail is closed to all wheeled traffic until the 15th for mud season so we decided to take a hike! A great crushed stone base made for easy hiking and we were able to travel at the Mule’s top speed of 2.5 MPH. Lots of birds, including grouse and osprey. We even came across several beaver lodges along the way.

We did an out and back totaling 10 miles. We have decided we will be doing some training with the bikes here. Before too long we hope to get a ride to the northern terminus in Ayers Junction and ride the 87 miles back to Ellsworth. All in all a very nice diversion from our camp training!!

Mules learning new tricks!!!

We have settled in at the campground where we will be training for the next week. Suzie will be learning the computer software she will be using in the reservation and office side of her job. I will be trained on the ins and outs of maintaining a corporate RV Park.

This park is the Narrows Too RV Park located in Bar Harbor, Maine. The company also owns Desert Narrows RV Park and Patten Pond RV Park. Our summer will be spent at Patten Pond. It is our understanding that the first 2 are very fast paced and has more of a tourist cliental. Patten Pond is a little more off the beaten path and caters more to the local folks. We think this will be the best fit for us…

As you can see not only do they have RV sites there are also “Tiny Houses” and small 1 room “Cabins”. The view isn’t too bad either…

We are excited to get started on this part of our journey! We are really looking forward to getting to Patten Pond and settling in to our spot for the summer. After 3 weeks without full power we are enjoying all of the perks 30 amp 110 provides…not to mention running water!!!

Cadillac Mountain (Acadia)

A Cadillac Mountain hike was on our to do list while here in Acadia. Our day was overcast but no rain was in the forecast. We headed out about 8:30 with a gradual climb to above tree line.

It didn’t take long to heat up and start shedding layers. We came to a few bog board walks that brought back many A.T. memories. The roots and large slabs of bedrock reminded us that we are definitely in Maine!!!

We had a few glimpses of the ocean about half way up but the sea fog was hovering doing its best to block our view. As we climbed higher the fog brought us into a complete whiteout.

We were a little disappointed with the view, but not the privacy!!! The best part is we have 4 months to catch the view but the crowds will soon be here! We really hadn’t given it much thought when we arrived in late April that no one would be here but we are happy it turned out that way. Next week we begin training for our Camp Host positions, for now we will keep enjoying our own private Acadia.