Sunday, November 29, 2015

Maine or Bust--St. John, Acadia National Park, and Home

After leaving Baxter State Park, we did laundry and disposed of our garbage.  Then we drove north to St. John, Canada.  Why, you may ask, mostly, because we could.  It was a nice drive but we were ready to get to our hotel and showers.  We stopped at an old train station just over the border.  It was a good place to stretch our legs.

McAdams Railway Station, Canada

We went to check out the Reversing Falls in St. John and saw it a couple of times.  Nature is so fascinating.  We went to church there on Sunday and everyone was very friendly.  Mostly people were perplexed as to why we'd driven to St. John for church.  So was I : )  We just like to drive and what is a road trip without a stop over in another country when it's so close--yes a couple of hours is close.

Morning walk along the ocean

That Sunday night we drove back down to the States and set up camp in Acadia National Park.  We decided to do a 3 mile hike from Sand Beach, up and around, Gorham Mountain.  Along the coast there were several little trails leading to granite outcroppings and tide pools.  The tide was out so we were able to explore a bit.  It was really quite fun.  I hope to do it again when I don't have a baby strapped to me.  It was a nice morning but gradually the fog rolled in while we were at ground level.  It burned off a bit as we got higher up the mountain but we still couldn't see very far at the top.  On the mountain, we found wild blueberries, for which Maine is famous.  The kids loved to stop and pick them though we were anxious they keep moving.

Granite Blocks.  These were really fun to climb and jump around on.

Tide pools among the granite.

Hiking up the mountain

Wild blueberries

Almost there!!

We walked down to Sand Beach after going up the mountain.  It was the carrot to keep the kids going.  We ate lunch and the kids played on the beach.  There were quite a few people swimming but the water was cold.   After a bit the sun came out and burned off the rest of the fog.  That night we enjoyed our first and possibly only Lobster Dinner.  We drove to the far end of the island and while the kids dined on grilled cheese and hot dogs, I ate a Maine Lobster Roll and Hyrum cracked his way through a lobster dinner.  We were both underwhelmed by the lobster but the experience was fun and one we will remember forever.

Playing in the sand

Rocks near the lighthouse on Mount Desert Island

The only lighthouse we saw on our trip

Lobster dinner!!

Night falls on the lobster boats

The next day we had hoped to take the kids on a carriage ride among the many carriage roads established by John D. Rockefeller.  Apparently though, they are quite popular and were booked until after we left.  We decided to hike around Jordan Pond, in which we included some walking on the carriage roads.  We were able to take in the interesting bridges and enjoy nature.  At one stop on a bridge over a stream we saw several toads.  The day started sunny but the fog found us again.  This time it was extremely thick and oppressive.  we drove up Cadillac mountain hoping to see some great views but we were very disappointed.  We went back to camp for dinner.  We soon found our beds as the fog was so thick that all night we had so much water dripping on our tent, it sounded like it was raining.

Fog is cold and makes us all feel a little foggy!

Our Wednesday adventure took us over the sand bar causeway to Bar Island.  On the way over we stopped and looked among the tide pools for shells and living creatures.  We did see a small crab and a hermit crab.  The kids found plenty of shells to bring home.  We hiked on the island and made it safely back before the tide came in.  We wandered around Bar Harbor for bit, bought some souvenirs and truffles for the kids.  We decided we'd give Cadillac Mountain another try and after waiting a bit for parking, enjoyed much clearer views than the day before.  The wind was going though and we only spent a bit of time there before the kids and I drove back to our campsite.   Hyrum decided this was a prime opportunity to practice hiking without little feet as he was preparing for a backpacking trip with some buddies a few weeks later.

to Bar Island

Looking from Bar Island to Bar Harbor

View from Cadillac Mountain

The next day we broke camp and headed down the coast.  We met some Texas friends at Seabago Lake and enjoyed some time with them before heading back to their house for a couple of days.  The kids warmed up fast and it was great to visit with the Josh and Reianna and their kids.  Good friends are hard to come by and we have been so happy to see a couple of ours this summer.  It was hard to leave the Cambridges but we were ready to get home. 

Kids enjoying popcorn and an afternoon movie while it rained outside

The kids and their buddies

We drove south and stopped at Battleship Cove.  Jonathan had been really disappointed about not being able to take the carriage ride so we found a place with several WWII era naval boats.  Jonathan has been really interested in WWII so it was a perfect stop for him.   On Sunday we drove through NYC.  It was really my first time seeing the city in daylight.  It was really fun though we only drove through it.  We drove right by the Empire State Building.  Someday I'll go back and experience the city.  Late Sunday night we pulled into our house.  It was good to be back in our own beds.

NYC--Empire State Building in the background

This trip was such a blessing for our family.  We saw wonderful things and spent quality time together as a family.  The challenge is maintaining that connection all the time.  There were hard moments and tests of our strength and character but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. 

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