Blog, Hiking, Travel, Trips

Maine – the first adventure of the summer!

I officially checked out for summer break at noon on Thursday, June 15th and then it was off to the races. Managed to pack for a week of traveling that was at least 24hours round trip. If you haven’t been in the car with me for longer than 30minutes then you know I have the tendency to get car sick.Sitting up front really helps but I have to be watching the road the whole time so no reading or Instagram scrolling. Sleeping is another option but I can’t do that the whole time either. Especially when Connecticut and Massachusetts were the WORST states to drive through (Jersey is always bad but that’s a given). On the way up and back those states happened to be the places where we started to hit our breaking point. We were hungry or tired or just restless being in a car that long. Riding straight up on I-95 is NOT my idea of a good time. Unless you enjoy the constant traffic, road construction, rest stops that are flooded with other travelers that are trying to get their fix on super-sized burgers then this is the place for you.

We made a stop in Boston for the Dead & Company show at Fenway Park. As an Orioles fan, it pains me to say I actually enjoyed the stadium. It’s no Camden Yards or Nationals Park but the history it is built on and the surrounding streets really create an atmosphere. Aside from Shakedown Street set up across the parking lot.

The next day we hit the highway and it was starting to get old. A girl can only take Grateful Dead music, Clif bars, and crappy bathroom stops for so long. It finally got good when we arrived into Belfast that led into Mt. Desert Island. The small town charm along the coast line was exactly what I was expecting.

Southwest Harbor House

Eight of us stayed for a week and explored the island in any true travelers’ fashion. We ate local lobster that friends’ of ours told us would be cheap but I see it as the equivalent to buying a half bushel of crabs, it’s good and hurts the wallet at the same time. We made a few wrong turns and found some really cool spots away from the crowds. Our hike up around Echo Lake is a prime example and it reminded me of the scene in Lord of the Rings where they yell, “GET OFF THE ROAD!” We were walking back probably a little too dehydrated and feeling a runner’s high, or at least I was, from climbing up the mountain and now making the easier hike down. It was Katie, Patrick, Kevin, and myself who went up the mountain but on that day we came down as Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn, and Samwise Gamgee. HA!

The market in Southwest Harbor had a Doose’s Market feel to it. Just about everything you could need in a small town store that was filled with local charm. They could tell we were from out of town and the conversation started when they heard us mispronouncing Ogunquit. I want to see you try. So then we got around to asking them why on any given day is there fog in spots but others are as clear as day. They laughed and said,

At least you didn’t ask why all of the boats anchored in the harbor are all facing the same direction.

We got caught in the fog and basked in the sun’s glory across the water. Had to take a taxi where the driver was a politically outspoken local who at first made me fear for my life with his maneuvering across the road. His political standpoint was sound but it was definitely different to see him in a sea of people who weren’t actually from there. He told us that during the summer months most of the island is filled with New Yorkers that come up for a getaway and the locals are the ones who stick it out during the off season. Everything shuts down and it’s hard to get anywhere. Kevin loved the sound of staying up during the winter. Snow adventures are not on my list but I might have to make the trek…eventually.

The fog at Thunder Hole
Bar Harbor cruise for Whales and Puffins
Bass Harbor Lighthouse from the rocks – lighthouse on the other side of trees – OOPS!
“Ashley don’t fall!”
Echo Lake and the “quiet side” of Mt. Desert Island
Model pose overlooking Echo Lake
My drink of choice as we were waiting for our taxi
Cadillac Mountain featuring Bob and Patrick

Baxter State Park

This place is a must see. I’m afraid to even post this because it might make it lose its cool factor but here goes nothing. Originally our plan was to hike to the top of Mt. Katahdin, the tallest peak in Maine and the final summit of the Appalachian trail going northbound. At the park, it would be ~11 miles roundtrip with rock scrambles of all kinds no matter what trailhead you decide to take up. I wanted to avoid the Knife’s Edge at all cost and I thought it would be inspiring to take the path that so many others would cross this year as they reach the end of their 2,200-mile adventure. Due to many different factors leading up to this hike, we decided to do a quick two-mile walk instead to the waterfall that appears on the Appalachian trail, also known as Hunt trail in the park. This was recommended to us by the park ranger at the visitor center. We spoke to him when we arrived and on our way out we had to personally thank him for the advice. He told us stories of this beautiful place and its history with its many lakes and outlets of secludedness. That lit a fire in Kevin’s adventurous spirit. Now I have deep snow added to the bucket list and a week long canoe camping excursion where we would have a whole lake to ourselves. We call dibs first!

Goodbye Baxter State Park, we will be back!

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