Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Mt. Desert 2018

This was our second year at Mt. Desert Campground. It really is a great spot and our site across from the docks is perfect.
Our site does not have a direct water view, but it more than makes up for it in other amenities. It is large, has power, is relatively private, has parking with space for the trailer, and is just across the road from the docks. Oh, it also has two trees that are perfect for hanging a hammock.
This year was more laid back than last year. We stayed an extra two days and after last year, we felt less pressure to knock things off of the list. We still wanted to be active everyday and had a rough list, but things just didn't feel as rushed.
After the first morning, we gave up on coffee making. The campgrounds gathering spot has excellent coffee and pastries every morning. Bug and I loved the pastries and the coffee was way better than anything we were going to make at the camp site. So, every morning a pilgrimage was made for sugary carbs and coffee.
Unlike last year, I managed to get out kayaking every morning. It was the perfect way to start the day. The top of Somes Sound is protected and easy paddling. It also happens to be packed full of wild life. Everyday brought new surprises. One day it was seals; another day it was porpoises; another day it was eagles. Just an hour or two in the morning made the whole day brighter.
We also discovered the joy of the free island shuttles. It made getting into and out of the park much easier. We didn't have to struggle to find parking at the most crowded spots in the park. It also had the added bonus of forcing us to stop in Bar Harbor center for ice cream.
Our only "required" activity was the traditional hike up Gorham Mt. to collect blue berries. The hike also involves a visit to Thunder Hole. At the beginning of the hike there was not so much thunder, but when we returned the hole was in good form. The hike also includes me trying, unsuccessfully, to convince H to let Bug and I do the Beehive trail. Hopefully, I will wear her down before I get too old to manage the Beehive....
We also did another nice hike from Echo Lake to the summit of Beech Mountain. H had planned out a nice short hike from the Beech Mt. trailhead and then figured we could drive down to Echo Lake beach for a nice dip. Then I looked at the map.... I found a route from the Echo Lake parking lot to the summit that looked easy peasy and only added a mile or so to the hike. It was another reminder that I should not be allowed to plan hikes. My addition to the hike did save us the hassle of parking twice, but it made for a much more challenging hike. It doubled the elevation and length of the hike. I like to think it added some nice extra views and made the swimming that much sweeter...
For biking we rode the Eagle Lake loop. We choose it because it offered some nice views and was recommended by the guide books as being good for kids. The guide book was spot on. The trail has a gradual climb along the east side of the lake followed by a nice descent back to the parking lot. At six miles, it is just long enough to be a challenge, but not too long. Everyone enjoyed the ride. Bug got a little speed happy on the descent and she and I ended up leaving H in the dust for part of the ride. We need to work on the whole making sure the group stays together thing...
H and Bug took the Island Explorer back to Bar Harbor. I decided to return to the center via Witch Hole Pond. The beginning of the ride was nice and flat until I hit the road. The last part of the ride into down was on the roads. The first stretch of road was an epic down hill on a closed road. Then I road into town along the water front. It was a nice little addition to the ride.
The family kayaking trip was short. The day we were supposed to paddle, Bug and I had a hard time getting our acts together. To H's chagrin, we didn't get onto the water until well after lunch. We managed to get out of the campground's cove and maybe a mile down the coast before it was time to turn back. Bug is not a huge kayaker and a sit-on-top is not an ideal platform for cold water kayaking.  Despite the short distance, we had a nice time.
Even the only hiccup on the trip turned out to be a blessing in surprise. Unbeknownst to us, our cell plan, which has unlimited on-network data, caps roaming data. While T-Mobile has great coverage in a lot of places, Maine is not one of those places. I burned through my roaming data on the drive up between maps and streaming music. H burned through hers shortly after I did. So, we spent most of the week off the grid. We could squeeze in bits of internet at the Gathering Place's wi-fi when we were desperate. Being off the grid was a nice break from the constant barrage of bad news.
The whole vacation was refreshing and rejuvenating. So much so, that we booked the same site for next year.

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