posts tagged with 'hiking'

early spring expedition

the expedition mostly looking at the camera

pausing for a photo

Spring is here, signaled by hard rain yesterday afternoon and much of today. So rain boots are the thing. Thursday the Stevenses were over and Eliot had his rain boots—I mean, "puddle jumpers"—and so was very disappointed to find out that the day was too cool and dry for puddles. So we suited up and all headed out for an expedition into the boggy marsh.

Harvey's and Ollie's booted feet in the marshy grass

squishy underfoot

There, naturally, we found puddles galore. It was wonderful for those of us with proper footwear, though less so for the ones in snow boots or sneakers. Luckily Bruce is big enough to be able to find alternate routes, and alternate entertainments!

Bruce crossing a log above a boggy spot

careful!

(And also big enough not to complain too much after he fell in and soaked one foot).

As well as our time in the marsh we also had lots of good walking on forest trails. Even though they were pretty icy, everyone did very well—and Zion did very well being carried in the backpack for that part of the trip, after some initial reluctance (read: "screaming"). We brought Rascal along too, and he had a wonderful time, roaming widely and checking in just enough to reassure the kids that he hadn't run away. Not that he was easy to spot at any time.

Rascal in the woods, and hard to see

he's in there somewhere

I was very proud of Harvey, who's turning into a fine hiker. Thanks to the backpack Grandma got him he can carry all his own supplies now, and it also helps him really look the part! We're looking forward to many more hikes to come this spring.

Harvey with backpack, rain boots, and stick

happy hiker

Edit: Leah took better pictures with her camera than Bridget or I did with mine. Here's one that should have been in this post to begin with:

five kids and one dada (with another kid in the backpack) marching through the marsh

the expedition's progress

more

camping 2012, day 2: all kinds of independence

the party on top of Sargent Mtn, looking to the north

on top of the world

Since we could only handle the arduous effort of hauling the boys up trails once, on Tuesday we split up. Leah, Harvey, and Zion went in to town to have some fun, and I got to hike without a child on my back for the first time since 2009! Unencumbered, I advocated for a big hike, and so we headed up Sargent Mountain, the second tallest in the park.

the party coming down a rocky slope

careful now...

Well, I say unencumbered, but I did have Rascal to contend with. At least I didn't have to carry him very much, but he was a bit of a trial at the beginning of the hike. Before we could go up we had to go down a long way, and since it was early in the walk he was raring to go and pulled constantly at the leash. It's pretty good exercise hopping down boulders down a 45° slope! When we got down to the foot of Jordan pond, we had about 1100 feet of climbing in front of us, some of it quite steep; that's when I had to lift Rascal over one particularly high step. He's good at jumps up to about three feet or so, but anything higher than that—or a consistent rock slope of more than about 60°—and he starts looking for another way around. But sometimes there isn't one! Eventually we made it to the top, and he was ready.

Rascal resting in front of the Sargent Mtn summit

and now lie down.

It was terrible hot and humid climbing up but then cold, gray, and windy on the top, so when we passed by Sargent Pond on the way down we were less inclined to want to swim than we'd been in anticipation. Still, all the boys—in fact, the males of all species in the party—went in, because how often do you have a chance to swim in a mountain pond?

Rascal and Becca in front of Sargent Pond

swimming hole

Sargent Mountain is probably the most remote peak on the east side of Acadia (keeping in mind that remoteness in this case is entirely relative!), so there aren't any reasonable loops that take in the summit. On the way back, though, we did decide to take a different route to bypass the boulder slope pictured above—coming down it was bad enough!—and on the way around Jordan Pond towards the cars we came upon someone's half-finished project.

Washington racoon poses with a beaver-gnawed tree

trying to take credit for someone else's work

Then I got dropped off back downtown where I met up with the rest of my family, and marveled at Harvey's happy independence as he ran all over the Bar Harbor village green.

Harvey running back from the fountain in the park

feeling comfortable with his surroundings

Then we did some other things, but I can't recall them because I was too tired and hungry. Luckily we eat well on these trips.

hot dog, cheeseburger, and corn and bean salad on a plate

we make sure we're well fed

more

camping 2012, day 1: end of an era

the four of us posing atop North Bubble

Rascal was there too

There are lots of reasons that we like visiting Mt Desert Island, but chief among them are climbing mountains and eating big breakfasts at Cafe This Way. This year there weren't many problems with the latter, at least.

Harvey eating oatmeal at the Cafe

breakfast luxury

Sure, Zion was a little fussy at having to wait for his food, but that was generally survivable. Mountain climbing, on the other hand, gets harder every year. Harvey weighs around 40 pounds now, so with all the other things I had to carry—plus the weight of the backpack itself—I figure my load was close to 55 pounds. Leah carried Zion in a backpack we found at a consignment sale, which wasn't entirely comfortable for either of them. Still and all, we made up a couple of hills—North Bubble and Connors Nubble—and then back along the shore of Eagle Lake.

Washington racoon (a puppet) on top of the sign for the North Bubble summit

he was also carried to the top

It wasn't a really long hike, but parts of it were pretty tough. Up to Connors Nubble was a steep climb, and the Eagle Lake path had moments of tricky scrambling over boulders. It was well worth it though, because even though neither peak was very high both of them had some great views.

some of the crowd eating lunch above Eagle Lake

not a bad lunch view

Harvey would have nothing to do with walking at the start of the expedition, but on the way down from North Bubble we convinced him to try a little bit and he did quite well, even bouncing up from a big fall. After some jostling on the descent he was even more enthusiastic about moving under his own power, and I had to work pretty hard to convince him to get back in the backpack from time to time, in the interest of finishing the hike before it got dark (and I really appreciate our friends' willingness to adapt to our radically changing pace).

Harvey hiking among boulders with Dada following

he doesn't need fancy shoes for barefoot hiking

Most impressive was the fact that Harvey did it all barefoot. It was a lot like having a hobbit in the party, what with the short stature and the curly hair and all (not to mention the constant desire for another meal). He definitely earned his stops to dip his feet in the water.

Harvey dipping his feet in Eagle Lake

a well-earned break

He walked close to a mile in total, and was doing great until he tripped over a root and bashed his big toenail pretty good; the third time he'd been bloodied on that hike alone. He was done with the backpack by that point too, so the last three-quarter miles or so I was just carrying him. The hike marked the end of Harvey's time riding up mountains in the big backpack: it was so painful we didn't try in again. Next year the pack'll hold Zion, and where Harvey can't walk he won't go.

We ended the day back at the campsite with peanut noodles and lawn bowling, both of which Harvey approved of wholly (Zion was a fan of the balls more than the noodles).

more

camping 2011: part two

the view from the top of Penobscot

looking down

More specifics. The first hike we did was Penobscot, which I thought was going to kill me. "We do this for fun," I repeated to myself as I lugged 40+ pounds of Harvey and snacks up the mountain, pausing every five steps to wipe the sweat from my eyes. It was hot and steep. Fun too, really, and not just for the reward of making it to the top; maybe I convinced myself with all the repetition. More pictures in the other post.

rocks and trees above Lower Hadlock Pond

at the foot of Norumbega

The second day we did Normumbega, which I had no particular recollection of ever having climbed before. We were a little disappointed to be denied a treeless summit, but the hike itself was beautiful and varied, if a little too bumpy for Harvey. "My butt hurts!" he exclaimed periodically for the entire second half of the hike—every five seconds or so except when I was singing him marching songs. I understand that Leah was dealing with similar complaints from Zion further back in the line. That all slowed us down considerably, but we enjoyed the frequent breaks and the opportunity they afforded us to eat cookies and consort with the local wildlife.

Harvey pointing to Washington (the puppet) Racoon's nose

"it has a nose"

The backpack is now stored away in the basement with the camping gear. Harvey may be done with it forever.

Rascal standing in shallow water

he was chasing rocks

Beyond taking them on wonderfully challenging (to us) hikes, we also introduced our friends to the eponymous bar. After breakfast we got there midway trough the ebb tide and followed the receding waters across to Bar Island. Well, some of us did: Harvey had a sleepy breakdown and couldn't go on. Before that point, though, he had a great time finding shells and rocks with Andrew and throwing them for Rascal.

Harvey and Andrew looking for shells

I think there's something alive in this one

The cooking was pretty awesome too: we divided up the dinner duty and had three very successful meals. Sadly the pictures of Harvey with a full cup of spaghetti hanging from his mouth didn't come out, nor did the ones of him lying on the ground helping Rascal lick the dishes clean. Out-of-focus attempts exist on my computer, if you want to see documentary evidence. One picture that I was delighted to find came out beautifully was the one I took of my s'more, the first ever perfect s'more that I ever created—perhaps the first in all human history. It was a moment of pure triumph.

a smore

perfection, marshmallow-style

The weather started out really hot: we were fleeing 100+ degree temps at home but didn't find things too much better as we headed north. On the drive up we went through maybe three gallons of water, and Harvey didn't spill more than a quart of that. But by the last day there when we went out to dinner with my parents (totally awesome they were there, by the way; next year we're going to try and time the whole trip to match up with their stay on the island so we can get some childcare!) everybody was bundled up against sub-60° weather. Luckily that makes some of us extra cute and cuddly.

Leah kissing a sweatshirted Zion

cozy kissy

Oh yeah, and Harvey played his first game of golf. He hasn't stopped talking about it since.

Harvey at Pirates Cove golf

not quite sure which end of the stick to hold

more

camping 2010: day 3 and 4

the archibalds up on Penobscot

windy!

The third day of the vacation began with grand plans for a big hike, before our group started to shrink due to work demands (oh, where are our European-length vacations?!). We even skipped our traditional early-morning trip to the cafe to save time, breakfasting instead on bagels, leftover pizza, and cupcakes. Unfortunately, car troubles intervened and it wasn't until after 11:00 that we finally got going, sadly without Andrew who had to make a trip to the closest Honda dealership—50 miles away in Augusta.

But it was a beautiful day, and we were well-supplied with lunches and treats, so spirits were high as we headed up the steep cliffs at the base of Penobscot Mountain. Unlike the previous day's varied hike, the way up Penobscot has basically two parts: first straight up the cliffs (though not so straight as to require any ladders) and then gradually up the ridge for a full mile. The wind got stronger and stronger as we approached the summit, and Harvey wasn't too sure if he liked it. When we finally ran out of climbing we posed for the requisite photo, and ducked into the lee of a rock to have lunch.

Rascal resting atop Penobscot

he waits for the humans to get going again

On the way down we detoured a little bit to take a dip in Sargent Pond, where the Archibalds were the only ones foolhardy enough to put their heads under. Harvey loved it, as he loves all natural bodies of water, and I wore myself out tossing him up and down. Rascal only swam a little bit, distracted as he was by another dog who dared to invade his presence.

the expedition cooling off in Sargent Pond

look who's the center of attention

The way back to the car was long but unremarkable, as Leah failed to fall in the mud like she did last time we were on this hike. Back at camp we went for a swim—civilized camping here, none off your backwoods stuff!—and headed into town for burritos. Apparently Monday is the day for band concerts in Bar Harbor, and we were lucky enough to catch part of one; but baby bedtime kept us from seeing if Mary, local saxophonist extraordinaire, was with the band that night.

Rascal fishing for stones

trying to fetch stones

The following day everyone but us was heading home, so after another delicious Cafe This Way breakfast we did some shopping in town and took another walk along the shore path. This time the warm sun encouraged us to hang around, and certain members of the group tried to show off their jumping skills and earned a good sized scrape of the knee for their troubles. Harvey was happy sitting still and playing with rocks, smart boy.

Harvey playing in the cobbles

no pictures please!

After everyone else had left we declared a rest day and headed back to camp to play on the playground, swim, and read. It was relaxing enough that we decided not to bail on our last day and head home early. That warm pool—and contemplating another long trip in the car with Harvey—even made us think about setting up permanent residence at the Narrows campground. If only we'd brought more clothes...

sunset at the campground

an idyllic location

more

camping 2010: days 1 and 2

Harvey atop Parkman Mtn

intrepid climber

So we camped, and it was even kind of fun at times! Harvey was certainly better able to enjoy things this year than he was the last time he was in Maine, and of course his proud parents thrilled to see him playing on various mountaintops. But before that could happen, we had to get to Bar Harbor.

the boys in the car right before we leave for MDI

pretty cushy seats

Despite how awesome was the setup I created for Harvey and Rascal, the drive up didn't go incredibly smoothly. Well, Rascal didn't have any problems, actually. How amusing it is to think how much we worried about stopping enough for him before we had the child! Harvey doesn't mind the car in small doses, but he wasn't happy to be unable to leave it for such an extended period. We weren't desperately pleased either, come to think of it, especially when we got stuck in traffic between Portland and Freeport and a stretch that should have taken 15 minutes took an hour more than that. Harvey wasn't the only one shouting then, but luckily an emergency stop in Yarmouth for a stretch (for dada and Rascal) and iced chai (for mama and Harvey) put everyone in a happier mood. For a little while, anyways: Harvey still needed a number of stops in various picturesque locations.

Harvey and mama on the beach in Lincolnville

being out of the car is fun!

Eventually we made it, and Harvey very kindly allowed us to set up the tent and everything without interruption, because he was asleep. Somewhat later our friends arrived, already unhappy with us and this vacation we'd dragged them out on because they too suffered through terrible traffic (I refrained for asking for a show of hands from those who traveled with a screaming baby). We mollified them with dinner and planned the next day's adventures.

When we woke up to steady rain, though, everyone was unmollified again. Being a holiday guide is stressful work! Refusing to mope in the tents, we pressed ahead with the plan and headed downtown to breakfast (at the Cafe, natch). By the time we finished up a delicious and leisurely meal (did you know they have toy animals for the kiddies?) the rain had stopped, and we ventured a walk along the shore path. The heavens showing no further signs of opening, we piled into our three cars and headed out for the day's hike.

the archibalds on the summit of Parkman

cool, calm, and ready for another one

Hoping to present our friends, first time visitors to Acadia all, with a varied and not-overwhelming introduction to the park, I took them up Parkman Mtn and Bald Peak. Besides the oppressive humidity it was a wonderful hike, and no one sustained injuries of any great severity (my wrist already feels better, and Leah probably won't have a scar unless she keeps picking at that scab). To top it all off, the top of Parkman was enlivened not only by a delicious lunch of sandwiches prepared in the parking lot below but by a number of sizable puddles—ponds, almost—left by the recent rains. Harvey enjoyed them tremendously, and luckily we had dry clothes for him after.

Harvey playing in a puddle atop Parkman Mtn

guess what happened next?

Bald Peak was nice too, but you know, the second summit of the day just can't be as much fun.

Back home, we kicked back to enjoy some beers and a delicious meal of pizza cooked over the campfire. Plus, there were cupcakes to celebrate Katie's birthday! Now that's what camping is all about. Right Harvey?

Harvey grabbing for a can of beer

the pleasures of camp

more

winter dreams of summer

the Acadia Park map on the coffee table

planning and dreaming

For some reason we started thinking about this summer's camping trip much much earlier than usual. Maybe it's the extra-cold weather, maybe it's the postcard the campground sent us, but it's definitely on our minds. Mine especially.

I've been going through the old photos lately, and I got out the map of Acadia to try and puzzle out where we were in the various hiking shots. Our documentation is not the best, despite big plans and promises every year. Wouldn't it be nice to record when we've taken a particular trail, and what it's like, so that we can repeat the ones we like and avoid the ones we don't? It sounds so easy, doesn't it.

Some images from years past:

Leah and Harvey hiking down in the mist

down the stairs from South Bubble

Leah Dan and Rascal on top of Pemetic in 2008

a family photo from when our family was 3

heading down in the woods

really diggin my brand-new pack

more

Vacation photos

I have been rather lax about posting baby pictures on the blog, for no reason other than it requires resizing which sounds like work. Now that I'm back to work, however, resizing baby photos is a lot more fun than resizing photos of ugly webinar speakers, so without further ado, here are some photos of our recent vacation to Bar Harbor.


The Archibald family on top of a (rather small) mountain!


Photo evidence that I made it up the mountain carrying the baby in his orange bjorn.


Rascal guarding Harvey at the campsite.


The baby enjoying his trip to the Maine coast.

more