posts tagged with 'hiking'

bonus camping

Leah and the boys in front of a pond and a mountain

a whole new adventure

This past weekend we took an unprecedented second camping trip in a year. A group of friends from church wanted to take an early-fall getaway to Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, and we were delighted to go along. For most of them it was their first time camping since their kids were born, so we were extra-excited to help reintroduce them to the joys of outdoor living.

Leah in the driver's seat of the van, sticking out her tongue at the camera

vacation craziness

Since we had to be back on Sunday for various things at church we planned and packed for just one night, and we got everything together in between when I got home from work at 1:00 and 4:00, when we hit the road. Zion settled in for a nap and Harvey played on the electronic device. Lijah didn't fuss the whole time: for the middle third of the trip he slept.

the boys cozy in the car

we're getting good at this

It took us quite a while to get through Concord center, but once we got past the Rt 2 rotary we zipped right along. When Lijah was quiet Leah and I enjoyed the sensation of driving into fall.

fall leaves along the highway

beautiful blur

We left the highway and followed smaller and smaller roads into New Hampshire, through and out of the town of Jaffery, and then we rounded a corner and got our first glimpse of a big mountain.

our first view of the mountain out the car window

there it is

A few wrong turns and confusions later—I had our site number and reservation number, but I hadn't actually paid any attention to the name of the campground—we found where we were supposed to be. We were the last ones in, and we were warmly welcomed by screaming girls as we pulled into the site. As happy as we were to see our friends, though, we had to ignore them for a couple minutes as we variously nursed the crying baby and worked to put up the tent before it got all the way dark. Those things accomplished, we joined the rest of the crowd (7 adults and 10 kids, counting Lijah) for dinner and marshmallow roasting.

Away from the fire the night sky was pretty impressive: southern New Hampshire is more rural and remote than most of the places we hang out, and there were a whole lot more stars in the sky than I'm used to. I tried to take some long exposure shots and I bet they would have looked good, but sadly I accidentally deleted them from the camera—flipping through quickly I thought they were all black and assumed a kid had taken pictures with the lens cap on. Oh well.

We slept as well as can be expected for a first night in the tent—the boys actually did great, not waking us up once all night—and when four of us (all but Zion) were awake we were happy to lie around and chat for a while: real vacation relaxation! After a while screaming alerted us to the fact that our friends were up and about, so we headed over to our combined fire-pit for a big communal breakfast.

lots of campers around the picnic table and fire pit

morning crowd

The propane stove was going for oatmeal but I had my big cast-iron skillet so I built up a fire to cook some bacon and scrambled eggs. The bacon was well-received by the kids... and I ate the eggs. After I was done cooking the kids had a great time playing with the remnants of the fire, gathering sticks and piles of leaves to dump on it and fanning it to produce impressive, if brief, conflagrations. And Elijah just sat in his little play seat and took it all in.

Elijah smiling, sitting up in his excersaucer thing

camp baby

Somehow a plan emerged that involved us all climbing Mt Monadnock, so after a period of preparation we got in our cars and drove a couple minutes to the trailhead, where we joined about 900 other people with the same idea. We took lots of pictures as we hung around waiting for everyone to be ready to hit the trail; I'm not sure what Zion was thinking in this one, but I like it.

Zion with a single finger in his mouth

I don't know

Once we got started, though, I know for sure what he was thinking: "I don't want to walk." I know because he told me. We didn't plan on a hike so we didn't have the kid-carrier backpack along—but there was no way I was going to just haul him up the mountain in my arms! Happily I had a sweatshirt that I wasn't wearing (thanks to the startlingly hot weather) and I was able to tie it into a passable sling. Of course, having Zion against my stomach was about as warm as wearing a sweatshirt, but needs must.

Dan carrying Zion in a sling made of a sweatshirt

improvisation

Up and up we went! The path was flat at first but even that was too much for a couple young members of the party, who headed back to camp with one adult as the rest of us pressed on. Soon it turned dramatically upward; good thing we're good climbers with lots of practice!

Harvey and Leah climbing rocks

ever upward

The more fun-looking pitches even tempted Zion out of my arms for an attempt on his own; he was soon back with me every time.

Zion climbing a steeply angled pitch of rock

interesting enough to climb

I do work to keep other people out of my photographs, but in that last one you can see the reality of the situation: there were lots of other people climbing along with us. Lots. I likened it at the time to a pilgrimage route. While being in such crowded conditions wasn't my favorite—it wasn't just the most crowded mountain I've seen, it was the most crowded place period that I've been in for months!—lots of other folks had kind words for our party as we struggled ever upwards.

Even we have our limits, though, and when, after two hours of hard climbing, we reached a sign that told us we'd made it half-way... I called a halt. I could go no further—other members of the party could do what they wanted, but I was heading back down. Leah and Harvey decided to come with me, along with one other family, while two more families kept going towards the top. We definitely made the right decision for our circumstances, even if we did have to replace our summit photograph with something a little more arboreal.

the Archibald posing together beside the steep trail

not at the top, but a long way up together

We were all tired—well, all of us but Leah—and besides, with just one day of vacation we had other things we had to do! Although Leah did manage to combine one of her other tasks with walking down the mountain.

Leah nursing Lijah in the sling on the way down the mountain

doing what she needs to

(Nursing while hiking gets more impressed comments, by the way, than even hiking with small children!)

Eventually—eventually—we made it back to the trailhead and then to the parking lot, where we let the kids sit out the last several hundred yards of walk while I fetched the car. But by the time we got back to the campground they were bursting with energy again and ready to take on the playground.

Harvey hanging from a horizontal rope on the playground

some energy left

Well, mostly bursting anyways...

Zion, shirt off, sucks his thumb standing on the playground

tired from being carried

When we were bored of the playground it was on to the nearby pond, where the mountain that had so recently defeated us was peacefully reflected.

Harvey and friend walking by Gilson Pond, the mountain in the background

on to lower adventures

The plan was to catch frogs, but even though I noticed one close enough to touch neither he nor any of the other amphibious denizens of the pond were molested in any way. It was still pretty, though, and fun to explore.

a frog

ribbet?

Back and the campsites the kids enjoyed some quiet pursuits.

Zion and Harvey playing Uno with friends (and friend's mom) at the picnic table

gamers

Harvey, Zion, and friends in camping chairs sharing a comic book

and readers

We stayed for dinner, pretending we didn't have to leave for home just a little bit later. Our boxed mac-and-cheese was no match for the fancier dinner options.

shishkabobs and sausages on the campfire grill

elegant cookery

As we packed up our tent the kids brightened up the gathering dark with glow-sticks. Zion brightened up several portions of his skin as well when he broke his open, but he got cleaned up before I managed to take a picture. Here are some of the other kids running around.

long exposure of kids running in the woods with glow-sticks

night ghosts

Then home, with the kids falling asleep within minutes of getting in the car, leaving Leah and me to chat peacefully all the way home. Now that was a vacation.

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camping 2014: hiking, family and otherwise

Leah, Elijah in the ergo, holding Harvey's hand as they come up the foggy trail

family hiking

The weather forecast for our second full day of camping (way back a month ago—I'm recapping here) was poor, with predictions of rain and heavy wind, especially later in the day and overnight, so our friends—camping for the first time with kids—made a prudent decision to head home early. The Archibalds decided to go hiking. But first, of course, we had to get some breakfast.

Zion at the breakfast table with food and toys

attractions of the cafe

Zion was much happier than he had been the day before, and both boys were excited for hiking. Skipping our usual in-town stroll in order to get as much time out in the National Park before the rain started falling, we headed out to Sieur de Monts Nature Center, where the boys were quite interested in the range of dead animals on display.

Leah and the boys looking at taxidermy in the nature center

nature under glass

Then it was on to the mountain climbing. We started up the flanks of Dorr Mountain on the Emery Path, and Harvey went at it with considerable energy. I didn't tell him the trail was labeled as "strenuous" in the guide—mostly because I hadn't paid enough attention to know that myself.

Harvey climbing up the granite steps of the Emery Path

big steps for a little hiker

It was pretty much stairs like that all the way up, which was actually not too bad: Harvey certainly had a better chance on the steps than he would have on boulders or sloping granite. And even though our hopes for ocean views were stymied by the dense fog, there were a few nice visual distractions to liven the climbing.

a sculpturesque tangle of uprooted tree roots in the mist

artistic

Of course, the boys naturally got tired before too long; Harvey of all the climbing—carrying his own lunch and raincoat too!—and Zion of bumping around in the backpack. We paused for a snack and tried to get the camera to take a picture of us all by itself.

all of us posing for a picture, sitting along the trail

the timer didn't know Zion's face was behind that bush

Unfortunately, the combination of a slightly dented lens body and the hard-to-focus-on foggy conditions put my camera out of commission for the second half of the hike, so there's no photographic evidence of our trip down a separate set of granite steps, this time spiced up with roots and muddy puddles. There was some complaining, but on the whole everyone did great and we were proud of ourselves when we made it back to the bottom of the mountain (after, of course, getting nowhere near the actual top).

While I enjoyed the family time, I wanted just a bit more hiking, and Leah wanted some relaxing time with the boys, so we split up to do two things that were only possible on a Rascal-free camping trip: she to visit the shops in town, and me to take the bus to the Precipice trailhead and attempt that famous climb. (By the way, it had been years since I'd taken the free Island Explorer bus, and I rediscovered that it is totally the way to get around the park. How much time and effort we would have saved if we'd taken it to the beach instead of trying to drive!)

I don't know how Precipice is usually, but with the fog and threat of rain I had the trail pretty much to myself. I actually enjoyed the lack of distant views, since it made me pay more attention to the amazing immediate ones.

a wooden bridge and cliff face on the Precipice trail

looks positively tropical from this angle

For those of you who aren't familiar with the trail, it's pretty fun: it takes you up almost 1,000 feet in a little under a mile, which is pretty good for a "non-technical" hike. There are lots of ladders (mostly metal bars anchored into the rock), but what impressed me the most was the one spot where the trail takes you through an actual cave. But mostly ladders.

a series of ladders (metal staples in the cliff) rising into the mist

the trail goes that way

I made it to the top, and the self-timer was pressed into service again for documentary evidence. It was chilly up there, thus the raincoat; there wasn't any rain yet, thank goodness.

Dan sitting at the foggy top of Champlain mountain

I made it

The only disappointment of the climb was that, at the top, I still wasn't hungry enough to eat the lunch I'd prepared. After eating some snacks for form's sake I headed down the other side of the mountain, into even thicker fog.

a foggy trail along the side of the mountain

just the place for mountain goats

Or maybe it was cloud, because as I got lower things farther than a couple dozen feet away started to become visible.

a view of The Tarn through the fog from the lower slopes of Champlain

below the clouds

Back once again at Sieur de Monts station, I took a look at the bus schedule, and decided that I'd be better off walking all the way back into town. The beginning of this second, flatter, part of my hike was very pleasant.

a long straight boardwalk through the woods

much easier going

The hiking maps for the island have trails indicated all the way into town; it turns out those don't really exist. For a good stretch I was walking along a road, without so much as a sidewalk. But after a nice long wet stroll I made it into town to find my family... but what I found instead was pirates!

Harvey in full pirate gear and Zion with a sword, with the harbor behind them

arrr!

In the course of shopping for a present for our neighbor's 5th birthday, Leah and the boys had happened upon some great pirate gear, and naturally they bought it and put it on right away. It was awesome. There are always lots of people walking around Bar Harbor, but if you're a five-year-old dressed as a pirate you'll be noticed by all of them, and most of them will smile. This is as true at restaurants as it is on the street.

pirate Harvey sitting at an outdoor restaurant table, with a cup of lemonade clutched in his hook

is it grog?

That was at a burrito place, where I finally got hungry again; thank goodness, since I got a big burrito.

my half-eaten food

food picture

The boys got hot-dog burritos, but they mostly ate the hot dog part, so in addition to my tremendous meal I finished off their tortillas; also their lemonade, since one of the after-effect of the sickness which had brought Zion low the day before (and Harvey before we left) was painful mouth sores. So eating wasn't always easy. But of course ice cream always goes down well, especially fancy flavors like callebaut chocolate and butter mint.

Harvey, still a pirate, and Zion eating ice cream on a park bench

sweet finish

If the day could have ended there all would have been perfection, but we still had to get ourselves back to the car—parked too far away for our tired pirate captain—and then to the distant campsite for bed. But we made it—and just in time too, since as we settled into bed the wind started picking up ominously.

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long-ago adventures in camping, day 2

Over a year ago—July 22, 2013, in fact—we were still camping in Bar Harbor. After a fun family day I left Leah and the boys and headed out with Rascal and our then-childless friends for a hike up Dorr Mountain.

Becca climbing up an exposed path, passing under a block of granite

an interesting trail

We started at Sieur de Monts spring and ranger station and headed up the steeper east side of the mountain (alas, our trail map is lost—temporarily misplaced?—so I can't give proper trail names). One of the fun things about hiking Dorr is that it rises right above the shore and the town of Bar Harbor, so there's a great view the whole way up.

a view of the islands around Bar Harbor from halfway up Dorr Mtn

the view from halfway

It was a hot day, and we were in full sun the whole way up. Whenever we paused Rascal worked hard to find the coolest spot he could.

Rascal lying down in a patch of wet sand, panting

there's some water in that sand

We were delighted to make it to the summit, but for one thing: it was still too early for lunch!

the cairn and sign at the top of Dorr Mtn

proof

As we paused and enjoyed the view and some water and snacks, we couldn't help but notice the crowds on the top of Cadillac Mountain, just across the saddle from Dorr. For those of you not familiar with Acadia, Cadillac is the highest peak in the park (at 1,528 feet, truly the Cadillac of mountains!), and there's an auto road up to the top. I'd never climbed it before, doubting the satisfaction of walking up all that way just to find a parking lot and a crowd of people in flip-flops, but since we had a little bit of extra time we thought we could give it a shot. The way was steep but short, and before long we were standing on the highest point within 25 miles of the Atlantic coast of the United States (really, look it up). And it was crowded.

lots of people wandering around on a paved area atop Cadillac Mtn

a couple people

Actually, I'm not even sure we made it to the summit proper; it was hard to tell where it was exactly and we weren't about to walk across the parking lot to check if it was over on the other side. Probably not, right? I figured it was close enough and posed for a picture.

Dan standing on top of Cadillac Mtn, with Frenchmans Bay and the Schoodic Peninsula in the background

me at the top

I'm currently using a cropped version of this shot for the photo on my work Google+ account, but this full version, complete with delightful lounger, reveals the true reality of the scene.

Still and all, it was fun to be so high up, and since the mountaintop is large and gently rounded we were able to find a pretty secluded spot for lunch. And we enjoyed all the more being able to head back the way we came and leave the crowds mostly behind for scenes like the following, taken on the trail down the gorge between Cadillac and Dorr.

a pool next to the trail in a rocky gorge, with lots of hikers above it in the background

almost big enough to swim in

Further down the trail we saw a deer and fawn in a clearing, but I failed to get a good photograph. Deer are common enough here in Bedford, but it felt like something special to see one out in the real woods! Then before we knew it we were back among the crowds around the ranger station and on our way back to camp.

While we were gone so long—well into the middle of the afternoon—the boys had been having fun with Leah, and they were capping their adventurous day with a swim it the lovely heated campground pool (which it seems I haven't ever managed to take a picture of). I was just too late to swim with them, but I did get to hang out on the playground to watch Harvey being brave.

Harvey at the top of a tall metal slide

look how high that is

Also Zion being cute.

a close-up of Zion's cutey face with blurry playground equipment behind him

having fun his own way

We played some bocce ball while Becca and Andrew worked on dinner—and it was truly a masterpiece of campground cuisine, a chicken pot pie cooked in the campfire. Just look at that Pillsbury crescent on top!

a pot pie in a dutch oven on the grass

campground luxury

For the adults nothing could top the pie, but Harvey and Zion were even more excited by the after dinner surprise of glow-sticks supplied by our friends.

Harvey sitting in a camp chair holding a red glowstick

the coolest thing ever

Yes, he may not look super-excited there, but that's because he was also collapsing from fatigue. He loved the glow-stick, and even though he's seen one or two other ones since then he still talks about that one at camp. Of course, these day's it's pretty much all camp talk all the time around here, as we get ready to take off on 2014's journey in a couple days. I'm excited too: thus this post here. And I need to finish all of last year's story before we can get started on this year's!

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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

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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

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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).

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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