posts tagged with 'camping'

camping 2018, part 1

We went camping! On the last Saturday of July we set off towards Bar Harbor for our annual camping trip with friends. Escaping the heat and high humidity of Southern New England was just what we needed, and the trip was wonderful right from the start!

Mama and the boys in the water at the beach

already enjoying vacation

With Harvey leading the charge on early preparations, we had most of the organization under control by Friday afternoon. Then it was just a matter of getting everything in the car. Of course, that took 45 minutes longer than our optimistic estimates, but we were still ready to go before 9:00. Amazing!

our van ready to go with canoe on top and bikes on back

adventure car!

The car was full inside and out; we figured there was no need to be minimalist and packed up everything that might be useful. Still, we found a good place for everything—except the camp chairs, which I almost forgot, and the grill cover our friends requested we bring. There was plenty of room for the boys to be comfy.

the boys making faces in the packed car

happy campers

With the early start we made great time (the only complication was that, now that everyone in the world has a toll transponder, the traffic was heavier under the 60mph reader on the New Hampshire border than it was through the toll booths themselves). We stopped briefly at our favorite Yarmouth coffee shop, then again at a rest stop on Rt 1, last visited at least 8 years ago.

Lijah running on a big lawn

running free

We were excited to get out of the car to run around, but less so when we realized the field was swarming with vicious mosquitoes; then we beat a hasty retreat. Still, running away from their bites was good enough exercise! Then we got some more when we made our usual stop at the beach in Lincolnville. It was as beautiful as ever, and more interesting: the sky overhead was blue, but tongues of fog were moving in from the water to either side of the beach.

the beach at Lincolnville

mid-trip oasis

We all enjoyed a frolic in the water—Leah took enough of a swim that I was a little worried she would get lost in the fog offshore!—and a relaxing walk along the shore as Lijah waited for his chicken fingers and french fries from the beach-side restaurant. That was Mama's call; I thought it was a little too close to dinner time to be eating that much food, but of course she was right as usual. Dinner is never early on the first day of a camping trip! Not that the delay was at all the fault of the cooks: they got there before us and had their tent almost all set up when we rolled in a little before 5:00. The other two families had had more complicated packing and travel stories though, so we delayed a little to give them a chance to get in. The campfire pizza was worth the wait!

Harvey and Zion at a picnic table eating pizza

luxury camping!

Bedtime was late too, with tents still going up as it got dark. But ours was up and filled with comfy beds, so when the kids finally got tired of running around the site they had a home away from home to hear stories in. I told em to sleep well: we had a busy day planned for them!

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camping 2017, part 2

When we woke up from our second night in the tent it was downright chilly at the campsite. That's why we come north in August; we need a chance to use those sweatshirts! Luckily we came prepared.

Mama, Harvey, and Lijah in warm pjs and sweatshirts in front of the tent

good thing it was the summer!

Besides warm PJs and blankets, the best way to warm up on a chilly morning in camp is to cook something over the fire. I was all ready with my homemade pancake mix to serve up to a crowd—as soon as everyone else woke up.

pancakes cooking in the skillet over the fire

blueberry pancakes, natch

This was our last full day on the island, so we had another hike planned—this one a little shorter but just a picturesque. After a bit of confusion with the bus driver, who dropped us off on the side of a busy road quite a ways from the trailhead, we found where we were meant to be and started up the north ridge of Champlain. There aren't many trees there, even at the beginning of the hike, so we all wished the cold had hung on a little longer. Instead it was quickly blazing hot, and all the boys shed their shirts—well, all except for Lijah, who was wearing long sleeves and fleece pants as he always did in those days. The boys who walked the whole way were glad to find some shade at the top of the mountain.

Harvey, Zion, and Nathan over their heads in a shadowy crevasse

how do they get out?

I didn't realize it at the time, but that trip up Champlain was the first time since 2011 that all the extant Archibalds had climbed mountains on back-to-back days (and back then two of the four who went up weren't doing much climbing!!).

the Archibalds posing at the signpost atop Champlain Mtn

we're getting good at this!

Of course we had lunch on the summit. The kids all found their own spot to eat, which was fine, except we didn't oversee them as they packed up... which meant that nobody reminded Zion to grab his shoes and shirt, which he had tossed away looking for his lunch. And he didn't miss them on the way down, despite the steep terrain. All the boys just skipped right along.

the boys walking along a sloping ridge on the west side of Champlain

mountain goat boys

Surefooted goats or not, they were glad enough when we made it down to the nature center in the valley to soak their feet in the icy spring pool.

Harvey's feet, dipped in the spring

how beautiful are the feet...

Not for long, though, because we had to catch the bus; which was the first time we realized how unprepared Zion was to reenter civilization. Still, on boarding we were able to assure the bus driver that we would be able to find the necessary items in our packs—it was the assumption we were under at the time!—and when we realized the truth we were already on our way. What was he going to do, kick us off?!

The spring not having been enough water, when we got back to town we wandered down to the harbor beach, where we tossed stones and Zion—in a shirt borrowed from Harvey—played run away from the waves.

Zion skipping away from the small waves on a rocky beach

there isn't a wave born that can touch him!

(Then he and Harvey together did the same thing on the long paved boat launch ramp, where the surf was rather more impressive!)

The evening at the campsite was so low-key and relaxing that I didn't take any pictures, which means I don't recall it at all. I do remember packing up the next morning, which we did before breakfast—because we all wanted to enjoy a big meal at Cafe This Way before we hit the road. There's always a wait, but that's alright; outside there are trees and rocks to climb on, and once we were seated the kids had their pick of the toys stocked in bins by the bathrooms.

the boys playing with toys at the cafe

breakfast time fun

After lunch we headed down to the ocean one more time. We were almost all adventured out, but not so much that we were ready to be driven away by the spitting rain that started falling. Especially not since we were curious about what folks were doing standing around with a bottle of champagne and an American flag; it turns out they were waiting for someone to finish a cross-country cycling trip. Now that's adventure! We got to see him dip his wheel in the water of the Atlantic. Then we turned away from the water to head for home.

a smooth boulder spotted with raindrops

gray

At the time, our next Maine trip seemed an eternity away. But now it's just three days away! Expect a more timely report for 2018.

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camping 2017, part 1

the boys looking out to sea from atop a mountain

mountaintop moment

Eleven months ago we went on a camping trip. Somehow I never managed to write about it; now, as we get ready for this year's version of the expedition, I realize I really need to do it or I'll never remember what happened! Luckily I have pictures to jog my memory. Not that there aren't any gaps in the record; for example I have no recollection of how well packing went. But we managed to hit the road not too long after 9:00, so it couldn't have been too bad. And everyone was delighted to be in the car and on the way!

the boys in their car seats amidst the camping gear

ready to go!

After lunch in the car and a stop at the grocery store in Waldoboro we made it to Lincolnville in plenty of time to stop and enjoy a good long time playing on the foggy beach.

four of us in the water at foggy Lincolnville beach

photo by Zion

I don't remember anything else from the day, except that we made it to the campsite in time for a dinner of chicken fajitas cooked by Katie and Tim. The lap of luxury!

But the next morning I sprang right to work, lighting a fire and putting together a breakfast of eggs and toasted bagels (and cereal for the boys, who like that sort of thing). Then, thinking about the real reason we had come all that way, we made lunches, packed up, and hit the trail!

a selfie of me, with Lijah in the backpack, by Jordan Pond

happy hikers

For that first hike we started from the Jordan Pond House and walked along the shore of the pond, before heading up the lower slopes of Penobscot Mountain. It was a reasonably easy walk, but still too much for Lijah's friend Henry, with his newly broken arm—or, really, for his parents; he was all for trying, but they wanted to keep him in the stroller for safety. But they walked up the carriage road and met us where the hiking path crossed it at a bridge over a gorge. It was a delightful surprise!

After crossing the carriage road the path headed up more steeply, and the bigger kids showed how well they can hike.

Harvey, Zion, and Nathan walking up stairs in the woods

ever upwards

They got pretty far ahead of us, but kindly waited up at crossings in the trail, so we would know where to go. Not that everything was smooth and easy; it was a long way up so some complaints and doubts were inevitable, plus I dropped my camera and dented the ring on the end of the lens body, so it couldn't extend. That made me sad. Lunch at the top of the mountain made everything better, especially when I was able to use Leah's elegant lunch knife to pry the camera back to usability, in time to take pictures like this one:

the gang lunching atop Penobscot

lunch with a view

Going down the mountain we started along the ridge, with fine views all around.

Katie and Tim descending Penobscot with lots of ocean beyond them

walking in the open sky

When we reached the trees things stayed interesting, with the path dropping sharply along a steep rocky slope. There were stairs, a bridge, and a few places where it was actually pretty tricky getting down for the two of us carrying three-year-olds on our backs.

Zion walking down stairs along a small cliff

and now down the stairs

The group got very spread out over the last couple miles, with some kids fading while others had enough energy to run the last bit (as they zipped out of sight we hoped they knew where they were going). But everybody recovered once we were back at the Jordan Pond House with access to bathrooms, shade, and good cold water—everybody, that is, except the one who actually didn't have to do that much walking...

Lijah sleeping in the backpack carier

hiking is hard work for everyone

Even that one revived when we got back to the campground. Most of us zipped right off to the pool as soon as we returned—just the thing after a hot and dirty day of hard work!

Mama and the boys swimming in the pool

civilization

Not me, though; it was my turn to cook, and I was working hard turning out chicken, cornbread, and rice for everybody. Then we went to bed, and though I can't really remember I bet we all slept pretty well!

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moments from the week

the boys posing with friends on a mountaintop

strong hiking kids

Moments from the past week.

the boys watching the white car get towed away

goodbye to the white car

lots of kids picnicing on the shores of the Concord River

day camp picnic

Zion splashing into the wading pool from the slide

splash

kids eating breakfast at the campsite

camp breakfast

Zion, Harvey, and Nathan shirtless gazing out to sea from a mountaintop

hot-weather hiking outfits

Harvey getting a tow behind a toy jeep

tow games

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camping 2016: heading home, eventually

Finishing this story. We wrapped up our 2016 camping experience with breakfast at the Cafe followed by a quick trip to Compass Harbor, a hidden Acadia gem right outside of town. It has everything you want in a Maine coastal location: rocks, trees, a little bit of sand, and cold cold water. Of course that didn't stop Leah from going for a serious swim; can you see her in the picture?

the peaceful waters of Compass Harbor; Leah swimming in the distance

last Maine ocean time

Like I said, we might be getting good at this camping business—and by day five we were settled in and comfortable. I think any of us Archibalds would have been happy to stay another couple days, if circumstances had allowed. (And having decided to leave we made a great job of packing up: Harvey did a great job entertaining the little ones, and our carefully stowed load took up even less room in the car than it had on the trip up.)

Certainly all the hiking and exploring left the boys feeling independent and adventurous, and as soon as we reached the shore—just a few minutes' easy hiking from the cars—they changed into swimsuits and headed out to explore.

Zion in the distance up on a headland

expanding their horizons

Certain mothers were a little nervous, so I tried to relieve minds: what could possibly happen?! Besides deadly falls, drowning, and seagull attacks, that is... Everyone was happy that some children at least were content to stay close by.

swmsuited Lijah playing in the sand

content with this patch

Of course, as awesome as we are at camping, it takes a lot out of us—between the exercise and the fresh air and the not really sleeping our four days of adventure left us all a little tired.

Harvey and Zion lying down on the rocks

all you sleepy campers

So there wasn't too much protest when we turned our backs on the ocean and headed back to civilization. The first sign of civilization was pillows in the car.

the boys asleep in the car

a little more comfortable

But vacation doesn't end when the drive home begins, and we made sure to time our trip so that we could stop for supper in Wiscasset. It was a special request of the boys, who so enjoyed our emergency stop there last year. Just like on the drive up we had some rain going home, but it stopped in time for an outdoor meal; and with the car packed so well I knew just where to find towels to dry off the seats.

eating on the wharf in Wiscasset

Maine picnic

Wiscasset is the prettiest little village in Maine, officially, but I confess that by the time we got there I was too tired to do more than get a few snaps with my terrible phone camera; but it's good enough for documentary purposes. And we still had hours to go, hours of driving into more and more traffic and hotter and steamier weather. On the other hand, our dog, chickens, and beds awaited us at home, and we were happy to get there and go to bed, ready to wake up and start the next adventure!

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camping 2016: the best day

Harvey and Zion checking out a big big rock on the shore

vacation activity

Over a month ago we were camping, and the third full day of our trip was just the most delightful time. We started it off with breakfast in the campsite.

colored plates around the campfire after breakfast

who needs tables?

I had put together some pancake mix at home, so it was easy to just add eggs and milk and turn out a dozen perfectly presentable pancakes. We also had eggs, toasted bagels, and cereal—and Leah figured out that a paper towel could stand in for a filter in the aeropress, so she could enjoy her morning cup of coffee. Then we said goodbye to Becca, Andrew, and Henry—who were scheduled to head home even before medical issues made an early departure doubly necessary—and to Tim, Katie, Nathan, and Liam, who were going to spend the day with other friends. Our reduced group enjoyed a few relaxing moments before splitting up: Leah and the younger boys were looking forward to spending some quiet time at the campground, and Harvey and I wanted to climb another mountain!

Harvey and me posing by the sign on Champlain Mtn, with lots of other people around

busy peak

With Kyle and Margaret accompanying us it didn't take long to get up the north ridge of Champlain. We were so quick we weren't really hungry for lunch at the top; but of course we ate it anyway. The way down was even more interesting, with plenty of steep pitches, narrow paths alongside precipitous drop-offs, and picturesque overlooks (such as seen in the last photo of this post).

Harvey, Kyle, and Margaret hiking a steep-sided trail on Hugonaut Head

real hiking

Watching Harvey soldier along it occurred to me that he actually hiked the most miles of anyone on the trip: he was the only one to go on every hike on offer. But even all that hiking wasn't enough for him, and he was delighted to be able to turn his hand to some spelunking too.

Harvey squeezing out of a cave opening

I couldn't fit there...

There was a pretty nice cave among the tumbled-down boulders beside the trail; he went in the bigger entrance lower on the trail, then back-tracked 20 feet or so to emerge higher up through the little hole there. I found rocks to climb on, but you don't need more pictures of me.

The long descent left us a little footsore, so we were very happy to reach the Sieur de Monts nature center and, following Harvey's example, dip our feet in the eponymous spring. It was cold. We had a contest to see who could keep their feet in longest, and Harvey won easily.

Harvey and Kyle dipping their feet in the pool at Sieur de Monts Spring

refreshing

The only disappointing thing as Sieur de Monts was finding that the dead animals are no more. Well, I suppose they still exist, but they've been moved off the island to the part of the park no one visits to make room for an updated space and exhibits about climate change. Which I suppose is worthwhile. It was also a little disappointing to miss the bus by mere seconds when we first reached the center... but on the other hand, if we had caught it we wouldn't have been able to chill our feet! And another bus came along soon enough.

Back in town we reconnected with Leah, Zion, and Lijah, and went looking for ice cream. Zion was especially excited about getting something at the Big Lobster store: ice cream, fudge, or preferably both.

Harvey and Zion with the ice cream lobster statue

ice cream lobster 2016

As it happened, while we had no theoretical objection to that plan, the store turned out to be a madhouse of crowds, confusion, and overpriced cones. So we retreated to the much calmer Bar Harbor creamery, where I was very happy with my kid-sized cone of blackstrap banana. The kids were fine with their flavors too—maybe they'll remember em if you ask.

Lijah eating his ice cream in the park wearing a blissful expression

I think he likes it

With energy waning, we thought about heading back to camp but decided we needed just a little more time by the shore. It was a good call. For the next hour or so we hung out by the water; Harvey changed into his swimsuit and threw giant rocks into the ocean, and Zion and Lijah played imaginative games with stones. Separately, of course.

Harvey throwing a big rock into the ocean, making a big splash

by a big rock throwing big rocks

As for me, I tried and failed to get to the top of the boulder. I've done it before, as recently as six years ago, so I attributed my inability this time to old age. But after seeing some younger people manage it Leah suggested it might rather be a question of technique, and sure enough with a little less climbing a more jumping I made it—and even less bloodied than last time!

me atop the big boulder on the Shore Path

I've still got it

Eventually we made our slow way back to the van, pausing briefly to discipline the children when their fighting led Harvey to push Zion in front of a (slowly) moving car. Having fun all the time is hard work! But spirits quickly revived when we reached the campsite and a delicious feast of burgers prepared by Kyle and Margaret.

Leah holding a double hamburger with lettuce and tomato

big burger

As the final cooks of the trip they bought all the ingredients at the supermarket just before dinner time. When they started cooking they wondered if three and a half pounds of ground beef was excessive for four adults and three small kids. It was not. When there's ketchup and mustard and pickles and lettuce and tomato and two kinds of cheese and delicious campfire-roasted red onion, it's impossible to stop at one burger. It was about the best food I've ever had.

As we say at Passover, that would have been enough. But driving past the mini golf course at least twice a day all vacation had awakened in at least Harvey and me a fierce desire to play the game again (we did, once before). So we made that happen.

Harvey putting, Zion watching

I think it's going in!

It was great. Harvey and Zion loved the golf, and Lijah loved the pirates—the only tears came when we had to drag them away, back to the tent to sleep. But until then we enjoyed a beautiful cool evening, a perfect end to a perfect day.

the moon over the rigging of the golf course pirate ship

pirate moon

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camping 2016: various plans

Zion and Nathan wading in Bar Harbor

relaxing ocean

On our second full day in Maine, we planned to split up so that Mama could get a chance to hike with Harvey while the littler boys had some fun with me in town. But before that we needed to visit the Cafe! We were reminded why we hadn't gone the morning before when it took over half an hour to get all 15 of us seated, but at least there were fun things to do to distract the kids from their grumbling tummies.

boys of the expedition climbing a tree

the waiting area

After a delicious breakfast we put Mama and Harvey on the bus (he needed some forcing, since the hiking expedition was pitted against possibly visiting a toy store in town, but we made it happen). The rest of us sat around and played in fountains.

Lijah kneeling by a fountain to put his hands in

like you do

After we changed Lijah's clothes—and missing one family for medical reasons—we activated full tourist mode to take in the attractions of Bar Harbor (yes, including the toy store). There's lots to see and do; the only problem was that the five-year-olds were about entirely worn down from the hiking and swimming of the day before, and didn't show much enthusiasm for... anything. You'll notice them lying down on the grass behind the cannons where Lijah is posing happily.

Lijah astride a giant cannon, Zion and Nathan lying down in the background

somebody's alert and on guard...

They did enjoy putting their feet in the water and throwing some stones, as pictured at the head of this post (for his part Lijah, though energetic, was still scared of even those tiny waves).

Harvey, who had done just as much hiking and swimming as they did, luckily has more reserves of energy to draw on, because as we lazed around town he was headed up Mt Pemetic via the delightful and challenging Pemetic Northwest Trail. It has wooden ladders and boulders and a gorge, and though Leah doesn't take nearly as many pictures as I do she did manage to capture this one for documentary purposes.

Harvey climbing up steep boulders in a dark gorge

gorgeous

While he struggled upward (and then back down) the little ones and their caretakers had a relaxed picnic lunch, and then they finally found an activity their speed.

Zion and Nathan playing cards on a picnic blanket, Lijah looking on

still enjoying the outdoors

We were kind of waiting for Harvey and Mama so we could give them a ride back to camp, but patience wore thin and we abandoned them to their fate (me, Zion, Lijah, and Nathan that is—the other adults and toddlers stayed behind with other plans). All three boys fell asleep on the ride, and Zion stayed sleeping once we got there for a well-needed two-hour nap in the car (while poor Nathan had to make do with playing with Lijah). Harvey and Mama made it to the toy store after all, once they came down off the mountain, and didn't even need to ride the bus to the campsite, thanks to good timing and plenty of space in Kyle's car.

It was my turn to cook, and swimming, reading books, and campfire chili and cornbread were a fine end to an easy day.

chili and cornbread cooked over the fire

looks edible

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camping 2016: family hiking

the Archibalds posing atop Parkman Mtn

the family that hikes together poses together

Here are some more words about our camping trip. It may be a bit much but we appreciate the record ourselves, even if it doesn't have so much appeal to the wider world. We do a lot on vacation, and it's nice to be able to revisit it!

Our first full day in Maine this year we broke from tradition to eat breakfast at the campsite, rather than going into town to the Cafe. It was partly to save money, and partly because thee two-year-olds aren't the easiest crowd to wrangle in a crowded restaurant as they wait half an hour for their first food of the day. It was cool enough when we woke up that I enjoyed lighting the fire, and the bacon, eggs, and toast went down well. The only unhappy moment came when Leah realized she had forgotten the filters for her Aeropress. The little boys had no such concerns.

Lijah and Henry working on coloring pages by the remains of the fire

after-breakfast entertainment

As for the bigger ones, they're such old hands at camping that we could leave them entirely to their own devices.

Harvey, Zion, and Nathan sitting under the trees far away from us

doing their own thing

While the kids played we packed lunches and snacks, then we hopped in three cars and headed to the day's trail. We meant to hike up Bald Peak and then Parkman Mountain, but in our enthusiasm we reversed the order; all we cared about was that we were going up.

Nathan, Zion, and Harvey climbing up the steep trail

upward and onward!

And up and up; as per Harvey's request, there was lots of steep scrambling on the trail (but no ladders). The boys were full of energy and handled it all without a problem. They totally earned their top-of-the-mountain snacks.

Harvey and Zion at the top of the mountain getting snacks out of bags

snack at the top

Lijah, too, did a great job; he didn't have to walk, but he had to allow himself to be carried in the backpack, which was probably even harder! He had a moment of rebellion when it was time to get back in after our first mountaintop start, but I was able to enthuse him enough that he remounted without any real screaming. Zion was ready to go too.

Zion, holding his tiger, leaning on the backpack with Lijah in it

carried and carrier

I didn't take nearly as many pictures on top of Bald Peak, where I think we had lunch; it's always thus for the day's second summit. I did manage to use my phone to snap one of Leah, celebrating her freedom on her first hike in five years not carrying someone!

Leah by the sign at the top of Bald Peak

she proves we did it

The way down was just as steep, and the boys (and some of the adults!) found that controlled sliding was the best way to manage the grade safely. Harvey wore two big holes in the seat of his pants.

Harvey sliding down a steep rock face

and this wasn't even the Giant Slide Trail

By the afternoon it was pretty hot, and we were all footsore and happy to make it back to the cars for a bit of a rest. But back at the campsite the boys quickly revived and got ready to hit the pool!

Zion, Harvey, and Nathan doing a silly pose in their swimsuits, goggles, and life-jackets

silly swimmers

While some swam, others cooked dinner, and as the sun started to get low in the sky we sat down to a lovely meal of pasta and meat sauce. We'd all earned those carbs—especially the little ones, who permitted us to have so much fun.

all five of the little kids eating pasta at the low table

kids table

Yes, they all know how to do this camping thing!

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camping 2016: are we getting good at this?

unsettled weather over the beach at Lincolnville

this is when we feel like we're on vacation

A week and a half ago we hopped in the car for a trip to our favorite place ever (well, besides our house). In the several hours before hopping we packed, adjudicated fights between the kids, and finished building a coop for our smaller hens so they could be unsupervised outside in between visits from the neighbors. You know, the stuff that everybody does before going on vacation!

All those tasks meant we didn't get out the early start we might have hoped for, but by hitting the road at 10:30 we were within just a half-hour of my "realistic" goal time, so that was fine. Also because we got them in the car early to stop the fighting, the kids were all settled in and already watching their shows as we loaded up the final items and checked the house, which was helpful.

the boys in the car, watching a show before we even leave our street

settled in for the long haul

Since we're old pros at the camping packing by now, we only forgot the lantern this year; much better than last year's oversight of the chairs. But despite our proficiency, I was still feeling pretty stressed as we rolled away from home—besides the chickens I was worried about my garden in the terrible scorching heat, and about how things would carry on without me at work—so I appreciated that Leah was driving so I could try and calm down.

Unfortunately, the mid-morning traffic was the least calming thing imaginable, and since I wasn't behind the wheel I was free to keep constant tabs on its sprawling extent via my phone. Unable to bear a backup on 95 that stretched for that road's entire length within the state of New Hampshire, I directed us off onto Route 1 in Salsbury. I had earlier vowed never to venture onto Rt 1 in NH again; apparently I need a reminder of why I feel that way every 15 years or so. Using ever-smaller local roads we eventually made it to Maine, after a little more than an hour of New Hampshire purgatory.

Once in Maine—and as soon as we crossed the mighty Piscataqua everybody in the car calmed down considerably, especially me—we made our first stop at Maine Roasters, as has become our tradition. Leah needed a coffee and Harvey a bathroom; Lijah was glad to whine and beg his way into a bag of trail mix that was displayed right at his eye level, of which he ate only the M&Ms. Never mind we had a gallon of our own trail mix to eat M&Ms out of—that's why he's a two-year-old. At least the other two boys are rational human beings and could be content with the homemade stuff (which of course we had to break out for them).

Before long we turned onto Rt. 1 again—this time in the right place, Brunswick—and happily left the highways behind. Now there was plenty to look at: oceans, antique stores, weather. The week before our friends had told us there were thunderstorms in the forecast for the day of our drive up, so it was gratifying to see them really deliver!

threatening clouds over the road ahead

and we're going that way

We stopped in Waldoboro for a grocery run (emergency chicken nuggets—something else we forgot—batteries, deli turkey, and beer) and got caught in a delightful downpour in the parking lot.

And then the phone redeemed itself, because for the first time ever we managed to detour successfully around the Wiscasset traffic. Very gratifying. And Camden wasn't bad at all: we diverted ourselves by playing I-Spy with letters, and didn't even make it all the way though the alphabet before we got through town (just Z was left).

After Camden, of course, comes Lincolnville beach—and gratifyingly the weather cleared up (as pictured at the head of this post) in time to let the boys do what they've been looking forward to for weeks...

Harvey and Zion wading in the ocean

they're content

Lijah, unfortunately, has developed something of an ocean phobia—never mind that the waves were maybe two inches, except when a wake washed up. But there was plenty for him to do as well, and he and I had fun exploring around the shore, playing pirates, and ringing bells.

Lijah tugging on lobster bouys hanging from a tree

he prefers more terrestrial amusements

And Leah went swimming.

Leah swimming in the ocean

that's how she relaxes

The stop was far the highlight of the day, and in fact we didn't need to make any more—not even for the bathroom! (Lijah asked "can I pee in the car?", and was reassured to be reminded that yes, he was wearing a diaper). There was a little more rain before we got to the island, but once again it stopped in plenty of time for us to be able to set up our tent in dry comfort. And all our friends had arrived long before us, so as I worked my family enjoyed a delicious dinner of chicken fajitas. Don't you worry, I got some too: had to keep my strength up for a busy day of hiking the next day!

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moments from the week

Leah and I wading on the cobbles in Bar Harbor

Maine feet

Moments and images from a vacation week. Many more to come, along with words, when I have time and better health.

a hiking selfie of me carrying Lije in the backpack

hiking buddies

me airplaning Lijah in front of the tent

coming in for a landing

Zion sleepily looking at the wooden schooner America

yacht watching

Zion on a little toy motorcycle at a Cambridge playground spray park

meanwhile, back at summer camp

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