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camping 2014: beach day

Harvey in his camping chair reading a Tintin book in the early morning sunlight

early reading

Harvey and I woke up early after our first night in the tent. He did some reading while I cleaned and organized; our late arrival meant that I left things in a pretty chaotic state when we went to bed. As other folks started to wake up the kids played together, and our friend Taya did a wonderful job of keeping Lijah happy.

Taya talking to Elijah as he sits outside in his baby seat

she's good with babies

Our friends wanted to stay in camp to cook breakfast over their new propane stove, but we persuaded them they had to give the Cafe a try. Ominously, Zion fell asleep in the car on the way there; and when he woke up he was not happy.

Zion crying in Mama's arms in the restaurant

poor sick baby

Harvey had been sick with a high fever a couple days before we left, and it was clear that Zion had come down with the same thing. Luckily he has a fantastic Mama, who took great loving care of him, even though doing so kept her from being able to eat any breakfast herself (but don't worry, she did have four cups of coffee). We figured Zion would do as well being pushed around in the stroller as anywhere else, so we decided on a little post-breakfast walk around town and harbor. Harvey embraced the touristy nature of Bar Harbor.

Harvey sitting in the lap of a big wooden lobster holding an ice cream cone (the lobster has the cone, not Harvey)

tourist lap

After a long bathroom stop and the purchase of some overpriced batteries to keep my picture-taking habit going, we took to the shore path. The big kids were happy to get off the crowded sidewalks.

Taya and Harvey walking hand-in-hand along the shore path

vacation friends

Everybody wanted to get as close to the water as possible, mostly to throw rocks, but also to take pictures.

Leah taking a video of herself holiding Elijah, standing on the cobbly beach

our vacations are well-documented

Zion recovered a little bit, and even ate a little bit of his take-out oatmeal, but he wasn't healthy enough to really enjoy the seaside (I tried to get him to reprise some previous rock pictures, but he wasn't having it).

Zion sitting on the cobbles with a rock and a serious expresion

not having too much fun

Our friends were eager to visit Sand Beach, one of the two most popular locations in Acadia National Park (along with the top of Cadillac) and one that we hadn't visited for years. With Zion not up for hiking we thought that sounded fine (it's also something that we can only do without Rascal along; no dogs allowed on the beach) so we bought our park pass and headed out that way. Unfortunately, so did everyone else on the island, so we had to park quite a ways away; and the rocky path beside the road wasn't exactly conducive to maneuvering a three-wheeled stroller. But we made it!

Harvey in the foreground, a thousand people on the beach in the background

a popular holiday destination

We found we didn't have cell phone service down in the cove, and we didn't find our friends, so we settled in to enjoy ourselves until the fates should bring our two parties together again. As its name suggests, Sand Beach is famous for being one of the very few sandy spots to swim north of Portland, so of course the Archibalds—contrary as we are—found a shady spot on the rocks to set up. Sick Zion needed to sleep and soon so did baby Lijah; Mama was just along for the ride.

Archibalds sleeping on a shady rock: Zion wrapped in towels, and Leah lying with Lijah in the Ergo

sleeping in the shade

Harvey and I enjoyed playing in the medium-sized waves (I stole all the good wave-playing from Leah), and he only got knocked down a couple times. As the tide went out the rocks and tidepools were beautiful in the clear water, but Harvey was less interested in them than he was in the excitement of the open beach.

Harvey looking at the seeweedy rocks revealed by the receding tide

littoral world

Eventually our friends, delayed by wrong turns, bathroom stops, and naps, made it to the beach, and thanks to the near-constant vigilance I was keeping on the stairs down from the parking lot I spotted them on the way in. The dads and oldest children played some more in the waves, then Harvey and Taya settled in for some focused digging.

Taya and Harvey playing in the sand

digging a well

Too soon we had to head out—on a longer vacation Sand Beach would definitely be a great place to spend a whole day. I was so tired I skipped the bumpy path and took the stroller on the road itself; the cars just had to go around.

We got back to the campsite at dinner time and started a fire. Harvey and Taya were once again great helpers.

Harvey and Taya feeding the campfire with twigs

fire helpers

In the past we've had a little competition about what we can cook on the campfire, with each couple trying to brings something a little more special; last year we saw campfire pizza, chicken pot pie, and pineapple upside-down cake (also something boring that we made). The friends who came up with us this year didn't know about that, but their hot dogs and baked beans were as tasty after our beach day as anything else could have been, and wonderfully abundant. Plus the leftover chili let me make one of my three hot dogs a chili cheese dog!

the picnic table with a skillet of hot dogs and a cut-up tomato. and Harvey


Then more smores provided a perfect ending to the meal. Well, perfect to everyone but Zion: after sleeping on the beach, in the car, and in the tent, he woke up feeling considerably better and looking for a hot dog, mere moments after the last one had been eaten. Happily he allowed himself to be consoled with marshmallows and chocolate-chip cookies. That's just what you need when you're getting over an illness, right? And it worked, because he slept fine that night, too!

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