Hope and Acadia Nat'l Park, 2005

My good friend Matt was getting married in Hope, ME on Labour Day weekend this year, and Cris and I drove up there for the ceremony, and then went over to Acadia National Park to camp, and to bike on the carriage roads. Axel and Siobhan had overnighted with us in Boston, and we ended up driving together.

Fri Sept 2

Went to the Deluxe Diner for breakfast with Siobhan and Axel, Matt E. found us there, after a few rounds of "where is he?" and craning our necks. He'd posted to the wedding ride board asking for a lift up to Hope, none of us had met him yet. His bright yellow shirt and huge backpack ended up making it obvious when he came in. Back to the house and then we finished packing the cars and hit the road at around 1pm. Our car was a bit slow, to not lose the bikes sticking out on the trunk rack , but the two cars reconvened in Portland for supper, which ended up being at the fresh and fiesty lobster shack, as the Zygotes Cafe and Bookstore was gone (a running theme of stopping in Portland: our first choice is never where we end up). Made it through to the Lord Cabin with only a few wrong turns (the directions neglected to mention the two bridges before the one we were to turn on), and a call from Krista warning of a detour around a bit of 17. We ended up on plan three, but we made it there okay, though I was about to ask Axel and Sio to lead, as it was the former's plan that we were attempting to follow.
The cabin was right on the lake, a large A-frame festooned with oars as door handles and shelf props, and decorated with old sports gear (skis, skates, snow shoes). We dropped our stuff up in the loft bedroom (two single beds and a double bed fit comfortably up there, though every single sound also came up from downstairs, so it wasn't the best place for sleeping) and kicked back for a bit, meeting Brian, and then headed out to the Beaver Lodge for the post rehearsal dessert - which turned into supper when Matt's mom learned we hadn't eaten yet. We settled outside with copious amounts of food and pie, and then sent a team off to retrieve Mikey and Bradley from their cabin, Loon. The stars were so clear, we could see the milky way, but unfortunately all that nature came with mosquitos. I met Matt's first girlfriend, Nicola, and was able to find tea to drink. We closed the party down, lost Brian, and then went back to the Loon cabin to continue the debauchery with Matt (he was crashing there that night, in a fit of wedding separation from his bride to be). Met up with the PGH crew, and was scared by the singing and dancing wall mounted wide mouth bass. Cris and I left a bit early, tired out from a longish day. We ended up using our cell phones to light the way back to the cabin door, it was *dark* out there.

Sat Sept 3

Cris and I were both up a bit early, hit with light reflecting off the lake from the tall windows downstairs on one side of us, and light coming through the leaves from the trees lining the road on the other side, and we went for a swim in the lake to ward off crankiness, doing a drip dry on the dock and tanning a bit. Then we towelled off and went out to forage for breakfast food at the Hope General Store with Krista and Axel. Got lots of eggs and bread and bacon and butter, and Cris made cheesy eggs and bacon. Siobhan, Shannon, and Alli appeared when food smells started permeating the cabin, and Brian resurfaced as well, having found an alternate ride back, only to disappear to run errands for the bride.
Then we had time to lounge about reading on the deck, and lots of blue mayflies kept landing on my knee, but not long enough for Shannon to photograph them. I ended up moving my deck chair into the shade when the sun started to bake me too much. Cris made up a big batch of pasta with home made sauce, and Axel and Siobhan contriubted a big old salad. It was great sitting around the sunny table sharing food with friends. We eventually started to get ready and headed out at around 4 to get to the church. We had some time to wait around, but the ceremony started close to on time, and the duo providing violin and cello music were soothing to listen to. Many happy tears were shed, it was a lovely ceremony, with a Jesuit brother officiating and audience members chiming in with words to share with the bride and groom. We hung around to get photos taken - Alli wasn't getting as much spontanaeity from us as she wanted, I think. :) We then went back to the Jones family farm, just around the corner from where our cabin path branched off, for the reception. The tables were set up in the decorated barn, and food was laid up in tents outside, it was very neat. Each place setting had a spruce seedling for us to plant, to honour our community vows that were part of the ceremony. The food was amazing, I ate way too much, it was all vegetarian. Danced a bit, DJ Addam being his entertaining and alternative self, and then we went back to the cabin to get changed and pick up flash lights in case of walking back - I found out that my flashlight was indeed broken, despite putting new batteries in just then. Cris wasn't feeling well, so we left him there to sleep, and I drove Axel and Sio's car back up. More drinkin' and dancin', and then I started to get sleepy, and drove back with Krista, Axel and Sio so Krista could change and then drive them over to Loon. Shannon also wasn't feeling well, but we dug up drugs that helped. I'd also led Addam into the cabin driveway, as he hadn't had a chance to get there yet.

Sun Sept 4

I again woke up a bit early, and went for a swim, Addam reading on the dock and talking to me a bit, making sure I didn't drown all on my own. Cleaned up and we all drove up to the Jones' farm for brunch, arriving a bit before the bride and groom. We got to say our goodbyes to everyone, and then headed back to the cabin to pack up and head out north, basically out to the coast and up rte 1.
We stopped in Ellsworth to get groceries at a co-op, wandering around in circles a few times just trying to find water and bread, and drooling over our spicy chicken sausages. I picked up some insect repellant, as I'd grabbed the wrong bottle out of the medicine cabinet at home - eye makeup remover wasn't going to deter these bugs. We made it into to Acadia, and Smuggler's Den Campground. We put up the tent, and it was around 4pm, but we still had time to put the bikes back on the car and head out before sunset caught us, or so I managed to convince Cris.
We drove up over to the other part of the island where the carriage roads wound about the mountains, and we ended up having time to bike two loops around Eagle lake, one south of the road, one north. We ended up doing 7 miles and then 5 miles, really quickly, as we could just go, no stopping. For the second loop, I had my camera with me and took a picture of Eagle Lake. (to be inserted here) The loops were pretty flat, as well, no mountains for us today. I tried to work out a hand signal to warn Cris when the gravel became looser (which it always did at the sides of the roads), but despite random flailing, he seemed to get what I meant. :) We didn't encounter a lot of people, a couple of walkers that we passed twice (they were looping opposite to our direction), but otherwise, the roads were pretty empty and peaceful.
We put the bikes back on the car and drove back to the camp site. We cooked dinner over the fire, veggie burgers and chicken sausage, and a foil packet of potato and onion, the fire flickering brightly as darkness fell. We tried to walk to Echo Lake via the roads, but it was dark and scary and noises kept drifting over from the trees, so we turned around and came back before getting to the water. We stood in the recreation field at the camp site for a while and looked at the stars, until the night managers golf cart almost ran over us.

Mon Sept 5

Cris woke up well before me, he had time to take a shower and start a fire before I got up. I'd spent most of the night waking intermittently, as my heat escaped through my head and I started shivering until I could get a fold of the sleeping bag or the blanket over my head. I'd managed to utterly miss the fact that the camp ground washroom/laundry building also had showers, Cris mocked me soundly for this. :) The campground wasn't *that* crowded where we were, but we lucked out by having no neighbours on our side of the track. Our across the track neighbours were a family (that built a huge bonfire the night before), with a young boy who insisted on saying hi to me, and a young girl who only started shrieking when they started packing up. The area where all the RVs were parked was much more close packed, with hardly any trees, while our site was at the edge of the woods and bled into untamed forest at the edge of our firelight. A huge roving pack of teenagers infested the grounds, but never made it near our tent, just hovering around the common areas.
We ended up breaking camp, as packing up enough to leave for a while led to packing everything and then checking out. Most everyone was tearing down their camps as well, in preparation for heading home that morning. We first went hiking along the Sea Wall trail, 1.2 miles or so, along Ship's Harbour out to the ocean and back through the trees. It was an easy trail, with some roots and bridges and steps and rocks to vary the terrain we moved over. Not too many people on it. The outside of my knee started twinging really badly, necessitating some stops to rest, and we decided to go swimming in Echo Lake next, so I could float a bit. That was fine, and we had lunch on the beach there, all tiny stones leading out into the lake at the bottom of a cliff (we could see a couple of groups of hikers at the top of the cliff, next time I want to try that trail!). I tried riding around the parking lot there, and my knee was fine, so we decided to go biking again, from the Eagle Lake insertion point again. We went along a long (20km) loop on the carriage roads staying on one side of Eagle Lake, climbing a big big mountain (possibly Parkman Mountain at 941 feet - we were just shy of the summit, only hiking trails went all the way up) - great views from the top (we could see Echo Lake nestled in between hills, past the Sound, the sky was brilliant blue and so were the lakes), but we were climbing for 2km, and had to stop to rest three times. I was reassured to see that Cris was panting as well, I didn't feel like such a wuss, though one stop was called due to my heart going way too fast rather than due to being out of breath. It calmed down after a short rest and we went on, passing sheer drop offs, sections of conifers then sections of deciduous trees. I almost ran over a brown snake sunning itself on the road. We passed lots of people who had rented bikes in the park and were labouring up the steep hills, though there was one couple that we passed a couple of times who made it slowly but surely up to the top; the group of teens had turned back after walking their bikes for a section - we ran into them at the top of the loops again. We also ran into a technically kitted out couple resting at the top of the mountain ready for their ride down. Our ride down was great, minutes of coasting at a time, and my new back brakes held out perfectly.
We made it back to the car, and started the drive home, at around 4:30. We ended up stopping for ice cream at Blueberry Hill just on the peninsula, then for supper in Portland at Tandoor (the Afghan restaurant we were aiming for was gone). I drove from Bangor to Portland, then felt sick, and Cris took over after supper (where I forgot my doggie bag of delicious spinachy goodness, dammit), and got us home around 10:30. We quickly unpacked, and fell into bed after a shower.
Luckily the cold seemed to pass fairly quickly, probably something from either living with people from all over the continent in the open cabin, or from swimming in the lakes. It was a very relaxing weekend, I'm glad we were able to go up.

Back to my diary page.