August 27, 2005
August 24, 2005
Even with rain and clouds, Acadia is beautiful
I am finally getting my act together with organizing the 200+ pictures I have from Acadia National Park (G. and I both had digital cameras for the weekend). You'll hear more about the trip in my monthly column in a couple of weeks but here are the highlights.
We were only in Acadia for two days and clearly needed at least a week to really experience the park. In an attempt to maximize our visit, we chose an ocean trail one day and a mountain trail the other day.
"The Bubbles" hike was recommended to me by a friend and Eagle Lake was near The Bubbles so we mapped out a route around part of Eagle Lake to the summit of the South Bubble. It was an almost 4-mile hike which turned out to be a challenge for the kids but they did great. And although it was overcast and sprinkling when we started the hike, by the time we reached the summit, the skies had cleared enough for us to enjoy a great view of Jordan Pond.
The second day we hiked the Ocean Drive trail from Sand Beach to the Cliffs, about 3-miles roundtrip. And it was cloudy and drizzling that day too but the views were still beautiful.
Fino and L. checking out the view atop the South Bubble
View of Jordan Pond from South Bubble
Views from the trail along Ocean Drive.
The kids loved Thunderhole
On the trail just after The Cliffs
August 20, 2005
A big WOW on Google Earth
Have you seen Google Earth?
The company describes their new site as, "Hi-res views of cities around the world. Offers maps and satellite images for complex or pinpointed regional searches."
Sounds nice but might not really strike your fancy until you try to find your office building on the Earth site (fyi: I did have to download some free software to use the map that took less than a minute).
I just checked out the site and WOW. Now I understand why the military is so worked up about it.
The MaineToday.com offices with road indicators.
I zoomed in as far as the resolution quality would allow of the MT offices. Nice green roofing on Portland City Hall across the street. And if you look really close you can see some cars parked on Congress Street. Of course this is just a screen shot, sized for my blog. I could actually see those cars on the site.
August 17, 2005
Mountain wind and Almeida hair collide
We're usually rushing in the morning to get somewhere and low on the list of things to do is hair brushing. The Almeida girls have a lot of hair and I can't keep up with managing it. Most of the time we run out the door with a brush and hair elastic in-hand to pull together on the way to our destination.
So when we went to Acadia National Park and visited the top of a very windy Cadillac Mountain, we had a little hair problem. It was flying everywhere and totally out of control. Each of us needed a hair elastic to pull it back and G. caught my typical last minute ponytail-making while on the top of the mountain.
Gotta love kids and digital cameras. You never know what they'll catch you doing.
But G. did get a nice shot of our view from Cadillac too.
August 10, 2005
Highlights from a car trip
We just returned from a few days vacation in Bar Harbor. Hiking in Acadia National Park was awesome but I'll get to that later.
During the 4-hour or so car ride to Mt. Desert Island we made a couple of stops to have lunch and do some geocaching along the way.
According to my 7-year-old L., these were the most interesting pictures from that car trip downeast.
The Paul Bunyan statue in Bangor. G. took a photo looking up at the statue.
"Ewww, that's gross to look up his nose," according to L.
The geocache we found on Thompson Island. L LOVED the rubber chicken she found in the cache.
"It is so silly that it can lay an egg!"
August 07, 2005
Don't you love the blue hue in Maine right now?
Blueberry season is much anticipated at our house. We pick at least 20 pounds of blueberries every year to freeze. Frozen blueberries (L. calls them round popsicles) are a favorite of the kids. And blueberry syrup is a popular item in our pantry all year.
With the cold spring and summer, the blueberry crop was a little late in ripening this year according to our friend at the blueberry u-pick farm. But now that the berries are ripe, the picking is in full swing.
I was entertained by some visitors at the cultivated blueberry field this morning. The owner of the farm asked us, along with some others, what type of blueberry we'd like to pick. "We have Blue Crops, Jerseys, Spartans and Early Blues right now" he said. The other people laughed and said "just blueberries." Having gone to this particular farm for a number of years, I know the difference but was a little surprised that the other people (who clearly had never picked blueberries before based on their chit-chat at having, "never done this before") weren't interested in learning about the different types of blueberries. I piped up and said "Blue Crops and Jerseys" and the novices decided to follow us.
I like Blue Crops because they are large and easy to pick even though they aren't as sweet as their smaller counterparts (still very tasty though). Jerseys are small, sweet and pretty close in taste to the wild, low bush blueberries but they take longer to pick. The combination of Blue Crop and Jerseys are good for us because we like easy picking as much as sweet berries.
The novices lasted about 10 minutes with the Blue Crop, declared the sun was too hot and left chatting about how they could tell their friends they picked blueberries in Maine. They picked about a quart I think.
As for my crew, we picked a little over 8 pounds in a half hour. I was feeling pretty good about that -- especially considering that L. ate more than she put in her bucket. We're planning a follow up trip next weekend to reach our poundage goal.
If you're planning on blueberry picking this year, call ahead to the u-pick farms. There are days when farms are "picked-out" and close for a few days to give the remaining berries some time to ripen.
Beach pails with handles are great containers for kids to use to pick blueberries.
August 06, 2005
Caught in a downpour wasn't so bad
We've been doing a lot of hiking during the past week or so. The other day we decided on an impromptu stop at Jockey Cap in Fryeburg on our way to North Conway.
Clouds started to move in while we were looking for a geocache on the trail but thought we had plenty of time before the rain started. We were wrong and got caught in the downpour.
The kids decided we should go to a cave we saw earlier on the trail and hang out there. It turned out to be a fun place for a snack to wait out the rain.
The rain only lasted about 10 minutes and then the sky cleared. We made our way back up to the top and enjoyed the view and the interesting map of the mountains (one of the best I've seen on a trail so far).
Flat friend almost eaten by pig
G. is taking pictures of her flat friends from New Zealand at Wolfe's Neck Farm after hiking at the state park.
Decides to stick the flat friends on the pen to get a shot with some Maine pigs.
Pigs sniff out the situation.
Pigs decide flats are suitable for eating.
Flats rescued by L. in nick of time.
August 03, 2005
After braving "welcome signs" Douglas was OK
Last week I lamented Douglas Mountain's sign-age litter. The kids love the stone tower at the top of Douglas so we decided to brave the sign weirdness and find a couple of hours to go during their trail hours (open until 6 p.m.).
New trailhead signs to direct traffic. It costs $3/per car to park at the trailhead now.
The yellow tape stretched around the entire former trailhead, which you can't see completely here.
Lot's of "don't" signs, not many glad you're here ones.
Once we got past all the welcoming signs, the hike was nice. We found a well-stocked geocache and took in a really great view of Sebago Lake and the mountains.
A trip to the driving range
My non-golfing family had some fun on the driving range recently. Find out who in the Almeida clan has a new nickname in Outdoors with Children