Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 8.233: First day of school

It seems like all the young Exiles had a good first day of school today. Exile #4 and E5N1 were both starting new schools, but all of them seemed to take it in their stride.

Exile #3 and Exile #4 both got class choices they were hoping for (Advanced Art and Advanced Music) respectively and E5N1 was happy to have spent some of the first day doing some craft - one of the things his summer had thoroughly prepared him for!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Day 8.232: Exile #2's Sunday Column #70

Exile #2 writes...

Well, it seems I took an inadvertent break from blog writing. This was due in large part to our losing track of the day of the week, like you do in the thick of the school vacation. Not so today. We are all painfully aware that today is Sunday and tomorrow is not just Monday, but back-to-school Monday. The two youngest Exiles will be starting new schools, so there is a bit of nervousness mixed in with all the other emotions. Lunches are made and the two Middle School Exiles have their alarms set to ring before 6 a.m.. Sad though I am that it is the end of vacation, I am looking forward to to reclaiming the living room floor and the kitchen island, both of which have been covered in art projects, Lego, and Pokemon all summer.

One of many such projects

Still, the fun is not completely over. We have plans to catch up with friends over the coming Labor Day weekend, and some more visits from family and friends to look forward to (hopefully) before we have to break out the snow shovels! Best wishes to all those starting a new term.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Day 8.231: Beginning and end

The middle of the day was great today - we had a hike, Exile #4 went to a birthday party, we did some much-needed yard-work, but since I don't have time to do our hike justice tonight, I'll tell you about the beginning and end of the day instead.

My day started with a long run (not long by marathon-training standards - but as long as I've done in a few weeks). I stopped at around half way to take a few photos. It looked like this:

Later, we spotted a rare mammal in the back-yard. This is a very secretive creature, rarely coming out of its den except to eat, but today it spent some time hanging around outside:

If you can't make it out from this photo, it's an Exile #3.

And my day ended with this:

A 22 oz bottle of 9.3% beer - which probably explains everything else.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Day 8.230: What did we catch?

Back on Day 8.128, I set a little teaser, did you spot what we saw in the tide pool (in Acadia National Park - at the end of the Wonder Land trail) in this picture?

Maybe a closer look will help?

Do see it (about a third of the way up and in from the bottom right corner)?

The large crab was hiding very well - tucking its claws in, but was also managing to cling to the rocks, but tenacious Exile #4 eventually managed to dislodge it:

After a short examination, we let it go again - it posed for a photo:

and then scuttled away and found a new hiding place under a different ledge in the pool. I think it's a Jonah crab.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Day 8.229: Family portraits on Timber Island

Looks like I took a photo of all five of the Exiles while we were walking around the rocky shore of Timber Island:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Day 8.228 More birds (near water)

Here are some of the birds we saw on our last two walks while our visitors were here. I've given my best effort at identifying them by poring over these and other less-attractive but occasionally helpful photos and Peterson's Birds of Eastern and Central North America.

Firstly at Scarborough Marsh - clockwise from top-left: snowy egret, great egret, glossy ibis, greater and lesser yellowlegs, greater yellowlegs.

Secondly at Timber Island - clockwise from top-left: semipalmated plover, least sandpiper, semipalmated sandpiper or western sandpiper (x2), American goldfinch, common eider.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day 8.227: Two birds at the window

Two approaches to life as exemplified by birds I have seen near windows in the last couple of weeks.

Male ruby-throated hummingbird - come close to the window in order to eat free food. Result - eat well and never touch the window.

Male American goldfinch - land on the windowsill and then, for no apparent reason repeatedly try to fly through the glass. Result - fail (better than the alternative).

Monday, August 24, 2015

Day 8.226: Lock, stock and matched

Three scenes from today:
Exile #3 teaching Exile #4 how to unlock a combination lock (using the one on the shed) in preparation for her middle school locker.

Exile #3 admiring the new shoe storage solution in the hallway closet.

And the accidental coordination on show during our early-evening stroll:

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Day 8.225: Back to normal (size)

By dinner time tonight we had said goodbye to my sister and family (and, by a quirk of timing, said hello and goodbye to one of my running forum friends and wife who dropped in while passing through between a wedding and a visit with friends). We had then put the kids rooms back to their normal (unshared) state and removed the leaf from our dining table.

It seems so small after seating eight for the last two weeks.

We had a great time with them and now we have to face the last week of the school vacation.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Day 8.224: Nearly goodbye!

We included a walk at Timber Point and Timber Island in our last full day with our visitors. They leave around noon tomorrow.

We spent the evening playing a hard-fought game of Catan, so just a couple of photos tonight (more later):

Friday, August 21, 2015

Day 8.223: Live...and in the rain

Back to the present day...

Our guests returned on Wednesday evening and after giving them a recovery day, I took another day off work to have some adventures today.

Unlike our trip last weekend, the weather was not so kind today, but we still got out twice and had a full day. Our morning trip was to East Point Sanctuary - to the east of Biddeford Pool. The weather map suggested that the worst of the rain would pass inland of us while we were there - which it did, but we still got a little wet:

Our second outing took us to Scarborough marsh (pictures to come), followed by a very nice dinner at Run of the Mill - the first picture was taken by my sister and the second is a pano-usie by me:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day 8.222: Acadia Mountain

Fresh from our success with the Gorham Mountain Trail on Saturday, I decided we should try the Acadia Mountain Trail on Sunday.

It was quite steep on the way up (although we did get some nice glimpses of the views we'd been promised:

Before too long we reached the top and were rewarded with views of Somes Sound - often referred to as the only fjord on the US East Coast, it is now technically classified as a fjard ( I feel they should have coined "fyaud" instead.

The way down was at times just as exciting as the ascent, but ended with a bit of a tired trudge up the Man o'War truck road:

We were rather hot and a bit tired and ready for some lunch by the time we finished, but the views were amazing and the trail was challenging but fun.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day 8.221: Eagle - Gorham - Eagle

My day on Saturday started with a run - I used the link-trail from the motel site into Acadia National Park and from there made my way first to the loop road, where I saw the recently risen sun:

and then on past the bottom of the Cadillac Mountain summit road and down to Eagle Lake where I took this:

After breakfast, we all undertook to walk the Gorham Mountain Trail - a fairly short steep climb to the summit and some lovely views of the coast:

On the way down, the trail merges with several other trails - and gives views of the scariest trail of them all - the Precipice Trail (at first we thought we were seeing a group of climbers rather than several clusters of hikers on this nearly sheer climb):

At the end of the trail, we took a short detour onto Sand Beach so that the smallest hikers could cool their feet:

It was quite a lot busier than it looks!

After lunch and a restful couple of hours in the afternoon, we all went down to Eagle Lake (in the car), and I got to compare the shortly-after-dawn views with the shortly-before-dusk ones:

And finally, a glimpse of Bubble Lake which we'd seen signposted from our walk on Cadillac Mountain the day before:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Day 8.220: Bar Harbor and Cadillac Mountain

When we first arrived on Mount Desert Island, we went into Bar Harbor for lunch and then a little walk along the sea front:

Later, we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain admiring the views on the way up, at the top and on the way down. We also hiked a mile or so out and back on the South Ridge Trail:

Not bad for a travel day!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Day 8.219: MDI 4

Over dinner last night we hatched a crazy plan to get up before dawn and drive back to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see the sunrise. We worked out that we needed to be leaving at five o'clock, which was a problem for all of us - although more for some.

When we arrived, we got one of the last parking spots at the summit (not one of the legal ones, but fortunately, mob-rule decided that there were no tour buses at that time in the morning). So it was that our group and a few hundred of our dearest friends gathered in the pre-dawn to await the sun, which made its grand appearance half an hour or so later:

After breakfast, we packed up our cars and prepared to go our separate ways for a few days. We had a quick visit to another part of Acadia - the Wild Gardens, the Sieur de Monts Nature Center and the Abbe Museum and are now home.

Our guests have taken another route and should be having a new adventure by now.

Hopefully, I'll have some more photos and details from our packed three days on Mount Desert Island for you soon.