Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rollins Pond

Several years ago we discovered Rollins Pond by accident. We were coming up to the Adirondacks for a week and Dad was looking for a campground that had sites big enough for him.  We stumbled upon a gem! Rollins Pond is a huge state park campground with about 250 sites, most of which are right on the water! I'd made a reservation a few days ago to have a site on the water for 2 nights.

Yesterday when I arrived it was cloudy and cool and not good SUP weather.  It was only 3:00, I needed something to do.  On the way in (you have to drive through almost half of Fish Creek Campground, another huge NY State Park campground to get to Rollins Pond) I passed a trailhead for the Otter Hollow Loop Trail, since I had a full signal on my phone I was able to look the trail up and learned that it was an 8 mile loop, with minimal elevation change & about half the loop was walking through Rollins Pond and Fish Creek campgrounds. This looked like a good plan so I headed out.  

The first part of the hike was easy through the campgrounds and the first mile or so of the trail was nice too. It went past several ponds and was wide and dry and easy to walk. Soon however the trail was crossing some boggy muddy areas - remember, it's been raining for 2 days!  The bog bridges were very slippery, the roots were slippery and nearly everything was wet.  It didn't take long before both my feet were wet and my shoes were covered with mud.  The trail continued to have very large sections of ankle deep water and mud! It was a long 3 miles back to the pavement of the campground. My hiking shoes were ready to replaced before this hike, they may not recover from it! (More than 24 hours later the shoes and smartwool socks are still soaking wet!).  

I got back past the generator hours so I had a sandwich for dinner. Just before sunset the sun came out from behind the clouds and set with amazing colors reflecting on the lake! 

This morning I slept in till almost 7:30! That's crazy late for me! The sun was out this morning! It was very chilly and I wore my hoodie while I was eating breakfast and reading!  While the generator was running I inflated the SUP! It was about 10:45 when I took off on my 1st SUP of the day.  I started with going down to the far end of Rollins Pond where the outlet is to Floodwood Pond.  The pond was calm and smooth this morning! The air was still chilly, but the water was warm.  As I was coming back by some islands out in the middle the wind started kicking up and made it very difficult to get back across to my cove.  Since I'd explored half the pond it was time for lunch and a break.  It was very chilly sitting in the shade with wet pants!  

After lunch I went the other way down the pond, toward the boat launch area.  It was very windy and I was paddling into the wind the whole way! Once I got to the boat launch I carried the SUP across the road and down a short trail to Whey Pond.  Whey Pond is even calmer and quieter than Rollins Pond because they don't allow motors at all and because you have to carry your boat in! It's not a long carry, but it's still a carry! When I first got over there I enjoyed the calm and had a snack break. Then I noticed it looked like people were entering the lake from the far end so I paddled down there to see where they were coming from - there's another carry at the end, I don't remember that other ponds name.  The paddle across Whey Pond was nice - the wind was at my back.  Now I had to paddle back into the wind!  

When I made it back to Rollins Pond I was going to take another break, but I couldn't because the wind was really whipping! I had to keep paddling or I'd blow right into shore.  Funny, I was paddling into the wind on the way there and the way back. That's not fair.  Eventually I reached the cove near my site and the wind was blowing into the cove so I could stop paddling and drift the rest of the way in! 

By now the sky was totally clouded over.  It had been partly sunny, but now it looked like it was going rain.  Rain is forecast overnight and all day tomorrow, but today was supposed to stay dry.  It was warmer though! After my paddle I walked the trash up and got some pictures of Whey Pond and then finally changed out of my wet leggings (I have found that my spandex leggings are so much better for SUP, they dry faster than my skort, but not super fast!).  I think I have been wet and dirty since yesterday afternoon even though I took a shower yesterday! 

After dinner I put the SUP away - it wasn't fully dry but I wanted all the chores done, especially since it was supposed to rain overnight - and went for a walk.  While I was out walking, it started raining! Just a light shower, barely penetrating the leaves, but rain!  Glad I'd already put the SUP away!  When I got back I put the chair away and came inside. Of course the rain has now stopped, but according to the forecast there is more on the way.  I got so lucky with my timing! I was here to SUP on the one and only day this week that was at all good SUP weather! I love that it was chilly enough for my hoodie this morning and evening but warm enough to SUP during the day! 

Travel Days - NH, VT, NY

I'm continuing to avoid I95 to get home and planned a route across New Hampshire, Vermont and New York.  

From Umbagog Lake I headed south to Gorham, NH.  True to the forecast it had begun to rain and was very chilly! The clouds were high enough that I could make out Mt. Washington and decided to take a 50-ish mile detour down NH-16 to US302!  It wasn't the best day for a scenic drive but the clouds and rain made a different type of scenic atmosphere! 

I then cut across VT on an combination of US2 and the interstate.  I stopped at the Bragg Family Farm for Maple Syrup. We'd visited them a few years ago, also on a dark and stormy day! That day there'd been a thunderstorm and the power was out! We had to sample syrup by flashlight! This time, in addition to stocking up on the good syrup I tried their "cremee".  Cremee is a Vermont treat - its maple soft serve! I'm pretty sure we tried it last time we were here - I can't imagine Dad and I not sampling a local treat involving ice cream, but I don't think we were fans.  This Cremee however, was terrific! Smooth and just enough maple! I think it's my new favorite Vermont ice cream! Forget Ben & Jerry's! 

My next stop was the Cabot store in Waterbury.  This was more on route than the factory and I knew parking would be easier. It was still raining so the cheese store and the Lake Champlain Chocolate store next door were packed! I was able to get my chocolates and supply of cheeses that I can't buy at Wegmans and continued on my way. 

My next stop was my friend Mary's house in North Hero! This was an area of Vermont I hadn't explored, the Lake Champlain Islands! What a neat area! Lake Champlain is huge and the islands have amazing views of the Green Mountains to the east and the Adirondacks to the west.  At least when it's not cloudy and rainy.  I had to visualize the views as there weren't any today.  It's definitely an area I'd like to visit again.  

Mary has a lovely house right on the water! It was a tight fit getting the RV into the spot in her driveway! It's the old road bed, but it's very narrow and not level, but I fit!  I had a lovely evening with Mary, her daughter, her 3 grandkids and 2 Golden Retrievers! The next morning I pulled out early, I was thinking it might be hard to get out of the spot I was in, but it wasn't!  

Mary's house is only a few miles from the Grand Isle to Plattsburgh ferry! This is the shorter route across Lake Champlain so it was less expensive! I pulled into the ferry terminal and was on the next ferry across! This my first time taking Roxy on a ferry! I'd taken a ferry in WA, but that was a rental RV.  Once again it was cloudy and rainy and I couldn't really see the mountains or anything! 

Now I was in NY! I was only about 2 hours from the campground I was heading to, so I decided to take my time and check stuff out.  I stopped at Ausable Point - a campground & beach area right on Lake Champlain. Nice place but nothing to do there on a rainy day.  Then I checked out Ausable Chasm.  Looked neat but cost $30 to go in and walk around. Tourist trap.  I headed into Lake Placid.  I was almost to Lake Placid when I saw a trail head for The Flume Trails. There was room to park so I pulled in.  I took a nice 1.5 ish mile walk through the woods and by the river.  Then I found a nice pull out for lunch.  I drove through Lake Placid and Saranc Lake but didn't park to explore. On my way from Lake Placid to Rollins Pond I stopped at Donnelly's Soft Ice Cream! Its kind of out in the middle of nowhere, but it was yummy!  They have one flavor and it's always twisted with vanilla. Today was red raspberry.  It was very creamy soft serve! Tomorrow is chocolate and I may have to venture out of the campground to get some! 

I arrived at Rollins Pond around 2:30 and got settled into my site! This is a great campground! Very big and most sites are right on the water! It had stopped raining but it was still cloudy, damp and cool.  

Umbagog Lake

Last morning in Bar Harbor! After 2 weeks it was feeling like home, but I do need to move on and get back to my actual home.  Mom and Dad had plans to meet up with some friends, starting with lunch in Freeport so they were up and rolling before 8! I took a more leisurely approach to leaving! 

After I packed up, filled up with water and dumped, it was 9:00.  I decided to take one last drive down the scenic drive by the ocean since the sun was out and I didn't get any pictures down there this year.  At one of the first overlooks after Frenchman's Bay I noticed I could make out the water tower on Schoodic Point! So cool to now have seen both places! I stopped for one picture and kept driving.  When I came out on route three I decided to take 3 around by Northeast Harbor and back up and avoid going through Bar Harbor and see something a bit different.  It was a nice drive! It was about 10:30 before I truly on my way! 

I was headed to Umbagog Lake State Park near Errol, NH. It was about 200 miles, but I took a scenic route that was a bit longer. I stopped for lunch at a rest stop right on the Kennebec River near Skowhegan. I then wound my way North and west through Rangely, ME.  I recognized Rangely as an AT Trail town, and while the AT does cross the road about 10 miles away, Rangely is a lot more than a trail town! Rangely Lake is huge and the town has a tourist/resort feel! It's not as populated as Bar Harbor (it's way out in the middle of nowhere!) but it's really nice. Next time I think I'll figure out how to stay there! 

I continued on to Umbagog Lake.  The campground here is small and rough, but it's right on the lake! The 1st site I got was too big for me! Crazy right? It was a nice, level, private site, but the plug was so far away I couldn't make my cord reach and have the van in a good location.  I got a new site that isn't as nice, but if I pulled in nose 1st I could get my cord to reach the plug! 

I immediately unloaded the SUP and got it inflated! The whole process was so much easier since the water was right here! I just inflated it, picked it up and walked to the water.  

This was a harder paddle than Long Pond and Echo Lake! It was very windy and there were lots of power boats creating more waves! I did paddle a big circle and didn't fall off! I spent a lot of time paddle on my knees so I could stay balanced.  The waves were crashing over the SUP from all sides! The water in the lake was very warm so that was good!  

I did paddle into a cove that was protected from the wind and that was nice! The water was smooth and easy to paddle!  I was out paddling for about an hour and when I came back it was dinner time.  The campground has a few communal picnic tables with lake views so I took my dinner out there. After dinner I put the SUP away, did the dishes and walked around the campground.  Then I settled in to porch swing by the beach to blog, watch the sunset and listen to the loons!  

Schoodic Peninsula

On Friday Mom and I did chores while Dad went out to ride the Around the Mountain Carriage Road. We started with laundry, I supervised the washers and dryers while Mom was making some phone calls. After lunch we headed into Ellsworth for some errands.  It was almost dinner by the time we got back. Dad had ridden not only Around the Mountain but also around Eagle Lake and up Paradise Hill! 

Saturday we drove over to another part of Acadia, Schoodic Peninsula.  It's the only part of Acadia attached to the mainland and you can see Mt. Desert Island (MDI) from Schoodic so it was a different perspective.  It took about an hour to drive out there, we could have taken the ferry from Bar Harbor but it was $25 a person so driving seemed more economical.  

Our first stop was Winter Harbor where we found a few neat stores and a cafe for lunch.  Mom finally got the Lobster Roll she'd been wanting and we got blueberry pie (with vanilla ice cream) and Whoopie Pie for desert so we had the whole Maine Experience! 

After lunch we drove into the park to check it out.  They just added a campground and a Visitor Center over there and it was really nice! Got our passports stamped! The scenic drive over there is only 6 miles and it was similar, but different from the MDI shoreline.  Schoodic has more coves and islands and it isn't as sheer of a cliff so there are lots of places to walk out on the rocks.  We stopped at Schoodic Point and Dad and I walked around - we got almost to the edge of the water!  MDI was hazy, but you could see Champlain Mt and Cadillac. 

We continued around the point to Blueberry Hill where we parked, left Mom with her book, a chair and nice view and hiked up to Schoodic Head. Schoodic Head is the highest point on the peninsula - 450 ft! Of course we had to climb all 450 ft! It was steep and rocky, but generally a pretty easy climb.  The views were nice, but the trees got in the way a bit. I could see all the Porcupine Islands that are in front of Bar Harbor! 

We hiked back on the Anvil Trail and got to see the view from another rocky outcropping! From here I couldn't see the Porcupine Islands, but I could see Sand Beach!  The hike down was rock and steep but similar to the hike up, not too hard.  

After the hike we finished driving the loop and headed back to Ellsworth for dinner at The Governor's - it really reminded me of Eat-n-Park in PA.  It was a local chain and it was pretty good!  Dad and I did make one last trip to Udder Heaven! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Biking and SUPing

Yesterday was another cloudy, foggy morning! Been a lot of those here this year! Dad and I decided to do a shorter bike ride around Eagle Lake.  We called the Acadia NP info line to see if the connector from the visitor center was open and we were told that it was still closed, so we took the car over to Eagle Lake.  There were plenty of people who also had this plan! 

When we arrived there was lots of fog on the lake, but by the time we rode around the fog had lifted and the sun was out!  After our ride around Eagle Lake we did a loop around Paradise Hill.  Up there you get some great views of Frenchman's Bay, but not today as the fog was still thick out on the ocean.  

We spent the afternoon at the campground, Mom and Dad were doing some stuff for my Grandmother and I was reading.  We went into Bar Harbor for dinner and after dinner Dad and I walked The Shore Path which runs about a half mile from the Town Pier along the shore - ocean on one side and huge "cottages" on the other.  It was a nice walk! I'm surprised that I hadn't discovered it sooner! 

Today the forecast was for full sun and 85 degrees! Hot for Bar Harbor! We decided it was the perfect day for SUPing and kayaking at Echo Lake.  We left a bit later and went out to Ike's Point, the public boat launch.  Echo Lake is much nicer for SUP & kayak! It was calm, less wind, and there were no power boats! We paddled all over and it was a lot more relaxed than our SUP on Long Pond! I didn't fall in once! I went in to go swimming twice, but I didn't fall in at all! 

We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside at Mom and Dad's site, I was using the wifi until the signal dropped, then reading, Mom and Dad were working on stuff for my grandma.  We went to Pepper's Pizza for dinner, this was a new one for us and it was very good! After dinner Dad and I walked the beach at Hull's Cove and watched the tide come in - it comes in quickly! Then we walked the campground a bit and went to Udder Heaven.  This time I tried blueberry cheesecake, it was really good! 

Catch up

I have fallen very far off the blogging wagon! I'm going to try and catch up! 

On Saturday, it was cloudy with the possiblity of rain, so we decided to go to lunch at the Jordan Pond House and then Dad and I were going hike. 

We were the only ones on the Jordan Pond bus heading out! Wow! It was after 10 and the bus was empty! I guess everyone was staying in because of the cloudy and cool weather! We go to to Jordan Pond Just before the restaurant opened! It was very chilly at Jordan Pond, I was wishing I'd brought more clothes!  We ended up eating soup for lunch because it was so chilly! After lunch Dad and I headed out to hike up to The Triad.  It was a shorter, more gentle hike through thick pine forest with moss and ferns and just a little bit of rock climbing! 

After out hike we went into Ellsworth, where I bought an inflatable SUP! I decided that the one at Cadillac Mountain Sports was a good deal - it was a discontinued model but it was a reputable company and quality ptoducts with good reviews! 

So of course, on Sunday Dad and I went out to Long Pond to kayak & SUP! He was in the Sea Eagle and he enjoyed it! The Sea Eagle is now his! We were out for 3 hours! We paddled all the way over the other side, had lunch in our boats and paddled back. The sun was intense and we were both worn out! 

Yesterday, Monday, Dad and I rode our bikes on the Carriage Trails! We started at the Visitor Center, but the connector trail was closed for resurfacing so we had to detour on the Park Loop Road to Duck Brook Road! Added about 2 miles to the ride!  Once we got on the Carriage Trails we went down to Eagle Lake, around half of Eagle Lake to Bubble Pond to Jordan Pond, back up and then down Aunt Betty's Pond and back to Witch Hole Pond to Duck Brook Bridge. It was a nice ride, more up and down than the Around The Mountain route so that was nice! It still had a lot of elevation gain/loss!  The weather during most of the ride was bright and sunny! We opted to ride back into Bar Harbor rather than going back to the Visitor Center. As we were riding down the hill suddenly the air got really cold! As we got closer to the ocean the fog got thicker and the air was cooler! We ate a quick lunch and got ice cream then headed back on the bus.  

Since it was early when we got back we drove up Cadillac Mountain so Mom and I could get our passports stamped. It was 75 and sunny up there, but we couldn't see the ocean at all because of the fog! We were above the fog, which was very cool! Next we drove around the park loop road, we couldn't see anything along the ocean because the fog was so thick! There was a 15* temperature difference between the summit of Cadillac and the ocean! After our drive we went into Bar Harbor and went to the Thai Restaurant and I saw my friends from the SUP class! 

This morning Dad and I hiked Norumbega Mountain! It was another shorter, less rocky trail, but we did have to go up The Goat Trail! The Goat Trail was steep and rocky, but not as steep and rocky as some other trails! Once again it was very cloudy and the fog was thick! It made the forest look cool, but it wasn't good for views. The trail description said that there weren't many views anyway so I don't think we missed much.  Even after the rocky climb the descent was pretty easy and then we went around Lower Hadlock Pond back to the car. 

This afternoon I went into Ellsworth to visit the AT&T store.  My phone had quit charging again and my tricks that I'd tried the last time weren't working. I'd been able to back it up on Mom and Dad's wifi so I decided I needed a new phone.  It was time for an upgrade anyway so it wasn't that big of a deal.  I was mostly worried about having all my stuff on my new phone.  Turns out I didn't need to worry about that! Once my phone was backed up in iCloud all I had to do was sign in and click "restore" and my shiny new phone looked just like my old broken one! Some of my accounts were even still signed in on my new phone! Wow! And, the iPhone 7 supposedly has an amazing camera! 

The Gorge Trail

Dad and I headed out this morning to hike in the Sieur de Monts Springs area.  We took the bus from the campground to the Visitor Center and took a Loop Road bus to Sieur de Monts.  

We did a loop that went up the saddle between Dorr and Cadillac Mountains.  It was regally pretty! It was all in the trees with rocks but they weren't that big or hard to walk over.  We started going around The Tarn on a well constructed rock path, then we started going up, up, up, over rocks! As far as rock climbs go it wasn't super hard, but it was still uphill! The trail did go along a creek and there were a few cascades and waterfalls. As we got closer to the top we did get some ocean views!  At the top we were .4 of a mile - of more up over rocks - from the summit of Cadillac! We didn't go the rest of the way up, we continued on the Gorge Trail that went between Dorr and Cadillac Mountains.  The down was still over rocks but again the trail was very well constructed and it was easy walking! The Gorge was really cool with big rock walls and tall trees!  

The trail we were on crossed the Hemlock Road that I'd been on yesterday so we decided to walk back into Bar Harbor rather than walk back to Sieur de Monts to get the bus! Once back in Bar Harbor we got some Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream and then caught the bus back to the campground. 

We went for an early dinner at Sweet Peas Farm Cafe. It was good, but not as good as the last time we were here!