Sunday, October 24, 2010

It gets dark early in the shadow of giants: The summary you have been waiting for!

Faithful readers/ followers/ family and friends,

I am terribly sorry that I have not posted this thing yet, I am in agreement with you that it is far overdue. The following is a mid-length recap of my trip to the East Coast.

In early September, I was approached by Tim with an interesting opportunity, to redo a trip that he took at my age. It sounded awesome; New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and finally Maine. We agreed on a few small details; date, vehicle, tents, bikes and such.

We left the first saturday in October around 9 in the a.m. with little to no destination in mind for that day. The journey through Ohio and the small portion of Pennsylvania was very vanilla as it was expected. However upon arriving in New York state we were treated to a rolling landscape that is very much like that of Northern Michigan, more specifically the wine country, TC and Leelanau. Once we got into NY we decided on our first stop; Niagra.

The trip there was slow and at times tedious due to the roads and the state's love of the 45 MPH speed limit.

Upon arrival I felt like I was in the intro to a national lampoon film with all of the tourist trap signs one could handle! Despite the blatant commercialism, on both sides of the falls, it was a wonder to see; the sound, the mist, the volume and the height--> spectacular!

The lighting was not optimal so my shot does not really do it justice, but you get the gist.

The first night we left the falls at dusk and were faced with the challenge of finding a campsite rather quickly. We settled on Fourmile State Park, a clean, open park on the Southern shore of Lake Ontario. The gales of the night just about flattened the two man Eureka tent to the ground! 

In the morning we quickly packed up our gear and started off again. This day however, we had a moderate destination; the Adirondacks. Again the trip was long and slow, but at least now the terrain was becoming very interesting as the roadsides were lined with straight faced boulders, cliffs and ravines.

Our plan was to spend the night in the heart of the Adirondacks, but on the way we got sidetracked by a small roadside sign signaling a mountaintop lookout, complete with a fire tower. I was not going to pass this opportunity up at all. We parked the truck and started the hike.

The trip to the top was moderately quick and painless and offered many awesome views of the beautiful landscape:

Once at the top we waited, anxiously, as a family descended the rickety steps of the fire tower. Climbing to the top of the fire tower was a very cool experience, I would love to have had a job like that:
I would sit up here all day with a sweet view, warm coffee, mountaintop breeze and a good book.

After descending from the tower we traveled a short way to our sleeping spot for the night: Lake Durant State Park.

Lake Durant was unlike any other place on the trip, it was very serene. The lake itself was so flat and clear that it was almost to the point of being eerie. Our site was right on the lake which gave us the ability to launch the kayak.

Flat and clean, such is Lake Durant.

Blue Mountain, bummer we did not get to climb that bad boy.

What best accompanies a trip 'round a NY lake? How 'bout some NY state beer!

We ate like kings that night with all of the comforts of a five star establishment and I slept like one too, well that is if a king enjoyed sleeping on the ground, but like a king nonetheless.

Our plan for the next day was to explore all that Vermont had to offer, sadly we were not too impressed with its offerings so we kept on trucking East!

We settled in New Hampshire, at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain. The view of the giant from our site was obscured intermittently by branches so pictures were not worth a dime. I could not fully enjoy the view anyway due to the constant reminders of bears:
Well this looks safe.... right, haha

I ate little, cleaned up the juices like a fiend and oddly enough slept like a log! My dreams were wretched, but I slept so well that it did not really matter.

In the morning before packing up Tim and I took a hike down the ravine behind our site to an awesome mountain river complete with boulders and small waterfalls. If we were going to see a bear, this would have been the most awesome place for it to happen!

Packing up this camp site was pure bliss fore this afternoon we hoped to be on Mount Desert Island, virtually bear free and eating some fresh Maine Lobster!

Snapped a quick pic of this awesome sky!

Spent the day on the road battling NH drivers and their I will get there when I get there mindset, but the trip was worth it!

Snagged some lobsta fresh from the dock, we even bought some clams from a real salty dog.

After getting the grub we found a cool little campground near Bass Harbor. We set up camp like seasoned pros and began foraging for fuel for the fire; twigs, sticks, bark, logs, anything really. It was in this search that I stumbled upon this little guy;
This is Tim's best friend from the trip.

The first night on Mount Desert Island (MDI) was filled with snacks, drink and seafood:
Boil 'em and smash 'em with a rock, eat it up!

Day two on MDI began with a quick bike ride to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse:
This quaint beacon guides fishermen into Bass Harbor, a real life fishing town!

The area surrounding the lighthouse offers a quiet area that is perfect to take in the scenery, rest and ponder:

.... and as always: a place to play:

After moving camp to Blackwoods Federal Park on the East side of MDI Tim and I set off to see what Bar Harbor had to offer, but as was the case for most of the trip, we got sidetracked by climbing a mountain!

Mount Dorr stands 1,270 ft tall at the summit and offers an awesome view of a large portion of MDI:
We ascended the Ladder trail which features, you guess it; ladders on the very difficult sections. The hike up took 45 minutes or so, time really does not matter when you are on vacation I learned, however long it took it was most definitely worth it!

A guy could really do some thinking up here.

The top did not disappoint either:

After coming down we headed into Bar Harbor, a quaint tourist town with few of the usual traps!

As you can see it rained, a light rain at first and then pounding sheets fell to the ground, however the trip to town was a great success as I found the Puffin that I was set on finding! GREAT SUCCESS!!! 

When we got to our campsite there was enough light left for a rain hike to the coast, glad I did too 'cause I snapped these super cool shots!

On the hike I was also able to get a further understanding of how well the First Ascent Front Point works!

I left Tim to wander the coast and start one of his famous "night hikes" while I headed to the campground bathhouse to charge the electronics and jot some memories down on the ole blogster!

The rain did not let up and we had a mini feast in the tent thanks to jet-boil and campbell's soup!
Determined to continue the feast Tim fired up the jet-boil!

Again I slept well as the pelting rain and winds played a melody so perfect that only nature could have made it.

The rest of a trip was a real blur, we headed west to the mitten with blazing speed. We camped on Monadnock mountain in New Hampshire where we were the only people in the campground, we were also prowled upon by a late night visit from ranger rick, and nearly killed by raccoons in our sleep!

The last day of the trip we racked up over 700 miles from New Hampshire to Michigan. What a haul that was!

I did learn one very important thing about camping in the mountains: it gets dark early in the shadow of giants.

The trip was awesome. I had a lot of fun and cannot wait to do something like that again in the future!

Until then it will be reviews, athlete profiles, event promotions and day hikes in this AWESOME state! MI all the way.

hope you all enjoyed this, don't stop following now; I have only just begun!


ps: have you heard that the Pure Michigan campaign has been reinstated? Freakin WooHoo!

No comments: