Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 16, 2013 - Part 7

 For all you dog-lovers out there, these pics are pretty sweet.

September 16, 2013 - Part 6

Playing with the focus again.
You'd think I'd be bored with that by now.
You'd be wrong.  :)

September 16, 2013 - Part 5

 The outgoing tide creates such interesting patterns on the exposed sand.

September 16, 2013 - Part 4

Unfortunately it started to rain shortly after we arrived at the ocean front, so we made our way back to the cottage.  That line of trees is behind the cottage; the beach leading down to the ocean is fairly steep so this is all that can be seen of the rest of the world from the water.

That's Cynthia's cottage, tucked away to the left.  The massive house on the right is fairly new, but I think I actually prefer the cozy rustic cottage.

It was chilly when we left the house this morning, and I couldn't talk Jed into wearing shorts.  Nevertheless, that didn't keep him from jumping with total abandon into the ocean.  I didn't get any pictures of that because I didn't want the camera to get wet, but I took it out of my shirt (where it was keeping dry) on the way back to the cottage to document his homeward-bound crossing of the river.

September 16, 2013 - Part 3

 And this was the reward for our efforts.

That's Seguin Island Light.

September 16, 2013 - Part 2

 Jed crossing the Little River.
That's Reid State Park on the other side.

Even the dogs were game for crossing at low tide.

September 16, 2013 - Part 1

Our friends Rod and Cynthia have a cottage on Georgetown Island, where the Little River meets the ocean. It is one of the most exquisite places we've been to in Maine, made all the more so because Cynthia spent her childhood summers here and it's hard not to imagine what that must have been like, standing on the deck looking down on the river, the ocean, the sand...

The Little River separates the beach behind Cynthia's cottage from Reid State Park, but when it's low tide you can cross the river to the state park, which features full ocean frontage. This angle shows the view to the left of the cottage.

We were so excited to learn that the tide was receding when we arrived at the cottage!  By the time we were finished with lunch the water was low enough to wade through.

This angle shows the view straight out from the cottage.  While there is nothing but sand visible, the river runs through a low area visible in the dark spaces near the horizon, and the ocean lies on the other side of the sand on the horizon.

You can barely see the ocean on the right side of the horizon.  During high tide this entire area of sand is underwater.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 4, 2013

What Jed's been up to lately.  :)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

September 3, 2013 - Part 2

We took our time heading back home today.  Tracy laughed when he saw the name of this bank...he told me people from Aroostook County, which makes up about half the state of Maine (the northern half), consider Aroostook County, or "The County," as it's known locally, to be completely separate from the rest of the state, and they like it that way.  I feel sorry for them, because they have nothing of what the state is known for (lobsters, blueberries, coast, etc.), but Tracy told me I was wasting my time feeling sorry for them, because they like it that way and you couldn't pay them to live in the southern half of the state.  I find that hard to believe, but he knows more people who live here than I do.

There's a war memorial park on Route 1 which features this impressive-looking missile.

We were really surprised by the landscape of northeastern reminded us a lot of the Midwest, only prettier and hillier.  There were wind turbines scattered about even, though not much activity on this still day.

This is what northeastern Maine is known for - potatoes.  Acres and acres of potatoes.  We brought some home as souvenirs.  :)

We came across an interesting roadside attraction during this drive...planets from our solar system.  They're located on a 40 mile stretch of Route 1 from Houlton to Presque Isle, and were installed by the Northern Maine Museum of Science located at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.  Supposedly all eight planets are visible from the road, but we could only find Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus.  We were too busy looking at beautiful farmland and wind turbines, I guess.

Wind turbines on top of Mars Hill Mountain, known as the Mars Hill Wind Project.
Part of Mars Hill Mountain covered in a low cloud.

Not long after this last picture was taken, we took a detour from Route 1 onto Route 2A from  Houlton down to Bangor.  This stretch of highway is known as the Haynesville Highway, made famous in a song by Dick Curless called "A Tombstone Every Mile," which tells the story of a treacherous stretch of highway through the mountain range of the Haynesville Woods, where so many truckers have died in winter-time accidents.  From a contributor on AnswerBag: 
It was a shorter but more remote run from Houlton to Kingman than Route 2 (back before I-95). In the wintertime, this crowned two lane road was a nightmare. Many a Canadian southbound traveler would select this route to reduce the travel distance, but in a heavy northern Maine snowstorm, a routine occurrence, the only way to keep your vehicle on the road was to straddle the center of the road. My dad experienced what so many truckers did. As he was northbound and straddling the center line, he met another vehicle. His only choice was to steer right. But the crown of the road pulled him toward the ditch. He had two choices: 1. Pull back to the left and have his rig roll down into the ditch, or 2. Let it slide down into the ditch, a less damaging experience. The boulders in the ditch would demolish any vehicle upon contact. But a rig rolling into the ditch would probably result in death to the driver (long before seat belts and air bags).
Thankfully we didn't meet up with any northern Maine snowstorms this trip.  No sunrises, moose, or Northern Lights either.  But a bad day in Maine is still better than a good day anywhere else.

September 3, 2013 - Part 1

We woke up this morning to an overcast sky but no rain, at least.  This is the living area of the cabin we stayed in...pretty cute for snowmobilers, eh?  :)

I mean, look at this lamp - is that cute or what?!  I think I'd be scandalized if I was a snowmobiling guy.  :)

Now this is more like it - a map of the great state of Maine.

And this is even better - a map of snowmobiling/ATV trails.

Snowmobilers represent!

September 2, 2013 - Part 4

We headed to Caribou for two reasons:  1, to see what the northern part of eastern Maine was like, and 2, to hopefully catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.  You can imagine how the Northern Lights thing worked out.  Even on an ideal night it's hit or miss, and our weather was anything but ideal.  It was a plausible idea, though, because the Northern Lights have been seen in Caribou, and even in Presque Isle, to the south, and this year is the peak of an 11 year cycle for solar activity, which is what causes the Northern Lights.  However, it wasn't a total loss...we did get to see what northeastern Maine is like, and we got to stay in this cool snowmobiling cabin, which was really cheap since it's not snowmobile season.  :)

Jed was so excited to find bunkbeds in his bedroom!  He's never gotten to sleep in a top bunk before.

September 2, 2013 - Part 3

So a funny story...when we were asking the local guy for directions, and I told him what Mrs. Smith had said about West Musquash Lake being the prettiest lake in Maine, the look on his face was priceless.  To say he was shocked would be an understatement.  He rattled off a long list of lakes he thought were prettier, and then his friend piped up and said if we REALLY wanted to see something pretty, we ought to head north to the Million Dollar View on Rt 1.  Well, we thought West Lake really was pretty, so we were pumped about this Million Dollar View, especially since we were heading that way anyway.  The locals said it was a turnout, and we found it sure enough.  It was still raining, so I jumped out and took a few shots of the plaques before even looking at the view.  I know that sounds weird, but when you're holding an umbrella while taking pictures, your view is quite blocked.  So you can imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw this...

I mean, it is pretty, but would anyone really pay a million dollars for this view??  We were just stunned by what the local guy said, and all we could figure is there's no accounting for taste.  We laughed about that all the way down the road until we ran across this...

..another Million Dollar View!  How can there be more than one Million Dollar View on the same road??  Anyway, we're pretty sure this is the one the locals had in mind, and we're pretty sure the view would definitely be worth stopping for if it hadn't been raining and the wind blowing so hard it kept blowing my umbrella inside out.  :)  That's Canada on the other side of the lake, btw.  This area really is incredible...I didn't get good pics of it because I was getting soaked, but if you look at a map of Maine and follow Rt 1 north as it leaves the coast, look for where it intersects Rt 169 and just north of that you'll see a region of lakes, including the huge Grand Lake, which straddles the US-Canada border, as well as Musquash Lake (the eastern version of the same West Musquash Lake we visited, I reckon).  I'm not sure what lakes we were seeing as we stood out in the rain, but we could see several, and they were impressive.

It's too bad it was raining, because it kept me from capturing most of the water in this shot - there were 3 or 4 different lakes visible.  It's hard to hold a camera up high when you're holding an umbrella that's turning inside out in the wind.  :)

September 2, 2013 - Part 2

The next leg of our journey was an interesting one.  My friend Mrs. Smith went camping with Mr. Smith at West Musquash Lake in Waite a few weeks ago and she said it was the prettiest lake she had seen in Maine, with clear water 20 feet down.  It's not far off Rt 1, which we were traveling on our way to Caribou in the northern part of Maine, so we took a little side trip to West Lake, as it's known to the locals.  I know this, because we had to stop and ask the locals for directions.  :)  In our defense, the GPS was worthless at this point and come to find out, the Gazetteer labeled the access road incorrectly. 
With the help of the locals, we literally drove right up to the lake.  :)

The lake is indeed beautiful, as evidenced by these pics taken in sequence from the right side of the cove to the left.

And the water is indeed clear, even though the rain must have stirred it up a bit.  BTW, it's really hard to take pictures while holding an umbrella.  :)

There's nothing quite like Maine back roads for an adventure!