Squirrel Pond

After experiencing no small number of deer flies and mosquitoes, the game plan was to spend one night at Squirrel Pond in the North Maine Woods to see if we could tolerate the beasts.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the campsite was the least insect-ridden we had experienced and for a while, it seemed like it was going to be a perfect spot to stay for several nights.

BUT, it turned out I wasn’t paying attention to what the constant change was doing to Zoe and Aslan who are not yet 3 years old. While Granger has gathered quite a bit of experience over his ten years of living with me and is fairly adaptable, the siblings “know” only the sliver of the Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area where they had been exploring since puppyhood.

During one of our walks the morning we left, Zoe literally catapulted backwards out of the weeds she was investigating and ran to my side where she remained plastered for several moments.

I saw nothing but I suspect she encountered a moose as I believe I would have smelled a bear. Besides, all of them had seen a bear while living in WV.

Later, it became obvious Aslan was on heightened alert status and could not settle down, sniffing the weeds and returning to my side repeatedly.

They were obviously scared so I made the decision to load up and head on up the road because I didn’t think they would be able to settle down for the night.

Judging by Aslan’s crawling into my lap while I was driving back to the main road, whatever they were sensing was potent. My 65-pound, lanky Doberman was reduced to a quivering mass.

Squirrel Pond, before anxiety wafted through the area.

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

According to Wikipedia, “West Quoddy Head, in Quoddy Head State Park, Lubec, Maine, is the easternmost point of the contiguous United States. Since 1808, there has been a lighthouse there to guide ships through the Quoddy Narrows. The current one, with distinctive red-and-white stripes, was built in 1858, and is an active aid to navigation.”

I joined a small group for a tour to the top where one can experience a bit of claustrophobia. 😀

Lighthouse at West Quoddy Head, Lubec, Maine

Stacked Rocks

The act of stacking rocks has become so popular I read there is a counter-movement to curtail the practice as, according to this article in New Yorker magazine, “The movement of so many stones can cause erosion, damage animal ecosystems, disrupt river flow, and confuse hikers, who depend on sanctioned cairns for navigation in places without clear trails.”

I’ve hiked several extended hikes and seeing those cairns appear when you weren’t sure of the path, was a blessing.

So, I’m for the “guiding path” rock stacking but I do agree if done for meditative effects, maybe your own rock garden is in order.

“There ain’t no reason things are this way
It’s how they’ve always been and they intend to stay
I can’t explain why we live this way
We do it every day”
– Ain’t No Reason, Brett Dennen

Destructive rock stacking art

Schoodic National Scenic Byway

I dropped by Brattleboro Subaru where I purchased my first Subaru back in 2014 to say hello to Matt Hale who sold me this most awesome vehicle.

I had done a significant amount of research as to what vehicle would suit my needs after my Ford Explorer was officially retired.

There are around 55,000 miles on the odometer and by the end of this journey, I am anticipating at least 15,000 more.

But I feel safe and confident my Subaru Forester will handle the task without issue.

My 2014 Subaru Forester about to carry us along the Schoodic National Scenic Byway.

Cadillac Mountain

No trip to the eastern coast of Maine is complete without a visit to the top of Cadillac Mountain.

Surprisingly, there really weren’t that many people up there. The same could not be said for Jordan Pond and after I successfully navigated out of the parking lot, I tried to find the more remote areas of the park but that was a pursuit unfulfilled.

Cadillac Mountain, Mount Desert Island, Maine

Green Mountain National Forest

We spent two nights in southern Vermont at a remote site off Forest Road 86 which was off Forest Road 71.

The K9s had a grand time jumping after frogs in the bog, so much so that they were oblivious to the moose brunching across the pond.

The morning of departure, after loading everything into the Subaru, I heard the dreaded noise indicating my battery was dead. It was later, I understood my shuddering rear hatch had been trying to forewarn me of the impending issue.

I was standing in the middle of Forest Road 71 trying to get through an incredibly painful phone call with AAA (agent was NOT in VT, therefore had little comprehension of the road system) when a couple from Massachusetts so kindly not only avoided running me over but also gave me a jump start.

“The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.”
– Paul Auster

Moose (Alces alces)

Michaux State Forest

We spent the first night of our journey at campsite 13 in Michaux State Forest, PA.

As we were walking in, I noticed a small cluster of fungus sunbathing in a shaft of sunlight.

It was like seeing the Red-spotted Purple Admiral (Limenitis arthemis) feeding on the pile of dog crap as I walked outside to turn off the main water line just before we left the house for the last time. The juxtaposition of something so beautiful, so fragile yet so defiant in the face of what could be considered a significant challenge.

Life throws a lot at you, enough to overwhelm at times but it is your response to such that determines the outcome.

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”
– Bradley Whitford

Spindle-shaped Fairy Club (Clavulinopsis fusiformis)