Summer Fun – 2018

This was the summer to cross items off my “bucket list!”  The two biggest items were climbing Mt Katahdin, which is the end of the Appalachian Trail if you start in Georgia or the beginning of the famous east coast hiking trail if you are starting in Maine!   My other “bucket list” item was water skiing, which I had not done in over 30 years.  Of course, my summer had other wonderful activities like walks on Higgins Beach, visits with doggie friends, the Great Pond wood trail, hiking Tumbledown Mountain and my annual father-daughter trip to Aroostook County to name a few.

 Annual Father-Daughter Trip

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Aroostook County is beautiful in the summer.

My dad is originally from Oakfield, Maine in Aroostook County, the most northern county in the state.  For about the past 6 years, I have taken dad back to visit friends and family.  It has been such lovely times and we have created such wonderful memories.  This year was no different.  I always love to hear his stories of growing up.  This year, we visited the Lumbermen’s Museum in Patten, ME.  Dad and his family have a long history of “working in the woods!”  It was fun going through the various buildings and hearing Dad’s stories about his father and the whole families’ experiences.

The Lumbermen’s Museum was wonderful.  It covers 175 years of logging history.  It is located on a road that many logs were hauled to the mills.  There are 9 buildings dedicated to all of the equipment that has been used over the years.  From building to building you see all the tools used for cutting and hauling the logs from the woods to those used to drive the logs down the river to the mills.  Two of the buildings houses heavy equipment like the logging sleds and wagons pulled by horses or oxen.  Another shed has two Lombard log haulers one powered by gasoline and the other by steam.

My favorite part of the museum was the replicas of the logging camps and how the lumberjacks lived while working in the woods.  It was a structure about 12 to 15 ft long and about 15 ft wide.  There were about 12-14 men living in one cabin at a time.  One long bed was built along one wall and on the other wall was a long table with a long bench where the men would eat.  A stove on another wall was to keep the camp warm and for the cook to prepare meals that would “stick to their ribs.”Over the years, life in the woods improved with better tools and living conditions in the camps.

Unfortunately, the day we were visiting the museum it was a rainy and dreary day.  My photos really didn’t come out very good.  The only one I have is of my dad looking at the various saws they had hanging on the wall of one of the buildings.  Seeing the saws reminded dad of the summer his mother, father and five siblings worked in the woods logging.  It was the job for two of my aunts to fell around 45 trees a day using a two-man crosscut saw.

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My 88 year-old father inspecting old lumbering saws.

If you find yourself planning a trip to northern Maine in Aroostook County,  I really encourage you to visit the Patten Lumbermen’s Museum.  Here is their webpage to give you more information:  www.lumbermensmuseum.org

Great Pond Walks

Often, my summer days will start with a walk around the Great Pond trail that is located near our home.  I never know what will greet me…

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I took this photo early in the summer of a family of geese and their young goslings.

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I always look forward to Lady Slippers blooming.

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Turkeys were my entertainment one day walking along Great Pond.

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Unfortunately, this isn’t the best photo but as I was walking along Great Pond trail, I saw this Barred Owl swoop up and land on a tree branch that was hanging over the trail.

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The owl was just as curious about me (and the dog, Buddy, who was walking with me) as I was about him!  This is looking directly up at him as Buddy and I walked under him.

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There are two ponds at Great Pond and this photo is of the smaller of the two.  It was taken just a couple of days ago and I felt was a reminder that the September sun is lower in the sky.  A quiet reminder that summer is over.  I don’t know if you can make it out but at the end of the log was a turtle trying to catch the last rays of summer.

Higgins Beach

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As always, Higgins Beach in the early mornings continues to be a favorite of mine.  This picture was taken on one of those mornings with the sea roses blooming in the foreground.  I didn’t ride my bicycle nearly enough to Higgins this summer as I have done in the past….next year I vow to do more bike riding.

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I was able to spend many summer days with my doggie friends.  Here Cailey and I were enjoying the beach while her parents were off for an overnight!

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The black spot, in this picture, is Cailey refusing to come with me!  I was walking to throw something away and she thought I was leaving.  I guess she thought she had not spent enough time on the beach and was refusing to come with me.  She was very happy when she realized that we were staying longer.

I always have time for my doggie friends!

One of the reasons I didn’t ride my bicycle as often, is I had many doggie friends visiting with me and prefer to take them for walks through Great Pond where they are less apt to get covered in sand and wet from an ocean romp!

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This is Jed my cousin, Jennifer’s dog.

I actually got to see Ralphie, three times this summer!  Twice when I made the trip to Moosehead Lake to visit my mom and once when Ralphie and his owner, Alice, came to visit me!

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Buddy is the “new dog” in the neighborhood and spent a night with me when his family went to Boston for an overnight get-away!  He loves walks through Great Pond!!  There are so many squirrels!!

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Remember “Sweet Mimi” from previous posts?  She visits Auntie periodically.  Here is “Miss Photogenic” with her favorite toy monkey.

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Just recently, Theo closed out the summer with a week-long visit.  He and his family, live across the street from us!

Oh yes, I had people visits, too!

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Summer “kicked off” with a college-friend weekend at Lake Winnepesaukah in New Hampshire.

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Jane, Kathy and I celebrated Kathy’s July birthday.  I met these lovely ladies walking at Higgins Beach.  Jane is mom to Cailey and Kathy is mom to Mimi!  What a gift our friendship is to me!  Our friend, Holly couldn’t make it to the celebration.  We were “minus one” of our “Fursome, foursome Group!”

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My girlfriend, Lynn and her husband, Larry came all the way to Maine from Chicago to celebrate their anniversary!  Lynn and I had not seen each other for over 40 years when we were working together in the Dominican Republic!  We had a great time sharing our life adventures and seeing the sights of the area!

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My high school friend, Malcolm came to visit from Connecticut and we climbed Tumbledown Mountain! It such a beautiful hike! (More about Tumbledown Mountain to come!)

Crossed off the Bucket List

“Going to Camp” and Climbing Mt Katahdin

For the past two years, my friend Alan and I have been talking about climbing Mt Katahdin together.  Earlier this year, I told him this was going to be the year that, as the Nike commercial says,  we “just do it!”  We decided on the week of July 30 to make the trip to Alan’s family camp on the west border of Baxter State Park.

I was so looking forward to the week of being at camp and finally climbing Mt Katahdin! The only other time I had been to Baxter State Park, where Katahdin is located, was with my family when I was about 10 years old.  We went for a weekend of camping at one of the many campsites the park has to offer and hiking the mountain.  I remember how much fun it was cooking over the open fire and sleeping in the tent.  Climbing the mountain started out as a great adventure but just as we got to the timberline, the sky opened up and the rain started pouring down.  It was torrential and dangerous!  The rocks were very wet and slippery and the hiking path turned into a stream of gushing water.  We made it back to our campsite totally soaked to the skin and feeling miserable!

That was my only attempt at climbing majestic Mt Katahdin!  With a window of a whole week, I was hoping that the “weather gods” would be smiling upon Alan and me and we would be blessed with one good day to make the climb!

The day finally came for the “great camping/hiking adventure” to begin!  With the car packed, we started the four-hour trek (from Augusta, ME) to Camp Phoenix.  To get to Alan’s cabin, we entered Baxter State Park at the Togue Pond Gate, the entrance closest to the town of Millinocket.

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This boulder lets you know that you are about 2 miles from the state park entrance!

Camp Phoenix is located on the west border of Baxter State Park on Nesowadnehunk Lake.  It is such a beautiful setting! The cabin was once a part of a traditional Maine sporting camp where guests would sleep in small cabins and come to the main lodge for their meals.  Camp Phoenix is still intact with the large lodge and individual cabins. In 1992, the sporting camp was turned into a condo complex affording families to own the buildings individually while sharing the maintenance of the common areas.

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Camp Phoenix is a typical Maine cabin.  Being here brought back so many wonderful childhood memories of time spent at our family cabin in another part of northern Maine!

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Cozy and rustic!

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Looking out onto Nesowadnehunk Lake.

We arrived just in time to enjoy sitting on the front porch and watching a glorious sunset while enjoying a glass of wine.  What a great introduction to Camp Phoenix!  Picture perfect!

I am happy to report that the day after our arrival was perfect conditions to hike Mt Kathadin!  We rose early so we could get to the trailhead before 7:00 AM when they closed the parking lot to limit the number of people hiking.

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Alan after a hearty breakfast and cup of rugged coffee to get the day started!

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We decided to hike the Hunt Trail, which is the northernmost section of the Appalachian Trail!

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Hunt Trail is the longest trail (5.2 miles long) and the most scenic.  For the first part of the hike, we followed Katahdin stream.

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We were treated to a couple of beautiful waterfalls.

More of the trail

Eventually, the trail became more rocky and a tad more challenging.

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This was our reward and view while we ate lunch.  This is looking out over the peaks from left to right – Double Top Mountain, Mt OJI, Mt Coe, North and Southern Brothers Mountains.  Baxter State Park has many hiking opportunities to offer on the 200,000-plus acres that make up the park.

Up we go!

This was past the timberline.  The boulders became more challenging and at some points, there were metal handlebars to help pull yourself up and over the large rocks!

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Alan has climbed the moutian several times…this was his second time this summer.  He was a great guide to do it with!

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Over the boulders, the trail leveled out.  There were rock cairns to mark the path.  We could see the top from here!

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What an amazing feeling to get to the top!  As you can see, the mountain’s elevation is 5,267 ft (1,605 m), just a few feet shy of a mile!

3 ponds-Basin Ponds, lake in foreground, Chimney Pond

There are no words to describe the view!  This is looking down onto Chimney Pond.

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I feel as though I am on top of the world!  Behind me is Knife Edge trail.  It is the most dangerous trail as it follows along sharp, granite rocks.  At some points, the trail is only 3 feet (.91 m) wide.  The most deaths have occurred on this trail!

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Taking a minute to absorb the beauty and celebrating with my “Duckie of Determination!”  I have worn this hat for all my long distance challenges…marathons, 3-day walk for breast cancer and now, climbing Mt Katahdin!

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Celebratory “selfie” at the top!

The most gorgeous view!!!

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What goes up, must come down….for a shorter route down, Alan suggested we take the Abol Trail.  It is 3.8 miles and very challenging at the top!

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Looking over to Hunt Trail that we climbed.

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Looking back from where we had just hiked!

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At the timberline….still, we had a long way to go!

This picture reminds me of the lone hiker we met shortly after I took it.  He was going at a slower pace than we were!  He was a slightly built man who said his name was Jack and he was from New York. Jack and his friend had made it to the top.  Coming down, his friend decided to go ahead of him as he was walking too slow.  Jack shared that he thought the next time he did a climb like that, he might train a little bit more….that most of his walking was along 5th Avenue and Broadway….we were surprised!  Not only was he from New York but New York City!  It sounded as though he and his friend had come to Millinocket and were staying at the only resort in the area.  From the conversation, I don’t think climbing a mountain was really planned.  Jack didn’t seem very prepared especially when he said that a worker at the resort had given him a backpack to use.  His clothes were regular casual pants and a polo-type shirt and on his feet were sneakers.  He had dropped his water bottle at the beginning of the trail and was unable to retrieve it so had hiked the way down without water!  It was a hot day!  I had about 1/2 bottle left of some Gatorade and gave it to him.  He was very grateful and commented on the kindness of Maine people!  We parted ways and further down the trail, met up with his friend coming back to make certain he was all right.  His friend shared that Jack had just celebrated his 63rd birthday the day before.  That made Jack’s accomplishment of summiting more impressive!  We were relieved that his friend was heading back to meet him!!

It was a full, 12-hour day of hiking with a 45-minute stay at the top!  I really didn’t think the climb up was that bad.  For me, it was just special to meet the hikers who had completed their “thru-hike” of the Appalachian Trail!  I got energy from them!  Just imagine, hiking every day for 5 to 7 months and then reaching the end of the trail!  I just wondered what it felt like.  Was it a sense of accomplishment for completing such a huge goal or was it kind of a letdown, like after opening all the presents at Christmas…now what?   I also thought of Percival Baxter who was the former governor of Maine from 1921 to 1925.  It was his vision, in 1930, that created and preserved the beauty of the 200,000 acres that is today, Baxter State Park.

Going down, was another story!  My knees starting “talking” or rather “screaming” my first step downward on the trail!  I thought it was because of my age…I am 63 years old but after talking to other, much younger people, it seemed to be the same experience for most.  Young or old, your body doesn’t like hiking down!!

People from all over the world come to Maine to experience our beautiful rocky coastline and tasty seafood.  However, I strongly encourage you to make a reservation to camp at Baxter State Park to experience a whole other adventure that Maine has to offer.

The last couple of days at the cabin were spent relaxing…although Alan and a couple of other friends, who were at their cabins, did another shorter hike the next day.  I graciously declined their invitation to join them and enjoyed a day of relaxing and reading.  That night, Alan and I enjoyed a campfire, roasting marshmallows to squish between graham crackers lined with pieces of chocolate for a good and tasty s’more!  The night was finished with a walk to the dock to lie down and gaze up at the sky filled with twinkling stars while listening to the mournful cry of the loons and yelps of the pack of coyotes!

It was a magical few days that brought back so many fond, childhood memories.  I only hope that I will be invited back to Camp Phoenix every summer to explore more of Baxter State Park and relax in the great wilderness of Maine.  Thank you, Alan, for the wonderful memories!!!

Tumbledown Moutain

Last year, Dad and I went to Weld, Maine to celebrate our birthdays at the end of September.  I had heard about the “rock pile” on the news and wanted to see it for myself.  I blogged about it in my Summer/Fall Memories 2017 post.  For those of you who missed it, it is a pyramid of rocks that was built over a 20-year period by Ardene Proctor and his family.  At the top of the rock pile, is a cabin that they have graciously opened to the public for picnics.  Dad and I enjoyed the day exploring nearby Mt Blue State Park and having lunch at the “Rock Pile!”

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The Rock Pile

When my niece heard that we had been in that area, she recommended that I try to hike nearby Tumbledown Mountain which is a favorite hike of hers.  Thanks to an invitation from my high school friend, Malcolm, I got to hike Tumbledown this year!

We arrived in the center of Weld and stopped at the general store to buy a few provisions.

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The flowers in the town square are beautiful!  Lo and behold!  They are maintained by the Proctors who built the Rock Pile.  The mannequins in the background are supposed to resemble them!  There was an invitation attached to the sleeve of the man to help them celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary at an open house on August 26.  It made me smile to think that this lovely couple were still going strong!

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We got to the trailhead and started hiking up Brook Trail which is about 2.5 miles long.  Malcolm is an avid hiker and in his younger days, did a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail!  He is planning to do the Pacific Crest Trail in 2020!

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This was the trail as we got closer to the top of the mountain.  Tumbledown is 3,054 ft (931 m) tall.

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It is so pretty at the top!  This is Crater Lake or Tumbledown Pond not quite at the summit but close and a good spot to relax a bit before summiting.

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Heading toward the summit, looking back at Tumbledown Pond.

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The “celebratory selfie” at the top with Lake Webb in the background!

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Before heading back, we dipped our feet in the cold water of the pond.  Can you see the fish?  They stock the pond each year with trout.

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Parting shot…I really hated to leave.  Some hikers we met were camping overnight.  What a great idea….maybe next year!

The last “bucket list” item was…….fullsizeoutput_2f34WATERSKIING

Again, this was something that I wanted to try for the past two years and finally had the opportunity this summer.  I used to waterski when I was younger but over the years, I haven’t had the chance to do it.  It had been over 30 years since I had last tried it!  What fun! I am hoping to make this an annual event for as long as I am able to get up!

Odds and Ends….

The Wall that Heals

I have visited the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall in Washington DC years ago.  This summer, a three-quarter scale replica of The Wall visited Gardiner, Maine.  This replica is 375 ft long and stands 7.5 ft high at the tallest point.  Although it was a replica, it was just as moving as visiting the original memorial in DC.  IMG_1908

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There are 58,318 names on the wall.  On the ground, there were cards that had the names of local people who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country and our freedom.  The average age of the service members on the wall is 22 years, 9 months.

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Over 400,000 items have been left at the original memorial.  There are 8 women, 31 sets of brothers, 3 sets of fathers and sons on the wall.

Beach to Beacon Race

Do you remember watching the 1984 Summer Olympics that was held in Los Angeles and seeing Joan Benoit win the first women’s marathon?  Joan Benoit Samuelson grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine and founded the Beach to Beacon 10K Race in 1998.  It is run from Crescent Beach State Park to the Portland Headlight!

When it started in 1998, there were 3,000 runners, some them were elite runners from around the world.  Today, the race continues to grow in popularity and registration for 2018 exceeded 6,500 people.  The race route is so close to my home and if I am home the first Saturday of August, the day of the race, I walk up to cheer the runners on.

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All walks of runners, from around the world, come to Cape Elizabeth, ME for the ever popular B2B 10K race!

It has been a fun summer.  Thank you for taking the time to read through my summer memories!

Until the next post…which will be of my travels throughout Southeast Asia….I wish you joy and sparkles!

 

 

 

A love letter to Ralphie

 

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Ralphie!

My sweet, dear Ralphie,

What a glorious five months we have had together!

How do I begin to thank you for helping me “step out of my comfort box” this winter?  How do I begin to thank you for all of the laughter you brought into my life? Do you realize what a gift you have been for me?

You have been the best companion!!!  I cherish all the memories of our morning walks in the woods at Great Pond.  There was always something new and beautiful to discover.  Remember the 3 deer we saw the day after one of the many blizzards we had?  They were framed against the evergreen trees layered in fluffy snow.

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Great Pond Woods, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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IMG_1075IMG_1422How you love the snow!  It would be just a matter of time before you flopped down and began making your “snow angels!”  IMG_1027IMG_1024

Thanks to you, my friend, I got outside in all kinds of winter weather and I am so grateful.  I have wonderful memories of big snowflakes gently floating down from the night sky.  Standing in the middle of the backyard, in a snowstorm was something I would not have done by myself.  So, thank you, Ralphie.  It is such a wonderful memory.  As is the night of the full moon shining brightly in the backyard.  The trees were lightly covered with ice and glistened in the moonlight while the snow on the ground sparkled like diamonds that had been spread all over the backyard.   Unfortunately, no photo could do justice to the beauty.

The morning after one of the blizzards was wondrous as the rising sun kissed the treetops.  It is because of you, Ralphie, that I got to see this impressive sight!  Thank. you!IMG_1425

And….these beautiful snow-laden trees in our neighborhood. IMG_1420

Another place you liked to walk was in nearby Scarborough at the Pleasant Hill Preserve.  You, David and I hiked there a couple of times when David was home.  IMG_1018Another time, we had Cailey for a sleep-over and the three of us enjoyed a morning at the preserve.  IMG_1442fullsizeoutput_29eb

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The Portland Headlight was another great memory spending the afternoon walking around the trail close to the ocean!  You are so darn photogenic, Ralphie!

 

I don’t believe you had ever been to the beach before I took you to Higgins Beach in Scarborough!  IMG_0990 You loved it there but you made it a point to roll in the wet sand and splash in any puddle you came across.  It was just too much work to clean you after a trip to the beach, so sadly, we didn’t spend much time there!fullsizeoutput_29d4

We had fun exploring the trails and woods in the Augusta area, didn’t we? We explored the wonderful trails at the Reservoir in Hallowell.  One day, we saw an owl!

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There are so many old rock wall formations throughout the Reservoir Trails.

Together, we enjoyed the art that nature created! IMG_1469

For some unknown reason, I didn’t take many photos at the Reservoir, but I did snap a couple later this spring.  IMG_1483fullsizeoutput_29f4fullsizeoutput_29f6

Also, in Hallowell, Maine, we explored Jimmie Pond Wildlife Management Area.   The walk along the stream was so pretty. IMG_1042Thank you for making me snowshoe more!  If not for you and your need for a good daily walk, I probably would have found some kind of excuse not to go.IMG_1022

Thank you for getting me outside after the rainstorm.  If not for you, I would have missed the beautiful rainbow!fullsizeoutput_29ef

When we weren’t outdoors, we did our exercises inside.  You were always such a help and so encouraging!

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No, Ralphie, you are not in the way!!!

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The “yoga coach!”

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Stretching with Ralphie!  That is my purple top his head is resting next to.

You are such a clown and always made me laugh.  How you loved your “treat balls!”

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This is your “I want some treats in my ball” look!

The red treat ball was too easy for you to get your treats, so I bought you a more challenging one.  Remember the first time you tried it and no treats came out?  You looked at me as if to say “What the heck?”  How I laughed.  After a little practice, you became very adept at maneuvering that new ball to get the treats. IMG_1477fullsizeoutput_29f0

You have such a sweet personality.  I loved “hanging” with you during the storm days!IMG_1016

There was the time that you hurt your hip and you were so patient letting me put a heating pad on it.  I don’t know if other dogs would be so tolerant! I  am glad to say that it did get better!IMG_1004

I love the way you scratched your face each day. IMG_0951

You have such a sweet face!  You are my “gentle giant!”  IMG_1474IMG_1047

People always commented on how tall you are for a Golden Retriever.  When I explained that you were a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees, they understood.  I call you my “Golden on stilts!!!”

Bath time was not your favorite but as always, you cooperated!IMG_0953

I do believe that you loved how soft and fluffy your fur was after the bath, which helped you through the process!IMG_0955

And speaking of being tolerant….how about when I took your picture with the deer antlers for Christmas?  I believe I definitely humiliated you with this picture but you were so darn cute!!!  Thank you, Ralphie!IMG_0958

Through the long winter months, you were a great bed buddy!  You kept me on a schedule, too, by letting me know when it was time to go to bed!

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Are you coming to bed?

Remember the time that Kelly was staying with you while I was on a trip?  Kelly didn’t know which side of the bed was yours.  The first night, the two of you battled for your side of the bed.  The next night, just to make certain she understood, you went to bed early and claimed your side.  Kelly got the message and there were no more sleep issues after that.  Ralphie, you are too funny!

You have been home with Alice, your owner, for a week now.  It was so bittersweet saying so-long to you.  Alice’s shoulder is all healed now and it really was time for the two of you to be reunited.  I was happy that you were excited to see Alice.  She later told me; however, that when I drove off, you cried!  I thought I would sob when I dropped you off but I amazed myself by staying composed.

For me, the worse part of you going home was walking into my empty house.  Although you are a very laid-back dog, your size commanded such a presence, especially in my small home.  Gosh, how I missed you that first night….especially going to bed….did you hear me talking to you all the way at Moosehead?  I just couldn’t walk up those stairs without calling for you to tell you it was bedtime!

You continue to be with me, Ralphie.  Whenever I see the picture of the Golden Retriever on my calendar, I think of you.  fullsizeoutput_29fc

Or, whenever I look at the sweet plaque that Alice gave me as a thank you….I think of you.

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This is so very true!

I miss you more than you can imagine, Ralphie but I know that you will be back to visit one day soon.  So thank you, my dear friend, for making such a long and hard winter so enjoyable.  I love you, Ralphie….you are always with me in my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer/Fall Memories of 2017

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Kettle Cove, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

As the temperatures get cooler, the sun is setting sooner and the leaves start their transformation from lush green to colorful red, orange and yellow, I reflect on yet another passing summer in Maine. I know I have said it before but when it comes to summer, there is no other place I would rather be than in Maine.

The weather this year was sunny, sunny, sunny.  In parts of Maine, we had almost too much sun and not enough rain. Many gardens and flowers didn’t fare very well.  Yet, for those enjoying all the wonders that Maine has to offer – from the mountains to the lakes to the ocean, the weather was glorious!

I had an excellent summer…..the only thing missing was my husband who is working on a project in Saudi Arabia. He was able to come and spend his break time for a couple of weeks but the rest of the time, I was “flying solo.”

Memorial Day is the “unofficial” start to the summer season in Maine. This year, I helped dad place flowers on the family graves around the Augusta area. My stepmother and some aunts and uncles are buried in the Veteran’s Cemetery.  The Veteran’s Cemetery is especially pretty with all of the flags placed to honor those who made sacrifices so that we can live free in this great country of ours.IMG_0541IMG_0540

Higgins Beach and Great Pond

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View of Great Pond from the trail.

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Part of the Great Pond Trail.  A peaceful way to start the day.

As always, I enjoyed starting my day by walking through the woods at Great Pond, one of the many paths on the Cape Elizabeth Greenbelt Trails system or visiting Higgins Beach to get my “doggie fix” for the day.  Higgins Beach is one place that allows dogs to run “off-leash” (sunrise until 9:00 AM) from May 15 to September 15.  I love to ride my bike to the beach and meet up with friends and their dogs…..talk about a great way to start the day!!

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A couple of my friends with their dogs…Holly with Velvet and Kathy with Mimi.

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Higgins Beach at low tide.

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Lobster buoys washed up after a storm.

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Spurwink River looking toward Spurwink Farm on Charles Jordan Road, Cape Elizabeth

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Many of the cottages in the Higgins Beach area are quintessential Maine!!  Very typical of what one finds along the coastal villages….weather-worn shingles and bright flowers.

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Moore Manor Lavender Farm

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The day after the 4th of July, I met my sister, Kathy, at Moore Manor Lavender Farm in Newport, Maine. Now, I have always wanted to see the lavender fields of Provence, France and still have it on my “bucket list.” However, I read about this lavender farm in a town that was only 45 minutes from my dad’s in Augusta. It was an easier trip to make than to France! The fields were full but it only kindled my desire more to see the fields of France. If you are planning a trip to Maine around the first of July next year, I encourage you to put the Moore Manor on your “to do” list! http://mooremanorlavender.comfullsizeoutput_2626

Aroostook County, Maine

In mid-July, my dad and I made our annual “father-daughter” trip to Aroostook County so dad could visit his hometown of Oakfield and friends from his younger days. Aroostook County is one of Maine’s many “best kept secrets.” It is such a pretty and rural area. I love to visit when the potato fields are in bloom. This year, we were just a tad to early to enjoy the fields of flowers.

We took a new and different route home. It was about 3 extra hours of driving but Dad wanted to go down Rt 9 also known as “airline drive.” I always wondered why it was referred to as “airline drive.” Initially, I thought it might be that it was a straight road – like a runway – from Bangor to Calais but it is hardly straight. When Dad used to travel it, there were many curves. Over the years, improvements have been made and today, it isn’t the winding road that my dad remembers but there are still some twist and turns. Rt 9 was nicknamed “airline drive” because it is a shorter route from Bangor to Calais than the other option of Rt 1.

To get to Rt 9, we had to pick up Rt 1 and head south. It was the first time that I have ever been on that part of Rt 1. I enjoyed it because I had been reading Paul Doiron’s (pronounced Dwarren) series of books about the Maine Game Warden service. Mr Doiron’s main character, Warden Mike Bowditch, was stationed in this region for a couple of his books. It was fun to actually see the places that were referenced.

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This is at a scenic lookout heading south on Rt 1. These are the East Grand and Chiputneticook Lakes and at their deepest part, is the international boundary for the US and Canada.  The land on the opposite side of the lake is New Brunswick, Canada.

As we passed through the town of Topsfield, my dad started telling me stories of when he was about 7 or 8 and his whole family spent the summer logging in the nearby woods. He said that they had all their supplies loaded in a couple of trucks and cars and drove from Oakfield to Topsfield. They parked the vehicles off the road and loaded a tote wagon, that was drawn by a team of draft horses and made their way into his grandfather Morrison’s logging camp.

Dad was one of six children…..three boys and three girls. One of Dad’s sisters, Margaret, had rheumatic fever and had to be transported by a wheel chair. That must have been challenging over the five-mile dirt road! Everyone had a job. My other two aunts – Rose and Arlene – who were in the mid-teens, sawed down trees using a two-man crosscut saw. Dad and his brother, Kelcy, who was younger by a year; took the limbs off of the trees. Dad’s mom helped in the cook’s tent and Grampie Morrison guided the horses as they pulled wagon full of logs. It truly was a “family affair!” Can you imagine having a 7 and 8 year old doing such manual labor today????

It is hearing stories of my dad growing up that makes me really cherish the quality time spent with him during these father-daughter trips.

Old Hallowell Days

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In Hallowell, on the Kennebec River, are these Adirondack Chairs to sit and enjoy a beautiful summer day!  One morning, after my girlfriend and I finished our walk on the nearby rail trail, we were sitting on the chairs chatting and enjoying the morning.  An eagle flew from the trees, on the left side of the river, dipped into the water and pulled out a fish.  The eagle proceeded to fly across to the other side where it could enjoy it’s fresh meal.  It was very amazing.  In early summer, the sturgeons are jumping, too….those fish are huge!

The third Saturday of July is the date for Old Hallowell Days, my hometown’s annual festival. It started in 1968 and has only gotten better with each year. It is the best time to return home to reconnect with friends from earlier years and this year was no exception. It is always fun to watch the parade, see the baking contest, watch the dance performances from the local dance studio, Vicki’s School of Dance. Other activities include the book sale at the library, craft fair, an art exhibit of local artist at the Harlow Art Gallery and live music at various venues around Hallowell. The day is topped off with a large firework display! It is a fun day of great food and activities. https://oldhallowellday.org

Baird Family Reunion

The 3rd Sunday in July is the day for the annual Baird Family Reunion. It is for my mom’s side of the family. My maternal grandmother was Elsie Baird Vining Kinney.  Kenneth Baird and his sweet wife, Joan, graciously opened their home for the reunion.  They have a lovely home on Sebec Lake.

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Looking from the house towards Sebec Lake.

It had been ages since I was able to attend one of these reunions. It was like meeting a whole new family.   The afternoon was spent getting to visit with everyone, enjoying tasty food and swimming in the lake. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a dip in cool, lake water.  I just hope it won’t be so long in attending another reunion than it has been in the past.

Willimantic and Borestone Mountain

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Marilyn and me…we have been friends for close to 40 years.

My girlfriend, Marilyn lives in Willimantic which is at the opposite end of Sebec Lake from where I was for the family reunion.  A couple of weekends after the reunion, I was able to visit with Marilyn.  IMG_6383

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Wilson Stream, Elliotsville, Maine – on the way to Borestone Mountain.

It was a beautiful day and Marilyn, a former Maine game warden, had a choice of activities for me to decide on.  We could go kayaking on Sebec Lake, hike to a local waterfall or hike Borestone Mountain.  We decided to hike Borestone Mountain and possibly go kayaking, if time allowed.

Borestone is an Audubon Sanctuary on 1,600 acres that was once a fox ranch in the early 1900s owned by Robert T. Moore.  On the property are 3 ponds.  In 1909, Mr. Moore hired Wilfred Mansur, a well-known architect from Bangor to design Adirondack-style lodges on Sunset Pond.    The lodges, accessible only by boat,  have been renovated and can be rented by groups to spend a night or two in the serene setting.

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Looking down on the three ponds – Sunrise, Midday and Sunset.

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Beginning at the trailhead and hiking towards the Visitor’s Center.

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Looking from the Visitor’s Center on Sunrise Pond, across to the top of Borestone Mountain.

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The Summit Trail, was beautiful.  This is looking back at Sunrise Pond, through the trees.

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Parts of the trail were a little challenging.  Can you see Marilyn at the top of the rocks?

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And….we made it!  Sebec Lake is the body of water behind my left shoulder.

By the time we finished hiking up and down Borestone, it was too late to go for a paddle as I was heading to Moosehead Lake to visit with my mom.  Another time….I really enjoyed the day hiking – which I haven’t done in such a long time and spending quality time with my dear friend.

A side note to Willimantic: Marilyn shared with me about her friends, David and Madeline Thayer who saved the one room historical school house and are using it as a library for the town.  It is an inspiring story and one that shows what people can do if they commit to an idea.  I plan to write more about the Thayers and their efforts to create the library on my author page as I donated my books to the children’s collection.

Moosehead Lake

I had the pleasure to visit my mom this summer at Moosehead Lake twice once at the end of July and the second time, the second weekend of September.  Inspired by the Borestone Mountain hike, I decided to hike Squaw Mountain.  My mom and stepfather built their cabin in 1968.  That winter, the family enjoyed skiing at Squaw Mountain and did so for many years after.  I have such fond memories of zipping down the various trails.  Sadly, the ski area closed in 2010.  Recently, Friends of Squaw Mountain – a group of local people have made a great effort to reopen the ski resort.  Once again, thanks to the effort of the Friends of Squaw Mountain, people are once again enjoying skiing on Squaw Mountain.

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It took me about 2 hours to hike up the 3,196 ft mountain.  I walked mostly on the ski trails.  This is the view of Moosehead Lake that I was rewarded with for my labors!

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Zooming in with my camera, I was able to get this picture of Mt Kineo, another great hike in the Rockwood, ME area.

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This picture reminds me of a painting I once saw.  I took it on my way up Squaw Mountain.

Later that day, our friend, Roger, came over and took my mom; sister, Kathy and me on a boat ride around Mt Kineo.  Mt Kineo is not far from the mouth of Moose River.  We used to go to the pebble beach and water ski there.  Over the years, I have climbed Mt Kineo a couple of times.

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Roger, captain of the boat!

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My mom with Moosehead Lake in the background.

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The mouth of Moose River with Mt Kineo in the background, behind the small island.

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The front of Mt Kineo is sheer slate.  This is the backside of the mountain.

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This is another angle of Mt Kineo that I took from the Rockwood boat launch area.  It is very impressive.  To access Mt Kineo…where there is also a golf course, you need to get the ferry from the boat launch in Rockwood.

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Nearby the boat launch area is the Rockwood Community Church.  It is open during the summer season and is so quaint. I love attending services there.  The interior is beautiful finished logs.

Also, on this particular trip I was entertained by not one, but three (!!!) Pileated Woodpeckers!  I was able to get this picture of one but not all three together.  It was an amazing “welcome” to Moosehead!

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One of the three Pileated Woodpeckers I saw….just amazing!!

International Seaplane Fly-In at Greenville, Maine

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Downtown Greenville, ME with the Katahdin (affectionately called “The Kate”)  in the foreground.  Once used to haul pulp across the lake, it is used today to take people on cruise around Moosehead Lake.

For all of the years that I have been going to the Moosehead area, I had never been to the annual International Seaplane Fly-In.  It was started in 1973 when local bush pilots thought it would be fun to invite like-minded pilots to Greenville, Maine for a weekend of fun activities and flying.

I decided that this is the year I would finally attend the festivities.  Pilots from around the country come to participate in a variety of competitions.  There is a large craft sale and many food vendors.  The weather cooperated and it was a great day to sit by the water and watch the pilots compete.  Some of the contest were who could take-off the quickest, land the closest to the target, maneuver an obstacle course….

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Taking off the quickest…

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Landing….

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Demonstrating the use of the helicopter to put out forest fires.  Picking the water up and…..

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Dropping it!

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Walking back to my car, I noticed this Indian statue carved out of wood.  There was no plaque explaining who the artist was or the history of the piece.  It appears that it has been there for awhile.

Wild Goose for Boys, (The Castle), Harmony, Maine

Returning from Moosehead, I took the back roads that took me to the town of Harmony.  It is a small town of about 1,000 people where I spent many a summer on the shores of Great Moose Lake at the Wild Goose Camp for Boys.   For many years, it was a private boys camp for young men from the New York City area.  They would fly to Bangor where they would hop on a bus to be transported to their summer “home” for the next six weeks.

The camp was owned and operated by William and Lorna Trauth.  My grandparents, Elsie and Lindy Kinney were the cooks for 30 years.  I have some wonderful memories of my time spent at the camp visiting with my grandparents.  My sophomore year in high school, I worked at the camp as a babysitter for a counselor’s family and helped in the kitchen.

The camp has been closed for many years now but the property is maintained by the Trauth’s son who spends his summers there.  It has been many years since I have been back and decided to stop in.  Talk about taking a walk down “memory lane!”  It was very bittersweet remembering the fun that I had there and also, all the people who have passed.

I have to say, this is one of my “top ten” favorite places in Maine!  It is a shame that it is private property and more people are not able to enjoy it.  Then, again, that is one of the reasons it is so special, I think!

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Driving into the camp – the main lodge in the background and the Sleepy Hollow building.

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The main lodge which housed the dining room, kitchen, library and office.  The upstairs had rooms that some of the staff stayed in.  My room was the where the small window above “Harmony” is.

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Looking towards Great Moose Lake.  The cove used to have 3 floats where the campers learned to swim.  Sailboats for sailing lessons were moored at the mouth of the cove.  The campers would pile into the motorboats and go to the sandy beaches outside of the cove for their waterski lessons.  One of the owner’s Labrador retriever would run along the shore, swim across the mouth of the cove and follow the path to the beach to spend the afternoon with the campers.

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The tennis courts and boathouse where my grandparents had an apartment on the second floor.

Mt Blue State Park and The Rockpile, Weld, ME

September is my “birthday month” and for those of you who know me well, you know that I celebrate the whole month of September.  My husband, David, never has to worry about forgetting my birthday because I start reminding him in July that my birthday is happening soon.  I LOVE birthdays!  I embrace them….

I tell people that I was a birthday gift for my dad….my birthday is September 25th and dad’s is September 28th.  To celebrate, we took a ride to the mountains of western Maine to have a picnic at “The Rockpile” in the town of Weld.  I had seen “The Rockpile” featured on a segment of the local news and really wanted to see it.

I didn’t realize that Mt Blue State Park was located in Weld.  That was definitely a bonus.  We have had a very warm autumn season this year and September 25th, was no exception.   I believe it was in the 70s, sunny and very warm.  The ride over was very pretty.  Some of the leaves had changed and as we got closer, the mountains came into view.

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I spied this sign driving towards Weld.  It definitely made me smile….the word for today is “Happy, Happy, Happy!!!”  Something to remember everyday!

Mt Blue State Park is in a beautiful setting.  Of course, you have the mountains that offer many trails for hiking and biking.  Webb Lake offers swimming and there is a campground as well.   It is Maine’s largest state park covering 8,000 acres.

I was able to drive to the top of Central Point so we could enjoy the view.  At 88 years old, my dad’s days of hiking have passed.  In his younger years, he was quite the walker and when he retired, he would walk at least 5 miles a day regardless of the weather.

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From the top of Central Point, Mt Blue State Park

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Some of the leaves were just starting to change.

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This is a view of Webb Lake at a rest area.  It would have been a nice spot to have a picnic except it was so hot, especially with the sun beating down on us.

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This is “The Rockpile” and is private property of the people who built it.  They very generously leave it open for people like my dad and me to enjoy.

From 1979 to 1999 the family of Ardene Proctor built the nine levels of rock walls and the cabin at the top of the rock pile.   The cabin is accessible by driving to it so my dad was able to go inside, which is where we had our picnic.

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A close-up of the rocks and cabin.

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Isn’t it beautiful and inviting?  Not shown in this picture is a picnic table that runs the whole length of the back wall.  The cupboards are stocked with plates, glasses and silverware.  There is no running water but there are gas lights.  On the table was a guestbook that was signed from people all over Canada and the US!  I am so glad that we made the trip to visit.

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Looking from behind the cabin to the lily pond.

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This is what 63 years old and 88 years old looks like!  Happy Birthday, Dad!

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On September 23, our dear family friend, Barbara, celebrated her 100th!  What a special day of celebration that was.  I am so grateful that I was home and able to attend the party!  It was an afternoon of laughter and sharing good food with all of her family and close friends.

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She is one sharp and styling lady!  What is the saying?  100 is the new 70?  Happy, happy birthday, Barbara!

October in New Hampshire

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Alumni of Nathaniel Hawthorne College, Antrim, New Hampshire

Another fantastic Nathaniel Hawthorne College reunion was held on Saturday, October 7, 2017.   The last one was 3 years ago and with each one, they just get better and better and bigger and bigger.  I believe the attendance count was 160 people.  I am so grateful that I went.  I saw old friend that I had not seen for over 40 years.

A group of us stayed at the Crotched Mountain Resort in nearby Francestown.  What a lovely place!  Each of the rooms had suites with full kitchens and living rooms.  My college friends and I spent the evening reminiscing over the “glory days!”

The next morning, I went for a jog before leaving.  Although the weather was a little dreary, the scenery was quintessential backroads of New Hampshire.  IMG_0812fullsizeoutput_2743fullsizeoutput_2740fullsizeoutput_2741

Odds and Ends….

I always seem to end each one of my post with an “Odds and Ends” segment.  It is a good place to share photos that don’t seem to “fit in” anywhere else.  So, here goes….

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My Aunt Helen and mom, Jackie….always wonderful to spend time with family!

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Speaking of family…this is Lydia, my great niece.  So cute and always, very busy!  Lydia just became a “big sister” in September.  Hopefully, I will have photos of baby Landon in the next posting.

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This is my other great niece, Allana.  Allana will be a “big sister” in December.

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Kara, is the “mom-to-be” this December.  It is a boy and we are all excited.

In June, our minister at the Cape Elizabeth Methodist Church retired. She devoted 45 years of her life to the ministry and 13 of those years was spent in Cape Elizabeth.  She is greatly missed but I hope she is enjoying retirement.

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Rev. Ruth Morrison looking at her going away gift from the congregation.  It was presented by Mark Braun.

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Thanks to the power of Facebook, Malcolm and I reconnected after not seeing each other for 45 years…since our high school graduation!  Malcolm, where did the years go? The lighthouse in the background is the Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in Maine.  It was commissioned by  George Washington in 1878.  Today, it is part of the town park for Cape Elizabeth, ME.

Summer Walks

I shared some of my summer mornings around Cape Elizabeth trails and the nearby beaches.  These pictures come from some of the morning walks I have taken in Augusta, Maine on the rail trail.

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The rail trail takes me over a small bridge that crosses Vaughn Brook.

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Sometimes we are lucky enough to see eagles.  There used to be a time that eagles were not in the area but they are slowly making a comeback, which I think is great!

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It is easy to be motivated to get up and get your exercise in first thing in the morning, when you have this view….it is going to be a little more difficult when it is cold and snow this winter!

Around Our Home and Cape Elizabeth

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A field of wild flowers!

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I was sitting in our backyard and these birds were making such a racket!  I realized it was because it was feeding time…the little guy couldn’t get enough to eat!  It was like he was saying “feed me, feed me!!”

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I just love chipmunks!  We had two this year and they were excellent alarm clocks….every morning at 5:30, they would sit on the steps and chirp!  I think they are so darn cute!

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The Spurwink Church is a little over a mile from our home.  It is the town’s oldest public building, built in 1802.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places and can be rented for functions like weddings.

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These photos were taken near Crescent Beach State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine….about a 10 minute car ride from our home!  We are so blessed and grateful to live in such a beautiful area.

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Another walk in Cape Elizabeth on the Greenbelt Trail.  Currently, there are 15 miles of trails on in Cape Elizabeth.

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Out and about in South Portland, one day and I saw this vehicle.  Many of you know that I have a “rubber duckie” collection that I love because they make me smile!  This van made me smile, too!!!  “Honey, I am trading the Honda!!!”

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Bug Light Park in South Portland is a popular place to fly kites.  Some of them are very creative, like this unicorn.  When the wind was blowing, the unicorn was “galloping.”

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Do you see the nest of eggs?

The autumn season…..

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Pumpkin Fest at LL Beans in Freeport, Maine….I cannot wait for the Christmas lights!!  🙂

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Colored leaves in front of our neighbor and my dad’s home.  Cailey and I were just getting back from a walk on the rail trail!

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Walk on the rail trail with Cailey, my friend’s lab who I was taking care of for a few days.

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Cailey helping to rake leaves!

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I cannot show partiality, this is Mimi…another friend’s West Highland Terrier who I take care of occasionally.

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Velvet is a boxer and is very sweet.

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Max, my cousin’s American bulldog….who is a rescue and is now very, very spoiled….as all dogs should be!

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Theo is my neighbor!  So darn cute, no?  He gets so excited when he sees me.

Unfortunately, I cannot have a dog due to all the traveling that David and I do.  However, as you can see, my life is full with dogs who frequently visit me.  I am so blessed to have wonderful friends who are willing to share their dogs with me!

Do you understand now, why I love staying in Maine in the summer and fall seasons?  As far as I am concerned, there is no better place in the world to be!

Until my next post, I wish you blessings!