Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

First Day in Bar Harbor

I have to admit that there's nothing quite like climbing up a rock wall with hundreds of feet in a drop below me for making me forget I have asthma. Maybe that's why I like adrenaline rushes, they really help make my breathing clearer, and I have something else to focus on.

Of course, the day started out a lot easier than that, and it was a lot easier going on 'a hike up to Beehive' when no one knew that clinging to the face of cliffs was going to be involved.

We started with breakfast right by the waterfront for Bar Harbor at Testa's. It was a decent breakfast, not great, certainly unlikely to be the "Best in Town" as touted by the hotel check-in clerk. Still... it was satisfying, and we went down to the little beach right in the harbor to find some rock and throw them into the ocean. The boys then wandered about town for a couple of hours as I tried to coordinate what would happen after we left Maine, and caught up on comments, reviews, and other stuff.

I think someone rec'ed my fanfiction copy of Twin Souls as the hits suddenly got huge and people are fav'ing it right and left.

They tried to leave me some time to do some journaling, but soon it was 11 am and Jet wanted to go play putt putt golf at a place we'd seen while driving in last night.

Queen Anne's Revenge
So we went. The journal can wait for Blackbeard's Pirate Adventure Golf! So it did.

It was great. Honestly, the place was set up very nicely, the greens were clean and thick and really well maintained, and the hazards were actually pretty fun. The pirate ship proved to be relatively easy but for the darned masts and the little box I managed to find in the corner of the space. There was a stream hazard that turned out to not be a hazard at all. If one got the ball into the stream there was a pipe with holes in it that let the water out, but directed the ball to the final green quite easily. There were some nice holes that were under waterfalls, and others that went right next to lovely streams.

It was beautiful, less expensive than the worn out one by Glenwood Springs, and right across the street from some Excellent Eats. Maine-ly Meats, Udder Heaven Ice Cream, and, the one that caught my eye, Bay Gulls Bagels. *falls over laughing*

It turns out that it's SpongeBob Squarepants' tenth birthday! We've always been something of a fan, it's not deep, but Bob is just... *nice* in lots of good ways and really doesn't seem to be able to believe the worst of anyone. He's always willing to try stuff out. And we've always liked him and Patrick, who may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer (okay... he's like... brilliantly stupid in ways that we couldn't even *think* of how to be stupid), but they're just always best friends.

It was fun to watch the VH1 special on Sponge Bob and discuss all the episodes that Jet really liked. He tells them in ways that just crack John and I up, too... so we had a really, really long lunch of pulled pork sandwiches (served on Texas toast with a pickle and either really spicy beans or a very mustard rich potato salad) and a buttered bagel. Jet took longer to eat his bagel than it took us to eat everything on our plates. The smoked pork was juicy, tender, and spiced just enough to be really interesting and very tasty. The bread it was all served on was thick and perfectly grilled crisp on one side, soft on the other to absorb all the juices, and the sides were great compliments to the really well-thought out smoked meats.

A Small Ice Cream
After lunch, we had ice cream. I got the baby/tiny cherub size, supposedly a single scoop, that probably had more ice cream on it than I usually get for a supposed two or even three scoop ice cream. Jet and John got the "small" size that were these massive ice cream blobs. Jet took nearly forever eating his as he was giggling about the size half the time, too. *laughs*

It was a good thing we got those massive ice creams as our next little adventure involved going over to the Acadia National Park. We discovered the little sand beach that they had there, and across the street was the hike to Beehive, a mountain that looked like a beehive from the road, which our friend had really recommended.

I thought it was going to just be a hike. We found at the start that most of the trail consisted of a lot of rocks set in the mud of the trail itself, as the ground got really wet and soft. So we walked the rocks until we the path went to the right, towards the rocky mountain of the Beehive. It's kind of mounted, but it's mostly rock that seemed to go straight up. John said that the trail probably just wound around behind the mountain and up the other side. But as we followed it it didn't seem to go behind. We didn't see anyone up on the mountain before us, and the blue dot marked trail seemed to go up and up and...

... and there I was climbing sheer rock faces with little metal ladders stuck into the rock itself, with some other metal railings for hand holds, and then we were walking along the edge of ledges with no railing between us and a fall that seemed far too long.

And THEN...

... there was this metal grate. Set across this gap. That was under a rock that pushed out of the face of the wall...

Jet went over it, no problem. He didn't even hesitate.

I put one foot on that grating. Then I froze.

For a very long moment, as I saw just how long that drop was under my foot, my body just would not move. I couldn't get it to take a single step more. I couldn't even let go of the rock to get a better hand hold. I just... stopped.

Finally, I just looked at where Jet was waiting for me on the other side. I slid that front foot forward, desperately got a good handhold on that jutting rock, and leaned out over the gap and tried desperately not to think of... to think of... and finally thought of the ground where Jet was standing. Rock. I was going to rock. I took that next step and finally I was just there, next to Jet who was looking at me and who said, "I can see that you're afraid."

I just nodded. "Yup. I'm terrified. I'll get better."

Look, Mom, No Rails!
And I did, after that walk over that grate, as the rest of it was on rock, at least, even though some of it was the edge of a ledge over... nothing. But the views were utterly fantastic up there, and there were little, old trees clinging to the rocks as well, their roots sunk deep into various cracks. As much as I had been noticing my breathing at the bottom, when we were walking the rock path, I wasn't noticing my asthma at ALL when we were climbing up those faces. The solid workout really cleared out my lungs, not just of the cold but all other reactions as well. I found it easier going as I got more used to the ladders, finding hand holds as well as foot holds on the way up. The sheer effort really helped my breathing clear.

The views certainly took my breath away in more than one way. *laughs* We were able to see Sand Beach at various turns and a little inlet lake that we'd driven past on the way over.

When we reached the top there were a few rock platforms that looked in various directions, where we could see more of the sky and sea. We settled and took pictures and felt really good about getting as far as we did. John set the camera up to do a delayed shot and we got a couple in. They may become our Christmas pictures.

From there we headed over the top of the little mountain and went down through the mixed tree forest. The path was still very rocky, as the forest floor itself was soft and spongy, so the rocks made for a more solid, durable path, but they were spaced far enough that it took some effort to get from one to the next. Jet went over them like a baby mountain goat, sproing sproing sproing. I was creaking from the effort of climbing up, my right knee in particular was giving me problems with all levels of impacts as I went down. But we made it back to the T where the path split between the path around and the path straight up.

There we saw people climbing up this time, and John got a good picture of them on the face of the mountain. It's pretty amazing to think of ourselves up there.

When we got back to the car, the first order of business was to find something to drink. We tried two places, one in a little town at the southern edge of the island, and then we headed back to the Park Loop to stop at Jordan Pond House, which is right by Jordan Pond. It was another recommendation from our friend, that we stop there for tea and popovers, but we thought it was too late and headed for the Park restrooms first, instead. When we got out there was just five minutes left for the afternoon tea seating.


Jason Pond House
Five minutes was plenty for us to get seated. So we sat out on the lawn by Jordan Pond, at one of the linen covered tables, and were served beverages and popovers, which, in Jet's case was a lemonade, John got iced tea, and I ordered the Jordan House Blend of tea with milk and sugar. When the lemonade came it was like the iced tea, completely unsweetened, but it came with a small flask of sugar syrup that Jet emptied into his glass after first tasting the glass of lemoned water. The tea was excellent, brewed full strength and they served it with a pot of hot water so that one could water it down if needed.

I didn't need.

We each got a popover, which I remembered from high school home economics classes (dies of laughter), which are just puffs of egg, milk, and flour baked at high temperatures so that they poof up and are crispy on the outside, much like what we now have as baked pancakes or Dutch babies. These were pretty substantial and Jet liked them a lot, said that they were like pizza crusts, and he spread plenty of butter and strawberry jam all over his and ate his happily. I did as well. It was cool enough that the hot tea felt really good, and it was fun to watch the seagulls and ravens flying over the Pond before us. The seagulls making white images over the green hills and the ravens, being huge, were black shades.

It was beautiful and tasty and an extremely civilized way to celebrate the Beehive climb.

Cadillac Mountain View
It was after six when we were done, and having had our huge lunch, we didn't really need any more for dinner. And on the way back we went up Cadillac Mountain, where there was supposed to be a 360° view. There was a path all around the top of the mountain, and we walked it, but there really wasn't a good Western view. We ended up at the little gift shop and bathroom stop and bought a few postcards. It was obvious from those pictures what the Acadians must have found familiar in the Louisiana Bayou, there's water everywhere, all the marshes, swamps, and islands amid more water than one can imagine. For all that this is called Mount Desert Island, there is actually substantial land water here.

When we drove back down, there was a lovely western view at one of the pull outs, so we pulled out, stopped, and walked out onto the rock, into the wind and watched the sun settle towards the land to the West.

From there we headed back to the room, where I finally caught up on the rest of my comments and things, and got a chance to post Tuesday's adventures at Mt. Washington and get a start on this account as well as uploading a bunch of pictures for both days; but by the time I was finished it was nearly 1 a.m., so instead of finishing today's account, I just went to sleep.
Tags: 2009_roadtrip, travel

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