I don't actually have a thermometer with me -- those things can weigh a couple of ounces, you know. So the only way I can judge temperature is by how many layers of clothes I'm wearing to stay warm. Today was my first three-layer day. I've had three-layer nights -- but never a three-layer day. And of course, every night is a two-dog night, but I haven't yet had a three-dog night (OK, I'm making me laugh.) You're probably wondering just how many layers are possible. Seven. I brought enough clothes to go seven layers deep. And if I ever need eight layers, I'm coming home.
Last night's wind storm stripped much of the color from the trees so today we are walking through a decidedly more winterish landscape. Apparently, the storm did more than de-color my world -- parts of Maine were declared federal emergency areas and many people are still without power this morning.
Left Southwest Harbor and took a sweet little road around to Bass Harbor. Maine's commitment to shouldering their roads remains sketchy. Because of the hills and turns, I can only hear oncoming traffic -- cannot usually see it until the last minute. When it is as windy as it is today, I can't hear cars coming at all. It makes for some exciting moments. Buster and Mitchel are becoming adept at the leap to the side of the road -- I'm hoping they'll hear the cars I don't! All of this is to answer the question, am I using the iPod. Nope. That's going to have to wait for flatter ground.
I did stop -- along with all the other tourists -- to take a picture at Seawall Point. I didn't want to do it, felt kind of silly, but it's hard to resist -- it's just so darn purdy...
The famed lighthouse at Bass Harbor was...uh oh, it's happened. I've become impervious to the charms of lighthouses. I knew it would happen, but I thought I'd at least make it out of Maine first...
Tremont was a not-so-quaint-seaside village with a lot of industrial traffic (by my standards, more than one car per hour). I did stop by the town hall to ask if they had a library -- I'm such an Internet addict! They said they didn't but the next town over did -- and after much discussion about what day it was and what time it was, decided that "she" was probably open. In the tradition of naming boats as women, I at first assumed that they named their libraries after the same fashion.... but then realized that the library was a one-woman operation and that "she" was not likely to welcome strangers at her door late in the day who had no intention of sampling the fine collection of reading materials which she had so carefully collected...I kept walking.
One of the joys of rogue camping -- ok, let's face it, THE joy -- is the thrill of potential discovery, that in the dark of night, Johnny Law (or Smokey The Bear) might come a tappin' on your rain fly and say, "You can't camp here!" The downside of rogue camping, of course, is that to avoid discovery and accidental conflagrations, you can't build yourself a big ol' cheerful campfire.
And so it was, on this day, just as darkness was falling and Buster was getting that Fletcher Christian look in his eye, we chanced upon the Quietside Campgrounds and decided to stay the night. As I write, we are warming by the fire, ensuring that if nothing else, we'll smell of wood smoke instead of whatever it is that we usually smell of. Now, I'm sure right about now you're asking, "How is it that the campground is open after Columbus Day?" It's not. There's just a sign on the locked door of the camp office saying to pick yourself a campsite and leave $15 in the box that sits on the porch.
"Quietside" is the description the MDIers use for this side of the island -- comparing it to the Bar Harbor side. It seems to me a bit of protestething too much. It's not like Bar Harbor is Manhattan at rush hour -- and after Columbus Day, it turns downright ghostly. So what we're really talking about is quieter than quiet -- and really there's not much room to get quieter before the place will simply cease to exist altogether...
A faithful visitor to the WOML site has expressed concern that the dogs don't look happy in the pictures I've uploaded. I woke them to ask about this and they assured me that they will try to look happier. Apparently, they thought they were supposed to look fiercely protective (Mitchel used the term, "Dobermanish") so as to assuage worries for my safety. I assured them that trying to impress anyone with their ferocity was a waste of time and they agreed to start smiling for the camera.
The stove-that-rarely-works has chosen to grace us tonight with a performance so I managed to heat water to pour over the dogs' food concentrate. Then, an hour later, when it was time to heat water for MY soup...no go. The trick seems to be that the burner must be free of ALL moisture -- for instance, I cannot let it sit outside in the "dews and damps" overnight. Now that I know the trick...I'm going to get a new stove. Who needs a stove you have to trick into working?
A word about dog-food concentrate: the beasts have been going through four pounds of their regular dry food per day. This may not seem like a lot but when you're pushing it up a hill, four pounds weighs...like...four pounds! This is why, whenever possible, I supplement their diet with stuff I don't have to carry. (Yesterday' they had a pack of hot dogs from the Texaco -- yummy!) So the idea of a food concentrate is very appealing -- except that I've learned the food continues to expand AFTER the dogs have eaten it. I won't go into details -- let's just say I woke up in the middle of the night convinced we had been skunked...New plan: the dogs will eat their concentrated food in the MORNING.
Tonight I have foregone the pinata ceremony, sleeping with the food in the tent instead. It's not just that I feel utterly silly roaming the woods in search of a likely branch from which to lynch our ramen noodles and fig newtons, it is that nothing and no one is mentioning bears. Lots about raccoons, nothing about bears. When you go to the Shenandoah, there are bear warnings aplenty. I think if bears were a problem in Acadia, someone would have mentioned it in the week I've been here.
Speaking of the week I've been here, Acadia has got to be the most beautiful spot in the world to ride a bike. Mara, you guys have got to make a trip up here!
Tomorrow I pick up a rental car at the Bar Harbor Airport (conveniently located NOT in Bar Harbor) for a mad dash home to see a friend from High School who I haven't seen in 20 years -- well worth a 28-hour drive!
It's so sad to watch a candle burn out. I have replacement candles, but still it summons some ancestral fear to watch a flame flicker and then die. Clearly a sign that it is time for bed.