Saturday, August 27, 2016

Ticonderoga, New York

All good things must come to an end, isn’t that how the saying goes? So it seemed when it was time to pack up and leave Maine, saying goodbye to our one-month “home” on the outskirts of Acadia National Park. We plotted the next leg of our journey to slowly meander south and west, trekking across the country with longer stops in Vermont, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and finally, landing back in Tucson, Arizona come October 2016. Although at times we may cover the same general geographical areas, if we can incorporate a slightly different route to go somewhere new, we do, and that is what brought us to Ticonderoga, New York in mid-August for a three day stay.

Ticonderoga is located at the confluence of Lake George and Lake Champlain in the southeastern corner of Essex County, and is entirely located within the Adirondack Park. The name comes from the Mohawk tekontar√≥:ken, meaning "it is at the junction of two waterways”. For such a small town, a hamlet really (population only around 5000), there is much that is notable here. Remember the standard yellow Ticonderoga brand pencil with the green stripes near the eraser? The graphite mines of Ticonderoga provided them the lead, and their name. Historic Fort Ticonderoga can be found here, and this was a popular area for 17th century explorers, such as Samuel de Champlain.

And while I’m not usually overly enthusiastic about visiting military installations, we did take the time to tour Fort Ticonderoga while we were here. This town was the setting for historic battles and maneuvers during both the French and Indian War and the American Revolution so there is a lot of history here. The fort was originally constructed by the French, who called it Fort Carillon, and was captured and renamed a number of times before all was said and done. During our visit, I appreciated seeing the interpretive staff dressed in period clothing, and living out a typical day at the fort, lending a sense of authenticity to the surroundings. Part of the grounds of Fort Ticonderoga includes the Kings Gardens, acres and acres of vegetable and flower gardens, and where food was grown to help supplement the diet of the soldiers who lived here. (I will do a separate post on these gardens – my favorite part of the tour!).

The first day of our stay we made a brief tour of the village, took the River Walk along the La Chute River, and toured Fort Ticonderoga. Here are pictures of that day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

St. John, New Brunswick, Canada

During our month long stay in Trenton Maine, we took a two-day road trip into New Brunswick, Canada to visit the town of Saint John. The largest city in New Brunswick, and the second largest city in the Maritime Provinces, Saint John is known as the Fundy City due to its location on the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. A mixture of old and new, contrasting natural coastal habitats with the charming streets of Uptown Saint John, we alternated between walks on the beach and forested parks with strolls through incorporated parts of the city filled with interesting architecture.

The Reversing Rapids are one of the more fascinating natural wonders to be found here. The Bay of Fundy is known for having the highest tidal range in the world. If you time it just right, you can watch the high tide coming in from The Bay of Fundy reverse the flow of the St. John River, creating a phenomenon known as Reverse Falls or Reversing Rapids, as the waters push back through a gorge formed by the collision of the continents millions of years ago. The strong rapids will flow upriver at high tide, and downriver at low tide, several times each day as the tidal cycle changes.

Although our stay was brief, we enjoyed getting away for a couple of days and experiencing a part of Canada we had not been to before. Here are some pictures from our trip.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Acadia National Park (Summer 2016)

The first time we came to Maine in 2014, to visit the Capitol in Augusta, we also decided to set aside one day to visit Acadia National Park. We realized Immediately a day was certainly not enough time here, even a week would be too short, so we promised ourselves we’d come back when we could stay longer. In 2016 we reserved a month in an RV Park near Bar Harbor, close to the Acadia, to more thoroughly explore and enjoy the surroundings. With a warmer and drier summer than normal, we were able to take full advantage of the many hiking and biking trails throughout the park, and having this much time available, we were able to get to many more of the nooks and crannies hidden in the mountains, shorelines, woodlands, lakes, islands and peninsulas that span the 47,452 acres which comprise Acadia National Park. There are over 50-miles of gravel carriage roads originally built by John D. Rockefeller, who donated much of the land to park. The carriage roads are open to hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, and horse-drawn carriages, but no motor vehicles. It is also quite easy to get off the beaten track of these carriage roads for hikes in more primitive areas, and to get away from the crowds. Coming back to Acadia was something we both enjoyed very much! Here are some pictures from our stay.