Some of the older kids had been begging me to go shopping at the LLBean outlet in town because they had money burning holes in their pockets. Since we didn’t make it there yesterday in favor of going into Acadia, we had promised them that we would go shopping there first thing this morning. We made it there soon after they opened the kids made their purchases. Then we had to make what is beginning to feel like the requisite daily trip to WalMart. Other children wanted to make still more purchases there. I managed to stay in the car with some of the younger children so that I could get some writing done for the blog. After WalMart, we headed to a different part of Acadia National Park called the Schoodic Peninsula. This peninsula is separated from the main part of the park (called Mount Desert Island) by about an hour’s drive and is less popular because of its distance. However, that always appeals to us, so off we went in a different direction than most of the crowds. They also had a loop around this peninsula, so we did the loop drive as well as stopped at the education center where we were able to get some hands on experience learning about animal tracks, Morse code, using the tools of a naturalist, etc.
We also found a great spot to climb around on the rocks at low tide. The younger kids were participating in the Junior Ranger program that is offered in the national parks, and they needed to find some tidal pools to explore for this program. So we climbed around on the rocks, looked into the tidal pools, and tried hard not to fall and hurt ourselves. The older ones and Charlie really walked a good ways off.
AnaClaire and I were lagging behind of course . She was so funny. At one point, she and I were looking into a tidal pool when she said, “Mom – look at that dead chicken!” Well, it wasn’t a dead chicken, but she had seen something that I later found out was called Bladderwrack. It’s like a seaweed that has these little nodules at the ends. The nodules are like little bladders that are full of air and help the bladderwrack to float. I think those bladders gave somewhat of an appearance of a dead chicken to AnaClaire. Anyway, it was quite funny. The plus side of this was that my usual child that lags behind (those of you who read the Trip of Blessings blog series know which child I am writing about) climbed around with absolutely no difficulties by himself and went off to catch up with the rest of the bunch. I usually don’t think of him as being very sure footed, but he sure did prove me wrong on this occasion. The views were great and we managed to find some wild blueberries to munch on too.
After our adventure on the rocks, Charlie was determined to find a place for a picnic as opposed to eating lunch in the car. Unfortunately, the only picnic grounds on the Schoodic Peninsula loop were on the opposite side of the loop from where we were, so we drove the one-way road back around to get to the picnic grounds. Lunch was delicious although we had a bout of tempers flaring up. After explanations and apologies most of us managed to move on from our hurt feelings and have a great day. We drove to see another lighthouse off the Schoodic Peninsula, but the grounds were closed off by the Navy, so we weren’t even really able to get at a good spot for a picture.
We then decided to travel back to Mount Desert Island. We went to see the Carroll Homestead, but they didn’t keep a ranger there full time, so the house was closed when we arrived. We were told that we were free to pick the wild blueberries that were growing on the edge of the woods, so we had a great time munching on those for a little while. These are the wild low-bush variety as compared with the high-bush varieties that we grow in the South. The berries stay much smaller, but they have a very sweet, delicious flavor. We then left and drove to nearby Echo Lake. This is apparently a favorite swimming spot as it was very busy. It is a freshwater lake in Acadia National Park. The temperature was supposedly around 65 degrees. We had not brought swimsuits with us today, so the kids just waded in a little and begged to come back in appropriate clothing. The temperature of the water felt pretty good according to those who got wet (I was not one of them).
Back we started to the campground to get dinner ready. We were to meet up with our friends, the Rabideaus, that night, and everyone was anxious to see them. They will be traveling with us for most of the remainder of our trip. The Rabideaus have 7 children, most of whom are grown. We met them when they lived in Rock Hill, and although they live in Pennsylvania now, we remain close and try to see each other as much as possible. Their youngest son Ben is their only child still at home and traveling with them. He is between Ryon and Nicholas’ age, so those boys always enjoy getting to hang out together.
When we reached the campsite, the Rabideaus had just pulled in. It has only been about 2 months since we have seen them, but everyone was jumping out of their seats to run and say hi. While they settled into their campsite, I got dinner ready. Kathy came in and cut vegetables for a salad while I mixed up the chili and cornbread. We all sat down to a delicious dinner, and the kids were able to make s’mores afterward. We put most of the kids to bed but let the older kids stay up way too late visiting. We adults went to bed at a much more reasonable time.