During the night, things evidently got interesting. In the morning, I heard the story. Evidently, Annette had woken up during the night while sleeping outside and seen a skunk cozying up to Isaac. She woke up the older boys and told them about the skunk. Ben chased the skunk off with a light. The skunk came back again, and again Ben chased it off. Finally the skunk stayed gone. I was so happy to hear that the skunk had not sprayed. I dread the idea of having to deal with that.
The sun was up nice and early as it has been every morning. This morning, though, most of the kids were up early too, as in by 5:45. The sun is fully up and shining at that point, so they think it is playtime. I went outside to see what they were doing and found them walking around with older boys and being fairly quiet, so I left them alone. After a little more sleep, we got up and moving, had breakfast and headed out to do some activities in Acadia.
The Rabideaus needed to get their park pass, so we went straight to the Hull Cove Visitor Center. While we were there, Kathy asked a ranger about a recommendation for a hike to do with a lot of kids, some of whom were little. Strenuous hikes were fine as long as they weren’t very long. Kathy wanted something memorable with cool features on the hike, so the ranger suggested a hike that she enjoyed up to the summit of Dorr Mountain. She said that it was about 3.5 miles long and would take about 3.5 hours. After she gave us the location of the hike and a list of the trails we would need to take, we were off. We Whisonants had not yet done a hike on this trip, and I was feeling it was high time to do one, so we were excited to get moving.
We didn’t get very far up the first trail when we started going up these cool stone steps. Well, we did A LOT of stone steps and just kept going up and up in elevation.
After the stone steps were gone, we were going across huge pieces of exposed granite (at least I think it was granite). We just kept going up and up. Charlie actually hung back with Dominic and I while Kathy and Tom led the way. They had Damien up front. Ben and Ryon took turns carrying AnaClaire in a backpack. She was not very happy about this for very long, but it was a lot easier on the rest of us (excepting Ben and Ryon). We saw beautiful views on the way up, and there were wild blueberries all over the place to snack on, which Dominic and I took advantage of. When we reached the top of the trail, Dominic looked at the view, stretched out his hands, and said, “I’m on top of the world!” Just then, my alarm on my phone went off indicating it was 12:00, time for the Angelus. We all stood on the top of Dorr Mountain and said the Angelus together on such a beautiful day. That was a special experience. We all sat down and had a much-deserved snack and rest while we basked in the view.
After our little break, we began the descent. The hike was mapped out for us like a loop, so we were happy to be going down a different way. At least we were happy in the beginning. We soon discovered that this way down was definitely not better than the way we went up. We went down steep granite slope after steep granite slope, and then we had to scramble down rocks. Fortunately, marking our path down the mountain were placed many markers that were called cairns. These are piles of stones that are used to point the way on a trail.
Dominic was with Charlie and me again. He was goofing around a lot, so we were worried that he was going to take a major tumble on the rocks. We were holding on to him a lot and trying to keep him from pulling us down the mountain. Charlie finally took charge of him, so we began to move a little quicker. By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain and were back to the van, my legs felt like jelly. We were all exhausted and ready for a fresh supply of water. Fortunately we found a water fountain that dispensed nice, cold water. We all hopped back into the van and the Rabideau’s truck and drove off to find the ranger program that the upcoming junior rangers needed for their badge.
After PB&J sandwiches on the way, we reached the ranger program that they called Touch Tank. Here they had a tank full of intertidal sea life, which the ranger introduced us to. She explained which creatures were herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores, and what their roles were in the intertidal zone. The kids were able to touch most of the creatures.
They had crabs, whelks, sea urchins, sea stars, sea cucumbers, bladderwrack, etc. The kids seemed to learn a lot, and I was really encouraged when Dominic told the ranger something that I had read to him in a book about the Atlantic seashore. Sometimes I feel like they don’t pay much attention when I read to them, so it really helps when they start talking about something that I read that interested them. The ranger signed their Junior Ranger books, and off we went back to the visitor center to complete their Junior Ranger program.
Some of the kids had one or two pages to finish up, so we helped the kids to complete those pages and then interviewed a ranger (the last requirement for the Junior Ranger program). Then they turned their books in, said their pledge, and received their badges. This program has been so good for the kids at whichever national parks we have participated in the program. They learn a lot and it keeps them involved in learning about nature and respecting the beauty and design of the world God has given us.
Next, we had been promising to take the kids swimming, so we drove to Echo Lake for a swim. They had been begging us for a swim, so we were finally getting to it. The water temperature was listed as about 65 degrees, but no one complained. The swimmers in the family went out pretty far while the adults waded in with the little ones. The water felt great. We were hoping the cool temperatures would help our knees that were so weak after descending the mountain. We all had a great time.
This day still wasn’t over. The Rabideaus had not had a chance to travel the Park Loop, so we gave them our audio tour and let them listen while we all followed the Park Loop Road. While on the Park Loop Rd, we stopped at Sand Beach. Temperatures at Sand Beach were at the balmy temp of 56 degrees. Needless to say, there weren’t many people spending a lot of time in the water. Our kids decided to give it a try. Some just waded in and others took the full plunge. Nathanael, Ben, Isaac, and Amelia went completely under, but didn’t stay in for very long. I got my feet wet, but that was all I was willing to do. After rinsing everyone off, we jumped back in our respective vehicles and finished the loop tour.
Wow did we get a lot accomplished that day. Charlie and Tom left Kathy and I to drive the kids back to the campground while they went to the grocery store. Kathy got dinner ready while I got kids ready for bed. We fed them quickly and put them to bed quickly. We were all exhausted after a very busy and fulfilling day. This was our last day in Acadia, but we used our day to the fullest! Tomorrow we would be on our way to our next stop.