Tag Archives: activity

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 2 – “Won’t you join the dance?” (The Lobster Quadrille)

“Lobster” – if you mention Maine, this seems to be the almost unanimous first response. So it was very apt to spend our first day in the pine tree state at Rockland Lobster Festival. We ate lobster rolls and chowder, saw the massive steamers where, to that point in the Festival, 13,680 lobsters had been cooked (and counting!), watched crazy people try to race across the water on a path of lobster crates, posed by the giant lobster from the procession and even bought a bauble made from reconstituted crushed lobster shells as this year’s Christmas Tree memento.

Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival - crate race

Needless to say, this was not the last lobster we ate, though in all honesty it doesn’t rank in our all time favourite foods. But dinner at a lobster pound, Thurston’s in Bernard on Mount Desert Island, had to be done, looking over a classic working harbour as the sun dropped low over the water.

The classic lobster dinner The classic lobster dinner Tackling the classic lobster dinner! Tackling the classic lobster dinner! Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME

Kayaking out of Rockland harbour, round the headland to the lighthouse and back to shore through the lobster boats at Owl’s Head was pretty awesome too – I’ve always been a bit nervous around boats that can move faster than I can when paddling; no sweat.

Paddling out of Rockland Harbour Paddling out of Rockland Harbour Paddling round the headland to Owls Head Paddling round the headland to Owls Head Owls Head Lighthouse Owls Head Lighthouse Paddling below the Lighthouse Paddling below the Lighthouse Owls Head Lighthouse Owls Head Lighthouse Paddling into Owls Head Harbour Paddling into Owls Head Harbour

And, everywhere you go, even in-land, the landscape is punctuated by the bright signatures of the buoys that stake out a lobsterman’s pots.

Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME
Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME Owls Head Harbour - Lobster Shack Owls Head Harbour - Lobster Shack Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME Buoys Buoys - each lobsterman's buoys are different, a kind of signature Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour

(You can click on any photo to see all the photos in the post as a gallery with full titles)

To be continued . . .

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 1 – “Are we nearly there yet?”

Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire . . . .

Yup, Maine is a long drive from Toronto. That said, we left on Thursday evening and arrived on Saturday afternoon, so we hurried slowly the 625 miles to our destination, though I was pretty impressed to pass through four Provinces/States in one day!

View from the bridge, Littleton, NH View from the bridge, Littleton, NH

We barely glimpsed Vermont, though what we saw was lovely, but we thoroughly enjoyed our drive through New Hampshire’s White Mountains to North Conway (a ski and all-season activity resort) – despite a brush with the law! Apparently someone thought they had caught the rear of our car and phoned it in. As we felt nothing and could see no damage, we parted on good terms with the police. There was a certain comedy to it; Paul had been warned of the tendency to jump on those with Canadian plates for speeding and was being rigorously law abiding. The flashing lights in our rear-view mirror therefore resulted in some muted expletives along with that sinking feeling . . .

Covered bridge, Littleton, NH Covered bridge, Littleton, NH Covered bridge, Littleton, NH Modern Covered Bridge, Littleton, NH Mount Washington, NH Mount Washington, NH
Crawford Notch, NH Crawford Notch, NH

I’m not normally really a pizza person, but maple-fennel sausage pizza at the Flatbread Pizza Company for supper was as entertaining as it was delicious – pure theatre!

The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH

To be continued . . .

 

(Not quite) walking in the air . . . on snowshoes!

Striding through the forest, three feet above ground level, with snow gently falling, the utter peace broken only by the crunch and slide of our movement and the occasional chirp of an early Chickadee; our first experience of snowshoes felt totally natural and easy, though we were told we kept up a cracking pace.

Snow-shoeing Snow-shoeing

Then creating fire from nothing with a bow and drill to heat up picnic wraps (ambient temperature about -14C), before returning to a room  cosy with the warmth of a roaring wood-stove and dozing the afternoon away. What a magic way to spend a wintry Saturday!

Making fire Making fire Making fire Making fire Making fire Making fire

Evergreen Forest Resort B&B Evergreen Forest Resort B&B (near Wiarton)

Evergreen Forest Resort B&B – a great place to escape to!

Summer Reflections 1: A Watery Affair

Our photo album tells the love-story of a summer’s kayaking . We paddled (and I swam) in three of the Great Lakes (if you count Georgian Bay as the extension of Lake Huron), as well as exploring rivers and marshes. Always, here, good weather lures us outside; now, in the warmer months, I hunger to get out on the water.

The Beaver River - getting underway The Beaver River The Beaver River - I did it! The Beaver River The Beaver River The Beaver River

The Beaver River - Bald Eagle The Beaver RiverOur longest paddle to date took us 12 km down the Beaver River, skirting submerged hazards and occasionally cutting back the dead-fall; all around us was the rich summer-green of early July woodland, wild and timeless. As we journeyed, a relay of kingfishers called their warning of our passage. The sighting of a bald-eagle nest was a truly special gift.

For more photos, see our Gallery (Beaver River and Nicolston Dam)!

Gull Lake, Gravenhurst Gull Lake, GravenhurstA gentle exploration of Gull Lake (Gravenhurst) warmed us up for slightly more challenging expeditions on Manitoulin Island, the biggest freshwater island in the world. On Maintoulin, we circuited Manitouwaning Bay (which opens onto Georgian Bay) from Two O’Clock to Manitouwaning and back across open water. And we paddled up the Kagawong River into Lake Kagawong, fighting the wind back down the lake, then floating lazily with the river’s gentle flow to our start point above Kagawong’s Bridal Falls – time disappears out on the water as the peace, the light and the reflections seep into the soul.

The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin (and Paul!) The Norisle at Manitowaning, Manitoulin (and Paul!) Playful Paul in Manitowaning Bay Playful Paul in Manitowaning Bay
Paddling the Kagawong River Paddling the Kagawong River
Paddling the Kagawong River Paddling the Kagawong River Lunch on Lake Kagawong Lunch on Lake Kagawong On the Kagawong River On the Kagawong River

For more photos, see our Gallery (Summer Trip 2013)!

At Canada’s southernmost tip, the marshes at Point Pelee were almost eerie in their quietness (or possibly Erie – sorry, bad pun!) and the light was especially awesome; but it was the paddle from our B&B, with a short portage across a sand bar, into Wheatley Provincial Park that delivered more herons than we have ever seen and a white wonder of egrets.

Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee Kayaking in the marshes at Point Pelee
Swallowtail at Point Pelee Swallowtail at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee Plantlife at Point Pelee
Heron Heron Sandpiper at Point Pelee Sandpiper at Point Pelee Heron Heron
Egrets everywhere! Egrets everywhere!
Cormorant and kayak Cormorant and kayak Kayak capers! Kayak capers! Kayak homecoming Kayak homecoming

For more photos, see our Gallery (Essex County – Ontario)!

Nearer to home, from our local beach, a sunset paddle along the shores of Lake Ontario below the Hunt Club amazed us again that we can live in a city yet, with very little effort, feel so far away from it all! And the return view of the down-town lit red and gold still takes my breath away.

Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach Sunset kayaking on Lake Ontario from our local beach

 

On laughter-silvered wings . . .

I never had any doubt that Paul could fly . . . !

Yesterday we made use of the second half of his Charity Auction present to himself, flying up and away over the autumn glory of the Hills of the Headwaters on the edge of Niagara escarpment near Brampton (to the north-west of Toronto). In what was really a brief pre-flying lesson, I thought he might take the controls for a short while.  In the end, the only thing he didn’t do was land the plane as there was a little turbulence. From taxi, to take-off, to climbing to cruising height and holding steady, banking round to return to Brampton Flight Centre, he did it all. Very impressive!

  The Flying Lesson Begins The Flying Lesson Begins   Paul at the Controls Paul at the Controls   Back on the Ground Back on the Ground - Gina and Paul

I’m also thinking he now has significant influence with ‘the clerk of the weather’; just as for our harbour cruise on his birthday, we had the most perfect sunny day. Magic! I got to sit in the back seat and take photos.

A Landscape Cut Through by Gullies A Landscape Cut Through by Gullies    Looking Across Brampton to Ontario's Shore Looking Across Brampton to Ontario's Shore    Hills of the Headwaters Hills of the Headwaters - Rolling Hills in Fall Finery
Hills of the Headwaters Hills of the Headwaters - Rolling Hills in Fall Finery    Caledon's Quarries Caledon's Quarries    Hills of the Headwaters Hills of the Headwaters - Rolling Hills in Fall Finery
Caledon Ski Hills Caledon Ski Hills    Hills of the Headwaters Hills of the Headwaters - Serious Horse Country!    Hills of the Headwaters Hills of the Headwaters - Rolling Hills in Fall Finery
Edge of Runway Edge of Runway    A Typical Ontario Road Through the Hills and Fields A Typical Ontario Road Through the Hills and Fields    Coming in to Land Coming in to Land

(Click on any image to enlarge and page through photos with brief descriptions.)

 

This poem was on the wall at Brampton Flight Centre. It captures so well the feeling of the day . . .

 

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.