Monday, July 7, 2014


I just realized that I seem to have ended up at Acadia  four out of the past five weekends. It is not that more is better. In fact, it was sort of an accident.

First, Tim and I hiked Black and Schoodic mountains in Donnell Preserve, a treat we'd been wanting to check out almost since our earliest Cragsnagging days. I got up at 2am to make it happen and we were on the trail a little after 6am.

It would be Tim's final hike before the Laurel Highlands Ultra.  We required unprecedented amounts of three flavors of bug dope, but the summits were worth it and the steep trails brought much joy.
Lines, lovely lines.

I could tell he was totally ready for the race. Even though I wasn't running it, it seemed like everyone else was. It was an exciting time.
I already forget if these first three pics are Schoodic or Black Mountain or both...

Second, Christopher Robinson, Sarah & Laurah came climbing with me at Otter Cliffs. We went with Atlantic Climbing School. ACS rocks! I love those guys.
Me, happily flummoxed as usual by Otter Cliffs.

And then Chris and I hiked the short but vertical Beehive later that day. He'd heard about it but had never hiked much of anything before. I told him I knew a way to fix that. That hike doubled as a Peace Corpse hike for Kezar, the late Chesapeake Bay Retriever. This was on June 15th and it was just about peak lupine season.
View from partway up Beehive Trail. RIP Kezar.

On the third weekend, I was in the Whites with Rosalea and Colin, as some of you may already have read.

My favorite librarian enjoys some boulders near Jordan.
On the fourth week, my mother and I had a great stormy day of hiking around Jordan Pond.  The drizzle and mist were quite pleasant and we were sheltered from the wind.  The pond was all waves and whitecaps! She is a great sport for seeing this weather as an adventure instead of a deterrent.

Jordan Pond. Love.
That night was a word-class, fantastic supper at Cleonice, a must-eat restaurant in Ellsworth. We unapologetically go to Cleonice as many times as we can manage on our annual Acadia trips, and will tell you with a straight face that you really ought to do the same.

En route to Beech Mountain. Thank you, Glaciers!
On the following, much more sunny, day, we headed to Beech Mountain.  Beech has quickly become one of my favorites as a Place To Bring Certain People, and also just a favorite overall. She hasn't spent much time on mountains lately and wasn't 100% sold on the whole idea but I had an inkling that if she'd just give in a chance she might be really into it...!  And of course we could always turn around.
Pretty wonderful.

It ended up as a really good hike. Again I was so proud of her, this time for choosing to go ahead with the hike even though she was unsure at first of what to expect. Not that charging forth is out of character for her, but still. And I am so lucky to have a pretty wonderful Mother. It was a joy to have her as company in my house, as it were.
Moments before hand abuse.
Near the point when the trail goes back into the forest, drama struck. I stepped downward innocently enough, but something went awry because I landed on a hand instead of a foot. Said landing occurred, of course, upon Acadia's beautiful, pinkish, granite substrate. A couple of fingers tried (and succeeded) to sacrifice themselves in order to (semi-successfully) break the impact of the fall. They hyper-extended roughly and went off the brain-map -- a truly odd sensation. Where were they? I reached for them and immediately tried to bring them back, fearing I would go to bend them and they were just be lost, gone, no more. They frightfully came back into brain space, bending unsteadily and already swelling. They have yet to unbend, or curl properly, 9 days later! But they are healing fine as far as I can tell. It just simply takes a little while to happen.

Oh gross, like you needed to see that... ;)
Knee looked bad but wasn't, shin didn't but was was!
The left wrist and right shin tied for second place and the right knee came in third. Major structural damage appears unlikely for most of these parts, but there was enough superficial damage to make a swollen, bloody mess. Lovely. Anyway, I'm fine, and now I've

learned a bit about this type of injury and about how to perform one-handed first aid. Life skill!

Matt is in town, and by town, I mean MDI, so I went back up to Bar Harbor yet again on this past weekend to go hear him play at Lompoc. He'd invited me to play with him and to go climbing. Goddamnit! What a sad week of staring at the sad paw. Two of my favorite activities, so close and yet so far...!  Fortunately my disappointment was obliterated by it also being a very busy, very distracted, very good week of jobshadowing with DEA, an orthopedic surgeon down on the Cape.

More excited about the wonder thumb's innards than about the bone chips...
I admit I was bummed and worried about the state of the hand, so I tried to just focus on what I could do. I had a great 10.5mile run after my first day in the OR.  First it felt funny to say OR, now it seems long winded to type out "operating room".  I ran to the harbor, ran through the alpaca farm and into the salt marsh and over the dizzying array of suspension bridges. It was the perfect way to unwind after being in a foreign vault where everything is ritualized and specific and somebody appears sort of dead, but isn't.

Office wall: mountaineering, Grandpa Ed, WD-40.
The next day was another round of clinic, which is good for the mind... but physically, it is just standing still.  In fact after three days of said standing still, this farm worker was jumping out of her skin.  Fortunately, circumstances allowed that I could conceivably run to dinner. It could even be a tempo type run. I scampered off to toward the harbor once more, already dripping with sweat on a second hot, humid evening.

A wonderful, amazing gift from DEA's shelf. It used to belong to MGA as well.  Note the $23.50 price tag.
Actually I will probably just use this book to bludgeon the next person who asks me if I am going to be a nurse.
Fast forward to Friday night, with hand mobility still improving and pain still diminishing each day. I wanted so much to play with Matt. I picked up the bass, just to see...

Bar Island sunset.
...and the next night, there we were, on stage, Cinder Conk reunited at last. I was able to sort of play using either open strings or just one finger on the left hand. I managed several tunes out of each set.  It was neither sustainable nor particularly musical...but it just barely worked, did not seem to cause extra damage, and it was a blast to play with my favorite accordion player once again. My mind needed it. It was good.

Bar Harbor sunset.
In the morning, Matt's Kate helped me pick a good spot to run. I ran a version of the loop that she did for her first ever 10 mile run back when she was training for the MDI marathon. It was an uplifting thought to run along with. Eagle Lake glistened below me from Connor's Nubble, a neat outcropping up which I'd never ventured.

Super view from Connor's Nubble.
Autumn had happened upon us at Lompoc last night (a very nice surprise to see her) and mentioned this place. We agreed that Nubbles are indeed special features. The only Nubble I'd previously met was Knight's Nubble, and that was with Tim last November. How chilly that day was! I believe it was on our final hike of the year, on our final peak of the whole island. I wondered if Tim had run around this other Nubble as he trained and trained for Laurel. Methinks everybody needs a Nubble for running on...

The loop I ran was sans GPS but I believe it was around 14.5miles. It took 3.5 hours with plenty of stops and such. It was entirely new terrain for me. I like that there remains so much left to explore, even after I have now spent an exorbitant amount of time there.

Eagle Lake.
I ended on Paradise Hill which, in hindsight, was a perfect ending. I'll go back and do a longer version of this loop sometime soon, I think. I could include Pemetic, Penobscot, and both Bubbles and it would be ridiculously good. And tough. I could throw my whole heart on into that for sure.


  1. Not a bad place to spend four out of five weekends :) Love the photos!

    1. Thanks!! And I was just enjoying your beach pics of your ridiculously cute kiddo etc. :D


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