Thursday, May 23, 2013

Maine 2013 - The Trip

It wasn't too long after the conclusion of last year's Adirondacks trip that the crew began tossing around ideas for the 2013 trip. The Dakotas in 2011 was fabulous; a long flying trip. Last year was a shorter driving trip. We were contemplating a non-flying trip again this year, with the same five as last year (Me, Dave, Leo, Ted and Phil).
Mt Katahdin, Baxter State Park

Original parameters of the trip were a six day excursion, or even five if the driving were not too excessive and we could get a jump the night before. One of the contenders that was high on every one's list was Maine. People were very interested in Mt Katahdin, the high point in the state, which is also the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Another destination, and a bucket list one for me, is Acadia National Park on the coast. At one point, given the crowding in the SUV for the Adirondacks and also that Acadia is approximately an 11 hour drive, we contemplated renting an RV and driving in style.

Acadia (Mt Desert Island) from an offshore island
The discussion changed somewhat in the winter when Phil unfortunately had to take himself out of the mix for this year's trip. We tossed around a few more ideas, as this put flying back on the table for discussion, but it was agreed that we couldn't collectively free up the 8 or 9 days necessary to make a more extravagant trip possible. Everyone still loved the Maine idea, and without the need to drive and therefore chew up two entire days on the road, we would be able to do both Baxter SP and Acadia NP on the same trip and not slight either unduly.

So the trip was decided: six (or seven) days hitting both Baxter and Acadia, flying in and out of Bangor. Time was set for mid-September; after kids go back to school but before anniversaries and birthdays for my family, far enough removed from a big summer trip for Ted, and fitting family and work commitments for Dave and Leo.

Acadia in summer
A planning session that I could not attend was held in March, and between that and a flurry of emails leading up to it, we settled a number of issues. Exact dates were picked, flights were booked, and preliminary work was done on selecting campgrounds etc... Coming out of this meeting, the framework of the trip was set. We would fly to Bangor Maine on a Wednesday afternoon ($264 per person round trip!!), be there for next six days, and fly back on the following Tuesday. We would likely do Acadia first, and then finish with Baxter. Highlights would be the Atlantic coast of Maine at Acadia and Mt Katahdin in Baxter (why do I always have to climb mountains?!?).

A couple of months have passed since that meeting with little or no further activity, but Dave got the ball rolling again earlier this week with a reminder email that we had more to nail down and reserve, and that we should get going on it to make sure we got what we wanted. Another flurry of emails, and yeoman work by Leo and Ted have resulted in all logistics being complete and locked down. There is nothing left to do but select hikes and plan the activities we want to do while we are there.

The trip is this:
  • Wednesday afternoon - Fly to Bangor, pick up a rental SUV and go to a hotel. Maybe some non-perishable provisioning.
  • Thursday - Complete our provisioning first thing, drive to Acadia, and have the afternoon and evening free to do whatever.
  • Friday - All day in Acadia. I suspect we will hike to the top of Cadillac Mountain.
  • Saturday - Start the day at Acadia, end the day at Baxter State Park. How we split the day remains to be decided, but there is 3.5 hours of driving somewhere in the middle.
  • Sunday - Baxter SP all day. The priority will be to summit Katahdin, weather permitting.
  • Monday - Baxter all day, but we need to drive one hour at the end of the day to our motel to get ready to head for home the next day. If weather issues cause Katahdin problems on Sunday, this will be our last shot at the summit. We end the day at a motel in Millinocket.
  • Tuesday - We have the morning to kill, but need to catch a mid-afternoon flight back home. Back in Philly by dinner time. 
Finalizing the arrangements (thanks guys!) has made this trip go from something somewhere out on (or beyond) the horizon to something very real. I love guide books and maps, so I suspect that over the holiday weekend coming up I will be ordering some books and maps to be able to immerse myself in the coming experience. I did this for the Dakotas and the Adirondacks and loved reading and researching ahead of time.

With all the logistical details set, all that remains is to figure out all the fun stuff - hikes, trails, sightseeing opportunities and how to spend our time in each of the locations.

I can't wait.

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