Home Too Soon

Somewhat unexpectedly, here we are back home. Sometimes camping just becomes a pain in the ass. That’s when it’s time to pack up and head home. That’s the situation in which we found ourselves.

Upon leaving Fundy National Park, we were geeked to return to the States and revisit Acadia National Park. We’ve been there just one time, and it was an odd one, coinciding with the government shutdown in October 2013. The park was officially closed, but we could duck beneath the barriers on foot or with our bikes. In many respects, it was ideal – zero car traffic – we cycled the scenic drive with abandon. But, the Visitor Center had been closed, and we felt like too many stones were left unturned.

So, we rolled in to Acadia on a Monday morning in late October, expecting to camp for five days or so, and check out everything we missed the first time around. Who would think that the campground would be full? The loop that allowed reservations was completely booked! We were assigned a site for one night in a section due to be closed the next morning. There was some hope that it would remain open for at least one more day. So, we grabbed the site, leashed Jezzy up, and headed off on a nearby trail. To get a glimpse of the ocean at least.

What a relief! We could camp one more night. So, we decided to hike the Ocean Path Trail, combined with Gorham Mountain to soak up as many great views as possible. We were not disappointed.

A few hearty climbers were working one of the steep faces, so we stopped to watch. Believe me, there wasn’t much room to inch your way up that crack between the rocks.

One popular stop along this trail is Thunder Hole. The tide rushed into a narrow crevasse, and the backsplash can be quite powerful. We were not there when the tide was high enough to provide a good show, but check out this video from YouTube. Wow! https://youtu.be/voWhZRtBgF4. (This is not my video)

To find a great aerial view, we decided to detour up to Gorham Mountain. Good choice!

Altogether, it was a good day on foot – about 9 miles, great scenery, and blue skies. Success.

Our plan, upon leaving the campground the next morning was to stay in a nearby Bar Harbor campground to continue our exploration for the next few days. However, the only campground open within miles was a total dump. With at least one day of rain coming, we were unwilling to spend it in some nasty parking lot of a campground.

Instead, we landed at Pawtuckaway State Park, NH, an absolute gem of a park. We tucked into a solitary site in the Turtle Island campground (yes, an actual island), and hunkered down for rain.

At least, we enjoyed sitting outside, enjoying this pristine Park from the shelter of our awning. We congratulate ourselves every week on our good fortune in owning this awning. Because it attaches directly to the Campsh@ck, it’s very durable for wind and fowl weather. We can still cook outside, eat outside, and not feel trapped when we have day after day of crappy weather. It’s a godsend both to our camping life and our marriage.

The following day brought another change of plans. The New York State Park we planned on staying at for a night or two, was actually closed. The only thing open were some rental cabins. We were fortunate to find a nearby private campground where we pulled in, just as darkness fell. Our site was right alongside a creek, which was jumping with salmon. We could actually have reached in, and grabbed dinner, had we not been so bushed. Sadly, they had just winterized their bathrooms, so what we were directed to use instead was cold, odd, and nasty. Enough said.

Camping options for the rest of the trip were nonexistent. So, we ground our teeth, and drove eleven hours home.

Here’s a map of our campsites for reference. Sorry I haven’t done this all along. I think you can touch on the mappoints to find the campgrounds.


Home. House and yard work awaits. But, it was a spectacular trip.

15 thoughts on “Home Too Soon

  1. Judy, I just lost a long reply typing on my phone. I am very sad to hear you plan to suspend your blog. But I do understand. I am out camping now, and the post I am planning looks and sounds like every other camping post I have ever done. Campsite, dog, flowers. I think I might plug on for a while, but am disappointed in my lack of anything new. Just so you know, everything you write is new and fascinating to me!

    At least I’m glad you escaped Michigan.

    I can’t express myself on a tiny phone keyboard. I’d love to plead please don’t go. But considering I disappeared for 3 years, I can’t say much. Except, how I will miss you!

    Have an awesome trip!


  2. As usual, reading your posts evokes a sense of awe and a twinge of envy in me. So beautiful!

    My neighbor and I have run into two campgrounds that we expected to be open for spring still closed. So disappointing! However, they are all open now.

    So when are you heading out again? I can’t wait!


    • Hi Sharon. We finally hit the road on March 17, after spending a pretty brutal winter at home in Michigan. Family matters prevented us from leaving earlier, and it was a real awakening to shovel snow, drive icy roads, and have all the winter ‘fun’ we’ve missed for the past five years.

      We finally made it to Galveston, one of our favorite on-the-road places to camp.

      But, I think I’ve decided to end, or at least suspend, the blog. Seems like it hard these days to find a fresh approach to our life on the road. More whining about the weather, a few great hikes and bike rides, but little of the same excitement that drove earlier posts. So…..

      I’ll have at least one more post to sort this all out, but my mind is pretty much made up. What I’ll miss most are the conversations I have with blog friends like you. When I was a kid, I always had a pen-pal or two. The blog has brought those moments back, and that has really been the best. You know what I mean, I’m sure…


  3. What a wonderful trip you had, in all, Down (and Up) East! I’ve found that campgrounds and other places close when they have to turn off and drain the water pipes, and close the flush toilets. I’ve had a problem with closures twice. In 1981 when I moved back to the Lower 48 I left Anchorage (Alaska) about Sept 5. Arrived at Banff Park, etc. about four days later, on a Friday. Checked in at Jasper for a campsite for one night. Half of the campgrounds were closed and the rest were closing on Sunday. Were we lucky! (My 15-year-old son and I.) On a trip late April well into May a few years ago to Minnesota I ran into state campgrounds that were just opening and, in some cases, had not yet opened flush toilets and showers. Was a good trip, anyway, because we were ahead of biting black flies, and of mosquitoes. Sylvia


    • Hi Sylvia. I get that campgrounds need to protect their water supplies, etc. But I don’t understand that places with pit toilets and rustic facilities don’t stay open. Fall camping is great, but too many places seem to be needlessly shut down.

      There’s always a good balance between advance planning, and traveling on the fly. I hate to overplan, but sometimes it’s really easy to get caught short if I don’t!

      We had a great trip, anyway. Thanks.


  4. It’s sad that you had to cut your trip short, I was enjoying all the scenery you were finding in places that I’ve never been to, but would like to visit someday.

    Your difficulty in finding campgrounds that were still open is something that I’ve run into several times, most recently in early October this year when I was looking for a campground to stay in while photographing the fall colors just south of Traverse City. Most of the campgrounds in that area are federally managed, and they must all close early. I could see it if they were modern campgrounds with modern plumbing, but these had vault toilets that work in any weather. With the camping season extended as it is for many of us, it would be great if the powers that be realized that and acted accordingly. Sorry about the rant though.

    Anyway, I did enjoy the scenery in this post, just as I have in your earlier ones. I look forward to when I’m retired and can sit in a campground and relax, enjoying my time there in the peace and quiet. As it is now, I never have enough time, and I’m always on the go when I do get a chance to camp.


    • Hi Jerry. It seems like campgrounds close too early, even in fairly temperate places. There are so many folks that want to enjoy fall color – so I don’t think it’s a matter of an open campground with no campers. I suspect it’s the evil of budget cuts. I remember being at the amazing Cape Hatteras lighthouse last October, and finding out that it closed on Columbus Day. We were there the day after. This year Columbus Day was very early, which exacerbated the problem.

      You’ll make a great retired guy. Find a spot, slow down and look around until you feel you must move. That’s the ticket. I’m looking forward to your retirement, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It was great hearing of your trip, trials and tribulations. As usual, your photos were amazing. Sorry you had to cut your trip short but welcome home. Wish I was there to welcome you. Stay in touch pal!


    • Hey Deb. It is sad to come home to find that you aren’t here. Are you sure you don’t want to come back and rake leaves and shovel snow??

      I’ll appreciate having a nice warm place to visit you this winter.


  6. Welcome home! Your blogs are always filled with beauty, adventure, and overcoming obstacles. I’m inspired. Rest and revive your energies for the next trip.


  7. We have just returned from the Coastal Caravan this evening. How well we remember our good fortune in meeting you two in Maine during the government shutdown. That opened the T@B world to us and we have made many friends since, to include you, of course. Glad you got some good days in prior to running into the wall built by the seasonal change. Hope to see you two again soon. We’ll be at the Tiny Christmas campout in the Florida panhandle and T@BAZONA in Jan.


    • Hi Dave. Thanks for your note. We are envious of your traveling to T@bazona this year – we’ve been to two of the three so far, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. We’re not making a winter trek to the SE this year, so will just have to make do by stalking you on Facebook.

      I remember sitting by the campfire and watching you and Sheila roll in that night. Such a happy meeting – we are lucky to have such a wonderful camping community.


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