Moosehead Maine: Part two

If people sat outside
And looked at the stars each night,
I'd bet they'd live a lot differently.
When you look into infinity, 
You realize there are more important things
Than what people do all day.
//Calvin and Hobbes (One of my Papa's favorite comic strips)

Hey there! Where were we? Oh yes... rest, relaxation, and nothingness in Moosehead Lake Maine! Just what the Doctor ordered during an otherwise very busy summer. If you missed Part One of our Moosehead adventure, you can check that out HERE before reading onto Part Two. Friday afternoon was another beautiful day spent down at the dock. After climbing Mt. Kineo in the morning, we were in need of some serious relaxing. I think we all sat in separate areas for a good two hours, practically in silence just reading our books or magazines, soaking up the sun, and listening to Dave Matthews on Pandora. It was pure bliss!

I also took this time as an opportunity to walk around the grounds a little bit with my big camera and get some nice photos of the lake and the flowers, etc.

The main house is so beautiful. I love the all-wood cabin feel and the big A-Frame with floor to ceiling windows. It lets in so much light and is the perfect spot for a nice view of the yard and lake down below.
As I mentioned previously, Maine is the land of Lupines, and they were out in full force when we were there! I think we have been too late the past few years, so I was so happy to get to photograph them in their prime.  There are some really pretty little patches throughout the property in the gardens and down by the lakeside.
Love this photo peering through the light pink lupines down to the boat house and the lake.

Before dinner, we decided we needed to head down to town in order to pick up some more supplies at the grocery store. Mid way through the drive, I happened to glance over to the right and saw a HUGE field completely filled with Lupines! I begged and pleaded boy the boys to stop so that I could take some picture with Lindsay. They unhappily obliged, and I was in heaven! My Step-Grandmother said that this field was not planted and is not maintained by anyone, so it is completely wild. Amazing how they can grow and spread so plentifully in a place that is hardened with ice and snow for majority of the year.
Thanks to Linds for taking these photos of me in the flower field. Excuse my heinous Kayne West inspired outfit (click here), I did have just the black dress on originally but threw on the leggings in order to not be freezing in the grocery store. Moosehead is not really a place where you have to worry about impressing anyone.

I was able to use my big Nikon and got some really nice shots of the Lupine field in full bloom.

There was also a few stray daises growing, so why not pluck one for our hair?!

I love these colors, deep purple and light pink. When I was little, 'pink & purple' was always my answer when people asked me my favorite color, as if it was a single color in itself. Until I was about 9 or 10, and then I became strangely obsessed with Orange, which is still my fave to this day.

Look at them! There was thousands. These pictures don't even really do the field justice. It was so secluded and a little ways down a logging road, so I was so lucky to have even spotted it. I guarantee most people drive by it every day not knowing what they are missing just beyond the trees.

I'd like to see these used in a bridal bouquet someday! Just a few simple strands tied together with a nice velvet ribbon. It would be so simple but very elegant. 250 weddings and I have yet to see them used!

After groceries, we were hanging out up at the main cabin, and caught this pesky little red squirrel going in for some bird seed! Papa and Kathy have all kinds of critters and animals that wander onto the property throughout the year. My Grandfather is also an avid bird lover and wood carver, so he often combines the two and creates beautiful carved and painted wooden birds that you could easily mistake for being real, they are so life-like.
Our sweet little "Blue" Camp! We love you so. Really goes to show you that you don't need much in life, and that tons of space, size, and grandeur isn't always the key to a good home or life. We have all we need in this little cabin, and are more than happy to stay there for weeks at a time. Really hoping to be able to come up for a much longer stay within the next couple of years. Especially with my Grandfather getting older, I want to spend as much quality time with him as possible in the place he loves the most.
Today also happened to be the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in all 50 States! We celebrated by lighting some rainbow colored sparklers on the front deck at sunset. Hooray for equality!



After grilling up some burgers and hot dogs for dinner, we headed down to the dock for another night of bonfire coziness. I was getting SO excited, as Nick was set to arrive at any time! Unfortunately for him, he hit some pretty gnarly traffic right off the bat in massachusetts, so his four and a half hour trip turned into a six hour trip. I felt so bad; but luckily after the initial jam-up, the rest of the drive was smooth sailing. We got the logs burning and anxiously awaited his arrival.

Awful photo, but it is the first sighting of Nick! Those are his flop-flopped feet! He finally made it and I couldn't have been happier! We showered him with hugs and kisses and food and beers, trying our best to make up for his long solo journey up North. I was so so so happy to have him there and couldn't believe he still made the effort and wanted to come up, even if it was for just 36 hours. Shows what kind of guy he is, and also that he really does love Moosehead just as much as I do.
We spent the rest of the night chatting, laughing, and drinking beers by the fire. Soaking up every minute with my boy!
Saturday we woke up to, praise the Lord, another GORGEOUS day! The third beautiful day in a row! I had hoped and prayed that if we got any sun during our trip, that it PLEASE be for the one day that Nick was there. And for once, my prayers were answered. We celebrated with some breakfast down at the dock and a nice batch of Mimosas to celebrate and to get Nick into vacation-mode as quickly as possible. We were also giving him a big cheers for completing his first full week at the Fire Academy. Only 8 more week to go!
He got to do the honors of popping the cork!
And I timed it just right! You can see the cork mid-air if you look closely.
If there is one beverage I love in this world, it's a mimosa. Forget beer, wine or cocktails. Forget soda. Forget water. Just GIVE ME ALL THE MIMOSAS!! Even in a red solo cup- a "Maine-mosa"- you just can't go wrong. So fresh and bubbly.
We all got our bathing suits on and were ready for another picture perfect day at the lake.

You can see my Grandfathers sailboat, the Able, off in the distance.
Nick had learned a lot during his first week at 'Fire Camp', specifically a lot about knots! He had a dozen that he had learned and had to have memorized. So we found some extra rope in the boat shed and he got to practicing. He even taught me a few, and I was able to pick up on it pretty quickly. We want to take sailing class together next year, so he will be one step ahead of the game! Nick, pop quiz, what is this one called?!

After a couple hours of relaxing by the dock, we asked Papa if he would take us for a ride on the bigger boat to the back side of Mt. Kineo. He happily agreed and got the boat started and warmed up with my Brother.
We all climbed on board and off we went. Mike got a nice driving lesson from Papa!

Papa's German Shepard Lexi came along for the ride. She has gotten a lot sweeter in her older age! I still wouldn't mess with her though. She is a great watch dog, and very protective of her turf and of Papa and Kathy.
Papa has had German Shepard's for as long as I can remember, and even before I was born. I don't think he would ever get any other type of dog. My family used to have them as well, and I miss it! They are great dogs, so smart and loyal and loving to their families.
It's safe to say everyone was enjoying their time out boating on the Lake.

We drove past the front of Mt. Kineo, but it was the back side we were really after. The "ass", if you will! Mt. Kineo has a lot of junk-in-the-trunk, and a beautiful back side that we try to go to at least once a trip. It's so beautiful, and really a sight you could never tire of.

Mike standing up and driving really just made me want to puke- he thought he was sooo cool! Straight out of an Orkin commercial (our favorite, here).
Coming around the point, making our way around the peninsula.

Papa pointing out some land marks and filling Kevin in on some geography of the Moosehead Lake area.

Is my hair out of place? Gotta love the wind in your hair!

Approaching our destination! The back side of Mt. Kineo is an 800ft sheer cliff into 250+ feet deep water. It is the deepest point of the lake, and a very popular place for people to swim, jump, and admire.


The lower ledge in this photo is a popular jumping off spot. The photo is deceiving as it is about 30 ft above water- a good sized jump.

The cliff is more than just straight down, it is actually inverted! Again, the photos don't do it justice. 

The boys decided they were going to be brave and go for it! The first step, and maybe the hardest, was jumping off the boat into the ice cold water. It took a lot of "gearing up", but they finally did it!

Mike, showing off his Dad-bod.
I love Lindsay and Kevin's faces in this one.

And there he goes!

And then Kevin makes a leap for it.
Kevin.... better know as Jesus, can apparently walk on water!

Nick decided to sit it out as well, which was a smart idea. He had worked so hard and so long to get into the Fire Department and had only finished his first week at the academy. If he was to get hurt in any way, it would totally ruin his current position and only set him back that much further. Mike and Kevin made a swim for the cliff-side.

Pretty Lexi, just watching the boys in angst! She doesn't like it when people do things they shouldn't be doing either!
Soon, the boys started their attempt at climbing up the ledge to get to the spot where they would jump off. It was proving to be far more difficult than it looked, however. The water was a little higher than usual, so the rocks were wet and super slippery, and there wasn't anywhere to grab on like there normally is. They tried and tried, but would just repeatedly slip back down and couldn't pull themselves up.

The poor guys! The struggle was REAL! We couldn't help but laugh at their misfortune, and try to coach them from the boat.

Kevin even looks a little scared in this one! I think he knew that it probably just wasn't going to happen.
After a good 15-20 minutes of them trying and failing, Nick, being the awesome guy he is, dove into the water and swam over to try and help them. He is pretty strong and agile, and has some good recent training in climbing from the Fire Academy. He assessed the situation and started to give them tips on where to put their hands/feet in order to maybe pull themselves up.
Sure enough, Nick was able to get up a little ways, and was able to reach back and help pull Mike up. Leave it to the guy who shouldn't have been doing this! But, Nick was good and got back down into the water. Any other day, I know he would have been right up there jumping off with them.
At last! Mike had made it to the top, and was ready to jump. It's a lot higher up once you are actually up there and staring down at the water. I haven't done it in years, but remember that feeling of "OH MAN, that's a LOT higher than it looks!"
Mike tried to give some more coaching to Kev, but unfortunately it just wasn't gonna happen!

Mike was ready to jump.... we started the countdown from the boat. (DISCLAIMER: Never jump off of something or into water that you don't know well, or haven't checked the depth! We know this spot well and know with 100% surety that it is over 200ft deep.)

Love these mid-air action shots of Mike!

He survived!

Kev finally gave up and decided to just take a nice lounge on this shallow rock close to shore.
Mike was able to get back up again for a second jump. 

Once the jumping was done, they swam back to the boat to warm up. 

Linds and I being thankful that we were nice and dry and toasty!
My sweet boy!

After Kineo, Papa took us back over to another spot we had visited last year, a small island at the mouth of the Moose River that is home to a family of Bald Eagles. We were able to see them last year, but they were still so young they didn't even have their white feather hats yet. This year though, they were in much better view and had grown the white feathers on their heads! So amazing to see Bald Eagles in the wild and to know that we have conserved them enough to bring them back from being an endangered species. They are huge, beautiful birds and it was really cool to get to see them close up once again. We can't get too close with the boat due to rocks, but the camera was able to zoom enough to get a pretty good view.

We headed back towards the cove afterwards, in order to get ready for our big Saturday dinner down at the dock. 
Lindsay and I shucked all of the corn for dinner, so we jokingly sent this photo to the boys and said that their pieces were to be the three on the end since they didn't help. 
It was Lobster Dinner night! We had gone into town and picked up lobsters that morning, and were so excited to have our first big lobster dinner of the season down on the dock with our Grandparents. Papa was so cute and had had the table set up since about 9am that morning, gingham table cloth and everything!
We also asked Papa if he could make his FAMOUS caesar salad! It is the best recipe and only he can make it. It just never tastes the same if he doesn't, so we always ask for it when we are up there. I think its romaine, anchovies, garlic, lemon, mustard, oil, parmesan cheese, and pepper- but don't quote me on that! Whatever it is, it's out of this world!

Gotta have broth and butter cups for lobster!
Corn all shucked and ready to go.
Papa had two steamers set up to do both the lobsters and the corn, right on the dock. 

My favorite sight! Family and friends together by the water for a delicious meal.
The salads were portioned out and ready to go, so we ate them first as the lobsters and corn were finishing up. 
YUM! I am craving it again now!

The lobsters were done and ready! Papa, being the kind gentleman that he is, cut/split/cracked the claws and drained each of our lobsters for us! We are very spoiled in deed.

God's gift to Earth!! Who would think such an odd looking creature would taste so darn good! It is one of my favorite foods ever and being the first one of the season, it was even that much better! I had missed it so. Dinner was fabulous and we had a great time chatting with Papa and Kathy.
After dinner, we had a little impromptu photo shoot down at the dock. 
Mike and Linds lookin' S'Cute!!!
PROM POSE! The reason for the silly smirks.

So glad he got to come!
Kevin for the solo shot… and the gourmet WIN!
He knew he was caught...

And now for some Tomfoolery.
This is why we can't have nice things, Michael.

SQUAD GOALS. #family

Can't leave a photo session without a traditional nose flare photo.
Since I had my camera out, after dinner took I took some more photos around the property and of the lake.

More lupine love. I have a packet of seeds at home that I keep forgetting to plant! I will have to spread them next year, as it's already too late for this year.

Here is a photo of the barn, and of Papa and Kathy's veggie garden. We used the lettuce for our sandwiches every day and it was delicious. Also note the grandchild totem pole on the right.
As I have explained in previous years, Papa carved this totem pole, with an animal to represent each grand child in chronological birth order. Yours truly at the top. Native Americans believed that each person had a spirit animal that they were connected to, that guided them through their life. A person could have up to nine animals to guide them through different stages or phases or their lives, but there was still one animal overall that they were most connected with. 

I am a lynx, and right below me is Michael…. a raccoon. And yes, we chose our own animals. According to Native American traditions, the Lynx represents a keeper of secrets, guardian, listener, and guide. Maybe thats why I like to write blog posts and travel so much?! The raccoon symbolizes curiosity and cleanliness- which is actually very true for Michael!
It's such a special and symbolic piece of our family! I love it. And especially since my Grandfather made it by hand himself.
Saturday night was our last night, so why stray from the norm? We made one last bonfire and spent the evening getting warm, making s'mores, laughing our butts off, and drinking some brews while checking out the millions of stars above.
All of our clothes smelled like camp fire by the end of the trip- love that scent! Has Yankee Candle made that yet? If so, I need to get one!
And lastly, per tradition, we each set wish lanterns off into the sky. 

Kevin has officially been fully initiated into the world of Moosehead and all of it's traditions! We think and hope he had a great time, and hopefully it won't be his last. 

The wish lanterns take patience. You have to wait and wait until they are just perfect to set off. Wait until you think it can't be any more ready if it tried, and then wait some more. Letting go too early could result in casualty. Last year, Lindsays took a plunge into the lake, and this year, it was mine. Bummer! If only I had followed my own darn advice.
Very cool to see them fly off into the night sky, to the point where you can no longer see it and it just blends into the stars.
I hope all of your wishes come true, Nick!
Sunday morning, we woke up to our first day of clouds and rain. Luckily, it was our last day and we weren't doing much besides packing and cleaning to head home. One the way home, we stopped in the coastal town of Portland Maine to meet our cousin Chase for dinner. It is always great seeing her, and we all enjoyed some comfort food and beers at a restaurant called Great Lost Bear. They had over 70 beers on top, so a few of us did a sampler flight.

We made it home without issue, but it's always a bummer to go to work the next day after vacation. I definitely had the post-vacation blues for a few days when we got back. I wish we were able to stay longer, but it just wasn't in the cards this year. I think we definitely made the most of our time, though, and it was an awesome trip. Hope to see you again next year, Moosehead! And with that I will leave you with this beautiful panorama trifecta of Moosehead Lake!

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