Exploring Ireland Further



It has been wonderful exploring Northern Ireland over the past couple days. As I sit here, I am getting ready to return to Dublin for one more evening before I head back to the states. After hiking all day, I returned to Paddy’s Palace Hostel to cook a simple dinner and have a quiet evening. I finally managed to write some post cards and book a bed for my final night in Dublin tomorrow.

I hiked around 6mi. today, getting from the city center all the way up and around Belfast Castle. The views back to Belfast were spectacular. For once, it didn’t rain at all today! It was incredibly muddy on the trails, so I didn’t make it up to the Fort on the bluff overlooking the city. Though I did find the first of several caves in the park.


I am amazed by the subtle differences between Irish and American culture. The Irish are much more polite. People are helpful and will go out of their way to make sure you are all set. They are also incredible literalists. A ham salad sandwich has ham, and salad, on it.

I have yet to figure out the £, which is legal tender in Northern Ireland. There are about 8 coins…I keep confusing 1 pound and 20p, which are about the same size! The € was fine. It will be nice to get back to the US though, since I will stop loosing money with every transaction!

My plan for tomorrow is to get to my hostel, then go souvenir shopping, and maybe do a couple tours. Oh, and try to hear some more music. A busy day to be sure. I have had a pretty relaxed touring schedule since I have been on my own, but planning takes a lot of work. Until later…

summer adventures ’12 part XI: Acadia

Another amazing summer is drawing to a close. Every summer my family vacations in Maine. This year, the family trip was to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park! I feel like this is my fifth trip to the park, though I’m not sure. It’s somewhere in there! As we settled on the dates for the trip, it became apparent that I would not be able to stay the while time, since I would need to return to Pomfret for faculty meetings. I decided early on to reserve three nights at the Blackwoods campground so that I could go up early, then meet my family when they arrived at the house they are renting. The campground is great. I’ve been waiting to go on a real camping trip since Florida, and the weather has completely complied! It has been warm but comfortable during the day and cool in the evenings. Nothing but sun and blue skies. I’ll take it!

After so many trips to the park, I didn’t even have to really plan this trip. Basically I threw some gear in the car and headed out. That’s not to say there is nothing left for me to discover…on the agenda is finally hiking Cadillac mountain. At the same time though, I think I am pretty done with this park. Six hours is a long way to go for repeat experiences. I’ll definitely come back, but this has been my first, and last, solo trip. Walking around Bar Harbor really settled it for me. After two hours I had pretty much hit the highlights and was ready to go back to the camp.

You’ll also notice that though I was here for multiple days, this is going to be one longer post instead of a bunch if smaller ones. Today (Friday) I decided to explore the amphitheater trail. It starts on carriage roads. I descended from route 3 to a brook at the base of Sergeant Mtn. The trail split off at the base of a tiny stone bridge (one of the smallest in the system) and followed the brook all the way up the valley to one of the largest bridges in the system, and continued up to the ridge. I did not summit Sergeant but I did bag Cedar Swamp Mtn. This lesser traveled trail really felt like a true wilderness trail. I spent about two hours without seeing anyone, which was a little over half my hike! From there I hit up the visitors center (the movie is HORRIBLE) to purchase a new map and the newly republished book about the carriage roads. Next up was Thunder Hole, where I dropped my sunglasses in a tidal pool, then Otter Cliffs. Lastly, I returned to camp to catch the bus into town. I had never ridden the Island Explorer Busses before. Though slow, they beat dealing with traffic! Now I am siting here, tending a fire, and waiting for my aunt Carol to arrive. Either tomorrow or Sunday we are planning in doing a sunrise hike of Cadillac. More to follow!

Carol arrived late in the evening, so we had to put off our sunrise hike. This also meat that we would not have time to hike all the way up Cadillac, just up to the ridge before we had to hike out and check out of the campground.After a leisurely start to the day, we ended up hiking Pemetic Mtn. and around Bubble Pond on Saturday. The hike was refreshing, and exciting as we descended on a trail I hadn’t been on before. After a leisurely camp dinner we went down to the water’s edge to watch sunset over the cove, before returning to camp for a fire. It was an early night, since we were getting up at 4:30am the next day for our sunrise hike.

On Sunday morning we arrived at Eagles Crag just as the sun was coming over the ridge. With the morning mist, the fog over the bay, and the dramatic landscape it was quite the experience. After this invigorating hike we returned to camp to pack up, check out, and then stop at the bath house right up the road for a hot shower. Between the hike, the shower, and the following breakfast at The Great Maine Breakfast, it turned out to be a fabulous morning! We tried to get into our rental early but had no luck, so we returned to summit Cadillac Mtn. via car. It wasn’t the same as hiking it…I guess I do have another reason to return to the park in the future!

Monday I had to leave to return to Pomfret, so Kim, Rob, Carol, and I headed out early to hike the Jordan Cliffs Trail. After a few exhilarating sections with iron rungs stapled into the cliffs, we summited Penobscot Mtn., then returned to the Jordan Pond House for lunch (and popovers!). The entire family did a short hike down by the Seawall Campground, had dinner, then I had to head home to Pomfret. I arrived home at 12:30am, concluding another fabulous vacation. The pictures from this trip are mostly collated on my Flickr page. The next post you see from me will be from my fall office at Skidmore College!