Summer In Maine

July 13, 2018

This Nutshell is coming to you days late thanks to the heat wave that is sweeping most of the U.S and my affinity for watching deadlines as they go “whooshing past.” I’ve been far too busy laying on my couch, sweating, and complaining to Tony to possibly do anything productive.

The other day we went to three different stores looking for a high-velocity fan and I snatched the very last one off a Walmart shelf, that’s box was so beat up and shredded no one had claimed it yet. We don’t have AC, you see…Independence day kicked off the heatwave which I exacerbated by turning on the oven to braise pork for our Pulled Pork Sliders with Pickled Red Cabbage. Eventually, the pork was done and we loaded up the pork, the cabbage, some BBQ sauce, buns and a cooler of beer and walked it a half mile to the Amtrak station. Yes, I was that person that took a giant pan of pulled pork on the public transit. Let freedom ring… We spent the afternoon at my coworker’s BBQ playing yard games and rotating our chairs to get out of the blazing sunlight.

The weekend following the holiday, we set out for a hike. My boss at the Blue Spoon Bistro in Portland had told me about this hike after hearing about our last escapade on the Three Falls Trail in the White Mountains. This hike is up Tumble Down Mountain and has a few different routes to get up it, and there’s a pond at the top where you can swim.I did a little research and we set out around 11 am with our assortment of Stanley thermoses filled with water and coffee and some pistachios and sandwiches for lunch.

There are two trails that lead to the pond. The first is the Brook Trail, only two miles long but you’ll probably still break a sweat by the time you reach the water. The second is The Loop Trail. It’s 3 miles? 2 miles? 2 ¾? We’ll go with that… It’s the most difficult trail on the mountain with its most unique feature being near the summit where you’ll go through a place called “Fat Man’s Misery.” Not kidding, that’s it’s real name. You have to climb up what is basically a waterfall, and then scramble up a crevice of water-slicked rocks with metal rungs put in to help you climb.

How cool, right? We struck out, myself with high energy this go around and quickly crossed a stream, passed a giant, moss-covered rock that would be perfect for bouldering, then it started to go up. As in the trail just stops and there’s a giant wall of tree roots and rocks that call for scrambling using hands and feet.Up, up, up we went! I was in the lead and the trail ended on a ledge facing a wall that needed actual climbing. Tree Roots and rocks are your handholds and a skinny, blue rope had been strung from the tree above to use as additional help. The day was hot and the humidity in the dense forest was fierce. We’d been swatting mosquitoes all day and as I started to climb a giant horsefly began harassing Tony. He’s not a fan of heights to begin with and being on a small ledge, chased by a determined horsefly, while sweating is not a great combo.

We both made it up and found we were facing huge, slabs of slick rock. There were two possible routes up. We spent an hour trying to climb only to find the route stop with no possible further hand or footholds. We scouted back and forth, there had been a group of hikers that entered the trail not 10 minutes before us and I couldn’t believe they’d just got over it. Not to mention undisturbed spider webs on both routes. Something wasn’t right.

We finally gave up, frustrated and hot we headed back the way we came and after 10 minutes of hiking, Tony noticed a trail marker I’d missed. We were on the old trail that isn’t kept up anymore… Ahahah.Another hour of hiking and we hit the waterfall which we climbed and then entered the fat man’s misery… Easy enough to get through if you’ve got a partner and your pack isn’t too big. Definitely not a good idea if you’ve got a dog. We hit the summit and you could see the pond a good way down.

We scrambled down and found gorgeous, clear water that was delightfully cold. We swam and rested for an hour and Tony killed the two horse flies that had been following us since the cliffs. Then we headed back to the car, taking the brook trail to get back as the loop trail we’d come up is not advisable to descend. The brook trail is 2 miles and spits you out a mile from the loop trailhead so you have to hike back up the road.
We made it to the road and almost immediately a swarm of horseflies found us. We ended up stripping off our shirts and spent a miserable mile of walking swatting at the determines little vermin. If there is a hell, I picture Satan as a giant horsefly and all his little minions as smaller one’s chasing you in 100% humidity. Ugh…

But despite the bugs and our extra, unplanned hour of exploring impassable boulders, we had a great time and Tumble Down Mountain is easily one of the most unique mountains I’ve ever hiked.

This past weekend we decided something a little less stimulating was in order. We drove an hour to a blueberry farm in Southern Maine. We were greeted by one of the farmers who pointed us down a row of blueberry bushes.

There were insurmountable blueberries. This was the first weekend of the season and gorgeous, plump blueberries sat alongside tiny, green and purple babies that needed a few more weeks to ripen.We filled our bags, me snagging any and all sizes and Tony very meticulously only taking the biggest and most ripe berries. We hauled our loot back and paid a whopping $8 for 3lbs of blueberries, and then headed back home, stopping at the store on the way to get ingredients for blueberry lemon rolls (Recipe coming soon!).

In closing, I can’t believe how much I love Maine. I love stepping outside and smelling the salt water on the air. It smells like oysters and wet sand, seaweed, and mud. I can’t believe I get to live here, spend a summer here, breathe in the salt water air, sweat in a kitchen sourcing local ingredients, feel the ocean breeze coming in at night while Tony and I rewatch Friends and Game of Thrones, and eat blueberry lemon rolls with fresh, Maine blueberries. Sometimes life drops you in a fairytale for a season. Don’t rush it, don’t waste it… Change will always come, all we can do is enjoy the now.

To Be Continued…

June 13, 2018

This Nutshell is coming to you days late thanks to the heat wave that is sweeping most of the U.S and my affinity for watching deadlines as they go “whooshing past.” I’ve been far too busy laying on my couch, sweating, and complaining to Tony to possibly do anything productive.

The other day we went to three different stores looking for a high-velocity fan and I snatched the very last one off a Walmart shelf, that’s box was so beat up and shredded no one had claimed it yet. We don’t have AC, you see…

Independence day kicked off the heatwave which I exacerbated by turning on the oven to braise pork for our Pulled Pork Sliders with Pickled Red Cabbage. Eventually, the pork was done and we loaded up the pork, the cabbage, some BBQ sauce, buns and a cooler of beer and walked it a half mile to the Amtrak station. Yes, I was that person that took a giant pan of pulled pork on the public transit. Let freedom ring… We spent the afternoon at my coworker’s BBQ playing yard games and rotating our chairs to get out of the blazing sunlight.

The weekend following the holiday, we set out for a hike. My boss at the Blue Spoon Bistro in Portland had told me about this hike after hearing about our last escapade on the Three Falls Trail in the White Mountains. This hike is up Tumble Down Mountain and has a few different routes to get up it, and there’s a pond at the top where you can swim.

I did a little research and we set out around 11 am with our assortment of Stanley thermoses filled with water and coffee and some pistachios and sandwiches for lunch.

There are two trails that lead to the pond. The first is the Brook Trail, only two miles long but you’ll probably still break a sweat by the time you reach the water. The second is The Loop Trail. Its 3 miles? 2 miles? 2 ¾? We’ll go with that… It’s the most difficult trail on the mountain with its most unique feature being near the summit where you’ll go through a place called “Fat Man’s Misery.” Not kidding, that’s it’s real name. You have to climb up what is basically a waterfall, and then scramble up a crevice of water-slicked rocks with metal rungs put in to help you climb.

How cool, right? We struck out, myself with high energy this go around and quickly crossed a stream, passed a giant, moss-covered rock that would be perfect for bouldering, then it started to go up. As in the trail just stops and there’s a giant wall of tree roots and rocks that call for scrambling using hands and feet.

Up, up, up we went! I was in the lead and the trail ended on a ledge facing a wall that needed actual climbing. Tree Roots and rocks are your handholds and a skinny, blue rope had been strung from the tree above to use as additional help. The day was hot and the humidity in the dense forest was fierce. We’d been swatting mosquitoes all day and as I started to climb a giant horsefly began harassing Tony. He’s not a fan of heights to begin with and being on a small ledge, chased by a determined horsefly, while sweating is not a great combo.

We both made it up and found we were facing huge, slabs of slick rock. There were two possible routes up. We spent an hour trying to climb only to find the route stop with no possible further hand or footholds. We scouted back and forth, there had been a group of hikers that entered the trail not 10 minutes before us and I couldn’t believe they’d just got over it. Not to mention undisturbed spider webs on both routes. Something wasn’t right.

We finally gave up, frustrated and hot we headed back the way we came and after 10 minutes of hiking, Tony noticed a trail marker I’d missed. We were on the old trail that isn’t kept up anymore… Ahahah.

Another hour of hiking and we hit the waterfall which we climbed and then entered the fat man’s misery… Easy enough to get through if you’ve got a partner and your pack isn’t too big. Definitely not a good idea if you’ve got a dog. We hit the summit and you could see the pond a good way down.

We scrambled down and found gorgeous, clear water that was delightfully cold. We swam and rested for an hour and Tony killed the two horse flies that had been following us since the cliffs. Then we headed back to the car, taking the brook trail to get back as the loop trail we’d come up is not advisable to descend. The brook trail is 2 miles and spits you out a mile from the loop trailhead so you have to hike back up the road.

We made it to the road and almost immediately a swarm of horseflies found us. We ended up stripping off our shirts and spent a miserable mile of walking swatting at the determines little vermin. If there is a hell, I picture Satan as a giant horsefly and all his little minions as smaller one’s chasing you in 100% humidity. Ugh…

But despite the bugs and our extra, unplanned hour of exploring impassable boulders, we had a great time and Tumble Down Mountain is easily one of the most unique mountains I’ve ever hiked.

This past weekend we decided something a little less stimulating was in order. We drove an hour to a blueberry farm in Southern Maine. We were greeted by one of the farmers who pointed us down a row of blueberry bushes.

There were insurmountable blueberries. This was the first weekend of the season and gorgeous, plump blueberries sat alongside tiny, green and purple babies that needed a few more weeks to ripen.

We filled our bags, me snagging any and all sizes and Tony very meticulously only taking the biggest and most ripe berries. We hauled our loot back and paid a whopping $8 for 3lbs of blueberries, and then headed back home, stopping at the store on the way to get ingredients for blueberry lemon rolls (Recipe coming soon!).

In closing, I can’t believe how much I love Maine. I love stepping outside and smelling the salt water on the air. It smells like oysters and wet sand, seaweed, and mud. I can’t believe I get to live here, spend a summer here, breathe in the salt water air, sweat in a kitchen sourcing local ingredients, feel the ocean breeze coming in at night while Tony and I rewatch Friends and Game of Thrones, and eat blueberry lemon rolls with fresh, Maine blueberries. Sometimes life drops you in a fairytale for a season. Don’t rush it, don’t waste it… Change will always come, all we can do is enjoy the now.

To Be Continued…

Savannah Says...

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