Wednesday, September 28, 2011

We are finally on our way Home

This was the scene as we left the refuge.  The biologists are talking with the hiking group about ducks as they have been catching them to band.  After hugs and handshakes, we were on our way.

Our first night was spent on the turnpike in Massachusetts (my least favorite state).  All we want to do is go through and get out as quickly as possible!!

Going through Hartford, Ct. at 8:19 a.m.  Slow but not bad.  Crossed into New York at 9:30 a.m.

Hartford skyline in the fog.

Crossing the Hudson River in New York.  In the fog.

Crossing into Pennsylvania.

Our second night was at a Flying J in Mill Hall, Pa.  This is one of the nicest places to overnight.  They have a Denny's Restaurant, fuel, and parking for the night.  Right after I took this picture, the rain came down.

Some beautiful scenes of farm houses in the valley as we are going 60 mph.  As you can see we had fog along with heavy rain and white out conditions making for some tense times. We are on I 80.  There are scenes like these all along the way.

We made it to our destination...Raystown Lake, just east of Altoona, Pa.  This is an Army Corps of Engineers campground, our first time staying in one.  As old folks, you get to stay half price.  We have 50 amp with water near sewer, but there is a dump station.  We are in site #149 in the point camp section.
They have nice bathrooms with hot water for our showers.

Since summer, in Pennsylvania, they have had only one 6 day period without rain. 

We will be here for a few days of sightseeing.  See what's next.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Signs of Time to Leave Maine

All our rowdy friends are gathered for our going away pizza party where we were awarded our 8,000 hour pins.  Left to right is Brent, wildlife officer, Steve, assistant manager, Amanda, LE officer, Bill, project leader, Peggy, admin assistant, Cory, biology intern, Ray, head biologist, and Wallace.  Ray is proudly holding Maine's favorite drink...Moxie!!!

The leaves are starting to change colors.

The squirrels are putting away the pine cone seeds.

The apples are falling, and the caterpillars are crawling.

The Giant Puffballs are appearing.

This is an Ichneumon Fly (wasp).  I thought she was quite pretty.  3 millimeters in size.  She caught my attention with her color and activity.  Just threw it in as my critter of the day.

One last request from Bill before we leave.  The sign which Wallace routed showing volunteer hours for the year.

We were to leave Friday but decided to stay a few more days as Bill needed someone to pick up some of the hikers flying in to Bangor on Sunday.  The American Hiking Society takes working vacations and they have been coming here for several years to work on trails.  We usually work alongside of them but not this year...I will miss that as they are a fun group to be around.

We will leave Monday morning, and I will be blogging on our way south, so join us on our journey.

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I wanted to close with this beautiful reflection from Cranberry Lake right here on the refuge.  We feel so blessed...and this picture causes me to reflect on the times we have spent here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

49th Boy Scouts Camporee

The camporee is always held just before we leave.  It is held at the refuge on the grounds of where we are set up.  It is jointly held with Canada.

The raising of the flags ceremony.  This is a where taps is played each evening at 11:00pm (my favorite part).  I love to hear the trumpet playing in the still of the night.

This is just a small portion of what the area looked like.
There were tents placed all over the place in a very organized way, with each troop staying together.

With taps being played, it is a reminder that it won't be long for us to be heading south and calling an end to our time here.  We have mixed emotions of leaving friends here, but ready to be with family and friends back in Texas!! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Baxter State Park

We finally made it!!!  Baxter State Park, a gift to the state of Maine from the former Govenor Percival P. Baxter in 1931.  "Man is born to die, his works are short lived.  Buildings crumble, monuments decay, wealth vanishes.  But Katahdin in all its glory, forever shall remain the mountain of the people of Maine."
Mount Katahdin is the highest peak in Maine at 5,267' and is the starting or ending point for the Appalachian Trail.

This is the trail head to the trail we hiked where we were hoping to encounter a moose.

No moose, but a beautiful view of Mount Katahdin.

A Green Comma.  The green is variable, but the comma is there on the wing in white.

A Common Goldeneye feeding alongside Common Merganzers which I could not get a good photo of.

An American Toad with all its warts.  But, alas, no moose!!

The ridge to the right of the peak is called Knife's Edge and it is on the edge with drop offs on both sides for some distance.  The people here have us scared to death to hike to the top with all their tales of danger.

This is a diorama showing the yellow trails to the top.  The one at the bottom is the access trail from where we stopped to take photos.

After 8 miles on the "tote" road inside the park taking us to Sandy Stream Pond where the pictures were taken, we decided that was enough of a rough ride for us that day.  I would like to try that hike to the top of Baxter Peak (Katahdin)...maybe next year.  Katahdin is an Indian word for sleeping giant.

We enjoyed a little picnic before we left and those peaches were delicious.  It was a delightful journey with plans to return.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Day to Remember

September 11...our thoughts and prayers go out to all.  We are proudly displaying our flag today in remembrance.  And now the fires that have destroyed so many homes around the Bastrop area...we feel your loss.  Just talked with friends at Wichita NWR about the fires they have had on that refuge with so many acres burned, and the loss of our volunteer neighbor at Santa Ana NWR, Marianne Skorcz, who passed away yesterday.  It's a SAD day in so many ways.