Thursday, June 20, 2013

A quick step out: Small's Falls

One of our favorite waterfalls in Maine is just down the road in Township E. The plain sign along the road doesn't hold any clues to the majesty that is Smalls Falls. The Sandy River drops from pool to pool as it cuts through the granite for about a tenth of a mile.

We were lucky enough to visit on a perfect afternoon. Since it was a weekday there weren't many people about. The place was nearly all ours. We parked, got Eli geared up and Wu leashed and headed towards the falls.

Our favorite thing about Smalls Falls is that there is another waterfall that people often overlook. It's easy to become sidetracked at the first waterfall but if you are vigilant and willing to hike a bit then there is more to see.

Well worn, unmarked paths lead into the woods and will eventually lead to the second channel of the Sandy River. The paths lead directly to the water and flat rocks to relax on undisturbed.

We hiked around this area for awhile taking pictures and letting Wu take a swim before heading back towards the top of the first waterfall. Then we hiked around there for a bit, taking in each drop and pool of the waterfall. 

Smalls Falls turned out to be a great afternoon escape. It was nice to be out as a family with our feet on the trail and Maine air in our lungs. We think we were smiling the whole time. It won't be long before we are visiting again. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Swiftwater Rescue on the Piscataquis River

Since we've moved back it's been go, go, GO! Months ago I thought it would be a good idea to schedule a Swiftwater Rescue course during our first week of being in Maine. I will say it may not have been my best idea ever.

The course is set up to run through scenarios that happen in whitewater. Sometimes people get tossed out of a boat, sometimes a kayak gets pinned against a boulder, and sometimes a person gets foot entrapped. Any of these things could really ruin a day.

A Swiftwater Rescue course teaches techniques for each of those situations. It's a course for people who want to work in water. I was looking more for the course to give me more confidence on the river.

Barrows Falls. 6.13
Now, I'm not a strong swimmer. Not. At. All. In fact, I'm terrible. When we rolled up to Barrow Falls on the Piscataquis River I was overwhelmed. Immediately thoughts were running through my mind that I was in over my head. Or I would be. I almost had myself convinced that I wouldn't actually need to get into the water for the class. Oh, I was so wrong.

The two days that followed were some of the most intense days of my life. I think it was a combination of exhaustion from moving over 2100 miles, maybe that I hadn't slept on a real bed in a week or that I was pushing myself to my emotional and physical limit, that somehow pushed me through the course. Early on there were moments when I hit panic mode but towards the end I realized that I just didn't have the energy to care. I just had to do it. It was kind of an awesome feeling.

By the end of the course I had not only gained my certification in Swiftwater Rescue but I'd also grown as an individual. I had physically and mentally challenged myself and I came out on top. Though I did have some bruising and a blister or two.

For more photographs or to learn more about Swiftwater Rescue please check out Northeast Guide Service.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pack. Drive. Fly. Organize. Breathe.

If it were only that simple.

At the end of May, we packed up our house and prepared to move 2100 miles to Maine. With so many miles to cover we decided to take two routes. Josh drove. Eli and I flew. We all ended up having an adventure.

We are finally settled into our new home in the Rangeley Lakes Region. It's just about heaven. The trees are thick and the birds sing all day long. We couldn't ask for a more peaceful place to live. 

Our goal now is to start exploring Maine and the Northeast. We hope to rediscover Maine and find the hidden wonders that this region has to offer families and others seeking solitude in nature. Then we'll come back here and tell you all about it!