Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Center Hill Trail at Mt. Blue State Park

The Center Hill Trail at Mt. Blue State Park is a great place to escape to if you have a few hours or an afternoon. It is located in Weld, a few miles from the town center on Center Hill Road. The parking area is up a short tarred road that is marked with the classic brown and white signs.
7.30 Center Hill
We parked and were immediately struck by the view. The nature trail is about 0.5 mile long and is easy hiking. At the trailhead were self-guided tour guides that gave details about different locations on the trail. The entries were brief, interesting, and added an unexpected aspect to our adventure. 

7.30 Center Hill
One of the stops was atop a granite boulder that overlooked Webb Lake. Then the trail brought along side a bog. It seemed unusual to see a bog on top of a mountain. We walked through a mature spruce forest, learned about lichen, and how to identify a red oak.

It was a simple, relaxing walk. It took us about 45 minutes to complete the loop. It had been the perfect way to spend an afternoon. We'll be back- maybe with a pair of snowshoes!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Sandy River & Rangeley Lake Railroad

On one of our recent explorations we came across the Rangeley Lakes Railroad. We were short on time so it was added to our "To Explore" list and hoped to visit soon.

7.13 RL & SR Railroad
We made it back on the 20th, arriving a few minutes before the train was scheduled to leave. Josh bought us tickets while Eli and I checked out the platform. The tickets ($6 per adult) were punched as we boarded.

It was easy to find the seats we wanted since we were the only people there. We opted for the caboose for the first length of our journey. It was a perfect ride. One of the volunteers shared details of the original rail line.

7.13 Enjoying the scenary
The tour brings visitors down the track to the original roundhouse, then stops and allows for some exploration. The original engine turnabout still works and there are engines and cars to see. We were able to go throughout the roundhouse and inside a couple cars that are being renovated. 

7.13 Restored Cars
Soon we were heading back down the tracks to the station. We opted for an open air car for the scenery. The whistle blew and the train hummed its way back.

Even though it was a quick escape, we all enjoyed riding the train. We are hoping to visit again in the fall as the leaves are changing and enjoy it in the crisp mountain air of Maine! If you would like to visit, please check out the Operating Schedule

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tis the Season: How to Remove a Tick Safely

Living and playing in the Northeast one needs to be particularly aware of how to avoid ticks and also how to safely remove them.

I cannot possibly count the number of ticks I've removed over the years. The thought makes me cringe. The first few I ripped off in a moment of panic. Then as awareness on Lyme Disease and other tick borne diseases spread I learned how to do it right.

Anytime you, your children, or pets have been outside it's important to check for ticks. Even if you were only in the yard. Ticks often lay in wait on the tips of leaves or blades of grass and can be picked up by simply brushing against the plants.

You'll want to check along hairlines, behind ears, armpits, behind knees, waist lines and between legs. Ticks will take advantage of the harder to reach areas and are often difficult to see.
Taken from the CDC.gov Tick Removal Page

If you need to remove a tick:
  • Grab a pair of tweezers. The finer the point the better.
  • Tweeze the tick as close to the skin as possible. Try to keep the tweezers parallel to the skin.
  • Pull upward, away from the skin, with even pressure.
  • Go slow. You are trying to remove it as one piece.
  • If the tick breaks apart, use the tweezers to remove the head and mouth parts.
  • Afterward clean area with alcohol or soap and water.

Keep an eye on it for awhile. If anything unusual occurs talk to a doctor! You know your body better than anyone! If you would like to read more I recommend the exploring the CDC.gov tick information page.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 4th Weekend Cascade Gorge Hike.

This weekend we celebrated the 4th of July by checking out a hiking trail we've been hearing about. The Cascade Stream Gorge Trail is located just south of Rangeley off of Rt. 4 off a side street that's just across from South Shore Drive. Since we had to be in Rangeley that morning we figured it'd be a good time to do it.

We loaded up the car with Eli's mountain of gear, our gear, and Wu's gear. About mid-morning we hopped in and took off. I drove while Amanda navigated and told me about the area. Eli played most of the time with his teddy bear and Wu sat in the back, the crazy waiting to be unleashed.

When we arrived it took us a bit to figure out how to park. I guess everyone else had the same thought as us. We unloaded and chatted with some folks who were heading back to their cars. They were nice people and were impressed with how Amanda was going to hike up the hill with Eli on her back. I have the best family.

The falls are located all along the trail. It's name is dead on. It is a cascade. We followed a beautiful trail along the water going uphill the whole way. The vegetation is a lot different than what I'm used to. Back in the Black Hills the hills are covered in pines and aspen with little undergrowth. Out here, the trail was covered in mossy rocks and heavy undergrowth with woven root systems protruding out of the ground as we walked up.

There were mats of moss that felt like it was going to let your foot sink down into a wet muddy trap, but the moss always held. So much so, that we stopped on our way down and had a break and let Eli get out of his pack and feel the ground. He loved it.

There were so many amazing views and we even saw a fly fisherman on the water. Wu did a great job after he calmed down. He's still not quite accustomed to a leash. He barely pulled and listened very well. He did so well that we let him go swim... kind of. The only place we felt comfortable letting him get in was a small pool behind a boulder. It only went up to his chest but he seemed to enjoy it.

Once again, Team Davis has succeeded. We had a blast and watching my son grow up outdoors is one of the best parts of being a dad. He is always happy and can't wait to get outside again. That's our boy. I am lucky to have such a great family and I'm glad we live our lives the way we do- outdoors and loving it!