“Summertime and the livin’ is easy.”
I can’t decide which version of “Summertime” I like more: Ella Fitzgerald’s or Doc Watson’s. Perhaps at the end of this blog post you can decide for me?
Man, it’s been hot during this summertime of 2018! Donald Trump doesn’t think it’s unusual. “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” he tweets. Well, during this summer of 2018 I believe the U.S. competes well, yet heat waves are setting records across the globe once more.
It’s been 100 days since Michele and I headed north from Florida in her Ford Escape, camping and visiting friends and family in the midwest through Canada and the northeast along the way. We refer to our tent as the “tree house.” When we discover a cool place to visit in a forest usually aside a refreshing river or body of water the rooftop tent opens and doubles in size, shooting up into the clean sky.
These past three-plus months we’ve found so many beautiful places in nature. I hope we keep them pure and free from new pollution, though I hear many politicians in Washington, D.C. now want to ease clean air and other environmental protection regulations. Crazy. I spent the first two months of 2018 in India, an amazing country where, unfortunately, waste management and other pollution standards need to be addressed. The air in some cities was dangerous to breathe. We can’t let that happen here again.
I’m reading a book about “Forest Bathing” by M. Amos Clifford. He writes about the healing power of nature, that getting in the woods provides so many physical and psychological benefits.
“Forest bathing” comes from the therapeutic Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku. In Japan a doctor’s prescription might be for the patient to take a relaxing hike among thick, healthy trees or along a pristine shoreline. Imagine that. We have these places now, but when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Acadia National Park in Maine offers amazing space to be in nature, to practice shinrin-yoku. 47,000 acres to be exact. That’s a lot of “forest bathing” opportunities!
I heard Acadia National Park could be crowded. We camped and hiked along its less busy Schoodic Peninsula (above). On a nice rolling climb and stroll through forests and highbush blueberries to summit Buck Cove Mountain and Schoodic Head we saw less than ten people all day on the trail.
However, if you really want to get away and be alone in nature may I recommend Lake Francis up near the Canadian border in New Hampshire near the town of Pittsburg. We canoed and parked in a pristine cove where more loons than boats went by.
And then there’s Canada’s Bay of Fundy where at high tide the ocean floor disappears under 50 feet of water. We camped near and then in Fundy National Park by the town of Alma, New Brunswick. I have to tell you, I love Canadians. Everywhere we’ve been our rooftop tent attracts people, and up here it did as well prompting many fun comments plus a willingness to stay and chat for a while.
One evening we camped near Hopewell Rocks at the Bay of Fundy. Even though the campground was full we scored a site to park and pop up the rooftop tent near the shoreline (above).
Through the night at this busy Bay of Fundy campsite all the polite Canadians remained especially quiet so not to disturb their neighbors among nature’s soothing sounds. The moon rose above the bay and Nova Scotia in the distance (above). Just looking at the photo I can smell the fresh salt air.
When the Bay of Fundy tides rolls out the boats rest and wait for its return. That’s how it is now, and how it has always been.
In Fundy National Park we found an array of scenic views (above) as we hiked the many trails and even along one of its roads during a rainy afternoon. A local man driving by saw us looking rather soggy as we marched in the drizzle and fog up a hill. He stopped to ask if we were lost. “An honest question for us on most days, but not this time,” I told him. He laughed and we shared stories and jokes about where we live, have traveled and other fun subjects before he wished us well and drove off. Those Canadians. Not even a rainy day can reduce their friendliness. 🙂
And then there’s the food! Prior to heading out on this year long trek around North America Michele and I enjoyed watching “travel/food shows” such as those featuring Anthony Bourdain (incredibly sad, RIP), Guy Fieri, and Chuck and Danny on Canada’s Food Network. These gentlemen inspired us and provided ideas for our 12 months of Yoga World travel. For example, we were really interested in seeing more of New Brunswick and enjoying the regional cuisine thanks to Chuck and Danny. Seafood is abundant (above two photos, scallops and haddock, respectively), and I wanted to not only taste but learn how to make ployes (below).
Ployes are sort of an Acadian pancake/crumpet mix of buckwheat flour, white flour, salt, baking powder or baking soda and water. They are extremely popular in the Madawaska region of northern Maine and nearby across the border into New Brunswick. Michele’s mother Yvette lives right there in Edmundston, Canada. She graciously coached me on how to make ployes right in her kitchen (below).
I would be remiss of course not to mention the lobster we enjoyed traveling up and down Maine’s remarkable coast. Gracious friends Mike and Margie in Vassalboro astonished us with bowls of ready to dip in butter lobster chunks (below).
Mike is an outstanding cook. He provided us with so much tremendous lobster we had leftovers on rolls the next day (please see below)! Must be what Heaven is like.
Maine oysters are also incredible. We loved them in Damariscotta where arguably the best come from, and in Belfast (below). In the middle of the oyster plate are pickled fiddleheads, which are curled, edible shoots of the ostrich fern. They are considered a seasonal delicacy in this part of the Northeast and Canada.
How about the clams at Ken’s in Scarborough, Maine (below)? 🙂
The Northeast isn’t all just seafood. In Rangeley, Maine they like BBQ, too (below).
With all these great food discoveries we needed to find a balance with exercise! It was tremendous to hike up a few more trails on our travels, such as Indian Head and Mount Mooselauke and others in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It was always sunny and warm when we started, yet cool and breezy at top. Midweek we saw just a handful of people on these popular treks. Remarkable views, too (below)!
How are you staying cool during the Summer of 2018? Let us know where we can join you on our travels. In the past 100 days we’ve learned there are so many awesome places out there. Three times since commencing on this odyssey from Florida we have crossed the “Halfway North” marker (below). Each time we were in a different state.
Which way should we go next (below)?
Until we decide, I hope your summer remains refreshing..and that the living is easy.
Let me know which of these two versions of “Summertime” resonate with you best. Here you go…enjoy!
Or love them both! 🙂
Love and Peace,