Sunday, August 30, 2009

Acadia National Park

I had a lovely visit to Acadia National Park and spent the time photographing, sightseeing, kayaking, biking, and hiking.

Tuesday August 25
The first day I drove the Park Loop Road stopping often for photographs. Park Loop Road offers the most beautiful views of the park, and this is the side of Acadia most often seen by visitors. The views of cliffs dropping to an azure blue ocean are spectacular, but Acadia is so much more than that.

View from the summit of Cadillac Mountain

Cliffs dropping to the ocean

These are the views Acadia is famous for.

Waves lapping against the cliffs

View from the tree line

The ocean was rough that day.

Acadia is, of course, an artist's paradise. Renee Lammers painting plein air.

Wild roses and rose hips near Thunder Hole

Otter Cliffs

Ocean view

Waves pounding shore

Wildflowers on the cliffs

Sunset from Cadillac Mountain

Wednesday August 26
Today I kayaked in Frenchman Bay. We had beautiful views of Porcupine Islands, home to much of Acadia's wild life. We saw a bald eagle flying overhead.

Our guide pointing out an interesting sight...

Thursday August 27
Today I biked the carriage roads. The carriage roads are 57 miles of beautiful paths twisting through Acadia which were built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. They are ideal for bicycling, running, walking, and horseback riding.

I started out biking around Eagle Lake.

I made a loop by Aunt Betty's Pond for views of lily pads and tranquil water. I saw a turtle splashing in the shallows.

View of Jordan Pond from the bike trail

View of North Bubble and South Bubble from Jordan Pond

I biked past serene Bubble Pond in the afternoon.

Back to Eagle Lake to complete the ride

Friday August 28
Today I hiked several of the beautiful trails on Mount Desert Island.

Beaver Dam Pond

On the summit of Champlain Mountain

Beautiful views of the Porcupine Islands in Frenchman Bay

More views from the summit

The vistas are stunning.

I hiked up to the Bowl, a glacial tarn, which is a circular lake formed by alpine glacier melts.

I hiked the Gorham Mountain Trail, with spectacular vistas.

View of Sand Beach from Gorham Mountain.

View of Champlain Mountain from Gorham Mountain

I spent most evenings in Bar Harbor for dinner and souvenir shopping. Here is a beautiful sunset on the harbor.

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Green Acre Bahá'í School, Eliot, Maine, August 21 to 23

I had a refreshing visit to Green Acre Bahá'í School in Eliot, Maine.

The program I attended was Alternative Energy - Material and Spiritual, led by Larry Staudt, director of the Center for Renewable Energy at Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland.
I am very interested in the connection between environmental protection and faith because I think the change in behavior required to protect our environment is motivated by a fundamental change in values: religious, spiritual, and secular. I am encouraged by the number of faith communities working for environmental sustainability.

Larry drew many parallels between the spiritual and material worlds as levels of one creation. Baha'is view their collective purpose as carrying forward an ever advancing civilization, and in order to do that, of course, we must sustain and protect our environment for future generations and all of the world's cultures. We also talked about the independent investigation of truth and the importance of scientific investigation and study.

In addition to spending time discussing the spiritual realm, we also talked about sustainable energy technology. Larry was instrumental in installing the world's first large commercial wind turbine located on a college campus at Dundalk Institute of Technology, which provides half the electricity for the campus. We also talked about the particulars of a passive solar home, using Larry and Dawn's home as an example.

I met many new friends at Green Acre, we formed instant connections because of our common values and our interest in protecting the environment. We shared a lot of discussion and a lot of laughter. I had a wonderful time learning, discussing, meditating, and absorbing the spiritual energies of Green Acre.

The Sarah Farmer Inn where I stayed. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited Green Acre in 1912. Bahá'ís pray and meditate in the room where he stayed and are inspired by the spiritual energy of his presence.

Interestingly, Swami Vivekananda, credited with bringing Hinduism and Yoga to America, visited Green Acre in 1894. The Boston Vedanta Society, followers of Vivekananda, also had a retreat at Green Acre this weekend. We had several wonderful discussions over meals.

Porch overlooking the Piscataqua River. Sarah Farmer's vision for Green Acre was to focus on "world peace, the equality of women and men, racial unity, and spiritual transformation" (see History of Green Acre). One can only imagine all the discussions held here.

A place to relax

Beautiful flowers

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Saturday, August 08, 2009

Zip Lining Canopy Tour

Today was a beautiful day for zipping through the woods and facing a challenging rope course. Some of us braved a fear of heights, some of us joked around, and all of us had a good time.

Before picture

Our lives are in the hands of our guides. They did a great job, knew when to challenge us, when to be supportive, and when to joke around.

All geared up and already clowning around

Ready to zip? Zip away!!!

Ehhh.... it'll be fine! What's the worst that can possibly happen? Woops!

In addition to seven zip lines, we had five challenges. We crossed rope bridges and climbed rope ladders.

Another wobbly bridge to cross

How many more of these are there?

There's gotta be another way to do this. How about upside down?

Later we stopped at the Tiki Bar for dinner and grilled our own food. Here I am grilling up some veggies.

Sarah checks to see if the alligator is done.

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