1 To celebrate my birthday, I did two important and difficult hikes. One was Beehive, a rather vertical hike/climb on a beehive shaped mountain overlooking Sand Beach in Acadia. That one is easy compared to Precipice, which is almost vertical with many, many rungs, ladders, and ledges to negotiate. These are some rungs about half way up Precipice.
2 A beautiful vista right out to sea
3 This is a rather bad example of the granite rockery one negotiates on Precipice. This challenging hiking trail is an almost vertical 1,000 foot climb.
4 There are two caves, very steep ascents, and narrow paths where one has to cling to the rock face or fall over. The trail is designated as “strenuous” and is only recommended for physically fit and experienced hikers who have no fear of heights.
5 I was very happy to make it to the top! It was a hot and very sunny day, but because I don't like much sun, I wore a long sleeved shirt and a hood to cover my hair.
6 My friend and neighbor, Ed Lipkin accompanied me on the hike. He was thrilled that he only had to give me a push once!
7 The granite of the mountains is a pinkish gray and in many places shows the lines of the ice glaciers. The Precipice is home to many endangered peregrine falcons.
8 The Precipice is part of the east face of Champlain Mountain, one of the five highest mountains on the islands.
9 From the top of Champlain, one can descend the way one came, which is not advisable, or down Bear Brook Trail, which is the way we chose. The trail is clearly marked with stone cairns built by park rangers and by blue painted markers.
10 From the top of the Precipice Trail one can look down on the Jackson Lab, a medical research and manufacturing facility on the island.
11 At the bottom, we were happy to pose for a photograph - 2-1/2 hours bottom to top, top to bottom - a great way to start the day! Did I mention that Ed picked me up at seven AM? And we were home before ten!
12 This is what the cliffs look like from the park trail.
13 You say it doesn't look so steep? It's an illusion!
14 After the hike, I rushed home, changed, and zipped over to David Rockefeller's stable for a carriage ride!
15 Mr. Rockefeller, son of John D. Rockefeller, is 98 years old and an accomplished carriage driver. His matched pair of Morgan horses, is well-trained and elegant.
16 Mr. Rockefeller took five of us on a delightful drive through his favorite portion of the park, around Day Mountain and over the grassy carriage roads built by his father, and faithfully maintained over the years.
17 The views from the carriage roads are spectacular - great vistas overlooking coastal islands and forest.
18 The day was so clear and the views were long and uninterrupted by mist or fog.
19 Patrick is one of Mr. Rockefeller's coachmen. He held the horses at the top of Day Mountain so they could cool off for a few minutes after a strenuous pull up.
20 There was a good view of Sutton's Island and the Cranberries beyond.
21 Bicycles are now allowed on the carriage roads and the juxtaposition of the old and the new is quite evident. The rocks lining the sides of the roads are called Rockefeller teeth or bear teeth.
22 A deer darted across the trail. The roads are wonderfully designed to be challenging to horse and man, but not too dangerous or too steep.
23 This impressive stonework is the curved ceiling of a vaulted arch, of one of the carriage road 's 17 bridges.
24 The horses, one 21, the other 25, never showed any sign of fatigue or laziness. They are wonderful.
25 the roads are built according to a specific formula, and are crowned to shed water and not wear away.
26 This is the Stanley Brook Bridge, a triple arch bridge with peaked walls.
27 Mr. Rockefeller's mother created several miles of grass roads by putting a covering of top soil and grass seed on the gravel roads. It is wonderful to drive on the grass surfaces.
28 At the end of the two hour drive, Mr. Rockefeller conferred with his long time groom and horseman, Sem.
29 A cleverly designed ramp makes getting on and off the carriage simple and easy. The carriage is a new Dutch-built one, which handles very well and is especially safe.
30 After the ride, I went to see how the cleaning of my church was going. The church, built by Mr. Edsel Ford, who built my house, Skylands, was named Holy Family Church.
31 Pink granite steps lead into the foyer of the wood and stucco building.
32 The church inside is rustic wood with beautiful pews seating 200 parishioners.
33 Carlos helped me vacuum the aisles and wash the windows. I loan the church, which is de-sanctified, to anyone who wants to use it for a marriage, or for lectures.
34 There is one stained glass window over where the alter was. It is a copy of Raphael's famous Madonna and Child.
35 I love the way the church looks inside - so fitting for Maine.
36 The rafters are cabled for extra strength.
37 This is the original cabinet for the vestments.
38 The collection basket was still in the closet.
39 The attic is spotless.
40 The old light fixtures all intact.
41 This is an alcove where I imagine stood a statue of Jesus.
42 The dogs waited patiently outdoors until the chores were completed.
43 Finally, at home, I rested on my terrace and was visited by several very friendly hummingbirds, who have taken a liking to the lilies blooming in the terrace gardens.
44 Some of the lilies have reached a height of ten feet!
45 The lilies are so fragrant and colorful. No wonder they are so well-liked by the hummingbirds!
46 The old leaded windows reflect the view, so no matter where one sits or reclines, the views are wonderful.