Tout le Monde

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Category: Journal (page 1 of 3)

Day 6

A later start following the lengthy Tuesday we all had, a short and easy hike started our day. We explored the site and ruins of the old Dorr estate, one of the prominent locals who helped create Acadia and Bar Harbor.

An easy hike to a beautiful secluded cove had us searching for more shells and watching for sea life. We turned inward and wandered around the forested remains of the house. Nothing more than a foundation and granite stairs left from what was once grandiose landscaping remained.

Abby and Rachel were curious in checking out the beehive trail I had done the day before. So we went there next and began our ascent. It was a much busier day, which allowed for frequent stops on the way up. Unfortunately the weather was pretty foggy again which limited the views from these stops.

The fog also obscured the sites once we made it to the top, but we still had a pleasant break. We took a longer way back down to take a peak at one of the rare alpine like lakes that aren’t down close to sea level.

After the three of us headed home to collect Margaux and the kayaks. A short drive had us at Bubble Pond, a smaller body of water next to eagle lake. The winds were even calmer, allowing us to slowly poke around the lake. Being so much smaller than Eagle Lake, we quickly crossed the whole thing before letting the window carry us back to the launch.

As the wind moved us, it slowly picked up and also brought heavy fog up and over the mountains behind us. Propelled only by the wind, we were chased in slow motion back to shore, an eerie but beautiful end to our kayaking.

Our trio dropped off the dog and equipment at home before planning dinner, which was to be fresh cooked seafood. We took a break from orchestrating dual families and went into town for a brief happy hour. We ended up at a great little spot called The Barnacle where we had a very private dining experience on the back porch that only seats 4, so it was just us.

Back home, we enjoyed mussels and delicious home made crab cakes. We reviewed more photos from the day and got excited about whale watching the next day.

Day 8

Time for a change in venues! We left rising sun that morning to head to Many Glacier Lodge for our final two nights in the park. This requires an hour or longer drive out of the park through the east gate and back in on the many glacier specific road.

We stopped on our way back in to hike to akipuni falls. It was a short, but steep hike to a beautiful tall waterfall in a canyon. A wonderful leg stretch on our way to the lodge with a beautiful view back down the valley.

After we made it to the lodge early, so decided to grab lunch and go on a small hike while we waited for our room to be ready. The cafe had more delicious montana beer, and abby was delighted with a wonderful mac n cheese.

Another short hike began at the doorstop of the cafe, heading to swiftcurrent lake, where wild life is supposed to be very abundant. And boy was it!

On our way out, abby very astutely told me to stop. Looking up we were at eye level with (what we learned later) was a grizzly bear teen. We slowly moved out of its path, as it and a baby cub crossed the trail and went up the other side of the small valley we were in. We were too caught up to catch a good photo, but it was an amazing experience.

Arriving at the lake had us in for another treat. A huge moose on the other side of the lake had the attention of a small crowd. We were awe struck as it lumbered along the far shore, paddles draped in greenery from foraging around.

We made the return hike without any major events, and found our room ready at the main lodge. The building was a beautiful, sprawling, century old swiss chalet style piece of eye candy. We lucked out with a top floor room just off of the main 3 story atrium.

After freshening up we headed to dinner in the expansive dining hall. The food was delicious, served by more summer workers from various places near and far. We retired to the grass lawn sandwiched between the front of the lodge and the lake with a bottle of wine, playing rock poker and recounting the crazy day while surrounded by the jagged peaks of the park.

Day 7

After our exhausting hike the previous day, we took things a bit slower on our second (and last) full day at rising sun.

Looking to be another hot day, we planned to visit the three nearby waterfalls on a shorter 6 mile beginning of the trail was a quick drive down the road, and took as along the lake shore for the first mile. After which we turned inland to view both baring falls and sun rift gorge. The latter is s stunningly deep and narrow gorge caused by a rather disproportionately small creek.

Another short hike along the lake brought us to St Mary Falls. A bridge crossed the falls and a couple dozen hikers were all raking breaks, rehydrating or watching a few brave individuals jumping into the very cold water from the steep creek sides.

We turned a bit more inland to reach the final falls, Virginia Falls. A hundred foot high water fall then turns into dozens of smaller cascades before reaching the lake below. We took a brief snack break here before retracing our steps to head back to rising sun.

To keep the day less strenuous, we spent the rest of the hot sunny day lake side. Abby fully embraced the cold water for a swim, I could only bring myself to go waste deep. Some beers and snacks were perfect company to some good books and amazing scenery.

We packed up our items to be ready to hit the road again tomorrow, and had our last meal st the rising sun motor inn.

Day 6

Big hike day!

We got up early to head up to Logan’s pass, the point where going to the sun crosses over the continental divide. Even at 7:30 in the morning parking was a challenge, but fortunately the parking gods smiled upon us at the last minute.

Our goal was the high line trail. Hugging the western face of the garden wall, a series of peaks along the CD, it is supposed to travel through dozens of alpine meadows with amazing views along the way.

After only a couple hundred feet a daunting section carved into the rock face gave the first real taste of hiking in glacier. The ledge was a couple hundred feet above the road we had come in on, and a cable anchored to the rock wall was your only security to not take a shortcut back out.

That brief section over, we entered the first of many meadows sections in full bloom. The diversity of flowers was astounding, nearly everything in peak blossom. We would alternate between meadows, rocky outcroppings, occasional patches of pine trees and some rock fields. Undulating between slopes, the views would alternate directions, framing a new landscape around each corner.

We took a brief detour about 6 miles in to head to an overlook of the Grinnell glacier. This incredibly steep spur trail climbed 800 feet in only 0.8 of a mile. But the view from the saddle at the top was astounding. Perched on the continental divide, we had sweeping views both east and west. The glacial lake below was an incredible blue green that seemed fake. We caught our breath before scrambling back down the steep trail.

After nearly 8 miles we finally reached our lunch spot, the granite park chalet. Built over 100 years ago when the park was first formed, its an aptly named stone building with massive timber ceilings and walls with no power or running water. But still it provides a refuge to those traveling the park just as it had so many decades ago. We ate our lunch and drank more water than we thought we could.

Next was our descent back to the road. By now the sun was high and this was a section that had burned within the last decade, so not a bit of shade to be found. Four miles in the blazing Montana sun, even downhill, ended up being more challenging than the previous 8. We finally cooled off with a stream just before getting to the road. Then a shuttle ride back to our car and a drive had us back in rising sun an hour later. Exhausted and starving, we grabbed food and drinks before pouring ourselves into bed.

Day 5

Our first day in glacier!

We got up early and hit the road. After an hour we entered into the park, the scenery quickly turning dramatic as the great mountains became visible.

A brief stop in Apgar allowed us to get our bearings, grab some essentials (including a bear spray rental!) before heading further into the park. Apgar is a quaint little village of buildings all sporting some heavy 60s stylings from the road trip vacation boom of that era.

Our next stop was lake McDonald lodge. One of the original lodges of the park, it was a lovely building sitting right on the lake. We checked out the surroundings before stretching our legs on our first hike. Fish lake had a strenuous up hill, but was only a few miles long, a perfect way to get warmed up for hikes to come. We also made a brief stop to do a loop through the cedars trail which contained dozens of trees near a thousand years old.

Once back to the car, the journey to rising sun started. This involved driving most of the length of the going-to-the-sun road that goes up and over the continental divide. Crowded with tourists, the road and sights were still breathtaking. Many photos and a descent later, we arrived at rising sun motor inn. Another group of buildings from the great automobile era, we had half of a duplex cabin to ourselves a couple hundred feet from St Mary lake.

We checked out the lake and got a lay of the land for our new home of a few days. Eventually we grabbed a later dinner from the restaurant there and retired for the night.

Day 4

Mostly a travel day, but still fun all the same.

We had one last get together with Kate and Jon st s brunch in their building before hitting the road. It was great to catch up in a more casual setting, and wonderful to see them one last time before moving along our trip.

We shipped our wedding clothes home and caught the link out to the airport. Our flight out gave us a wonderful parting shot of the city, including seeing a blue angels flyover of downtown. On the way out, mount rainier decided to poke its head out as we headed a bit back east.

An hour later we were in Montana. We got our rental car and dropped stuff off at our one night hotel. Then we made a quick jaunt into Kalispell to have dinner before heading to bed. We stopped at a great spot called Hops and had a wonderful meal.

Bed called us early as we knew the next day was going to be a long one as well.

Day Twenty

The final countdown. 

And we both agreed that was no reason to feel rushed. We had a bad habit of wanting to see so much we’d forget lunch, or get super tired walking, or not stop and see a small shop or sight. Not on this last day! 

We had planned on getting to Notre Dame for its opening at 8. We didn’t get out of bed until after 9. Oops. The line was short, and we were inside the massive church shortly after. It was just as impressive inside as it was out, and it was refreshing to have a quiet look at something for a change. 

After we decided to do the tower tour since our museum pass included it. The line moves incredibly slowly, but an hour and a half later we finally started out ascent. 320 stairs to the top, with some stops along the way for things like seeing a 13 ton bell. The view from the top was tremendous, affording unobstructed vistas from the center of the old city. 

A brief visit to the crypt beneath the square in front of Notre Dame showed off remains from the Roman era settlement predating Paris. We then swung by a few shops, bought some more wine, grabbed lunch, and headed to Berthillion to have some incredible ice cream. More walking and shopping brought us back to the hotel, now a few pieces of cheese heavier. 

The sad task of packing took place to free up our evening for dinner without stressing over such an annoying task. Two bags to be checked full of French wine, beer, cheese, macarons and so many souvenirs, all of which we hoped would be under the weight limit and make it back home safely. 

For our last night in Paris we opted for…Vietnamese. The historical connection between these two countries can create some excellent culinary collaboration, and this meal was exactly that. Delicious spring rolls, noodles and Pho, with copious wine as usual. We reflected on the evening, the day, the weeks, the whole trip. 

It had been great. 

Day Nineteen

The louvre. 

It was so daunting, we may have been putting it off subconsciously. We had also hoped that by going on a weekday, and during rainier weather, we might avoid some crowds. We were partially right. 

We arrived right around opening time and still had to face a line. The knowledge of the entrance from the carrousel underground was handy, saving us from the rain, unlike the winding line that was out in the elements, three times as long as ours. Pays to research! 

Once past security, entering the museum was easy with our passes. We headed straight to the Mona Lisa on some advice to beat the crowd. While busy, it only took a few moments to reach the front of the crowd clamoring for a glimpse. Impressive, but we still only lingered for a bit. 

We spend the morning and part of the afternoon wandering through gallery after gallery. We loosely focused on areas of interest, but still barely scratched the surface. Our tour guide on the bike tour told us if you spent 30 seconds in front of each painting, you would still need nearly two weeks of back to back days to see every piece. We didn’t doubt him. 

A short break for some snacks and coffee refueled us for our final push through the Islamic arts section before leaving. It was interesting seeing work here from where we had started our trip, great bookends of historical significance on our whirlwind tour. 

After hours of wandering through such impressive works, we had to give our eyes and brains a rest. We headed out with an aim for one of our last conquests: wine luggage. We had struck out a few times with places that were supposed to carry the type we were looking for, and unfortunately our search on this day went just as poorly. So we gave up and decided to just buy some cheapo hardshell luggage from a street vendor. It would work. 

We did our typical evening refresh at the hotel and headed back out for dinner with new guests: my parents and brother. They had also decided to go to Paris, and it happened that our dates slightly overlapped. So we headed to a local restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host called au Phil du vin. As with all meals, it was quite delicious. As were the copious types of wines. It was great to catch up and swap stories, and we left quite content. 

Heading to the hotel and then to bed slowly felt bittersweet. Tomorrow would be our last day in Paris, our last day on the trip. The only destination next in our whirlwind tour was home. 

Day Eighteen 

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! 

Something about Sunday makes it easier to sleep in. I can’t put my finger on it specifically, but there is probably some scientific reason. Needless to say, we got a late start. 

Eventually we headed back over to Montmarte. Our waiter at Oggi had told us about a car show there that morning that would have some quite old European models, so we decided to head back. 

Fortunately this also have us a great excuse to try out another recommended brunch spot, la bascule. And a solid recommendation it was. Poached eggs with salmon gravlox were incredibly delicious, along with yet more wonderful coffee and baguette. 

Finishing brunch, we walked around our old stomping grounds and started to panic. We couldn’t find the cars! After 20 minutes of wandering we decided to go say hi to our favorite waiter and get more coffee, and perhaps glean the location of said cars. The coffee was a success, but our fears were confirmed that the car show was an earlier morning event, supposedly ending right around the time we were having our coffee. 

Slightly bummed to have missed the one reason we came back to this side of town, we headed for the Seine, figuring we could at least make a long walk out of getting back. And surprise! Cars! We had misunderstood the location on the street, and were greeted by over a dozen old renaults, peugeouts and everything in between. They were gorgeous, and we were allowed to get right up to them. It was great seeing some different car history than what we would get at home. 

Our walk to the Seine took is down rue de martyrs, which was quite scenic. We also made it past the opera house, and of course I had to spend five minutes in the great Apple Store there. We continued down to the Tuileries and decided we had enough time to visit the decorative arts museum. 

And what a fun museum it was! We had seen so much painting and sculpture by this point, it was refreshing to see all the other objects that filled in the daily lives of the last 200 years. While confusing at first, the museum does a great job walking you through the developments and changes chronologically, ending in rooms of 50s and 60s furniture that I could barely stop drooling over. 

A quick walk brought us back to the hotel where we changed and got ready for our bike tour. A gift from friends at home, we booked the Sunday evening tour that included a boat cruise. 

Despite looking daunting, the streets were easy to ride around, and our guide took a very leisurely pace, stopping to give some very interesting history and trivia along the way. Eventually it started pouring, so we took cover and ate ice cream, fearing the rest of the ride would be miserable. Fortunately the rain cut back and we made it to the boat. Our guide had brought wine, so we used that to warm up while taking in the city of lights at night from our river vantage point. 

The whole experience had taken four hours, putting us back at the hotel very late, soaked and exhausted and cold. We begged a waiter at a place down the street known for pizza (and still being open at 11 on a Sunday night) to give us food. He obliged, we demolished, and then promptly wandered home to pass out. 

Day Seventeen

Hello Saint Germain! 

We spent the morning getting our luggage packed back up and cleaning our home away from home. Eventually we lugged ourselves and heavy bag to the metro, descending the 92 steps we knew so well to the platform. 

Once again we left bags at the front desk while waiting for our room, and set off to figure out our new neighborhood. We grabbed some quick sandwiches from the Boulanger across the street, and walked down to Luxembourg gardens. Did I mention it was grey and rainy? 

The gardens were still impressive, but we didn’t linger as long as we could have. An interesting exhibit was open due to the weekend, so we had the opportunity to see the greenhouses that keep the whole place running, and old varieties of orchids and fruits dating to the gardens creation over two hundred years ago. 

We wanted to do the catacombs tour next, but our arrival showed us how popular that was on a cold rainy Saturday, with a line wrapping around the block. Fortunately our walk there was nice, and we got to see the Paris observatory along the way. So rather than spend our time in Paris waiting in line, we headed to the Rodin. 

The museum was quite impressive, highlighting his ability to create similar works over and over to seek perfection, numerous models and studies accompanying his final pieces throughout. Seeing all of these along with well curated paintings to support the theme of each room was great, as was the sculpture garden outside. 

We went back to the hotel to check in and unpack so we could freshen up a bit. With that accomplished, we set back out for food, starving. Yet again we had skipped lunch in an effort to see more, a reoccurring, often subconsciously, theme of our Paris portion of the trip. 

The restaurant we had in mind wasn’t open yet, so we grabbed a small entree and two glasses of wine at a cafe around the corner. We slipped back to la reserve de Quasimodo, supposedly the site of the oldest wine cellar in Paris, and enjoyed a dinner in the enclosed terrace. Delicious smoked meats, and a huge bowl of French onion soup to warm up on a grey day. Oh and a great wine selection. 

Having bought several bottles post dinner, we headed home for some rest before another day of adventure.

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