The Precipice Trail-Acadia National Park


We had a great long weekend in Acadia National Park. One of the highlights was The Precipice Trail to the top of Champlain Mountain. The Precipice is an iron rung and ladder route up the steep cliffs along the east face.


Last year, we were not able to hike the Precipice  because the parking lot was packed. We did the Beehive instead. The Precipice is twice as long as the Beehive and harder. This year we took the park shuttle from Blackwoods Campground where we were staying with friends. It worked out great.


There is an 850 foot elevation gain up the trail and it takes about 1 and 1/2 hours if you go at a safe pace. Wear good hiking shoes and bring water. This hike/climb would be hard to do if you are afraid of heights! There are several exposed areas and narrow ledges. Sometimes you will have to wait on a ledge for others to climb. 

There are a few different trails you can take back down the other sides of Champlain Mountain.

I thought the Precipice Trail was amazing and challenging. I am glad we hiked when it was a cool 70 degree day out. It was definitely more like climbing than hiking. Have fun and be safe if you do The Precipice. Remember the trail is usually closed from March-August for Peregrine Falcon nesting.

Two New Books

I am reading two new books that I thought you all might enjoy. Here is the description for The Hour of Land:

“America’s national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the environmental classic Refuge and the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, an exploration of what they mean to us and what we mean to them.

From the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas and more, Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and a manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America.”

Under the Stars is both funny and interesting so far. It is a history of camping. Here is the book description:

“The definitive book on camping in America. . . . A passionate, witty, and deeply engaging examination of why humans venture into the wild.”―Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

From the Sierras to the Adirondacks and the Everglades, Dan White travels the nation to experience firsthand―and sometimes face first―how the American wilderness transformed from the devil’s playground into a source of adventure, relaxation, and renewal.

Whether he’s camping nude in cougar country, being attacked by wildlife while “glamping,” or crashing a girls-only adventure for urban teens, Dan White seeks to animate the evolution of outdoor recreation. In the process, he demonstrates how the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, Roosevelt, and Muir―along with visionaries such as Adirondack Murray, Horace Kephart, and Juliette Gordon Low―helped blaze a trail from Transcendentalism to Leave No Trace.

Wide-ranging in research, enthusiasm, and geography, Under the Stars reveals a vast population of nature seekers, a country still in love with its wild places.”

Check them out of the library like I did or look for them at the book store or on Amazon!

Full Time RV Route Planning

RVMapRoute2017/2018

After we decided on a date of 2018 for full time RVing, I have been planning a route. I think I have a good plan for our first year! I have been using Road Trippers again since it is pretty easy to map out a route online. Then the info shows up in the app on my phone. It is a rough draft right now since campsites are still too far out to book in a lot of the areas. I have to fill in stops in between major stops as well. I would like to keep our driving time to 3-4 hours or less on travel days. We also have to firm up where we would like to work. Interviews for the summer season (April-October) in the National Parks usually happen in November and December of the previous year. We hope to work in Yellowstone or Grand Teton for our first summer season since they have a lot of options for Workampers.

Our plan is to head down to Florida in the fall of 2017. Hopefully the beginning of October. We will just have the truck at that point. We want to stop at Shenandoah, The Blue Ridge Parkway, The Smoky Mountains and Congaree National Parks on the way down. We would also like to see Charleston and Savannah since we have never been. Our cats Lotus and Bamboo have been on a road trip before from Florida to Massachusetts, and luckily several of the hotels are pet friendly.

We will stay the winter in Central Florida. My parents are there and Craig and I lived there for nearly six years. We hope to do some seasonal work at the parks and shop for an RV. 5-6 months should be plenty of time to find one we like (fingers crossed.) Towards the end of March/beginning of April we will head to Wyoming by way of Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. We hope to see several of the National  Parks in those areas on the way. I would like to get to Wyoming towards the end of April, so we will tell them that in our interviews or add that info to our resumes. 

After working the summer in Yellowstone or Grand Teton (hopefully), we would like to head down to Utah or Arizona again.  Zion and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are open year round. If we can, we would like to work a few months at one of these parks. Then we could head to San Diego for a month and up the coast to Yosemite! I am hoping we can work the summer season of 2019 (April-September) in Yosemite National Park. If they would let us leave mid September after Labor Day, we could see Lake Tahoe, Lassen, Redwoods and Crater Lake.  After that we will have to decide! 

Again, we are pretty flexible since we will have to see what job offers we get and what is posted next year. Craig and I have both worked in retail, merchandising, front desk and concierge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, waited on tables, bartended, etc. in the past. We have worked in travel, banking, library/archiving, IT, web design, marketing, PR and owned several companies. Both of us are good with computers. We used to own a pet sitting company so we can help out on farms. In the next year and 1/2 we plan on taking several AMC classes on trail work and building, wilderness first aid and  map and compass info. We already volunteer for several local outdoor organizations helping with walks, trails, hiking, etc. I think we have well rounded backgrounds for Workamping!

Wheelingits blog posts on Planning RV Travels are a big help. I have bookmarked and Pinned so much info it will take me a year to get through it all! A trip to AAA is in order so we can pick up some paper maps. I will also buy Benchmark Maps so we have paper maps on hand. 

Stay tuned for more planning!

   

List of RV Resources

 

Since Craig and I have been talking about full time RVing, I have been researching a lot online. There are some great resources out there that will help us along the way. I thought I would make a list of what we have found useful in case anyone else was thinking about RVing full time or even part time. 

My Home on Wheels Pinterest Board

RV Shopping:

RV Trader

RV Registry

Pop RV’s

Trailers.com

Search Tempest (search all of Craig’s List)

Vintage Campers/Trailers

Airstream Classifieds

Working From the Road and Workamping:

Workamper News

Workamping Jobs

Camp Host Jobs

Workers on Wheels

Cool Works

Working Couples

Help Wanted for RV Parks and Campgrounds

Escapees/Xcapers

USA Jobs/National Parks

National Park Volunteers

Western National Parks Association

Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Delaware North

Aramark

Setting up a Domicile State:

Picking a Domicile State: Getting Mail and Voting as a Nomad

Big RV Questions: Residency, Mail and Health Insurance

Setting up Domicile in Florida as a Full Timer

How to Move to Florida in 1 Hour

Saint Brendan’s Isle

Mail Service and Domicile

My RV Mail

RVer Insurance-Auto/RV and Health :

RVer Insurance Exchange

RVer Guide to ACA Open Enrollment 2016

eHealth Insurance

RV Insurance

Explorer RV Insurance

Good Sam

Progressive

Geico

Esurance/Allstate

Nationwide

National Interstate

National General

Roadside:

Family Motor Coach Association

Coach Net

AAA

Spots to Stay:

Go Camping America

Recreation.gov (Federal Sites)

Reserve America

Public Lands Info Center (Western States)

RV Park Reviews

Good Sam RV Parks

Thousand Trails

Harvest Hosts

Worldwide Opportunities For Organic Farms USA

USA Campgrounds Info

Camping USA

US National Forest Campground Guide

Ultimate Campgrounds (Public Campgrounds)

Allstays

Boondockers Welcome

Boondocking.org

Free Campsites

Campendium

 

Apps For RVers:

Mobile App Essentials for RV Travel

Internet/Wifi:

Overview of RV Mobile Internet Options

Vinli

Stay Connected On The Road

How We Keep Online

Discover The Best RV Internet Service Option

Security/Locks:

Tiny House Security

MegaHitch Lock Coupler Vault

How to Keep Your RV Safe From Theft

RVing With Pets:

RVing With Cats

RV Traveling Cats

5 Tips For RVing With Cats

RV Traveling With Dogs

RVing With Dogs

Tips For RVing With Pets

Maps:

Roadtrippers

Benchmark Maps

RV Forums:

RV Network/Ecapees

Air Forums (Airstream Forums)

RVillage

Full Time RVer Blogs:

Gone With The Wynns

Technomadia

Top RV Lifestyle Blogs

live. work. dream


Where Should I Stay in Yellowstone?

When I first started researching a Yellowstone National Park trip, I was not aware of how many hotels, lodges and cabins there were at the park. I only really knew about the Old Faithful Inn. The park is very large, and driving to each section can take a long time. You want to stop and see the sights and there may be traffic jams due to animals on the roads. It is not safe to drive when it is dark because you may hit an animal. You do not want to hit an elk or buffalo!

About a year ahead, I started to research the different areas and concentrate on what we wanted to see the most. We decided to split our time between the Old Faithful area, Mammoth Hot Springs, Roosevelt and Lake.  Reservations open May 1st for the next summer. If you want an Old Faithful Inn room with a bathroom, a Roosevelt Lodge cabin with a bathroom or a Mammoth hot tub cabin, you must book ASAP. Xanterra runs the hotels and lodges at Yellowstone. You want to book through their web site or call them directly.  Here are some pictures of the different locations and what is near them.

The Old Faithful Inn area is very crowded during the day. Around the hotel and Old Faithful were the most crowds we saw the whole trip. A short walk away, the Upper Geyser Basin was much less crowded. At nighttime a ton of people also cleared out. We held a room in the old house section of the Inn. It had a sink, but shared bathrooms down the hall. The bathrooms were very clean and the shower stalls had shower gels and shampoo in them. The Inn is beautiful and they do give tours during the day so you can learn the history.

The Mammoth area is near the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs. Mammoth Village has a hotel, cabins, a post office, visitor center, chapel and restaurants. Historic Fort Yellowstone is here and there is a walking tour you can do.  Elk are often seen in this area.  We stayed in a hot tub cabin and it was nice after walking all day.

One of our favorite locations was the Roosevelt Lodge and Cabins. Roughrider Cabins are basic and have a stove for heat. This location is near Lamar Valley and the Northeast Entrance. You would get to the Beartooth Highway from this entrance. You can sign up for the Cowboy Cookout during the summer and ride a horse from the Roosevelt Stables or take a stagecoach! The Lamar Valley is beautiful and a great place to watch for bears and wolves. If you want a cabin with a bathroom, you have to book on May 1st for the next summer. There are only about 14 of these cabins! Otherwise there are shared bathrooms.

The next area we stayed in was near Lake Yellowstone. There are several nice hikes near Lake. You can take boats out or go on a guided Lake cruise. The Lake Hotel rooms are refurbished and expensive, but there are also bright yellow cabins here. Lake Lodge is next door and more rustic. There are cabins in this area as well. You can walk over to the Lake Hotel’s dining room. This is a good spot to get to Hayden Valley and The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone as well. There is a nice large laundry area at the Lake Lodge.    

I hope this gives you some info on where to start planning. There are other areas to stay at near Canyon and Grant Village as well as campsites spread throughout Yellowstone. The Old Faithful area also has the Snow Lodge and Cabins. TripAdvisor has some great info that you may want to start with. Yellowstone Treasures is also a wonderful book for research! 

National Parks Passport

In September 2013 my husband Craig and I went to an event at the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site in Saugus, MA.  At the visitor center and gift shop, I noticed a whole section for National Park Passports. I had never seen them before. For years Craig and I had wanted to visit Yellowstone, Yosemite and our other National Parks. We decided that day to buy one of the passports and make it our goal to visit as many National Parks, Historic Sites and Monuments as we could!

There are kids passports, regular passports and even a whole binder system that you can store stickers and extra pages in. The passports come with a nice fold out map of all of our National Park, NHS, NRA, etc. locations. Here are the different designations.

Since buying our passport we have visited Fort Matanzas and Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, FL, the Salem, MA National Historic Site, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This year we are headed to the Golden Gate NRA, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, The Mighty 5 in Utah, Mesa Verde, the Grand Canyon and Acadia-WHEW! Next year we are heading back to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park for our 20th anniversary. We hope to go to Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii soon.

I hope you will join us in our quest to get as many National Park Passport stamps as we can fit in our book! I will post links to our YouTube channel, Instagram and Pinterest sites so you can view some of these amazing places along with us.

Next year-2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and I hope this will inspire you to visit a park near or far.

Pages waiting to be stamped!