Sometimes it rains in Maine, and it is possible to get rain and fog and cold and damp for a couple of weeks at a time. That’s just Maine for you, and you also have to learn to enjoy the bad weather. In a way, I enjoyed being closer to nature when the weather was bad, possibly a result of too much Byron and the other Romantics while in college. At home it didn’t matter much, but when tenting, it does make a difference. I loved the drumming of the rain against the roof of the tent, particularly when the roof was watertight, but I had to learn to make it so, and a can of waterproofing spray usually took care of that problem. I also didn’t love waking up in a pool of water, and at first this happened quite often, both in Linda and my tent, and in the kids’, and I couldn’t figure out why. I was always careful to stretch a plastic ground cloth under the tents, and that should have taken care of the problem I thought, but it didn’t. Each rainy morning we woke up in a pool of water, resulting in a trip to the Laundromat in Southwest Harbor with our sleeping bags to get them washed and dried. For me the Laundromat was also an opportunity to catch up on some reading, and I must confess that the Laundromat became one of my favorite hangouts. It had chairs, lights, warmth, who needed anything more?
Eventually I solved the problem of the water in the tents. It seems that it is a very good thing to extend a ground cloth under a tent, but you need to be very careful not to extend it beyond the area of the tent itself. If it goes beyond that, the rain that spills from the roof and sides of the tent is simply gathered by the ground cloth, and pools inside the tent. The only remaining problem was what to do with three children when it rained, but fortunately there were all sorts of things you could do with kids on Mount Desert Island when it rained. Most of the time it didn’t rain, although a couple of friends, on our recommendation, came to Maine, and it rained every day of the two weeks they were there. It can happen. But most of the time the weather was perfect. The tide pools held a variety of mysterious life for the children to find and examine, and the trails and mountains with their incredible panoramic views were all accessible, even to very young children, although at first, Melissa, our one year old, had to be carried. Evenings we made campfires and told stories, and waited for the visits of the raccoons, who were generally just on the edge of our campsite, waiting for handouts. Of course, they were also quite capable of opening our cooler chest and raiding that if we didn’t seal it carefully. Often we also attended evening ranger talks about Acadia at the campground’s amphitheater, after which we walked to our rocky, Seawall beach under a glorious starlit sky. We checked the tide, checked the rocks to make sure they had not walked away, and tried to identify the constellations. It didn’t take long for the mosquitoes in their multitude to find us and chase us back to our campsite. After the children were asleep, Linda and I sat in front of our campfire, looking up, searching the skies for Perseid meteors. They were wonderful times.