Roadtrip: Grafton Notch and Step Falls Preserve


Mr. Cleaver & I took advantage of the wedding to stay at a B&B and enjoy a mini-vacation in Bethel.


Since the wedding didn't start until the late afternoon on Saturday, we took the morning to do some hiking. Based on a recommendation from our lovely  innkeepers at the Rivendell B&B, we took the drive up Route 26 to Grafton Notch State Park.


Grafton Notch is unusual for a state park in that the highway literally runs through the middle of it. The portions of the park we explored were all accessible via little pull-off parking lots off 26. Each of the falls were little mini-hikes that took no more than 10-15 minutes tops.

In all of the spots we stopped at in Grafton Notch, the landscape had been carved by glacial runoff, and nowhere was this more evident than our first stop, Moose Cave Gorge.

Moose Cave Gorge

As you approach the gorge the temperature noticeably drops from the ice cold waters still running through the cavern. The drop was incredibilty steep, and apparently earned its name from an unfortunate moose that slipped and landed inside.

Moose Cave Gorge

The next stop south was Mother Walker Falls. Due to the season, most of the falls were less full than they would be in the spring, but the newly turning color in the trees made up for any lack of rushing water.

River Run

Mother Walker Upstream

My favorite of the three stops at Grafton Notch was Screw Auger Falls.

Upper Screw Auger Falls

The most sprawling of the three falls, Screw Auger features a small upper and dramatic lower falls, as well as a number of beautiful picnic spots upstream.

Lower Screw Auger Falls

Taking in the Falls

Upstream at Screw Auger Falls

Our last stop was just outside of the state park at the Nature Conservancy's Step Fall Preserve. Also off 26 - Step Falls has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it sign, but is well worth the hunt.

Step Falls

The climb to the top of the falls is steep (and due to concerns about time, we didn't quite make it all the way up), but the view is breaktaking.

View from Step Falls

Now that I know how relatively short a drive Bethel is from Portland, I'd love to make a number of return trips to this beautiful area.

Speaking of trips, I'd added a Roadtrip tab to the top of page to collect the posts on the other lovely spots we've visited.

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Roadtrip: Lake Mooselookmeguntic

Mr. Cleaver and I got back Tuesday afternoon from a few much-needed days in the woods at Stephen Phillip Memorial Preserve campground in Oquossoc, Maine. Though it was grey when we arrived, we lucked out on the weather and had a fantastic time hiking, canoeing, and sitting around the fire.

If you're ever in the Oquossoc/Rangeley area, I'd highly recommend the camp, as well as a stop at the road-side vista point Height of Land, and the breakfast burrito at the BMC Diner in Rangeley.

It's wonderful what some time lakeside does for the soul, isn't it? I've included some of my favorite photos below, but if you'd like to see some more, the full set is available on Flickr.
















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Roadtrip: The Cleavers Go Camping

Camping is in my blood. My brother and dad both reached the rank Eagle Scout and as a kid we when car camping all the time in all the state and national parks up and down California. I've always lover camping, but since I started college I've been camping a total of once. So this summer the mister and I decided that we would go camping for our big vacation.

Problem being that aside from the sleeping bag my mother mailed me, we had zero camping equipment.  So in the past few months Mr .Cleaver and I have stockpiling camping equipment thanks to a number of gift cards we had received for LL Bean.

While we've made a reservation for a site for a number of days in August, we wanted to take our new gear for a test run first. So this weekend we took a one-night jaunt to the campground at Bradbury Mountain State Park.  I brought along the camera to document our test run:

It's up!


Spinning in the Wilderness(Didn't think I'd skip my Tour de Fleece responsibilities did you?)


2 Matches Left

I won't say the box was completely full when we started on the fire, but it was pretty close - but in my defense the wood was kinda damp

Smore's makings

Playing with Fire

Makin' S'mores

I earned this s'more!


Sweet dreams - and then we realized that sleeping pads would be a good idea :)

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A Walk at Wolfe's Neck


Last night after work Mr. Cleaver and I took a walk at Wolfe's Neck State Park - it was warm and we were two of about a half dozen people at the park. Afterward, we oogled camping equipment at LL Bean and chowed down on slow cooked meat at Buck's Naked Barbecue. That's what I call a perfect evening.

We'd been at Wolfe's neck in the early fall and the late fall, so it was fun to see how the park is different in the spring/summer:


I love the color contrast of new growth -

New Growth

These are the first wild orchids I have ever seen - they were everywhere!

Wild Orchids




This was the highest the tide has been on our visits here, it made the coastal parts of the walk look very different.

Man on a Rock

I couldn't believe how big some of the dandelions were! I saw another non-blooming one that was a least 4 inches taller.

Giant Dandelion

The osprey nest. The chicks should be out an about in another few weeks.

Osprey Nest

Taking in the Scenery in Suits

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Anniversary Trip

As you know, last week was Mr. Cleaver and I's one-year anniversary. As part of our celebration we returned to the site of our "first" date: Bradbury Mountain. We call it our first date now, but I use quotation marks because at the time I didn't realize it was a date. This was not the first time I went on a date and didn't know it either. That probably tells you a lot about me right there. But I'm more than happy to call it a first date in retrospect. 

Leaf Peeper

It was a beautiful day. The color was in it's early stages (it's peaking gloriously right now), but it was beautiful nonetheless.

View from the summit

Fall 30% Complete

Married One Year!

Oh and stay tuned this week for a new sewing project reveal and a surprise!

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