1 We decided to hike along Carriage Road Loop near Hadlock Pond in Acadia. It was 3.9 miles - very beautiful and intense.
2 An old photo is posted of the roads being constructed from about 1913-1940. JD Rockefeller Jr. built 51 miles of amazing roads which are in use today by many thousands of hikers, cyclists, horse-drawn carriage drivers, horseback riders, and strollers.
3 I was joined by Daisy, Patricia, Laura, Alexis, Baby Truman, and Jude. We parked in the lot next to Brown Mountain Gatehouse on Rt. 198.
4 The Hadlock Brook Loop is one of many loops in the Carriage Road System that are great for hikes of all lengths.
5 This loop rises to an elevation of 500 feet. We opted for the upward portion first, thinking we would get the hard work out of the way.
6 Jude loved both the walking and the swinging high.
7 We met a volunteer crew on the trail. The crew was repairing a wooden boardwalk portion of the Upper Hadlock Pond Trail. These six-inch-thick planks should last for years on the forest floor, which is good as they protect the delicate understory from all the foot traffic.
8 A large group of volunteers was ready to do a lot of work.
9 The first bridge on this loop is the Hadlock Brook Bridge, a magnificent granite structure built in 1926. This 40-foot bridge is one of 16 bridges spanning gorges and streams in the park. This was modeled after the bridge in NYC's Central Park at 59th street.
10 Charles P. Simpson, a local engineer, was hired by J.D. Rockefeller to build the bridge system, linking all the carriage roads. Every bridge is unique and sturdy and cleverly designed. He was succeeded by his son, Paul, in 1921. The ends of the bridges are marked with piers that are bold and imposing.
11 The date stone marks the year of completion - this one being 1926.
12 Baby Jude was carried by Alexis when she was tired from hiking. I must say that she's a great hiker for a 16-month-old.
13 The road continued to climb and climb and Daisy, just like a child, kept asking how much longer the hike was.
14 Along the hike are wonderful natural sights - rock ledges, deep forests, soaring spruce, and fir trees.
15 The trail heads are marked with carved wooden signs, like these - sturdy posts with names, mileage, and direction.
16 Large stones mark the edges of some of the roads that drop off. The stones are referred to as 'bears' teeth,' or 'Rockefeller Teeth.'
17 Another directional sign - great for hikers!
18 Close to the top of Hadlock Loop is this magnificent view of Upper Hadlock Pond and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
19 Signposts like this numbered one, are excellent road and trail markers.
20 At the top we were afforded a bit of relief with the beginning of a gentle descent.
21 From one loop road a hiker can go in many directions and stay outdoors for an entire day. Just be sure to take plenty of water and food.
22 These carriage roads were very scientifically constructed following the best method of the time - 16-ft-wide, three deep layers of stone - a thick layer of surge stone, a less thick layer of crushed stone, and a gravelly topping. The roads were built to withstand rain and damp, crowned in the middle for erosion protection and beauty, and provided with culverts for run-off water.
23 Approaching the second bridge of the loop - The massive Hemlock Bridge, rises from the forest floor like an imposing wall of cut stone.
24 The piers of this bridge are round and massive. Stone for this bridge had to be quarried elsewhere and hauled in at great cost.
25 One giant Gothic arch creates a scenic backdrop for the forest of giant hemlocks growing on this site. The arch span is 30-feet across.
26 The Maple Spring Brook below is pretty dry at this time of year but in the spring, the water gushes violently down these rocks to the pond and sea beyond.
27 As you can see, the river bed is quite dry.
28 Another signpost offering more hiking options
29 A trail marker with burnt wood imagery.
30 Completed in 1925, the stone piers of Waterfall Bridge are massive and beautifully constructed. Very little damage has occurred to this structure.
31 The this is the tallest waterfall in the park, almost bone dry at this time, but impressive in size nevertheless. The bridge was constructed to take advantage of the view, the falls, and the natural beauty.
32 Sitting on the edge of Waterfall Bridge, which is 125-feet in length, with new guide book in hand, called Carriage Roads - I learned so much reading this book on the hike.
33 Baby Jude fell fast asleep during the last mile of the hike - her blue Crocs are so cute!
34 The downward slope - almost to the parking lot
35 The final signpost - What a glorious walk! I cannot wait to hike all the other loop roads.