Thursday, June 17, 2010

#16--Travel all 45 (ish) miles of carriage roads in Acadia National Park

John D. Rockefeller bought a summer home at Seal Island in 1910. It was the beginning of the era of the automobile, and he feared that automobile roads would ruin Mt. Desert Island. His dream was to create an elaborate system of auto-free roads and bridges that would provide access to the most beautiful parts of the island, which would later become Acadia National Park. Between 1913 and 1940 he worked tirelessly to oversee construction of 51 miles of roads, 17 bridges and 2 gatehouses. He presented the carriage road system and much of the land that would become Acadia as a gift to the people of the United States. The roads are made of broken stone, and follow the contours of the land to take advantage of the scenic views.

Today, you may occasionally see a horse drawn carriage or a horseback riders on the carriage trails, but you are more likely to see bikers, joggers and hikers. In the winter, many of the roads are groomed for cross country skiing.

Acadia is about 2.5 hours from my house, so getting there to hike more than once or twice a year is an issue. I have a book called A Pocket Guide to Carriage Roads of Acadia National Park that breaks the roads into 11 loops plus one long loop that goes around the whole park but uses pieces of the other loops. I can skip that long looped trail, but it's impossible to not backtrack on the trails occasionally, so by the time I'm finished with the 11 loops, I will have traveled 57 miles.

Here's the plan:

1. Eagle Lake Loop - 6 miles (bike)
2. Aunt Betty's Pond Loop - 5.9 miles (hike)
3. Witch Hole Pond Loop - 6.8 miles (bike)
4. Jordan Bubble Loop - 8.6 miles (hike)
5. Jordan Stream Loop 4.0 (cross country ski)
6. Day Mountain loop - 5.5 miles (horseback ride)
7. Little Long Pond - 3.5 miles (hike)
8. Redfield Loop (is actually 2 loops and can be either 2.3 miles or 4.3 miles. 4.3 for me!) Maybe I'll ride an actual carriage for this one.
9. Hadlock Brook - 3.9 miles (hike)
10. Ampitheatre Loop - 4.9 miles (hike)
11. Giant Slide Loop - 8.2 (hike. This is the hardest hike, as well as one of the longest)

If you're keeping track, that's 2 bike rides, 1 horseback ride, 1 carriage ride, 1 skiing trip and 6 hikes.

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