Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hadlock Brook Carriage Road in Acadia

The good news: I finally started my goal to hike the carriage roads in Acadia. My kids and I drove nearly 3 hours to Acadia to hike the Hadlock Brook Carriage Road. It's one of the shorter carriage roads--only 4 miles--but the trail guide said it had "one of the steepest carriage road grades in the system" so I thought it would be challenging enough.

The bad news: It was gorgeous. It has to be one of the prettiest carriage roads in Acadia. There were a lot of side trips that were fun and exciting. And I forgot my camera!!!!

We started off at the Brown Mountain Gatehouse. The park ranger told us that this amazing building was originally built as the servant's quarters for the Rockefeller family. I couldn't find a picture that did it justice on the web. Did I mention that I forgot my camera?

The trail was wide and well maintained, and the kids were frequently distracted by the blueberry bushes on the side of the road. I kept telling them to save some for other hikers and for the bears, but they ignored me. The bushes were completely loaded with ripe berries this year. Then we passed Upper Hadlock Pond and took a side trail to get closer. We watched tiny fish dart from the sun shine to the shadows for a while. I startled a frog, who startled me back when he jumped into the water.

Then came the steep part. It was hot, humid and a little bit dusty, but even so, this was not a steepness that would cause people driving carriages to get out and guide the horses or to fervently wish for oxen. It wasn't tough at all. That doesn't mean we weren't hot and dusty by the time we got to the bridges. There are 3 bridges on this loop--the Hadlock Brook Bridge, the Hemlock Bridge and the Waterfall Bridge. These are gorgeous stone bridges. The waterfall next to Waterfall Bridge was just the right size for playing in. D and I stood right underneath it! Man, I wish I'd remembered a camera. We went off the carriage roads and onto the trails until everyone was thoroughly wet, and then we started the long, gradual descent back down to the car.

Roger made me promise that if "I dragged the kids all the way to Acadia for a boring old carriage trail", I would do something at the ocean as well, so we stopped at Seal Harbor and played in the waves for about 45 minutes before heading back home. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day. Even if I have no photographic proof that we did it.