Greetings from Tilghman, Maryland! After two days of driving, (and surviving Hurricane Sandy) we are settling in to our new “home”. Well, home for the next six months. Pebbles and Bam Bam I think will enjoy it here – lots of windows and a big yard for viewing birds and other wildlife.
Finding this house was pure serendipity. As I was contemplating the situation with my parents, and the desire to be geographically closer to them I took out a map and drew a 250 mile radius around the town where they live. From there I looked at what locations were near large bodies of water. The Chesapeake Bay area stood out. So I jumped on Craig’s List and BOOM found this house. Perhaps not the most scientific way to make a decision, but it accomplished the goal.
Below: A reminder that life is in constant motion.
Moving to Maine last year was all about “reconnecting with life”. This move is all about getting that experience (as well as what preceded it), down “on paper”. I’ve made a contract with myself, and I have a few people lined up to help hold me accountable. I’ll be writing, three hours a day, six days a week. Yes, there will be time built-in for exploring, hiking, photography, and continued reflection, but this “new road” is all about capturing my own experience and insights. Hopefully, it will help others going through similar experiences. My philosophy is even if it helps only one other person, then it will have been time well spent.
I never would have imagined my life as it is now, nor would have I chosen to take this path. But that’s the thing about life, just when you think you have your journey all mapped out – roads get closed, bridges collapse and burn, detours appear. Then you have to take new roads and cross unfamiliar (and sometimes frightening) bridges. But the key is to not look too far ahead, for when you do you start to anticipate, make assumptions, plan and imagine (both good and bad things). And when you do that, you miss what is right in front of you. I’ll never throw away my maps for they DO come in handy. But I’m learning to cross one bridge at a time, and to not allow my mind to wander too far ahead down whatever road I’m on.
Below: Knapps Narrows Bridge, from the mainland to Tilghman Island, my new base of operations.
Cobblestone Bridge was built as the first bridge in the Carriage Road System in Acadia National Park. originally, Rockefeller planned to build all the bridges using this stone, but quickly realized the stones would not work well for many locations and switched to granite for the remaining sixteen bridges. Situated along the lovely Jordan Stream, it is an engineering marvel. One can reach this bridge either by hiking about a mile from Jordan Pond House using the carriage roads or via the Jordan Stream Trail.
When I stopped by Bubble Pond last week with my guests from out-of-town, the sky was bright and sun was high overhead. Not great for taking pictures. So I switched my camera to black and white mode to see if I could come up with some different views of one of my favorite spots.
I find this a tricky spot to photograph. I have yet to find the “perfect” time of day to shoot here as the height of the mountains on either side of the pond make for interesting (but challenging) shadows. I’ll keep trying!!
Carriage roads run and intersect in this area, along with one of the bridges. This one (below) is called appropriately, Bubble Pond Bridge.
And finally, I just had to include a picture of a rock. Why? I just really liked it, that’s why. 🙂
Those of you who have been following my blog know that I am enamoured with the bridges built along the system of carriage roads here in Acadia National Park.
The walk around Witch Hole Pond begins and ends (for me due to where I park), at the Duck Brook Bridge which serves as one of the entry points to the carriage road system.
This bridge was built in 1929 and is the only triple arch bridge among the seventeen bridges in the park. As you can see in the picture below, there is series of steps that lead down the underside of the bridge and afford you better looks at the details of the bridge and the fast flowing brook that runs beneath it.
I love the architectural details on these bridges, and in keeping with the period in which they were built, I decided to shoot them in black and white mode.
This bridge has several turrets where the pedestrian can safely stop and view the wonderful scenery; the brook below or the waters of Frenchman’s bay to the north and west.
And not being able to resist those steps I showed you earlier, here is a view of one of the turrets looking UP. I thought these next two photos give a fine perspective of the detail and workmanship that went into the building of this bridge.
These bridges are truly “works of art” in their own right, and I love I see something new and different every time I look at them. Hope you enjoyed this “study” in black and white!
On the last sunny day (which was Monday), I lingered along the banks of Duck Brook at the end of my hike. The stream was still high with rushing water from the rains of last week, and it made for great nature music!
I was also able to explore upstream a bit more than I had on past visits, and gained new perspective on the Duck Brook Bridge.
I even had a curious crow thinking about looking in my backpack, but he flew away when I tried to snap his picture. This poor fellow appeared to have an injured leg or foot, and I felt bad that I didn’t have any leftovers for him.
Unfortunately, sitting still for too long drew the attention of the newly hatched mosquitos, and so I prepared to cross the bridge and head for home.
I am happy to report that I have finally seen ALL 17 of Mr. Rockefeller’s bridges, and hiked all but 8 miles (out of 57 miles) of the carriage road system.
These last two bridges are located on what is commonly known as the Jordan Pond/Sargent Mountain carriage road. Reaching them is a steady two + mile gradual uphill hike, but the payoff is worth it. Both bridges are lovely, and the Deer Brook Bridge is especially stunning in its design and setting. The mist and fog on this day made for an “otherworldly” setting in which to observe them.
Deer Brook was running especially fast and high from the rain we received on Monday, and it made for beautiful scenery.
The two bridges were built within a year of one another, with Deer Brook Bridge being built in 1925 and Chasm Brook bridge in 1926. The date stone on the Deer Brook Bridge was unique, the only one I’ve seen (or noticed) that is round. It’s a little tough to read in this photo, but you get the idea.
After being completely charmed by the bridge and waterfall at Deer Brook, I hiked on to Chasm Brook. Much less grand in stature, it is charming in a much more humble way. What really impressed me about this bridge is how it seems to spring out of the rock face, which you can see in the 2nd photo, below.
The carriage roads and the bridges that grace them are one of the many things that make Acadia unique among America’s national parks. I know I will continue to visit and enjoy the wonderful legacy of Mr. Rockefeller and his roads.
That leaves only two more to find. Saturday, I was back out on the Amphitheater Carriage road to search for two more “stars” on the map. Along the way, I got to hike a really enjoyable section of the Amphitheater trail (see previous post). The two bridges included in this post are two of the oldest bridges in the carriage road system – one small and one rather grand.
Hiking the carriage road to get to this bridge was a fairly steep hike for 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. The bridge is situated near the top a bowl shaped ravine, hence the name, Amphitheater Bridge. In the photo above, I try to give you an idea of the long, sweeping curvature of this bridge which is quite stunning.
In the photo above you can see the arch and the beautiful detail. The detail at the top is unique; none of the other bridges have this type of design. Another view of this “weave” detail is pictured below. As you can see, the road was designed to apex at the center of the bridge.
There is a lovely waterfall off to the one side of the bridge. However, it has been so dry here this winter and spring, that the waterfalls and streams are running shallow. I fear there won’t be much water to enjoy this summer if we don’t soon get some rain.
After exploring the Amphitheater trail which led me back down the mountain and through the ravine, I came to the next bridge on my list; the Hadlock Brook Bridge. This bridge is much more simplistic in its design and is reminiscent of several of the other smaller bridges throughout the carriage road system.
As you can see from the date stone, this is one of the oldest bridges in the system, and like the others, underwent a major restoration about 10 years ago. It won’t be too many more years before we’ll be celebrating the centennial of the these wonderful roads and bridges!
We will take a break in our “bridge search” for at least a week as a trip to Schoodic Peninsula (the only part of Acadia National Park located on the mainland), and a hike up Pemetic Mountain (the fourth largest peak on the island) are on the agenda for the week ahead.
Now that the ice has receded from the carriage roads near and around Jordan Pond, it was time to resume the search for bridges John D. Rockefeller Jr. built along the carriage road system that is now part of Acadia National Park.
It was a spectacular spring day, the sun was bright, the skies were clear, and there was a light breeze. Temperatures approached 45 degrees as I set off at 9:30 a.m.. Clean up was beginning at the Jordan Pond house where I parked my car and began my hike. Thankfully, I was soon removed from the sound of leaf blowers and power tools.
I first passed Jordan Stream Bridge, a small humble bridge that hovers over Jordan Stream where it begins at the edge of Jordan Pond. I had seen this bridge before when hiking around Jordan Pond, but in case I didn’t post a photo from that hike, here’s a pic of this pretty little bridge.
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Today I was able to check off two more from my list (there are 17 total) – West Branch Bridge and Cliffside Bridge. Both of these bridges are located on a stretch of road that is commonly referred to as the Amphitheater road named for the bowl-shaped ravine it encircles. The two bridges were built in 1931 and 1932 respectively.
The West Branch Bridge is a single arch bridge, tucked tightly into the end of a long ravine and offers spectacular views of Jordan Bluffs and Jordan Cliffs as well as views of Little Long Pond and Seal Harbor.
After passing West Branch Bridge and enjoying the magnificent views it had to offer, I hiked approximately another half mile and came to what (so far) is my favorite bridge – Cliffside Bridge.
This bridge has a distinctively “medieval” feel to it. It seems to me to be the “heaviest” looking of the bridges with large entry and exit pillars and two impressive buttresses where riders and hikers can stand and admire the views.
This magnificent bridge design is known as a “modified barrel arch” that springs right out of the rock. It stretches a stunning 230 feet along the cliffs. The views looking over the forest ravine are breathtaking.
I have now found 13 of the 17 bridges located throughout the carriage road system. I thought this was appropriate since I was hiking on Friday, the 13th!! It won’t be too long before the hum of bicycle tires, the clip clop of horse hooves, and the footfalls of hikers take over these beautiful roads. But today, they were all mine!