Walk a Carriage Road

by cheri

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

John D. Rockefeller donated 11,000 acres on Mt. Desert Island in Maine to augment the land holdings of what we know as Acadia National Park. He also funded a unique system of transportation within the park–a network of crushed gravel roads that branches out through the park like spokes. From 1915-1930, were you a visitor on foot heading to Eagle Lake,  horses and carriages could be heard coming up behind you with a rhythmic four-hoof  clip-clop crunch of gravel, followed by the wooden wheels of the carriage rolling the rocks like mill wheels.

Rockefeller had seventeen stone bridges designed and built to complement the 45 miles of carriage roads.


The only wheels we heard on our hike around Eagle Lake were the rubber tires of mountain bikes, commandeered by the young and the old, the fit and the unfit. Instead of the nostril-blow of Hackney ponies or Standardbreds, the groans and grunts of bicyclists from around the world made us happy to be on foot. Why is it that so many bicyclists look and sound like they are in pain and not enjoying themselves?

The granite borders of the carriage roads are known as

The granite borders of the carriage roads are known as “Rockefeller’s Teeth.”

We thought of hiking up to Cadillac Mountain, the highest vantage point on the Northeastern seaboard at 1530 feet and the place you want to be if you are the type of person that enjoys “firsts.” From early October to early March, up on the summit of Cadillac Mountain, you will be the first person to see the sunrise over North America. That thought evaporated when we saw a a steady caravan of cars, including Cadillacs, heading up there. We Californians are tired of traffic jams! To the carriage roads we go.

Eagle Lake is the public water source for Bar Harbor, Maine, so no swimming is allowed! I had forgotten my water bottle but took heart in the fact that should I need hydration, the water source was right there in a prodigious and hypnotic way.

Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

Eagle Lake, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA


At about 1.5 miles into the hike, I did become thirsty and hungry but could not see the soothing water. The Maine forests are dense ( as I was, not taking water or snack). I looked symbolically at that little dead tree. Despite my desire to become fit, inside and out, it was time to walk back.

We approached lake’s edge. Only one little drink. No one will see.

I'll just walk out on those slick rocks; no one will see me.

I’ll just walk out on those slick rocks; no one will see me.

I decided against dunking my face into Eagle Lake.

When back from the hike, with a large and cool glass of Eagle Lake water, I gazed at the bubbles and stir sticks that appeared in it. Was I dreaming? Or just dehydrated?


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, My photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Walk a Carriage Road

  1. Though I lived for some time in New England, I never made it to Acadia National Park. It looks enticing though I don’t envy the long hike. I’m glad you’re checking out all the National Parks.

  2. Cheri says:

    We are doing our best, AK. Tomorrow, we head for Fundy National Park. Did you know that the tide recedes more than 12 miles in Fundy Bay, the greatest distance in the world? When we were in Nova Scotia six years ago and staring at the Fundy Bay from Digby, NS, we vowed to see the Fundy Bay from this side. Here we are. We are going to the very small town of Alma. I doubt if I will have internet access but I will have a camera. Pictures to follow.

  3. Cheri, you guys get around! Loved this pics and your tales.

    When our children were little we camped in Arcadia for five gorgeous days of cerulean skies. It was the first time we ever had showers at a camp ground, pure luxury. We slept in a 9 x 9 tent, all four of us, and it was bliss. The smell of those magnificent red spruce and lush balsam firs remains with me still as well as the screeching, hissing sounds of two crazed racoons who grabbed our water holders and punctured them as they drank to the last drop.

    • Cheri says:

      In one concise paragraph, you bring your camping trip to life! What descriptive writing MJ.
      I was wondering about those spruces and did not know about the balsam.
      Do know raccoons. They can be nasty.

  4. Richard says:

    You stimlate pictures and sights in the mind with such ease that I feel transported to Acadia. All with so few words counterpoised with fine camera work! At the same time you manage history and geography lessons and a diary of events. You comment provocatively about bicyclists and motor cars and even slip in some mischievous humour. How do you do it?

    As I recall my experience from fifty or sixty years ago, most of the time cycling is spent struggling uphill – not looking at the scenery lest you fall off under traffic – and you sleep like a log. You get mighty fit as the exercise and suffering become addictive.

  5. Cheri says:

    Thank you Richard. I seem to remember that you and Glenys ride motorized bicycles. Does that mean that you are able to pump the pedals when you can?

    I have a new camera which I spent weeks researching. It is light and still under the category of point and shoot, but the lens is wide and the zoom is strong. I have been pleased with my decision although when I return, I plan to take a photography class at the camera store. If you are interested, it is a LUMIX FZ200.

    On to Alma, NB by the Fundy Bay.😬🙏

    • Richard says:

      We have electric bikes with a battery you have to charge from the mains. Two hours gives us all the juice we need. Three controls in the right combination deal with most gradients. I usually get very confused. I slipped off backwards going up a steep hill once and the conveyance landed on me. I feigned death. A kindly motorist stopped, but Glenys sent her away. Fortunately, we’ve had a record year for rain and so I’ve not been required to partake too often.

      I like the look of that Lumix. Do you think it would suit me or should I up my appearance to something more like, er, an aficionado? Trouble is, my best photos are taken when I can’t see the little screen for sunshine.

      • Cheri says:

        This LUMIX has a little screen that you can open so you don’t have to squint and try to line your shot up through a small window.

        Were you hurt when you fell?
        That experience sounds stressful to me.

        • Richard says:

          Hmm. I may ask Glenys for the key to the bank vault and get a new camera. Very stressful.

          Oh yes, yes! The fall was very stressful too. Would you have stopped to check on the state of my mortality, dressed my wounds and offered me succour and comfort?

        • Richard says:

          The new camera proposal has been perfunctorily dismissed by the management. It wouldn’t, apparently, fit in the saddlebags.

          • Cheri says:

            It’s so light that it can easily go over your shoulder. It could also be the start of a new hobby to explore in this decade of your life. You could become a flower photographer. It might shield you from boredom. You might win awards that would repay the management so it would free you from the shackles of control. As we say in the US, ” It’s all good!”

  6. wkkortas says:

    Having spent much of my life in Upstate New York, I became familiar with John D’s birthplace, an irritant in the highway known as Richford, New York, which I suspect was, even in the 19th Century, the type of place you get the hell out of as soon as you possibly can. I lived, for a time, about ten miles from Richford, and there were still a couple of distantly-related and less well-heeled Rockefellers kicking around town.

  7. Cheri says:

    I can imagine those fellers hanging around town.

  8. shoreacres says:

    The bridge is beautiful. It reminds me of the man railroad bridges in Iowa that were made of stone. It was a different sort of stone, to be sure, but still very attractive. I always think there ought to be a millstream around somewhere when I see such.

    I just read up about your Lumix. I’ve got camera fever myself, and have been reading reviews and viewing videos. I’ve got a pretty good eye for composition, but the camera I have doesn’t always want to oblige me. I really think I’m going to go for a true DSLR. I should have two cameras ago, when mine died, but I was in the middle of Kansas, and the only place to buy a camera was Walmart. The $100 P&S I got did fine (Canon) but I’d like the ability to do a little more zooming with a sharper image.

    On the other hand,your photos do look mighty fine. It’s still hot here, and I’m envious of those colors.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Linda, I have a DSLR (Canon) with an amazing Tamron lens that allows for close-ups and major zoom but it is too heavy for me to take on most outings. This Lumix feels and looks just like a DSLR–that’s the appeal. You have something to hold on to, as opposed to my little Canon 95 that takes beautiful photos with a small lens. I like to enlarge my pictures and frame them. The Lumix has met all of these needs with its big lens and long zoom. Best camera I have ever owned!

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