Saturday, August 14, 2010

Acadia Trails - Part 2

Acadia National Park has a lot of signs - some of them funny - this was on top of South Bubble. I wonder how many times people had to roll rocks down the cliff before the Park Service felt compelled to put this one up?

We saw a lot of great trails at Acadia National Park in Maine this summer. There were a lot of innovative trail solutions that would be fun to try here in Shelton.

Emma & Terry at the Cadillac South Ridge Trailhead. The National Park Service uses these routered cedar posts for trailheads to reduce theft of trail signs. Cadillac Mtn. has a road going to the top so we dropped these two off and they hiked down a trail with stunning views and little effort. One of the troubles with Cadillac Mtn is that having the road going to the top takes away a little something from the mountain, but the trade-off is that the public gets to enjoy the park.

This is one of the concrete walks at the top of Cadillac Mtn. The Park Service used pink granite chips in with the concrete to match the distinctive granite of the mountains. Our vacation overlapped the Obama family but we avoided the Secret Service had a great time. The Park Service appears to be doing a good job maintaining the park.

Here's Terry & Biscuit riding bikes on the Carriage Path Roads. The Carriage Paths are 16 foot wide crushed stone roads that were built for horse-drawn carriages, but work really well for bicycles, walkers, dogs, etc. This is similar, but a little bigger than what the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path will ultimately hopefully look like.

This is another view of the Carriage Paths on the Hadlock Brook Loop. There was a lot of disturbance to construct the roads, but the woods have grown in and everything looks very natural now.

This is the Waterfall Bridge that carries the Carriage Path Road over Hadlock Brook. What's amazing to me is that the entire system of Carriage Paths and bridges were built by John Rockefeller Jr. just so he could ride his horse and buggys without being bothered by cars when he went on vacation every year. This was a monumental undertaking that was on par with constructing the Merritt Parkway, and you can see a lot of similarities in the bridge architecture. I think that it's a safe bet to say that the Shelton Lakes Recreation Path will probably not have a bridge that looks like this, but we may have a little nice stonework here and there.

The Carriage Roads used a lot of granite slabs on the uphill sides (left) for slope stabilization and drainage. Granite blocks were used as coping stones on the downhill (right) side for traffic safety - an early guide rail. The roads have a thick base and good drainage system to prevent erosion. There's a nice book titled Mr. Rockefeller's Roads by Ann Rockefeller Roberts that illustrates the history of the Carriage Path Roads.

The hiking trails are well integrated with the Carriage Paths. Here's a nice example of granite stairs with a rustic timber railing leading up to the Path. This looks like something Bob Wilkins could whip out for Shelton.

On a slightly less rustic note - this is a portion of the Brown Mountain Gate House that was created to keep cars off the Carriage Paths. Maybe we could build this in downtown Shelton as an entry for the Riverwalk.

This is the Asticou Map House in Northeast Harbor. It's just out in the middle of the woods over by Eliot Mountain with a map of the park and a bench to sit down.

The Map House didn't seem to have a vandalism problems like we've had in Shelton. Here's a low-maintenance granite bench in the Wild Gardens. This would be the Jim Tate Special that he's talking about installing at different locations along the RecPath. Good luck moving that slab Jim.

There are a number of rustic footbridges on the trails in Acadia. This one is on the North end of Jordan Pond, right before we went up the South Bubble Cliff Scramble. We latter found out that we probably shouldn't of taken a dog up that one, but Biscuit The Trail Terrier made it OK.

One trail we didn't take Biscuit up was the Beehive Trail. Ryan really wanted to hike the Precipice Trail since it is supposed to be the most difficult trail in the park, but The Precipice was temporarily closed due to falcon's nesting (silly reason to close a trail - it just makes hiking interesting). So Emma, Ryan and I climbed the Beehive instead (Ryan actually climbed it 3 times). The Beehive is actually listed as "the ugly little brother" to the Precipice with a series of iron ladders, bridges, and cliff scrambles.

The trail goes up some sections that are so steep the granite stairs are pinned into the ledge to keep the steps from moving.

The trail winds along the face of a cliff with some fun features. Here's a iron bridge over a vertical drop that even Emma was a little nervous about crossing, but she went right over it.

There's a number of iron ladder rungs and handholds set into the cliff face to make it easier to climb. It was foggy and misty when we went up, and later cleared out.

The amount of work that has gone into building Acadia's historic trails is incredible. Just look at the work that went into setting these iron rungs half-way up a cliff, by hand, over a century ago - amazing! The trails are challenging, safe (sort of), and great for families that like to hike. Just be prepared and the worst hazard you may face will be the dreaded "bunny ears".

1 comment:

  1. I'm more afraid of the "bunny jaws" than the "bunny ears"(whatever they are)!