One of the goals of our fall excursion to Maine was to visit the carriage roads and granite roads located in Acadia National Park. John D. Rockefeller owned large tracts of land on Mt. Desert Island and used the island as his personal retreat. When cars became prevalent, the locals decided to create roads for automobiles on the island for their own use and to promote tourism. Mr. Rockefeller was not keen about the intrusion on his lifestyle and potentially his property. So, he created fifty or so miles of carriage roads. Horse drawn carriages were apparently his preferred mode of transport when on Mt. Desert Island.
Those carriage roads have survived and have been incorporated into Acadia National Park. They are still serving Mr. Rockefeller’s original purpose. No auto traffic is allowed on them. Only hiking, biking, and horse-drawn carriages are allowed on the roads. In some places, not even bicycles are allowed. The roads are well maintained and have gentle grades. They make great hiking trails and allow access to points all over the island.
Of particular interest are the eighteen granite bridges that were constructed as part of the carriage road system. Most of them are Rockefeller’s original design and are used to cross over roads and streams found throughout the park. The bridges are works of art themselves.
Two of those bridges that we wanted to explore were located near each other. They crossed two different streams, Maple Brook and Hadlock Brook. This photo is taken from the Waterfall Bridge – aptly named because it is adjacent to this waterfall that is formed by Hadlock Brook. Interestingly, this is the only naturally occurring waterfall in Acadia National Park. With the steep terrain and numerous streams, it would seem likely that other waterfalls would be found there.
The morning that we chose to hike to the bridges was an ideal fall morning with crisp, fresh air and abundant sunshine. The fall colors were peaking all around us making for beautiful scenes everywhere we looked. We arrived at Hemlock Bridge first and shot it for quite a while. We took some nice images there, but we didn’t realize what waited for us just up the path. Imagine my excitement seeing this beautiful tree at it peak of color standing immediately adjacent to this beautiful waterfall. Fortunately, the rain that we had experienced the past two days worked in our favor and was filling Hadlock Brook ensuring abundant water to flow through the falls. I literally couldn’t take enough exposures. I wanted to ensure that I captured the scene as I was experiencing it.
This image was taken at f22 with an exposure of 0.6 seconds. I had to use a neutral density filter to add three stops in order to get the water as silky and smooth as I wanted. We had to wait for the wind to die down occasionally, but we were fortunate to experience many windows where the air was still allowing for crisp images. There’s a bit of leaf blur here, but nothing that detracts from the image – I hope.