Bridges and Babbling Brooks Along the Hadlock Pond Trail – Acadia NP

After some research, I managed to finally find a trail that would lead me to babbling brooks and even better three stone bridges that were built along the many miles of Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Parking along the serene Hadlock Pond, I found a balancing beam trail that meandered through the woods along the pond’s edge before it began heading up the mountain towards the streams.

The day began foggy and overcast which was to be ideal for photographing waterfalls and streams, but it wasn’t long before the sun burned off the clouds and shined brightly through the tree canopy. Hiking away from the pond, my path traveled along a Carriage Road that made me wish I had my horse with me to enjoy cantering through the woods.

Acadia National Park is perhaps one of the best maintained parks in the United States. With old money that created the park and families that continue to steward the park to the countless volunteers that work on the trail system, all of the trails and carriage roads are well marked and kept. At each turn a wood sign post pointed the direction I was to head. In this case, it meant going uphill through the rocky and root filled terrain. But the effort is well worth it as stops for a handful of wild Maine Blueberries was necessary as well as a moment to enjoy the peaceful sounds of the babbling brooks.

As a photographer I had to deal with several challenges. First how to travel light was key. Using a lightweight backpack I included water, a light lunch, a pouch with a variety of filters, a hand towel “just in case”, and microfiber cloth. I also carry a wristband with emergency contact information from Road ID which is an awesome thing to have in case of emergencies. Include my iPhone 7 with the All trails App installed and a paper trail map to keep myself from getting lost.

Now it’s time for the camera gear. I hand carried my Really Right Stuff TVC-24 Versa travel tripod with BH-40 tripod head with panning option. Strapped crossbody was my Canon 5D Mark IV with the 24-105mm lens attached. Using the inexpensive Tiffen Belt Filter Pouch, inside I included a Circular polarizer filter, a Graduated Neutral Density Filter and two Neutral Density filters of 6 stops and 10 stops respectively. Easy to pack and quickly accessible, this filter kit never fails.

One thing I don’t do is cheap on filters as the less expensive ones throw such a color cast and reduces image quality notably that investing in good gear actually saves you money in the long run. And so I my mind does while on the trail. When there weren’t photo ops, I challenged myself to hike stronger and faster. But then it doesn’t take long for something to stop me in my tracks again.

At last I arrive to the first of the three bridges on this adventure. The Hadlock Brook Bridge was planned by John D. Rockefeller, JR. in 1925 in similarity to the Gap Stowe Bridge in New York’s Central Park.

The sun’s bright spots were creating challenges that I hadn’t planned on, but the 6 stop Neutral Density filter helped a bit. Finding the right White Balance though was much more challenging and I ended up having to work more on it in post processing. Then up I go to the next two bridges, literally a stone’s throw from each other. With each, the trails travel underneath them which is great fun. Taking careful step though as those wet rocks can be quite slick.

Complete in 1925, the Waterfall Bridge spans 120 feet and is one of the seventeen historic bridges along the Carriage Road system in Acadia National Park. The Hemlock Bridge was completed in 1924 and is 200 feet in length.

Once the visit of these two bridges were complete, I returned back to Hadlock Pond by using the Maple Spring Trail which offered charming spots along the babbling brook.

And so perhaps now it is time to discover more stone bridges of Acadia within the park. The book by Robert Thayer, Acadia’s Carriage Roads is a great photo reference book for both bridges and carriage roads within the park.

At least one is easily accessible and one can drive through to enjoy like this welcoming Stanley Brook Bridge found on the road from Seal Harbor entering into the park.

Stanley Brook Bridge

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