June 30, 2023 Well, June finally comes to a close. We discovered that the sunrise was at 4:50 today and the sunset is at 8:22. That’s pretty darn early for sunrise. It was foggy again this morning, but by now, I’m getting used to it. The temp was 63 under cloudy skies. We made plans to do a bike ride today, so Mary and John came by with their bikes on the truck and we put our bikes on our rack on the Jeep and were ready to go at 9:30. Mary and John were going to lead the way, but when we went to start the Jeep it wouldn’t start. We called Mary and John and they came right back to give us a jump.
It started right up with the jump, so we left together at 9:45. They followed us into the park where we picked up Highway 233 to the parking lot . We arrived about 10:15 and the lot was already full, so we had to park on the shoulder of the highway to unload our bikes. We would be biking on the Carriage Roads today.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. designed 45 miles of rustic carriage roads in Acadia National Park. He wanted to travel on motor-free highways via horses and carriages into Mount Desert Island. Rather than flattening hillsides, retaining walls were built to preserve the hillsides and save trees. They shaped the roads to follow the contour of the land, so they were not too steep or too sharply curved for horse-drawn carriages. He wanted to design them to take advantage of the scenic views. They used island granite in road construction to create a rustic appearance. Rockefeller financed 16 of 17 stone-faced bridges, some of which we saw today. These carriage roads are regarded as the best and most extensive network of carriage roads in the U.S. They are shared by bikers, hikers, skiers, and horseback riders. On our ride today, we crossed 3 different bridges, each one unique in design and marked by the date it was built. The stone-faced bridges were steel-reinforced concrete, built with a native stone facing for a natural appearance. The bridges span streams, waterfalls, roads, and cliff-sides.
We started our ride at the top of Eagle Lake and rode along the west side for 2 miles. That connected to the Jordon Pond Loop for 2.5 miles. Jordon Pond has clear waters and swimming or getting in the water is not allowed. It is Acadia’s deepest lake at 150 ft. deep and provides drinking water to nearby communities. Hence, “no swimming”. It is also the clearest lake in Maine where you can see down 45 ft.
We passed the Jordan Pond Gatehouse–a gated lodge that served as an entrance to the carriage roads built to control access to the network of carriage paths. The lodge housed the gatekeeper who would allow access when a carriage or mounted rider would desire to pass through the gate and use the carriage road. There are two gatehouses in the park.
From there, we took a short side trip of 2.5 miles around Day Mountain (563 ft.) where we saw a horse-drawn carriage being pulled by a pair of Belgian horses.
We continued around the east side of Jordan Pond Loop for another 3.1 miles to Bubble Pond.
This beautiful bird was “fishing” in the pond. He was very interesting to watch.
On this segment of road, we passed 4 riders on horseback sharing the road with us.
All along the roads we traveled on today, we could see and hear water flowing from waterfalls and streams, over and through the rocks.
At the top of Bubble Pond, we connected again to the east side of the Eagle Pond Loop for the last 2.1 miles for a total of 14.4 miles today. The trails were quiet except for an occasional biker. There wasn’t any wildlife to speak of except for a few squirrels and some birds. Our ride today felt cooler in the forest with an occasional stop to view the scenery, eat our snack, or take a drink. By the end of our ride, the sun had come out and the temp had risen to 71. The fog had lifted from some of the low areas and the hilltops became visible.
We had to pull off our warm clothes to load the bikes. We were back at the campground around 1:30 to enjoy the sunshine with Auggie. Bob took the Jeep in to get the battery tested and ended up buying a new battery. The campground had emptied out quite a bit while we were gone, but new campers began arriving. We made plans to go out to dinner at 4:30 to Union River Lobster Pound.
John and Mary picked us up and we drove into Ellsworth to the restaurant. It was in a beautiful setting on the Union River.
The restaurant didn’t open until 5:00, so we had time to sit out by river and enjoy the scenery. Before the restaurant opened its doors, I was able to chat with the “man in charge of boiling the lobsters”. He was working outside among the bins of live lobsters.
We were the first in line to enter the restaurant and were seated in the screen porch area. We all enjoyed a good meal. Mary said she read that the blueberry pie was to die for, so I ordered a piece of blueberry pie-to-go. John and Mary enjoyed their slice of pie in the restaurant. They said it was good and I agree! (We ate ours when we got home.)
We left the restaurant and drove through downtown Ellsworth. It was a busy place on a Friday night.
We got back to the campsite and I took Auggie for a walk, while Bob covered the bikes for any rain we might have overnight. We made plans to do another bike ride in a different section of the park tomorrow.