Thursday, May 12, 2016

ABANDONED WITCH HOLE POND TRAIL

Sorry if you read this earlier and saw the somewhat confusing map I had put up of this newly discovered abandoned trail, which I am calling the Witch Hole Pond Trail.  Being an abandoned or ghost trail, it has no trail markings or trail head, but on a return trip back to the area we discovered something just as good as a trail head.

WITCH HOLE POND - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
As the Witch Hole Pond Carriage Road turns away from Witch Hole Pond, it follows the edge of a marsh for a very short ways uphill, before turning away from the marsh.  Right in front of you, there will be three different carriage road sign posts, the one closest to you has a well worn trail that begins right next to it - that is the abandoned Witch Hole Pond Trail.


WITCH HOLE POND TRAIL - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK


CASCADES OF WITCH HOLE BROOK - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK


Years ago there was old roads and hiking trails all throughout this area, but all were abandoned over time, the old roads replaced with the Carriage Roads and the Hiking trails left to fade into time.
This abandoned trail once ran all the way to the pond's edge and than followed the pond looping around it.  A vanishing section of the trail around one edge of Witch Hole Pond can still be followed today for a short distance.
So the very first of the three sign posts is key to finding the start of the trail.  It goes into the woods a very short ways before coming to an intersection, turn right and head toward the marsh.  The trail left goes a very short ways back to the carriage road.

DIRT PULL OVER BEFORE PARK LOOP ROAD SPLITS

TRAIL COMES OUT BY PARK LOOP ROAD - DIRT PULL OVER TO LEFT

You quickly come to a second intersection, go left, and keep following the edge of the marsh.  The trail right goes a very short ways back to the carriage road.


Even though I just discovered it, it is clear by how worn it is that the abandoned trail is very much in use today by locals, and no doubt park staff wanting quick access to the Witch Hole Pond area.
As you make your way along the trail there is a hill over looking the trail and old maps show where 3 to 4 houses were once located up on that hill.  We did some exploring and were able to locate only one sunken foundation.  I recall reading that back than some of those houses were nothing more than log cabins.


We went down the back side of that hill and came to an old dirt road which we followed through the woods - it came to a large marsh I had never seen before.  The dirt road kept following the edge of the marsh but water from the marsh along with thick brush soon over took the old road and we could not follow it any further.

WITCH HOLE POND - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
WITCH HOLE POND CARRIAGE ROAD - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
SUNSET - WITCH HOLE POND - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK







Saturday, May 7, 2016

ABANDONED HOUSE OF EAGLE LAKE

It was on another site that I stumbled upon a story of an abandoned house that was located somewhere near Eagle Lake, the exact location was not given but a combination of photos merged into one was posted along with the story.  I copied the photo and took a few days to study it, and soon realized the abandoned house was actually right up close to the edge of eagle Lake.  But where along the shore?
I did what I usually do in these cases and reached for my collection of old maps,  because I knew they would hold a clue or two, it was just a matter of studying the maps and ruling out certain areas.  Within short order I noticed a old road had run along one side of eagle Lake many long years ago, before there was an Acadia national Park.  The road ran through the woods and ended at the waters edge.  Could that be the road that led to the lost house?  I was betting it was, and packed up my cameras and headed out to track down the house, or what remained of it.


The other site had said the house had begun to be built, but for whatever reason construction was stopped, but the huge stone foundation with its wide arches was left in place.  The site went on to say the Bar harbor Water company might of ordered a halt to the construction of the house because the house was being built too close to the towns drinking water supply.
First thing first, me and my son Dillon first tried to locate the old road, no luck, over the years it had become so over grown we could  not find any signs of it.  At a later date, we did find some traces of that road.  But on this day, with no signs of the old road, we could only walk along the Eagle Lake carriage road to a point at about where we thought the house might be, than walked through the woods to the edge of the lake.



 From there was followed the lake, as it turned out, our guess was pretty good and we soon saw the walls of the foundation come into view up on a small knoll.
It was a majestic sight to behold, setting there close to the water with its large stone arches looking out across the water.  No matter how many of these you do, you can't help but get a rush every time you locate an abandoned trail or a hidden gem, as this surely was.
Of course, once we located it and documented it, the next problem was finding a way to use natural markers to help guide others to the location.  That was not an easy task at first because i was use to doing this for abandoned trails, not lost foundations. 
For me, the obvious choice for a marker was a dry drain ditch right before the unmarked path to where the house was at one time being constructed.  But there are many such drain ditches.  Than as I stood by the drain ditch and stared down the carriage road, I suddenly realized the answer was right in front of me.  Not far from the drain ditch was a retaining wall built of stones.  Sure, there was square blocks of granite in many places along the carriage road, but on this side of the lake, this was the only place where there was such a retaining wall.  With that information I went to work mapping out the area.



Eagle Lake - Acadia National Park
The next question to was who was building the house and why was construction suddenly stopped.  I researched this and found a number of "it might of been," but might of been was not a good answer, so I continued to dig away for the answer.  The research paid off one evening as I was reading The Trails Of history.  In it, the book states that a unnamed family who summered here had purchased some land on the edge of the lake and had begun to built a house.  It states that it was George B. Dorr who approached the family and asked that they stop construction of their house. 
UPDATE;
I now know the name of the person who was building that house along the side of Eagle Lake,  according to a website Maine, Parks and Natural Attractions, it was Philip Livingston who owned land along the side of the lake and was building a house.  It states that George B. Dorr joined the Bar Harbor Water company and began buying up land around the lake until the entire lake was protected from development.
A question I have always had is this, was George Dorr officially connected to the water company, or merely aiding them in buying up the land around the lake?  This newest piece does not really answer that, it simply states he joined them  and helped them buy up the land.  So thanks to Mr. dorr, this house was started, but never finished.



 .The family agreed to stop construct of the house, but left what had been constructed in place along the edge of the lake.  This is not to say the Bar Harbor water company was not in some way behind Dorr approaching the family, and I believe I read someplace that Mr. Dorr had connections to the water company.  But one has to also believe there was far more behind Dorr approaching the family with his plea, because Mr. Dorr had visions for the land and we all know what those visions were.
Dorr, fresh off his success of talking the family out of not building their home along the lake, quickly moved to have legislation put in place to forever protect such waters as Eagle lake, Bubble pond and Jordon pond.

This was not the only construction that had taken place on the shore of Eagle lake, a few buildings had been constructed in the area where the current boar landing is located, and the Green Mountain Railroad company had constructed a dock and pier not too far away.  The pier for the railroad company was located on a narrow section of land that sticks out onto the lake not far from a wooden bridge.  there was a number of large wooden buildings near the pier, one housed waiting passengers waiting for the train, another housed the two cog trains used to carry passengers up and down the mountain side.  I only mention this here because it gives you an idea of what was going on along the shore of Eagle lake at the time the house was being built, though I have not been able to determine how close to the construction of those other building's was to the start of the construction of the house.
One approach to this stone foundation with its wide arches is to begin at the Bubble Pond park lot.  Cross the road and head down the carriage road across from the parking lot, that carriage  road runs around the entire length of eagle Lake.  Follow the carriage road to the right when you come to an intersection, before long you will come to a wooden bridge.  Just as a side note, the railroad tracks and the railway station where once located just past that wooden bridge.  A thin piece of land sticks out onto the lake in that area and that was the location of the pier and the buildings used by the Green Mountain Railroad Company - you can read more in my blog on the railroad.  The body of water the bridge crosses has a nice little water fall a short ways  in to the right, and the train tracks crossed the brook right there in front of that water fall.
So once you cross the bridge, you don't have too much further to go before you come to the retaining wall pictured in the photo.  Continue to walk until you come to the far end of the retaining wall.  Now walk a short ways looking for a small drainage ditch on the left hand side of the road.  The unmarked path to the foundation is right there maybe three feet past the drainage ditch.  Depending when you visit the site, there may be some tree branches tossed across the path,  just walk around them and continue to follow the well worn path.


GREEN MOUNTAIN
RAILROAD TRAIL
(Lower Section)

Wooden Bridge by Lake
latitude     44 21' 32"N
longitude   68 14' 42"W
Shallow Gully begins
latitude     44 21' 33"N
longitude  68 14' 39"W
half way point
latitude     44 21' 33"N
longitude   68 14' 35"W
Pull Over
latitude     44 21' 33"N
longitude   68 14' 29"W

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

THE SINGING WATERFALL

Today we once again entered the forest of Acadia National Park, not in a quest of an abandoned or lost trail but to simply see what nature would offer us, and nature did not disappoint.

CASCADING WATERS LINE THE ROUTE
Over the years I have followed this same stream and never saw the views it offered up today.  In part that is because we always followed this stream moving along its right bank, today we moved along its left bank and for the first time saw views that were hidden from the other side.
And as we made our way along the stream the views only kept getting that much better, views that you won't come across from the comfort of your car or biking a carriage road, nor hiking an established hiking trail for that matter.  Some of the most beautiful places in the park lie like diamonds in the rough and to find them you have to have a sense of adventure and go off trail to locate them.



The waters from the mountain spill down the mountainside into this quiet pool of water, I think on a hot summer day I might just return here to take a dip in the cool shade of the surrounding tree's.





So the above photo is a built up wall that you come to shortly after entering the woods to follow the stream uphill.  In the past we have come here and sat while listening to the singing stream rush past as it moves downhill and passes beneath the Park Loop Road.  So exactly where do you find this stream with its many cascades and waterfalls?

Bubble Pond - Waterfall - Acadia National Park


It's the same direction  as for the Green Mountain Railroad trail pretty much.  Drive along the park loop road in the direction of Bubble pond and Jordan Pond.  Once you come to the Cadillac Summit road keep driving past it and continue on past the first pull over on the right.  Stop at the second pull over and park.  Now walk back up the road back in the direction you just came for a short ways, to where a fast moving stream passes through the woods and under the roadway.  You will want to enter the woods on the left hand side of the stream, as some of the best views can't be seen from the other side.

To reach the area with the nice pool of water and the waterfall you do not need to go in too far, as you can at see the road from the falls.. 


I have returned to this waterfall time and again, usually right after a heavy rain, and the view and peacefulness of the water rushing down those huge slabs of granite never gets old.   Some one emailed me and asked if the large pool of water beneath the waterfall was deep enough to swim in, and I can tell you the water is crystal clear as it can be and fairly deep.  If your a poet and want to get those poetic juices flowing, than pull up a rock and set a spell by this waterfall  and the words will soon be flowing off the tip of your pen.

WATERFALL - CADILLAC MOUNTAIN - ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
CASCADING WATERFALL

Pull Over
latitude       44 21' 32"N
longitude     68 14' 28"W
enter woods at
latitude        44 21' 34"N
longitude      68 14' 27"W
To side of brook
latitude        44 21' 34"N
longitude      68 14' 26"W
waterfall
latitude        44 21' 34"N
longitude      68 14' 25"W




SOUNDS OF NATURE - WITCH HOLE BROOK