Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A Fainting Spell, Little Hogdon Pond and the Ornate Duck Brook Bridge

Monday-Wednesday July 31- August 2, 2017                                                   Most Recent Posts:
Acadia National Park                                                                                         Big Day – 3 Peaks, 3 Bridges
Mount Desert Island, Maine                                                                              Loons and Electric Cars




On Monday morning we decided to use some of our blueberries to make pancakes.  YUM!



Unfortunately right after I took this picture of David enjoying them, he slumped down on his seat and passed out.   Having gone through this result of low blood pressure at least twice before, I didn’t panic but tried to wake him up before concluding that I should call 911.   I had the phone i n my hand when on the 4th try,  I was able to get him to open his eyes and though dazed and tired for the rest of the day, he seemed fine.  He finished his pancakes which helped me know that he was going to be OK.  Just another part of living with illness on the road.  He does look a little faint in this picture now that I look at it closely.





IMG_9785After resting all day yesterday and a good night’s sleep David says he’s feeling fine and wants to go out for a paddle.  I choose a small pond just north of Seal Cove Pond where we were recently and around 7:15 we launch onto Hogdon Pond.

Hogdon is a nice little pond, 35 acres, with relatively warm water where one can put in a boat, swim from the larger rocks and fish.  The western side is private with a number of houses but the eastern shore is within Acadia National Park.

The put in is just over a small bridge off of Rt 102 on a dirt fire road.  There is very limited parking so come early.  The launch area is shallow and the water plants are taking over.



A narrow reedy path leads to the bigger area of the pond.




There are a number of female mallards as I paddle through the channel of reeds. 





Damsel flies are abundant.





David gets this wonderful picture of a turtle I did not see.


The launch end of the pond has lots of water lilies.  It isn’t until we paddled further up nearer the houses on the western (left) side and assumedly the deeper area, that we came to truly open water.  The pond is only 22 feet deep at the deepest so all the lillies and plants are no surprise.









On the east  side of the pond is the park land with the rocks and trees down to the water.  It’s really lovely and a beautiful view for the houses across the pond.






I suspect these are the swimming rocks.  The water gets to be in the 70’s during the summer so perhaps in the afternoon the folks who live here enjoy swimming off their docks and day visitors swim from these rocks.



There are a fair number of people from the houses coming down to their docks by the time we are nearly back to our launch site.  We’re thinking either these are owner occupied summer cottages or cottage rentals since it is Monday morning.  Sweet place to spend the summer, especially during a really hot one like this year.




The pickerel weed is in bloom and the closeup may be the best picture I’ve ever taken of it.  It’s a native acquatic plant that grows from Canada to Argentina.  The pinkish Meadowsweet is common in Acadia and is in bloom just behind the large rock.











Can you see David among the reflections along the shore?








Along the eastern side is the incoming stream that feeds the pond.   Not much water in it this time of year.






After paddlilng around the entire edge of the pond we are back to the lillies and the entrance lane..





The take out is just to the left of this bridge which allows the water from Hogdon Pond to flow into Seal Cove Pond when water levels are high.  But not today. 



David is in the water after me but out before and gets this picture from the top of the slope we must drag the kayaks up to reach Ruby.  The bridge in the picture above is to my right in the picture below.





I get a rather late start on my hike today to visit Duck Brook Bridge in order to check it off on my quest to visit all the Carriage Road Bridges.  As you can see from the map, I could drive there up Duck Brook road but what fun would that be?  

I get a late start not because I am get up late this morning but because David has the car for his infusion in Brewer and the park bus doesn’t stop at Narrows Too Campground until 9am.   To pass the time before the bus, I make a pot of vegetable soup for dinner.

The 9am bus takes me to Bar Harbor in 35 minutes.  In Bar Harbor I only have to wait 10 minutes to board the Jordan Pond bus at 9:45 which gets me to the Visitor Center at 9:55.  2 hours after I left the campground.  The distance traveled is about 9 miles. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the buses and wouldn’t be able to do much without them on Wednesdays.   I really like to ride them and have done so just to do it.   I just wish they’d pick me up at 7am instead of 9 so I could get to the Carriage road from the VC parking or to any trail head a lot earlier. 

As you can see from the map, I plan to go to Witch Hole Pond and then on around toward Breakneck Ponds and then to Duck Brook Bridge and back.  I’m on the quest to see all 16 carriage road bridges.




After getting off the second bus, I take the connector trail from the VC Parking lot to the first carriage road marker.




It’s a long up hill climb on the gravel road that gets steeper and steeper.  I don’t envy the bicyclists who’ve parked in the VC parking lot.




Here’s where I’d be in trouble if I didn’t have a map. Notice the sign – Duck Bridge one way, Witch Hole the other. What to do? That’s why you need a carriage road map. Obviously I could do either one and it would work out fine but in some situations on the carriage roads that is not the case.

Where does the name Witch Hole come from? Apparently no one knows. It’s just been there since the early 1800’s. There are several stories but none of them are sensible according to local historians.





The feeder road intersects directly in front of Witch Hole Pond.  I walk along the road beside the pond and take a short trail over to the shore. 










The road continues on around the pond.




Witch Hole pond is an especially quiet spot inaccessible by car and thus visited only by bikers and hikers on the carriage roads.  Horses are prohibited on this section of the carriage roads.  Judging from the water plants it isn’t very deep.  I later discover that it is only slightly smaller than Hogdon at 28 acres to Hogdon’s 35 and is actually deeper at 33 feet to Hogdon’s 22.  It would be a real task to get a boat here for paddling.





The carriage road is lined with what are known as Rockefeller’s Teeth and it goes by a couple of smaller ponds that aren’t on my map.





IMG_0051I’m about half way around my five mile hike when I come to the bridge.  Duck Brook Bridge spans a deep ravine and is the tallest and possibly the most ornate carriage bridge with three arches and four turret-style viewing platforms at the top.   It was also the most expensive Rockefeller bridge to build.  Noted local landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand oversaw a complex planting plan to "frame" and accentuate the bridge.  Unfortunately, these plantings were destroyed in the 1947 fire which swept over much of Mount Desert Island and never replaced.

Because of the spance of the ravine, Duck Brook is a long bridge.  There are two sets of stairs, one at either end, that will take you down so you can walk beneath the arches.





The two side arches are taller but not as wide as the center arch.



There are two turrets on each side.  One between each side arch and the center arch.







After walking back and forth through the arches, I take the far steps back up to walk back across the bridge and see the turrets and view from the top.




Cars and bicyclists are coming from Duck Brook Road.  There is parking along the road but there is no parking lot so when the road side spaces are full you have to turn around and make another plan.  The road is blocked off just beyond the bridge.



I stand in one of the turrets and look down to Duck Brook below where people are picnicking on the rocks.  The water is quite low.






As I pass off the bridge to walk back I see the date on the end cap.   Built the year of the stock market crash.




IMG_0070Time to continue on.  This end of the bridge connects to the carriage road  at post #5 which won’t mean anything if you don’t have a map.  The post says you can go either way to Witch Hole Pond.  I know which way I’ve come from and I’m walking all the way around so I know which way to go.  But if you are coming from Duck Brook Road on your bike, you’ll be confused without a map.  If you look back at the map at the top of this section of the post, you see what I mean. I’ve just come from #4 to #5 but I’m headed for #3.  Confused?  

Actually I’m rather tired of the crunch crunch of the gravel of the carriage roads and want to have some dirt under my feet so I take the path beside the signs.


For a while, I can see the carriage road on my right beside the the path.  And when I can’t, I trust there will be a way to get back to it rather than lost.



It’s really nice to be in the woods again.



But I know blueberries require sun and they are just about finished so I’ll only find them along the road.  Reluctantly when the path turns left again, I turn right back to the road.   In no time I’ve found the berries and spend some time eating and putting them in the bag I’ve brought along.



I’m actually amazed at how many they are.  Most people bike the carriage roads and don’t see them so low to the ground.  Just another reason to walk.




Eventually I return to post #2 and the spur road that indicates Hulls Cove and the visior center are to my right.



After a short up hill, I finish with a long down hill to the parking lot and the bus.



At the visitor center bus stop, there is a line with each section giving the name of the bus which stops there.  4 buses in all come here.  Bar Harbor and the VC are the two hubs.  It seems I’ve just missed a bus back to town so I take a seat and wait.




The bus comes and returns me to Bar Harbor where I treat myself to an ice cream cone and pick up some home made sourdough bread from the Morning Glory Bakery on Cottage Street.  I think it will be great to have with the soup.



It’s been a good day for me with a five mile hike,  blueberries, a bridge checked off , an errand run in Bar Harbor,  an ice cream for desert before dinner and I’m back home before 2:00.  Ain’t life grand!


  1. Wonder if your 9 mile hike the previous day had anything to do with David passing out? That must be a scary situation.
    Your day sounds great but I can't believe you did all of that by 2:00!

  2. I'm so glad David was ok. So scary to have him pass out on you. Do you guys have a blood pressure cuff? Somehow I'm sure you do. Hope he's doing better now.

  3. I don't know how you stay calm. Hope David is back up to snuff. Nice hike as usual. Like the bridges.

  4. Those blood sugar crashes are so scary, but fortunately the recovery is pretty quick. I add fresh walnuts to our blueberry pancakes although I don't have berries I picked myself! Love the pic of David in the kayak along the rocks. That Duck Brook Bridge is very fancy with its turrets and multi-arches.

  5. David certainly doesn't look good in that photo. So glad he rallied and was good to paddle the next day. I love the beautiful reflections in that calm water. Such a pretty photo with the pickerel weed and pinkish meadowsweet:) I'm so glad you are out to see every bridge. This one is a beauty! Love turrets. Nice hike with sweet rewards at the end:)

  6. Glad David rallied and was feeling well enough to do a paddle around. I love all the carriage bridges you have visited and this last one is great.

  7. David never ceases to amaze us...he is determined to do all he can do!!! But it has to be difficult for you when he has the rough patches!!! Glad all worked out well and you could get back to enjoying your time in Maine:o)) Great photos of Duck Brook Bridge...it's a beauty!!!

  8. You sure got your money's worth in Maine this summer. Hope things are going okay now and you are enjoying fall in Virginia.

  9. Good that David bounced back... :)
    Not much color for fall that far north...

  10. Fortunate that David was feeling better by the next day. Wonderful shots!

  11. Thanks for taking us on another paddle and hike.

    Glad to read David bounced back after what must be scary to deal with.

    Hope things are going well, for you both, wherever you are now enjoying this wonderful fall .

    Celebrating the Dance

  12. David is a real trooper to carry on despite his health challenge. I admire him and how he keeps on going making the Energizer Bunny look lazy. ;c)

    The bridges are amazing, nothing like that would ever be constructed today, modern bridges probably wouldn't last as long, either.

  13. I keep forgetting that you are writing about a time period not close up. Hope David is still doing well. Seems kinda scary, and glad it all worked out well. Curious where you are now? Hoping it is in the line for fall color and Mark mentioned.

  14. That must have been a very scary moment with David. Glad he was able to recover and go for a paddle the very next day. Thanks for sharing the beauty of Maine. Oh, and those blueberry pancakes certainly looked delicious!

  15. You two have explored Acadia like no others I know. Sherry, the photos are always amazing and make me want to return. Scudic Point? has been my favorite of all the places. So glad David was not alone when his event happened. He truly amazes me with his determination to keep going. Think of both of you very often and know this is a difficult challenge. Still thinking about blueberry pie!

  16. We've been to Duck Brook Bridge. It's beautiful and looks like a work of art. Have to talk to David about passing out. That's a bit scary. I have a friend who passed out and was in a neck brace for 6 months after hitting his head on a tub. Hope he's talked with his doctors about it.

  17. Thanks very much to my caretaker that she was there when I needed a little care, which is infrequent but not quite never. I don't see any sugar connection but most likely a blood pressure drop when I went from standing to sitting, so a dose adjustment to a BP med was in order and seems to be better for me. Glad you had such a full day on my clinic day!

  18. So glad you're doing well, David. Must be unnerving when it happens, though. I'm sure those delicious looking blueberry pancakes helped to revive you! :-)) Such a gorgeous paddle you two did the following day. I love the translucent wings of the damselflies. You have explored every gorgeous bit of Acadia -- one of these days we're going to be following in your footsteps.

  19. Wow, hope David continues to do better. You got a lot accomplished in your day without a car.

  20. Glad Dad was ok! I love the damsel fly picture! Lovely hike and bridges-those blueberries look delicious...in pancakes and out!!

  21. Glad David is okay. What a scary thing to happen. Yummy looking pancakes!


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