Right to Ramble
Joseph Brant (1742-1807), leader and defender of the Mohawk people
Water poses a challenge at the outset at Airport and Hickory Roads for a few weeks in the spring before it dries up. That's the trail winding off to the west. March 8, 2009
Looking out from cottages between Norway's Road and Great Oak Lodge Lane to Telegraph Narrows. (Right click to get a larger image).
March 8, 2009
A quick snooze before moving on? A bed in a wrecked cottage between great Oak Lodge lane and Norway's Road on the abandoned railroad.
March 8, 2009
An old cottage looking out onto Telegraph Narrows and Big Bay, between Great Oak Lodge Lane and Norway's Road, on the abandoned rail line.
March 8, 2009
Clouds are reflected in the water covering the rail bed to the west of great Oak Lodge Lane. When I walked this on March 5, the ice was white and hard. Three days later, the meltdown had begun.
March 8, 2009
Lake Ontario Waterfront
Tyendinaga to Belleville
Tyendinaga:Just east of Deseronto along the lake waterfront is Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. The ancestors of the Mohawks who live here originally lived south of the lake.
The traditional name for the Mohawks is Kanien’kehake, which means People of the Flint. The British dubbed them "Mohawk" which comes from the Algonquian word Mohowauuck which means "man-eater."
A map (perhaps from around 1600), laying
out the original areas the natives inhabited
The Mohawk are divided into three clans: the turtle, the bear and the wolf. They were mostly farmers and trappers, but were also noted for their fierceness in war.
The Mohawk are part of a five-nation confederacy, which is so old it cannot be definitely dated. The other members of the confederacy are the Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas. The confederacy was formed to forge a peaceful coexistence between neighbouring nations; it's said to be one of the oldest democracies in the world.The Haudenosaunee Confederacy, called the League of Five nations by the British, means People of the Long House.
During the American Revolution, the Mohawk nation was an ally of the British. During this time, they were forced or decided to leave their homes south of the lake. Because of their allegiance to the British, they were given a number of tracts of land north of Lake Ontario. Today, they live in eight different communities, of which Tyendinaga is one (Information from Haudenausaunee.ca).
"Captain John Deserontyon, a Mohawk serving in the British army, selected land here on the shores of the Bay of Quinte." On May 22, 1784, he and about 20 families officially took over the territory, although there is evidence Mohawks had been living in the area for 150 years before this. The land was originally 92,700 acres, but today is reduced to about 18,000 through "land alienations and surrenders."
Tyendinaga comes from the word Thayendanegea, which, when literally translated, means "placing the wood together" in one now-defunct native website, or in several websites something like "he who bets or places two bets."
"Thayendanegea" was Captain Joseph Brant's Mohawk name.
Brant (1742-1807) was a fierce defender of his people and also fought with and for the British. He believed in the independence of his people and worked hard to secure land for them and to develop farming. Unfortunately, the British discouraged his independence and would not allow natives the same freedoms as settlers (See uppercanadahistory.ca for more. Much of the above information was from this site.)
There are now about 6,000 Mohawks in the Quinte bay area. About 2,200 live on the territory.
Airport Rd and Highway #49 to ShannonvilleTotal: 18.5 kilometres
Click here or on any photo for more photos of this section.
Johnson's Lane and Airport Road (Airport) to Airport Road and Hickory LaneTotal: 3.5 (along the shore)
Total:1.4 km (along the road).
When you reach the airport, you have a choice: you can continue along airport road to Hickory Road. That's 1.4 kilometres. Alternatively, you can cut south down Johnson's Lane. This is longer but more adventurous. However, you have to cross private land and it's very marshy. I only just made it on March 23, with some still-frozen ground to help me. Perhaps the walk would work with boots in mid-summer.
Before you walk anywhere, check out the dilapidated buildings just south of the airport on Johnson's Lane. They're falling down and empty for the most part, but it's worth a quick tour.
The road is straightforward. Head west past Gordon's Road, over the bridge to Hickory.
The shore route follows Johnson's lane south. When you reach the curve, you'll see a gate ahead of you. You can start bushwhacking here just beyond the gate, heading off to the right (west) to avoid the cottages by the shore as much as possible. With all the water, I had to use the road, but headed into the trees at a respectable distance. The marsh before you here is the toughest of the lot; if you can do this one, you're laughing for the rest.
Once through this wet section, slow down and enjoy the shoreline. There are a few gnarly trees here and the vegetation runs to the water. This continues, with periodic wet spots for about a kilometre, until you run into a couple of small cottages. Along this section, you will occasionally see rough and often faint double tracks that will make your progress easier.
Just past the cottages, start cutting north again through the scrub bush. There is a road running close to a house back from the shore, but you can avoid it by heading through the bush until you hit Gordon's Road. You have to head north again here to Airport Road unless you want to swim Sucker Creek. At Airport Road, you'll turn left, cross the bridge over Sucker Creek and half a kilometre later you'll meet Hickory Road heading south, and Airport Road curving north. (By the way, one of my topos — my Garmin Mapsouce Ibicus 2.0 — is seriously wrong here, so be careful. The free Ibicus 2.1 is more accurate.) The abandoned railroad can be clearly seen running off west in front of you.
Walked: March 23, 2009
Rating: Road bits: easy. Shore bits difficult (and perhaps only possible in winter)
Airport and Hickory roads to Great Oak Lodge Lane: the abandoned railroad.
Total: 4.8 km
I did this section three days after the section immediately following. A lot of changes can happen in three days as spring approaches. It’s something to be aware of in these sections. Temperature swing from below freezing to above freezing, with ponds rapidly melting and lots of runoff. It makes for a different walk every time.
The abandoned railroad can be clearly seen from the junction of Hickory and Airport roads. It heads eastward and somewhat southward. This walk may be possible in the summer, but there may still be some minor challenges with water. I caught it just in time, with the ice carrying me over a couple of sections, as I’ll describe. Nevertheless, the spring runoff made for some interesting walking. Be warned.
The sign at airport and Hickory roads, along with a Stop sign in Mohawk.
Airport Road winds off to the east. Photo: March 8, 2009
To get to the old railbed, I had to do some creek hopping right from the start. There was a fairly wide break I had to jump across. I had a bit of ice to help me. The only other way is to try to find a place where the water is running a little slower and shallower. (By March 23, this quickly-flowing stream was all but gone.)
Once on the bed and over a low (and dead) electric fence, the walking was easy. It’s pretty straight, but on grass, which softens the straightness. Several apple trees line the bed; at one point last fall’s apples still lay rotting on the ground.
After this, the trail moves through woods and here the first serious challenge presented itself: a channel too wide to jump, with water on all sides of the trail. After a brief attempt to make a bridge from fallen logs, I took a chance on the ice on the south side of the bed, where the water was flowing slightly less. Using my expedition poles to test as I went, I found a reasonably solid path. The ice was at the point where you can delineate black (and dangerous) ice from white and more solid ice. A break through the ice would probably have landed me in about two feet of water.
Once through this, the landscape opens to fields to the north and marshy land to the south. There are signs of cattle here.
A second water channel has some serious barbwire blocking the way, but a couple of dozen feet to the south, the fence has collapsed, so it was easy to skirt around it. The ice helped me here also; it was still holding up in the ponds near the bed.
A third very straight runoff creek running fairly fast had me working hard and moving quite a bit south to find a place to ford it safely. The width was just a couple of feet too wide to jump. Again, the frozen earth made it a bit easier; when it turns to mud, it could be very difficult.
From this point it was easy going. The bed now drops below the field level, but it was easy to move to a berm to the south that rides above the wet and takes you almost to Norway’s Road and the 3 km point.
There’s a wire fence at Norway's Road, but someone has opened a space to step through easily. On the other side of the road, the trail gets muddy and a few dozen feet in there’s a pile of dirt that needs to be climbed. The trail runs high over wooded sections, with fields not far beyond to the north.
Soon a metal building belonging to Quinte Bay Contract Flooring comes into sight through the trees, square in the middle of the trail. The trail, by the way, is periodically slightly overgrown with small trees. You can drop down off the trail to the right, cross the road and skirt around the building to where the trail picks up again. Very shortly, you’ll come to another drop in the trail, this time (in spring anyway) with another runoff creek to negotiate. I used a big piece of floating ice to quickly step across. Once on the other side, you’re into a small cottage zone. Most of the cottages are in extreme disrepair or have collapsed. There are also a few old trailers strewn about.
I met a couple here. Neither were from the area. The woman was busy photographing the decayed buildings. I wandered through a few buildings, then went to test the ice off the shore to see if I could safely skirt a pretty active creek and inlet cutting through the cottage zone. The ice was safe. However, later in the season, the only way to safely cross this section would be to walk up to the Ridge Road, which is not very far to the north at this point, and use the bridge.
The bed continues beyond the first set of cottages. A second set of cottages are better ordered and preserved; people were moving about on one of the properties. The trail runs behind their cottages and shortly thereafter two roads head north to the Ridge Road that runs just to the north. The road at this point is hard, with a cinder base, but beyond the cottages, it returns to grass. As it moves back to wooded area, a small ad hoc dump has been created, with stoves and washing machines tilting into the water on the south side of the trail. It’s unfortunate, because immediately after that is a grand old oak spreading across the trail. It’s necessary to duck under it to get through. Then it’s an easy walk, again with fields peeking through to the north and a lot of water amongst the trees to the south.
A house appears to the north through the trees and a rough road crosses the trail. There’s an old farm tiller subsiding back to the earth here. Shortly afterward, there’s another stream coursing across the trail. This one would have been pretty impossible to ford. Luckily a long railroad-tie sized piece of timber stretches across the water here, making the crossing easy – and fun.
Keep left when you get off the log and skirt the pile of dirt to get back to the trail. In a minute’s time, you’ll meet Great Oak Lodge Lane.
Left: A foot's-eye view of a log bridge crossing a stream just east ofGreat Oak Lodge Lane. By the way, some of the lanes in this area
are not marked on any of my available maps, including topos and
Google maps. March 8, 2009
Walked; March 8, 2009Rating: (Interesting stuff here if you like a challenge.) Difficult
Great Oak Lodge Lane to Bluff and Trident points to Beach Road
Total, Bluff and Trident points route: 5.5 km
Total, abandoned railroad shortcut: 2.3 km
You can significantly shorten this bit by continuing the abandoned railroad from Great Oak Lodge Lane, cutting off both Bluff and Trident points. The railroad is a bit straight, but a good walk across grass. The marsh will be on your left, and fields will spread out to the road to the north. I did this with solid ice to carry me across the wet bits, so it was an easy walk. In warmer weather, I think there may be insurmountable water to cross, at least just after Great Oak Lodge Lane.
Once on the trail and past some initial brush, the view of the lake and the marsh was good; if you’ve already walked Bluff and Trident points, you’ll recognize some spots on the shore. As you get closer to Beach Road, the trail twists a bit. There have been cattle in these woods/fields. You’ll pass through a gate onto the road that leads on the left to Trident Point or straight on to Beach Road. A 500 metre walk will get you to Beach Road.
A much more satisfying walk will take you around Bluff and Trident Points. I walked the railroad westward, but took in the two points on my outward journey. However, I’ll relate it heading westward here.
Head down Great Oak Lodge Lane from the abandoned railroad. It winds around a bit and a road heads off to your right. As you get closer to the water, you’ll see houses on your left. The road leads between houses almost to the water. At the one kilometre point, you’ll be at the lakeshore at Bluff Point.
Trident Point will be off to the west and Big Bay beyond that, which is part of the much larger Bay of Quinte. Across the water on your right as you look out is Quinte Point, the northernmost part of Big Island, tenuously attached to Prince Edward County by marshland. On your left is the (almost) island of Prince Edward County.
Drink this in. You’re on private land, so probably won’t get too much of a chance to catch this view too often.
It would be possible to walk the little roads between the houses to get to the westernmost house on Bluff Point and avoid walking on the ice. The actual shore has a steep bluff at one point and it’s unlikely you could slide along the shore the entire way. The ice was very solid on the day I walked this bit, so from the end of the road, I walked along the ice to just past the last house to a point where I could walk up, keeping a respectful distance from the house.
From there, a bit of bushwhacking through scrub and trees will get you to the edge of a marsh. This section would be impossible in any time but winter, unless you have hip waders or fancy a bit of swimming. In winter it’s a cinch to walk across the mouth of the marsh; it’s very safe when the ice is thick and there are lots of open routes to take. The marsh stretches back to the abandoned railroad, so it’s something to deal with any time but winter.
On the west side of the creek, you’ll have to skirt an electric fence before coming upon some grand old trees at the water’s edge, followed by a few trees and open stretches, before the landscape opens right out into field and swamp. There are signs of cattle here. The walking in winter is easy, over grass and frozen marsh and along the shore. In warmer weather, this would be a muddy section, but it was good and solid in early March. A lone fish hut sat on the shore and there are lots of signs of humans here: the occasional old tire, plastic containers and vehicle tracks. Mine were the only footprints along the shore.
At Trident Point, there is a single tree, and a duck blind. A little beyond that there is a small beach made entirely of shells; obviously a popular spot for gulls. The thousands of bleached and broken shells were impressive. Trident Point is about 2.5 km from Bluff Point, walking along the shore.
Just beyond the shell beach is a fence that is easy to walk around from the water’s edge. Several cottages dot the waterfront here and the road winds behind them. Follow the road until it establishes itself a bit more beyond the last cottage and turns away from the shore. You’ll wind about for 1.5 kilometres from Trident Point, where the road takes a sharp left. On the right is a gate and the abandoned railroad heads off to the east. Another 500 metres gets you to Beach Road, just east of the mouth of Marysville Creek.
Walked: March 5, 2009
Total: 5.1 kilometres.
stretch to Tom’s Road (also
Tom’s Road, it’s a straightforward and not particularly
exciting walk into Shannonville, turning right into
Rating: Easy. some interesting houses.
Walked: June 15, 2005