Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Winter Walking Fun

On the last blog entry, I told you about parking in Montezuma and taking a walk east along the old canal. This time, I want to tell you about heading west along the canal. So park at the Chapman Road parking lot near the canal and head out to the right (west) on the berm side (south) of the canal. It is the side with the power lines.

As you walk, notice that the is curving around a hill. The builders were using the hill for fill, so they cut the hill down and used the spoils to build up the embankment out on the swamps. You will see this as you get further along.

Continue walking, and I will warn you that it is not as easy a walk as the towpath side. The ATV's and power line trucks have it quite rutted up and you need to walk around a bunch of puddles if it is warm. That is why winter time can be a good time. You are going to notice a small hill, a drumlin, and then the landscape will flatten out as the hills give way to the swamps. At the base of the hill, you will see the remains of the old Montezuma Fibre Company, circa 1906-1913. This company used cattails to make a fibre mash that was made into heavy weight paper. It is a nice place to walk around the concrete walls and try to image what happened here over 100 years ago. This business used the canal to ship materials and products.

Then you have an option. You can follow the trails around the base of the hill and you will find the trail up to the top of the drumlin. Once you get to the top, you will see the hollow of the reservoir that someone dug into the hill to store water for the fibre making process. Since the trees have grown so high, you don't get much of a view. Then walk down the front slope of the hill back to the canal.

Or you can continue west along the canal and view the aqueduct remains from the south side. If the river is froze, you can walk down along the shore and make a close up inspection of the stonework. Sometimes you can walk down under the arches if the river is low enough. But do be careful. The river ice can be very tricky and quite fragile to walk on. Test your steps before putting all your weight onto the ice. I like to carry a stick to poke my way about. And don't do this if the river is high. It is too dangerous. Wait till the water is low and then poke your way along the ice chunks.

Well, then you can walk back to Chapman Road, having had a splendid time along the canal in Montezuma.

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