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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Railroad or Road?

Can you believe that I discovered something new on my North Country Trail section this week? It's true. I guess I'd never hiked it at the exact right time of year with no leaves, and/or maybe with the light right for me to see it. Or maybe I was simply being unobservant.

At any rate, I found a worked road or railroad bed that cuts across that section of the trail. But what is it? I'm afraid that in the pictures you can't really see much of what is obvious when you are there. Well, not so obvious, I guess, since I've walked this piece probably 50 times, and never saw it before.

Here is the trail, going straight up the middle of the picture. I've marked the other grade in yellow.

grade crossing a trail

When you stand in the trail and look SW (to the lower left of the picture), there is clearly a cut made for some sort of transportation. I've marked the edges of the cut in white.

road cut

When you stand in the trail and look NE (to the upper right of the picture), there is clearly a raised berm. I had to step down off the trail beside the berm to get it to show up in a picture. I've marked the edges of the berm in magenta.

road berm

This looks like a railroad grade. Roads were seldom cut or built up that substantially to level them. They usually just wandered up and down unless there was some serious need to bench them into a side hill or get out of the wet.

But, here's the thing. I have a map of the historical rail lines in Lake County. This is not one of them.

I have looked at county maps, the forest service map, and the USGS topo map. This corridor does not show on any of them.

That being said, there are a lot of dashed-line roads on the historical rail map, and there is a possibility it shows on that. I'd need to follow it some more and see if it makes the indicated turns. Sounds like a fun adventure! And then... what will I know? I'm not sure. If it leads to the railroad grade (where we fixed those bridges yesterday) does that indicate it was a very temporary logging spur? A skid road? I think I'll need to talk to the Lake County Historical Society again.

I do love mysteries like this!

In other news: I worked on updating one of my web sites most of the day. I also went to the grocery store. Currently, I think this is the most risky behavior I engage in. It was busy, and I was very glad to get out of there and wash up.

See Boards, Blazing, and Bugs


Jeff said...

In this part of the country, you often find old pilings of logging railroad trestles that haven't been used in a 100 years. I am sure many of those were never seriously surveyed and may have only been used for a season or two. Good find!


Ann said...

If anyone can figure this out, you can. I hope you let us know what you discover

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