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The TransCanada, and Trail of Two Lakes Trails from West Huntingdon Review
14 kms North of the 401 on Hwy # 62 at Belleville, will bring you to Tuftsville Rd. 1.5 kms along Tuftsville will bring you to the trailhead. This link will open Google Maps at the trail head :
The TransCanada Trail from Tuftsville Rd (Madoc Junction) to Goods Rd (4.7 kms one – way)
This trail starts from Tuftsville Rd. just West of Madoc Junction, running together with the Trail of Two Lakes. About 250 meters North, it splits off to the West, and will take you to Goods Rd.
While there are some cultivated fields and pasture land visible on occasion, you’ll quickly be distracted by the first of three bridges to be crossed on this trail. This first bridge was interesting as it had no iron superstructure supporting it, just huge old timbers. There wasn’t much water under it, so I think it was just to level out the track for the trains.
Soon after, you’ll come across a lovely beaver pond that was alive with all sorts of frog noises, turtles, and gigantic tadpoles. The feeling of seclusion and the silence (other than the wildlife) made this a pleasant spot to just stand and take it all in.
Not far past the pond, you’ll cross the second bridge with a fair sized river running under it. This one had a typical iron structure with the usual giant rivets holding it together. There were still huge timbers and ties over the metal frame though. This bridge was a fair piece higher than most railway bridges we’ve seen around here, providing a nice view of the water and surrounding wetlands.
A little ways further on through a nice blend of open sky and canopied trail, you’ll hit the third, and last bridge on this stretch of trail. Constructed of the same materials as the last one, this one is also quite high, which made it’s need for maintenance the more noticeable. I’m certainly not implying that it’s unsafe. Not in the least. But the view, straight down between rotted out sections was slightly creepy … in a fun and harmless way. If anything, all it did was give me a renewed respect for the people who built these things when the railroad was the only way in or out.
From this final bridge to Goods Rd. the sound of Ridge Rd. (Cty 8) becomes rather audible. Not enough to spoil the walk, but enough that you’ll notice it. There is a spot where you can view the river running beside the berm trail on your way to Goods Rd. just past the bridge too.
The Final Take on the TransCanada Trail
This 4.7 km (one – way) rail trail is very unusual in that twists and winds all over the countryside. It’s flat and easy walking of course, and wide enough for two to walk side by side. The base is crushed stone and compacted soil as old berms always are. It also has a nice blend of open sunny stretches, and shady, canopied lengths. As for interesting viewing … a secluded, lively beaver pond, and not one, not two, but three bridges? C’mon, it doesn’t get any better than that.
As for wildlife, well the riot of activity at the pond notwithstanding, we interrupted a fisher weasel chowing down on his lunch, right on the trail. Then, we spotted a rose breasted grosbeak picking away at something on the trail ahead of us. As we sat having our lunch, a pair of deer wandered down the trail, but vanished into the bush when they saw us.
This is a multi use trail and we did see a coupla ATVs , but the weirdest thing we saw (which I’ve never seen before, anywhere), was a sign stating that there were “legally set lethal traps” with the warning to “avoid pet tragedy, stay on main trail, CONTROL YOUR PETS”.
I’d like to meet whoever erected that sign … while walking my pet Bengal tiger.
Have a nice walk,
p.s. I don’t really have a pet Bengal tiger
The Trail of Two Lakes from Tuftsville Rd (Madoc Junction) to Hwy 62 (2.7 kms)
If you go to the right from the split, you’ll be on the trail of Two Lakes. This one winds a bit as well. It’s shorter, at only 2.7 kms one – way, but we had a great time on it. You’d think it’d be difficult to compete with a big pond and three bridges, but this short trail delivered regardless.
The trail itself is pretty enough, with a nice mix of open sky and canopied shade. You’ll walk past three small swampy ponds chock full of aquatic wildlife.
The real fun started on our walk back from Hwy 62 (the trail was remarkably silent despite the Hwy). We could see a large object right in the middle of the trail, way off in the distance. It wasn’t there on our walk up, so it had to be an animal. A muskrat, or beaver maybe ? We knew it was facing us, but it still wouldn’t move as we approached. The Wife had the monocular and I had the camera zoom. I kept snapping shots as we got closer in case we could ID it later on my computer’s big screen. Then we saw it move it’s head and the Wife suggested it might be a porcupine.
As we continued to approach it, the Wife suddenly said “Its an owl !”. Sure enough, it sat there watching us, and then flew off into the bushes at the trailside. We hurried up to the spot and scanned the bush until the Wife spotted it staring at us from a tree branch.
We left the owl to his own business, and carried on down the trail to the ponds again. At the ponds, I turned to get a “pond and trail in the same frame” shot when I noticed something moving along the trail behind us this time. We hurried back up the trail for a look at this fellow. Eventually, it bored of our company and wandered off into the swamp.
Further on, while snapping a picture or two of a large garter snake, we saw a giant swallowtail butterfly which appeared to be in distress. One of its wings had been damaged. We assumed the ATV which passed us earlier had hit it. The Wife carried it the rest of the way back to the car and we took it Home with us. We have a giant silk worm moth cage. We keep cocoons we find on Winter walks in it, to protect them from predators until Spring when we release them upon emerging. We put the butterfly in it with some sugar water.
As if all the animal activity weren’t enough … I was trying to take an artsy-fartsy shot of “flowers and trail in the same frame” with columbines, when I looked down at my feet. “Is that what I think it is ?” I asked the Wife. Then I looked around me and realized I was standing in a patch of wild cypripedium orchids.
All this stuff happened on our walk back. We walked right past those orchids on our way up the trail, and didn’t notice them. I swear “linear” or “return” trails are better than loops in some ways.
The Final Take on the Trail of Two Lakes Trail
While not as populated with bridges and open water ponds as the Hastings Trail, this one has it’s merits too. It’s just as pretty a walk (though a bit shorter at 2.7 kms one – way), the wildlife (both animal and vegetable) are very impressive. It’s quiet, wide enough for two to walk side by side, clear and clean, and it has swampy ponds loaded with wildlife as well. UPDATE – September 29, 2020 – I forgot to mention that butterfly recovered nicely, and we released it after three days of convalescence.
Have a nice walk,