Duchesnay Falls

During the summer of 1981 I worked with a team of 3 other summer students for Canadore College.  We were responsible for building two bridges (upstream and downstream) across Duchesnay Creek to connect the Duchesnay west and east side trails of  Canadore College’s nature trails.

Every morning our supervisor would put us in the back of the college pickup truck along with a large water canteen, and drive us to the work location.  We started at the upstream bridge.   At the end of each workday we hid our tools off in the woods away from the main nature trail.   The trails were not used very much by the public during the weekdays (which was when we were working), we only saw a few people walking the Duchesnay trails during the whole summer.

Once we were at the job site we were pretty much in the middle of the woods with no connection to the outside world (none of us had mobile phones back then).  On the few occasions one of us had to leave early we had to run a few kilometers along the nature trails to get back to the college.   I did this once and I remember running and unexpectedly stepping in the middle of a large coiled garter snake.

The upstream bridge had two end cribs we had to build using trees we cut down, which we then had to fill with rocks we collected from the creek bed and surrounding areas.  Unfortunately the upstream bridge appears to have been removed.

For the downstream bridge we had to build two stone stairways to account for the height of the metal truss.   Unfortunately the downstream bridge was washed away during one of the following springs by high water and ice.   That bridge was later replaced – based on recent pictures of the trail posted by others.

We had pizza delivered to the bridge sites on a few occasions during the summer…. but the pizza guy could only drive part of the way up the dirt road that ran parallel to the creek on the west side, so I had to hike down the dirt road to pick up the pizza and bring it back for the team… but it was worth the hike.

The logger guys helped out with delivering the metal trusses to the upstream bridge, using their skidder to drag the trusses down the west side of the valley down to the bridge.

I was in great shape at the end of this job… I actually had a washboard six-pack!

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