Duck Lake-Eagle Harbor Connector Trail

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Review

The one-third mile "short-cut" trail between Eagle Harbor and Duck Lake, like most short-cuts comes at a price. This is the least maintained and roughest of the established trails on Cypress Island. Though shortening the hiking distance between Duck Lake and Eagle Harbor; it requires a tolerance for muddy areas, brush, loose rocky tread, and the use of some navigational skills. Yet, despite these short-comings, those who don’t mind these conditions can experience a little of what Cypress Island might have been like more than a century ago.

As you begin the hike uphill from saltwater, you'll find the tread mounting steeply on what seems to be a very old roadway. Unlike hikes using other abandoned roads on Cypress, this is actually an old skid road. These roads were built not for travel but to maneuver huge logs downhill to the shore. Rolled into Eagle Harbor, the logs were gathered in floating log booms awaiting a tugboat to pull them to the mainland to be milled into lumber. The short life of this type of roadway and the lack of environmental concerns at the time meant that they were built quickly and as direct as possible. If the skid road was of no other benefit when logging was completed then it was simply abandoned. During your ascent you will hike on sections of this old skid road that are surprisingly intact while others have become watery seeps, or worst, deeply channeled by rainwater artificially accelerated down the abandoned road surface.

As the trail climbs higher, you leave the skid road and find your way on what appears to be more of a boot track than an actual trail. Watch out for loose rocky rubble here. It’s easy to take a tumble off this tread into more rocks and brush below. This section of trail is probably a good representation of what the trails were like in the 1800s. Stories from the early settlers of that period include descriptions of hikes to remote picnic sites including high mountain lakes and even the summit of Eagle Cliff.

The upper end of this Connector intersects the Duck Lake Loop Trail, a short distance to the south of Duck Lake. Some hikers like to hike to Duck Lake on one leg of the pleasant Loop Trail and then descend on the connector trail for a quick return to Eagle Harbor. Whichever way you choose, keep in mind the roughness of the trail. For those who decide to explore this short trail, it’s an opportunity to experience a faint glimmer of the early pioneering life on Cypress Island.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 4/6/2010

Directions

From the north landing site at Eagle Harbor (see article this website) locate the trailhead above the beach. The Duck Lake Connector is the faint trail that goes directly inland and uphill. On a map it will appear to be nearly a straight line to Duck Lake and passes through the center of the wide circle route formed by the Duck Lake Loop Trail.

Map

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