The November 2001 Tour from Bourinot Road to Lauchie Morrison’s and return
Hi Folks; Sunday Nov. 25 was shaping up as a beautiful day and we weren’t disappointed. We emerged from a frosty night to meet at the spot where Donald Kenny’s driveway intersected the Bourinot Rd., at the top of the hill, 1.5km south of St. Andrew’s Church. The “we” included: John Malcolm Mac Neil, Jimmy Mac Neil, Carmella Mac Lean, Jim Mac Eachern, Norman And Leona MacIntyre, Joe MacDonald. We were later joined by Roy and Elaine MacLean. Hats off to Jim Mac Eachern who saw us as far as the Glen Brook. As we waited for set-off time, the sun was bursting through the trees. We headed off east on the driveway/road. By way of explaining we would be dealing with the top of the Barrachois Glen. While the Glen is very wide and deep where it intersects Route 223, it becomes more shallow and narrower at its eastern end. In fact it curls south, heads behind (east of)Johnny MacNeil’s old farm as well as Mickey Mac Neil’s old home all the way to Johnny and Jessie Steele’s old home now where Eric and Kitty Bunin now live. We went down a fairly gentle slope towards Donald’s cabin. Although it had grown in a bit, it still had its commanding view of the Glen and Long Island. After a short detour to see the place we headed back up the hill to where the road heads down across the Glen Brook. To this point, we noticed the results of logging and clear cutting in the area.
Joe noticed as we went down a little hill towards the Glen Brook, the cold heaviness in the air. Puddles were still frozen. We crossed the brook and climbed another small hill to the cabin of policemen; Dave Wilson and Paul Doyle. Their new cabin was built in front of Charlie MacIsaac’s old house. If Donald had a good view, this panoramic vista before our eyes was breath-taking. I’m sure more than one of us felt that if this was the trip alone, it was worth it. One could see the back end of the forward properties to the north all the way to and including Long Island.
After a brief chance to soak in the scene, we looped around the back of the property. The road became very steep as it ascended the ridge behind the cabin. After climbing
200′ to the top of the hill, we headed east on a fairly flat plain.
Here, I’d like to mention the ATV’ers. Although the thoughts of these machines storming through the back lands sends shudders through some people, there was none to be seen. It was obvious that the road was well traveled, with signs etc. However, where we traveled there was no evidence of high speed antics, no garbage. Also, as a fairly frequent traveler, I know how these roads would have filled in long ago if this group hadn’t kept up maintenance. With a good road base our going was unimpaired except for the wide puddles that we had to skirt around.
There must be some type of verb for the lost science of tip-toeing around these obstacles, grasping on branches to prevent slipping into the puddle. What ever it is, Jimmy was our expert on it. He miraculously went through the entire day with dress shoes and dress pants without any serious damage. After about 2km. we came to the Upper Leitches Creek Rd. The driveway into the Morrison property from the Upper Leitches Rd. is at least 1km. long. I remember, as a kid, driving down a long drive with my parents into the house to attend a wake. From discussion with Johnny Malcolm, I surmised it could have been when Lauchie Morrison, who was a family leader, died after being hit by a car in the Leitches Creek area probably in the late 1950′s. I also remember visiting the rest of the family in 1976 as part of a census taking. I remember how stalwart these people were to maintain the old farm as well as they had for as long as they had. I also remember on that same day being directed towards Katie MacLean who lived by herself another km. along. It made me reflect on land settlement in the backlands and how people had dispersed.
If one looks at the full cycle; you could see how hopeful original settlers were at the prospect of having land and trees that could never be yanked away from you. After centuries of subservience to a benevolent or not so benevolent master, here, they finally had a deed in their name that could be passed onto their descendants. The children took over the land and the land gradually improved. Their children’s children did the same. The family was able to carve out an identity for itself that was one with the soil, the swamps, the trees, the roads etc. What a tearing of the spirit that must have taken place many, many times as members trickled away from these monuments. The buildings, the hay lands, the fences eventually bowing to the ravages of nature.
I digress. Johnny Malcolm said when he was a kid, you could see the Morrison’s making hay from his hilltop home, a distance of aprox. 2km. as the crow flies. That’s hard to realize when one sees nothing but thick brush ahead.
After sharing a thermos of tea and soaking in the scene, we headed back. About half way back to the intersection we passed a hunting lodge belonging to another policeman, Lloyd MacCormack. as it was we happened to meet his father, a very young looking 76 year old Malcolm MacCormack who was celebrating his birthday by walking into a nearby farm where he was born.
We went to the intersection and headed back to the Glen. Fortunately, two wayward members who were heading left (east) onto the Upper Leitches Creek rd.. They were intercepted and re-routed. The trip back to the Glen seemed quicker. Carmella reminded us that we were probably passing the spot where the old Forest School stood. While we never identified the spot, that got us thinking about schools in these areas. Their establishment and upkeep would encompass a whole new level of research. I remember climbing up out of a stream back to the Wilson/Doyle property. I could see Norman, Roy and Elaine in the distance over looking the scene. I couldn’t see what they saw but they reminded me of the closing scene in The Last Of The Mohicans (spelling) where the remaining cast are scanning the horizon.
We climbed out of the Glen, back up Donald Kenny’s road to our waiting vehicles. We were tired. The 8km. that we covered doesn’t seem much to a road walker, but if you put in the hilly climbs, the extra walking around puddles, it makes sense. I think everyone found it to be a fulfilling tour and reflected a bit on the next. Take Care. Blaine