Sunday, May 15, 2011

Causeway in the Rain

60 F, light rain

On Saturday we pedaled out as far as we could on the Colchester Causeway section of the Island Line. We knew that the flooding had washed away a lot of gravel. It was a bit surreal in the rain and mist.

Oops, there's a hole.

Oh my, a bigger one. A tire was sunk in the depression, filled with debris. It appeared that the wind and waves pushed anything and everything onto the path. It's a driftwood seeker's dream ride. The water has only retreated one foot, but with more rain who knows what else will happen.

Egads, it's pretty bad out here. Even the trees are "swimming" in the lake.

That's the bridge up ahead.

Sure enough. Closed, washouts ahead.
We talked with the fly fisherman. He showed us his dinner - a 16" salmon. He was a chatty fellow, but we we're getting chilled. Time to turn around.

It's hard to digest this destruction to the Island Line. Some consider it the crown jewel of this area because of it's unique designation as the only marble-lined (former) railway. Riding on it feels like you are riding on water.

Photo by Paul O. Boisvert, courtesy of Local Motion
Coincidentally, I recently received a local bike shop's catalog. The cover displays the classic aerial view of the Causeway (shown left) - in its better days. The caption stated that "if you've never ridden the Island Line...THIS IS THE YEAR. " It was the shop's intent to gear up for the cycling season and the presses couldn't be stopped, yet it's still ironic. It's a reminder that we can't control mother nature, so go out and carefully enjoy the remaining pathway, in rain or shine. Be thankful for what we still have, and be empathetic toward those folks living along the Mississippi delta.


  1. I like riding in the mist and fog too! You can tell that was a wonderful causeway to ride upon. I hope that it will be repaired so that it can be used for cycling and walking again.. some of those holes looked pretty big!

  2. It is a beautiful gem of a bike trail. We will not know the depth of the destruction until the water recedes. It is also a complicated mix of town and state owned property so any long term solution, or rebuilding, is sure to cost lots of money and encounter immense opposition. I have mixed feelings regarding its reconstruction. While I obviously enjoy its use I also know that this barrier has obstructed the natural waterflow of Lake Champlain, creating some bays with less than ideal conditions.

  3. I'm wondering what the status of the trail will be when I come through the area in fall. I'd love to ride it this time, as the last time I was through the bridge wasn't finished and the seasonal ferry had stopped. I understand what you mean about your ambivalence if it gets fixed, as causeways play havoc with bodies of water.

  4. You'll have to link to and search for "Island Line" or "causeway" to keep abreast of the situation. I believe they are posting updated info on their blog: But don't hold your breath for any reconstruction this year. We're not out of the water (literally) yet. Lots of rain to come this week and the projection is for the lake to not even be below flood stage until August. Burlington is still a beautiful place to visit.

  5. Annie-
    Thanks for the info! Now when are you folks going to dry out?

  6. I saw pictures from the Burlington Free Press a few weeks ago, but still, it's sad to hear about it again. I'm from Montreal, and I have been fortunate to ride on this lane many times in the last 3 years. Whatever happens to it, you can be proud you had in your area something as gorgeous. "Riding on it feels like you are riding on water", indeed.


Due to increased Spam, I am moderating comments. Thank you for your patience.