STGT: LE14. Portage Trail
In New York, United States
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You will be visiting a historic plaque on a boulder that commemorates where the crossing of Chautauqua Creek by the Portage Trail took place when you search for this cache. Portage Road, also known as Route 394 is a busy road so it is recommended that you park on nearby South Gale Street instead.
Native Americans used the Portage Trail as they carried their canoes between Lake Erie and Lake Chautauqua. This is a distance of seven miles with a rise of 700 feet in elevation. From Lake Chautauqua one can take an all water route that ends on the Mississippi River where it enters the Gulf of Mexico. From Lake Erie a water route will take you to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence or inland as far as Minnesota. This trail was once an important route into the interior of the United States of America.
The first significant recorded use of the portage by white men was in 1739. Baron de Longueil led an expedition consisting of 442 along the portage trail. They later rendezvoused with a party of French and Indians who were heading to the Mississippi River via the Chicago Portage. This was part of a campaign to suppress the Chickasaw Indians who were hostile to the French.
Celeron de Blainville led an expedition using the Portage Trail in 1749. Fifty men cut a road wide enough for them to carry their canoes and supplies. It took them 6 days to reach Lake Chautauqua.
The first wagon road along this route was cut to the lake in 1753 by 200 men under Monsieur Pean so it could be used by a military expedition the following year. In 1754 the “French Road” was used by a force planning to build Fort Duquesne now known as Pittsburgh. This expedition was also one of many steps taken to advance France’s claims to territory also claimed by the British. All rights were ceded to the British in 1763.
In 1753 Samuel Shattuck accompanied an officer and 5 men detailed to watch the movements of the French in their expedition to the Ohio River. On October 30th they came upon a party of about 100 Frenchmen rolling logs into a steep ravine in the bottom of a deep gulf and digging into the steep sides of the gulf for a road. This is where the cache is located.
The current nearby bridge over Little Chautauqua Creek was completed in 1941. If you drive a short distance further down South Gale Street, you will be able to park near one of the previous bridges built in 1914 and walk across it. (42' 18.307 79' 34.332) This area was known as “Dead Mans Curve” due to the many fatal vehicle accidents that took place there. On the other side of the bridge you can see the foundations of a still earlier bridge or take a steep trail down to the spectacular creek bed. Nearby you can see a horseshoe falls and the remains of a water powered woolen mill. A walk a little further downstream brings you to an old Chautauqua Traction Company bridge. The trolley company discontinued this stretch of their line in 1925.
This cache contains a unique hole punch which must stay with the cache. Use this hole punch in space # 14 on the Eastern Lake Erie Region page of your Official Great Lakes Seaway Trail Logbook. This hole punch is NOT a trade item."
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Last Updated: on 10/23/2015 9:54:20 AM Pacific Daylight Time (4:54 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum