Mt Creek - Gagetown Island Route
|Features||ruins, nature preserve|
|Water Body Type||river, back channel|
|Route Distance||4.7 km return|
|Estimated Time||2 hours|
|Elevation Change||1 metre|
Note: Weather conditions can drastically vary the speed and difficulty of your trip. Please plan accordingly.
We first heard about the ruins of Mount House from Inés. Inés was one of the owners of the Norwood on the Washademoak Bed and Breakfast in Central Cambridge (highly recommended). We wanted to explore the waterways in this area with our kayaks and there was an opening at the Bed and Breakfast. Once Inés found out that I was interested in hiking and kayaking she told us all about the places to explore in the area. One of them was Mount House on Gagetown Island. She gave us a brochure that showed Mount House as a star on the center of the southern half of the island. When she said ruins it made it sound ancient, which sparked my curiosity.
The next day we took the Gagetown Ferry and crossed over to Gagetown. As we drove into town we began seeing all kinds of strangely dressed people wandering the streets. More people than made sense in such a small town as Gagetown. We had to know what was going. We drove to the centre of where the people were radiating from, and found out that it was Follyfest. Follyfest was an annual music festival that was reminiscent with Woodstock. Unfortunately that may have been it's last year.
We then made our way down to the boat launch in Gagetown. The small park surrounding the boat launch was filled with sunbathers and regular bathers. The river was the only place the campers had to clean off during the three day music festival. We drove down to the water's edge and looked completely out of place as we unloaded the kayaks. It was a beautiful day and the vibe was great!
We crossed the river at an angle, going partially up river. Our goal was Mt Creek that cuts through the heart of Gagetown Island. An eagle flew overhead before we got the mouth of the creek. We entered the hardwood lined creek and were greeted by the sight of a Steamboat. On second glance we realized it was a houseboat made to look like a steamboat. Steamboats were a regular sight on this section of the river from 1816 to 1947. They carried people between Saint John and Fredericton. It was the most efficient way to travel in those days. To learn more about the steamboat history of the river check out the From the Sign section on the Colwell's Wharf to Foshay Lake Route page.
As we continued, the navigable channel narrowed. The lily pads, weeds and pond slime narrowed dominated the open water. When we got to a point where it was difficult to get through we went to shore. The shore was a slick mud and we quickly found out that it was full of mosquitos. We climbed up on the hill and saw a herd of cows crossing a small strip of field. The mosquitos were thick so Vicki jumped back in the boat and got away from shore. I took a distant picture of what I thought was the basement of an old barn (remember the brochure said that Mount House was in the middle of the island). I got back in my boat and launched off as the cows came to shore to check us out. They acted like they didn't get many visitors.
We returned the way we came, passing by large bullfrogs and Great Blue Heron hunting in the grass. When we got back to the boat launch the crowd had dissipated. When we got home I started researching Mount House and quickly realized the basement I saw in the distance (picture above) was Mount House. Mount House was built from a pile of stones (the Mount) left on the islands when the glaciers retreated. Mount House has a hotly debated history. It's either 350 years old or 150 years old depending on which version you believe. For more information on its history read the Story of the Mount House on Gagetown Island blog post from Maritimemac or listen to the Backyard History Podcast episode about Mount House.
Enter Gagetown on route 102 and take Mill Road down towards the river. After four blocks you will come to a stop sign. At the stop sign turn left onto Front Street. After four blocks the road will turn 90 degrees to the left. Continue straight to access the boat launch. Once you drop off your boats you can park in the small parking lot next to the turn in the road.
Trail Last Hiked: July 10, 2022.
Page Last Updated: June 26, 2023.