Hojack is an intriguing name, one that raises the question of its meaning. A story given by Webster Historian, Dick Batzing provides clarification.
A farmer attempted crossing the railroad track with his wagon in the early days of the R.W. & O. railroad. As the train was approaching his mule stopped halfway across the tracks. The farmer became nervous shouting, “Ho-Jack, Ho-Jack.” The trainmen named the railroad line “Ho-Jack” following the humorous incident.
There are two Hojack Trails in Cayuga County of New York, Webster Hojack Trail and the Cayuga Hojack Trail. Both use the abandoned rail bed of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad.
The Webster Hojack Trail is a 3.5-mile multipurpose trail for hiking and bicycling within the Town of Webster. Its northern end is just short of Lake Ontario at Lake Road in the northwest part of Webster. The southern limit of the trail is north of route 104 at North Ponds Park.
To start the Hojack trail from the south there is parking within the North Ponds Park, nearby a Ryan home development Cambridge Court. Within the park look for signs to the trailhead leaving the northwest of the park.
The trail travels in a northwest direction through the town of Webster, in primarily forested regions. The northern end of the trail is at Lake Road after crossing an abandoned railroad bridge. There is no parking lot at the trail end. The closest parking is east at Webster Park or 1.5 mile west at Oklahoma Beach.
The trail may be entered at points where it crosses roads along its passage. Access points are at Vosburg Road, Drumm Road, Van Alystyne Road, Klem Road, and Hard Road.
There are several parks in proximity of the Hojack Trail. Near the northern part of the trail it comes nearby Gosnell Big Woods Park at Vosburg Road. The 163-acre park is composed of old growth trees, including oaks, hickory and hemlock up to 350 years old. The trees have circumferences of several feet.
The Hojack Trail is 1.2 miles south of the Whiting Road entrance road for Whiting Road Nature Preserve. It consists of 240 acres with a variety of ecosystems and four trails. The park is intended for bird watching, hiking, biking, and horse riding. The shortest trail is 0.4 mile, with trails of 0.75 miles, 1 mile and 1.4 miles. Trail difficulty is moderate or less.
North Ponds Park has two ponds allowing fishing with a 1 mile paved hiking/biking trail around the park perimeter. Several shelters and grills are available for picnics. There is an enclosed lodge with kitchen and bathroom for 35 people. It is at the intersection of Holt Road and Orchard Road.
The Hojack Trail is one that bicyclers will welcome, with its nearby parks. A proposed day might be starting at the north end and after finishing your ride a picnic at North Ponds Park. Just remember keep the mule off the train track.