Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August, 2016’

Pointe-Taillon National Park

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60℉ at 5:00 am and high of 77

Pointe-Taillon National Park is a peninsula  jutting into Lac Saint-Jean and bordered on the north by the Peribonka River. There are no cars allowed in the park, but is set up best for bikes. My pictures don’t do it justice, as it is an incredibly beautiful park. We had a good wildlife-viewing day, seeing a Ruffed Grouse, Willow Ptarmigans, red squirrels, what I think were Flickers and our first sighting of a moose. It is a bit more difficult taking pictures while biking. I took a lot with the iPhone because it was faster and easier, but they don’t do the park justice. My friend, Mark Zablotsky, takes incredible pictures with his iPhone, but I haven’t gained the skill. I carry the Nikon with only one lens in a backpack, so you have to stop and remove the backpack, snap a few pictures, put it all back together and try to catch up with Martha. 

The Beaches are popular and beautiful, and we were looking hard for wildlife, although we biked between 11:00 and 3:30 – not good wildlife spotting time. There were tracks all over the roads. I guess they were moose, but they looked smaller than that. It would be so much fun to come back in the early morning or late evening and sit at one of the picnic tables and watch for moose. There is one moose bog with a big, camouflaged and screened blind. There is a huge moose bog close to the entrance. However, the center of attraction are the trees and ferns. The stands of Beech and Birch trees surrounded by a floor of three-foot tall ferns are just magnificent. You could ride the main loop of 25km in two hours as it is flat and easy going. However, if you go fast you will miss the beauty. It is more of a place to take all day, or camp and take a few days. It was almost hot enough to go for a swim, but the wind was blowing and it was 75 degrees, so it wasn’t quite warm enough. 

On a slight uphill, I pointed out a snake, a garter snake, to Martha. A couple of bikers came in the other direction, and she somehow jammed the bike chain down below the sprockets. It took a while to see what the problem was, but we couldn’t unjam it. Of course we were at the opposite side of the park from the truck. We pulled on the chain and tried to move the wheel back and forth to no avail. I had two tools in my bike bag, and after working for half an hour, was finally able to pry the two jammed links from their wedged position. Fortunately Martha had a wipe in her backpack to clean the chain grease from my hands. Maybe it was providence that made us stop. We suddenly saw that we were surrounded by perfect blueberries – everywhere! Emptying one water bottle into another, we filled it with blueberries in 15 minutes. You pay $10 for two quarts of blueberries. Picking these, we realized this is a good price, but then there is something to picking wild, fresh fruits. Later, Martha would make desert of Greek yogurt, blueberries and honey – yum!

Now we felt we needed to ride with more pace. I kept seeing things I wanted to take pictures of, but couldn’t. We came upon a ptarmigan that stood like a statue beside the road while I took pictures. As I rode away, I thought surely someone has carved this decoy and left a camera to video people like us taking pictures of it. Then we came across two more. They let me get just a few feet away and kept right on eating!

This is a wonderful park that could be explored many times in all seasons. I can only imagine it when the leaves change.

A Rainy Day

55℉ at 5:30 and high of 60.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It’s nice to have a rainy day every now and then to catch up on things, so we did some laundry and did some research on where to go next. By afternoon we had had enough! We drove around looking for a bakery (boulangerie) and discovered a mall. We would never have seen it as it was well-disguised, but saw a few people going in. I think half the town was in there. Then across the street was a movie rental place, so we rented two movies and bought three that were on sale. After dinner, we settled in to watch a movie in bed for the first time. What a luxury! It was pouring down rain, so we had to turn the volume up. The movie was “Concussion” with Will Smith. He is so good, and it was a great movie based on a true story, but I had to stop it half way through. With this really hard rain and sitting next to a huge river, right beside a monster rapid, I remembered being in Banff when the Bow River Falls flooded with an amazing amount of water. No one seemed concerned and there were no sirens, so I went to sleep. By morning I could see little difference in the already awesome water flow. Monday is supposed to be very nice, so we will go ride our bikes around Pointe-Taillon National Park, almost an island on the north side of Lac Saint-Jean.

The options for biking in this region are amazing. They have done everything possible to make this a destination biking area with camping areas, picnic areas, overlooks and big bike lanes. You could ride here for weeks and weeks! I love the signs for $200 fine if you leave trash. We need those in the US!

Chocolaterie des Peres

We are camped right next to a huge “Chute” on the Mistasibbi River. I don’t know how many waterfalls are in this region, but it’s a lot. This one is more like a huge, class VI rapid. I’m surprised there aren’t raft trips, but if you made a mistake, that would be your last adventure. Last night I saw a crazy guy come up to it from below on a jet ski.

Riding our bikes about 10km north to Chocolaterie des Peres, we rode along the Riviere Mistasibbi, where it looks so calm and peaceful. There was a small airport for sea planes, and just north of that, houses had small planes docked like you would a boat. One can only imagine where they go, but like Alaska, it opens access to so many places north of here where roads do not go. There was one very old plane that looked like the old Grumman planes, which were so highly regarded. 

Arriving at the Friar’s Chocolate, we parked the bikes and started reading signs that were scattered around. They told the history of how the Trappist monks came to this region in 1892, farming and working the land. A giant fire caused by humans burned a huge area around the lake, but the side benefit was the growth of blueberries. For a long time, the monks canned blueberries and made taffy. Then they began making chocolate and covering blueberries, cranberries and marshmallows. Later they began making Easter chocolates and shipping all over the world. Before you can buy anything, they give you a quiz on paper, so we had to go back to the signs to get the right answers. We bought some chocolate-covered blueberries and blueberry syrup you can pour over ice cream or croissants. 

After lunch, we decided to drive north along the Blueberry Bike Route. Martha wanted to get ice cream at the Creamery du Nord. There is an Abbey right next door, so I suspect monks make this chocolate and maybe the ice cream. I got a cup of dipped ice cream while she got soft ice cream dipped in chocolate. This was not your Dairy Queen cone. The chocolate on it was to die for. We drove along another beautiful river, stopping to find a place to throw a few lures, but couldn’t find access. Popular in this area are house tours, so we followed signs for a Christmas House. An odd-looking place, it had been deserted for some time as it was a long way from anything. The paved road turned into a big logging road, so we stopped to see if we could get back to town by crossing one of the two rivers we were between, but apparently we could not. While Martha was studying the GPS, a four-wheeler slowed down looking at us with the look of, “Are you OK?” I gave him the thumbs up and he zoomed off, followed by another four-wheeler. A pickup truck passed without hesitation, then another sped by going about 55mph. I laughed at a sign in front of us indicating that something was ahead 112km away on this dirt and gravel road! Later I learned this road follows the Mistasinni 100 miles to it’s origin. 

Martha had taken Zan’s advice for using the crockpot to make dinner. We were glad dinner was ready any time we wanted it. it was a very good chicken and vegetables stew, along with toasted raisin bread we had bought au Pain restaurant in Baie St. Paul.

Fishing Malbaie River Again

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65℉ at 4:00 am and high of

Thursday, August 25, 2016

There was a 60% chance of rain, and it was raining when I got up. Martha suggested I go fishing again and she agreed to go with me. We decided to go back to the same spot since there was a nice parking area overlooking the river, and there was a picnic table. On the way over, Martha spotted a black bear eating blueberries about 600 yards away at the big overlook. After taking a few pictures, Martha was ready to go fishing.  It was quite windy and cool, so I gave Martha my rain pull-over. I fished the big hole first to no avail and then worked my way upstream along the path. The river is deeper here, with big rocks that make it difficult to wade. It’s probably easier to fish this section with a spinning rod, but I didn’t bring it this time. I caught a few little ones, but no keepers, probably because I wasn’t fishing it very well. Martha walked along the path to the bridge that was out, enjoying the scenery. She watched me fish a while and then returned to read her book. Maybe it’s not a good book for this trip – a scary story at a cabin in the woods. 

Above the bridge I found a spot where I could work my way around in the river, but it was a little dicey. Knowing I probably wouldn’t have time to find another spot to wade like this, I worked it hard, but there wasn’t much action. On the other side of the river, I climbed up on a big rock and changed my leader. A flight of 8 ducks landed right in front of me, but I didn’t recognize the type. They were medium-sized with red heads, but they weren’t Mergansers or Redheads. I moved my head once and they took off. There was a deep pool in front of my rock, and I worked it hard, but no luck. I didn’t want to work my way across the river again, so I decided to walk back to the bridge and cross. It was only 100 yards away, but it took me 20 minutes to get there. How do Moose and Caribou get around in this stuff? There was a lot of deadfall and thick bushes and you can’t walk a straight line. I thought there might be a path on this side, but there wasn’t. I even thought about going back to my rock and crossing, but decided to continue. I remembered stories of people getting turned around in thick woods and getting lost, but I kept close enough to hear the river. I was glad to see the old road at last, and the bridge was strong enough to walk across. Two fishing lures were stuck in the trees. I don’t know how you would lose lures in those spots, but they were huge spoons looking like something you might use for salmon. 

We got back to camp and had to move the trailer back to site #50. The person who reserved the site for one night never showed. Oh well, we are getting more efficient at moving, and site #50 is a perfect site. Once settled in, I showered, and we went to the Visitor’s Center to do emails, post and chart the course for tomorrow. A couple sat across from us with a baby and a three-year old girl. The girl was a terror, who screamed to get what she wanted. The parents had no concern for anyone else. We decided to go north from here since we were half way to Saguenay. A very nice lady, Danielle, told us about biking around Lac Saint-Jean and a Blueberry Route. We had told Fred we would come to see him this week in LaBaie on the St. Lawrence, so I called him. I only had one bar of cell service and I was surprised to hear his wife answer. I wasn’t sure I had called the right number when the little terror started screaming again. I got up and walked to the door, but lost the connection. I hate telling someone I am going to be somewhere, and then not making it. I could only hope they didn’t go out shopping for a nice dinner we wouldn’t be there for, but I imagined they did. I emailed Fred telling him the change of plans. Of course he replied in a totally nice way, telling us where to go and what to see around Lac Saint-Jean. The kid was still screaming as Martine came over to the couch to go over their reservations, patiently explaining the park as she had probably done 100 times that day. Just like Genivieve, she is amazingly patient. I had to get out of there! We couldn’t settle on a campground in Lac Saint-Jean, and that kid kept screaming for attention.

Back at camp I poured a glass of wine and sat under the awning thinking about Martine. Driving back to the Visitor’s Center just as they were closing, I gave Martine a coffee cup with our logo on it and a bottle of wine. All I had to put it in was a plastic grocery bag, but it still brought a big smile to her face at the end of a very busy day.

 

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Chutes Hike

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60℉ at 5:00 am and high of 72 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We only signed up for two nights, so today we would either have to leave or find another site. Martine was again very helpful, finding us a place with now power for one night and then we could return to #50 the next night. The Visitor’s Center is very nice, quaint, with a little shop and chairs and couches to sit and read your emails. There are great tables outside with views of these magnificent mountains, but you can’t get WIFI outside. By the time we got back down, site #40 was vacant, so we moved. Martha fixed some sandwiches and we drove an hour through the park to take a hike to the Chutes on Riviere Malbaie. The more I see, the more respect I have for this great river. It flows north through the park, turns east and then flows south through another National Park, Haute Gorge, then on to the town of La Malbie before flowing into the St. Lawrence. 

The hike is supposed to take 3 hours round trip, but some of that is viewing time at the Chute, and it is certainly a chute. A well-traveled path, it is graveled all the way and not a bad walk, although there are several steep ups and downs. We got a few more looks at the river along the way. My truck said it was a perfect 72 degrees with a great breeze. I work a very light fishing shirt and long pants thinking we would be walking a path. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the atmosphere is thinner, and it seems the humidity is much less, but if you are in the sun, it is very hot! If you are sitting in the shade, it is wonderful. We stopped at the Visitors Center and got another fishing permit. By the time we got back to the trailer, the truck said it was 78, but the thermometer said it was 98. The sun was hitting the trailer thermometer full bore, so it really isn’t accurate, but it does give you a feel for the heat. I took a cold water shower. 

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Deciding on the Cobb Grill to fix dinner, I got the charcoal going while Martha went for a shower. As we were getting ready, a park ranger knocked on our door. She said something about having to talk to us about something. Wondering what we had done wrong, we went out to meet her. She wanted us to come to her talk tonight on black bears, and she pointed out the sign on the table. She said the talk would be in French and her English wasn’t so good, but obviously there was a problem with a bear at the campground.  Martha fixed another great meal of Pepper Steak, onions and squash. I cleaned up the Cobb Grill at a spigot a few sites down, and we cleaned the picnic table. It was now a beautiful, cool evening, so I walked the trash bag to the bin. Grizzly bears worry me, but I think of black bears like a giant Labrador Retriever. If they smell food, they will come and lick the grill, or take your bird-feeder down for a bunch of seeds. I’m sure a campground like this is good hunting grounds for a bear, but it’s not like a Grizzly in Yellowstone that will rip the door off a Honda go get a pack of Nabs. Again, though, I am happy to not be sleeping in a tent.

Martha and I looked at the map and decided to go north on 381 to Saguenay next. A lady at the shower house told her there were great bike trails there, and fiord cruises. Haute Gorge is only 50 miles from here, but you have to go back down to Rt. 40 and back up, so going north first makes the most sense, and there is a lot to see in that area. Where the Saguenay River meets the St. Lawrence, there are whale cruises.

Fishing Malbaie River

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42℉ at 4:00 AM, high of 65

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

I was excited and a bit nervous to go to the other side of the park to fish the Malbaie River. It was 5:30 and fairly light as I set out. I stopped in the parking lot to read the map to see where I was going. I drove north on 381 to the next entrance to the park on Rt. 60 west. There was no one at the entrance and I was happy to see the gate open. It’s a brand new paved road for a while, going through a huge area that was burned in a fire in 1999. At the top of a hill is a viewing area where you get a sense of how vast the park is. Normally you drive through the park on tree-lined roads where visibility is limited. Where this area was burned you can see forever.  I expected to see moose of a bear, but didn’t see anything. However, I say a big bear scat on the paved road, and when the road turned to dirt, there were moose tracks going right down the road. Hearing a loon call, I stopped at a lake and took a picture. It could have been a photography shoot. I love this time of morning with the chance to see wildlife. Lakes and streams have mist coming off, as the sun begins to light the trees. But I had fishing to do, so I pressed on. 

It took an hour to get to the stream. On the first bridge crossing, I took a couple of pictures. In trout stream terms, at least in the east, this is a big river. At the bridge it was running fast. I scouted the length of the river along the course of the fishable stretch of 7km, but who knows what is best when you are new to an area. You just take your best shot and go. I turned down a small road, figuring this might be more secluded, but at the end there was a very large parking area with a picnic table. It was also a trail head. There was a huge pool below a rapid, a place where Kelly would probably catch 30 fish……if they were there. Surely this spot was fished out, but I decided to give it a go. 

I was quite happy there wasn’t a film crew there as I tore the truck apart to find the right gear. This was the first time fly fishing on this trip. The vest was in the back seat. The waders were in the tool box, so I had to remove the tarp covering the bikes. The shoes were in the truck bed under the bikes. Having kicked up some grasshoppers at the visitor’s center, I looked everywhere for a box with grasshoppers and other flies in it, but couldn’t find it. Where is the net? Do I really need it for Brook Trout? Found it behind the back seat. My leader was a bit short as usual, but I need to get fishing. Finally I got into the gear and put on a Tom Thumb, the most versatile and popular fly in Canada. I only have one. Putting on little cheap glasses, I had a hard time. 

Finally getting down to the pool, I cautiously waded to the other side of the river. How deep is it? Is it slippery? Are there holes? How cold is it? Although the water is pretty clear, it is typically tannin-stained, so it isn’t always easy to see where you are stepping. I lost the Tom Thumb on a snag on the fourth cast. Lost another fly on a fish. Tried a Wolly Bugger. #@*#! I can hear Kelly giving me grief now! I tied on something that looked like a Tom Thumb, but wasn’t. Little fish liked it, but there were no takers by any keepers. Maybe it was the fly. Maybe the pool was fished out of keepers. I don’t know, but now it was 10:00 and Martha wanted fish for dinner. I made my way back to the truck and ate Martha’s sandwich from the restaurant yesterday and drank some water. I had brought my work glasses with loupes, so I put them on and tied on a Royal Coachman. Damn, I can see! If Brook Trout in Virginia like a Coachman, will Canadian Brookies like it? 

I walked down a trail leading downstream. There was a marker for a short, little access trail to the river. I soon learned this trail goes the entire length of the river with access trails every 30 yards or so. Geez, that’s nice! I went in at 47, but only a few little 4” fish. I tried #46, same thing. I went back to the truck and got the spinning rod and some lures. I was going to catch fish!! Now carrying the fly rod and spinning rod, I went down to #45. Wading half way across the river, I threw the spinning lure at a log on the other side. Reeling slowly, it hung. I couldn’t get across to get it, so I broke it off. Now I have been fishing for two or three hours and have lost a spinning lure and three flies! There were words. I fished the spinning rod for 20 minutes with no luck, so I went back to the fly rod. Little 4” trout loved the Coachman, sometimes hitting it just as it landed, but not so often as it drifted. I have not mastered the art of mending my line to get the perfect drift, so if this is what needs to be done, I am toast. I dropped down to #41. It was pretty flat water all along here, but I was running out of time. I would have to try this area. I waded across, fishing the far shore where the water was deepest. I caught 15 4” trout. Well, they are reproducing well in this river. There HAS to be a momma or papa somewhere! Then he hit. They don’t come out of the water like they do in Virginia, but this one was smart. He headed for a log. I didn’t trust my knot. I thought the line was strong enough, but I had bent the barb back so I could release all those little fish easier. How well was he hooked? I have watched the Master, Kelly, bring in big fish, and he is very patient. His rod is a 6-weight and has much more flex than mine, so I have broken off some big fish. I loosened the drag and kept my hand off the line. He headed for a big rock, so I pulled him away. He was strong, stripping off some line. I let him go. It seemed like 10 or 15 minutes. Several times I tied to get him to the net, but he would have nothing of it. Finally I was able to drag him to a sandbar and net him. He filled the net, matching some of the bigger fish we caught in British Columbia. I probably would have let him go, being such a beautiful fish, but Martha wanted dinner. I went back and fished another half hour, only catching little fish. Looking downstream for another spot, I decided it would be best to get back. It was 1:00 and Martha had no means of going anywhere from camp, so I decided to start back at 1:00.

Martine told me there was a fish cleaning station at the junction of 60 and 381, so I stopped there. It was a little room on the back of that visitor’s center, which was closed although there were a lot of park cars and trucks outside. I couldn’t read the instructions and I wasn’t sure how to fill out the card, but there was a scale to weigh the fish, so I did. There is also a big roll of wax paper so you can wrap your fish. How nice! I got back to camp about 2:30 and found Martha reading the travel book on Quebec. Uh Oh, we must be leaving! 

A Day of Fishing for Greg

August 24, Tuesday

Martha here.

First, let me say that we are now into our fourth week of camping.  It’s just hard to believe.  Knock on wood, we have had no major problems and we are still talking to each other.

Greg must have been very excited about fishing.  I think I heard him get up around 3:30 a.m. and drive away some time after 5 a.m.  

Not 5 minutes after he left I thought I felt the camper shake and someone step on the steps.  I called out “Greg, is that you?” and got no answer.  I tried to look outside to see what/who was out there (a bear? a moose?) but the windows were fogged up (40+ degrees this morning) and could not see anything, so back to bed I went where it was nice and warm.

Anyway, I hope Greg has good luck fishing.  It would be great to have a fresh trout for dinner, put some in the freezer, and give a trout to Martine, too.  She was a great help to us at registration.  And she was so excited that Greg was going to fly fish standing in the river.  The typical Canadian way in these parts seems to be from a row boat in a big lake.  She asked if he had waders and if he needed lures.  After explaining the 5K stretch of river he could fish, she put a big star where the best spot was!  

BTY, I tried out my poor French and said “Mon nom est Martha, aussi”.  Both Martine and the other Martha laughed.  Martine also told us that ‘Martine’ is the feminine of Martin and that she has a twin brother named Martin!

Tues., early evening

YES!!!!!  Fish for dinner!

I’ll let Greg tell you the fishing story . . . but we had Brook trout for dinner.

Kelly, how did I do?  Kind of looks like the trout you fixed for Rhonda and me when we met you and Greg in Jasper/Banff during Fish Across Canada.

Leroy, awesome . . . I think I can say ‘better than Graves Mountain’.  The trout was only 5 hours out of the water when we had it for dinner.

See pictures below, dinner fit for a king.  Brook trout cooked in foil with EOO, parsley, and lemon with Butternut squash cooked in foil with white and brown sugar cinnamon, and butter, and Uncle Ben’s 90 second brown and wild rice.  OK, a girl has to know when to cheat!  But an awesome dinner!

Heading for Grand-Jardins National Parc

63℉ at 6:00 to a high of 75℉

Monday, August 22, 2016

It rained hard all night, which brought the stream up considerably. They need rain here, so it is good. It is also quite nice that it came at night again and that it waited until the weekend was over. All those campers had a beautiful weekend. Now our section of the campground is pretty cleared out. 

Martha put the left-over tomatoes, peppers and onions into a scrumptious omelet.  Then we packed up and headed for Parc National des Grands-Jardins. We got an email from Fred, again inviting us to visit in La Malbaie. Hopefully we can do that after a few days in Grand-Jardins. We set off south on 73 and picked up 40 east just north of Quebec. It turned into 440 and then something else, maybe 381. It was stop and go with frequent stoplights. Then there were little towns. By noon we were looking for our turn north. Pulling into a town at the bottom of a huge hill, I told Martha to look out for a place to eat, jokingly pointing out the McDonalds. We both spotted a cute, little restaurant next to the McDonalds and pulled in. Traffic was heavy and I quickly had to decide whether to go through McDonalds or a dead-end parking lot, so I went through McDonalds. Chris Friend had recently posted about getting stuck in a McDonalds and having to remove a rail so he could get by. Very fortunately, there was enough room and a nice gentleman let us go past on the other side. It is always an adventure parking while you are pulling a trailer. We found room about a block away and walked back to a great little place called Chain son Pain Restaurant. 

They make breads, which were on display on the left as we walked in, and there was a line for that. In front of us was a line for lunch. Of  course it is all in French, but the young girl was patient, polite and helpful. Martha got soup and a chicken sandwich. I love a meat pie, so I chose that, which came with a salad. I also ordered a double expresso. When was I going to see that possibility again? I also got a square of blueberry-filled  strudel. I don’t know what you would call it, but I have gotten them in Charlottesville at a bakery off McIntire Road.  

It was crowded and the only place to sit was next to a lady eating a salad of cabbage, blueberries and peaches, so we sat down, saying the usual Bonjour. Sometimes God sends an angel to show you the way, and I’m sure this was one. Her name is either Lillian or Ellilian. She had just been to a big Buddhist meeting in Vermont and was driving back, saying she always stops here for lunch. Then she told us of a great place for seafood, where she always stops for dinner. Martha, who loves to dine out, quickly wrote it down. From Montreal, she spends her summers somewhere past Saguenay. Not being familiar with the towns or places, I couldn’t really tell where it was. She said we would love Grands-Jardins. And then she was on her way.

Driving up the mountains toward Grands-Jardins, the roads are very steep and the truck struggled in second gear. I watched the transmission heat up on one hill, but we finally made it. Two huge outcroppings of rock appeared before us. Half Dome has nothing over one of these. We waited in line at the Visitor’s Center as two ladies were working hard checking people in, giving information and answering the phone. One was Martha and the other Martine. Finally Martine was available and she couldn’t have been nicer. She actually got excited when I asked for a fishing license, showing me where to fish and what sections I would have the best luck. “What is the limit” Martha asked. She said 15! 15 Brook trout! Then she showed me where the cleaning station was and how to fill out the back of the permit for numbers of fish caught, kept and weighed, and where to put it. 

I asked Martha to come with me, as the stream is across the park, but she said she would be fine here and would take a hike somewhere. We set up in a great site with electric hookup and we were able to fill the water tank from a spigot. There was a sign stapled to the picnic table saying “You are in black bear country!” and telling you to clean up your food, not to leave any scraps and to move everything inside at night. Then we took a beautiful, little hike right from our campground. Martha didn’t get too far ahead this time, and let me go in front after a huge Blue Heron got up in front of us. These birds are so skittish, it is difficult to get a good picture. There were Moose droppings along the trail, or were they Forrest Caribou, which reside here?

It was quite cool and the wind was blowing pretty hard, so we decided against a fire and had dinner inside. Looking out the windows, all we could see was forrest all around us, although we are in the middle of a campground. There is a great shower house close by, I was excited about the chance to go fishing tomorrow, and keep some Brook trout!

 

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Kayaking Riviere Jaques Cartier

55℉ in the morning, high of 84 in the afternoon (hot)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

We chose a section of this gorgeous river where I could kayak for a while and then we would switch off and Martha could kayak the second part. We couldn’t really tell what is there, but the park brochure rates the trips, so you know a little, and you can see a lot of the river from the road. Martha’s boat is a “sit on top” kayak meant for quiet waters. When we got to my put-in, there was an immediate pretty big rapid with a big swing to the left at the end. So much for a warm up! The river was kind and the boat did fine. There were several pretty good rapids, so you had to pay attention. In the quiet spots I took a few pictures, but with a strong wind blowing upstream, you had to keep paddling. I guessed wrong on one spot and had to get out to walk it through shallow water. The main channel always goes toward the higher mountain – should have remembered that. It was only an hour to get to the bridge where we switched off.  I was just beginning to get comfortable with the river. Although the water is chilly, on this hot day it felt good. By the end I could have gone for a swim.

Martha had just finished her lunch when she took over. Supposedly she had the quieter section, and the first part was certainly quiet. I found a parking area along the river and watched her pass. She said she was enjoying the ride, so I took a few pictures before driving down river. There were no parking areas for quite a ways. I finally found one and scrambled back up the road to just catch a glimpse of her going through a pretty good set of rapids. A couple of guys had stopped above it on the other side. Later Martha told me it was a portage area around the rapid, but she went right on through! I scrambled back down the road to another pretty big rapid, watching a couple in a canoe having difficulty deciding which way to go, but they made it. A family was there picnicking so I asked them if they had seen a lady in an orange boat go through and they had. Sheez! I got back in the car, rushing to find another pull-over and found her in quiet water very close to the end. When she made the take-out, she was a bit spent, but excited to tell me the whole story. It was a bit more than she wanted to tackle, but obviously she did fine.

This is a beautiful National Park that follows this river for 42Km I think. The river is absolutely gorgeous, with very clean waters and a tannin stain so typical of this area. For my friends in Virginia, this is something like combining the Shennandoah bumping up against the mountains and the James for it’s bigger water. Virginians will be comfortable on this river. Unlike our rivers, there are no houses anywhere! There are campsites along the river, so you could canoe or kayak for days, and you can fish all along. Salmon run here, but I couldn’t get information on how many or when they come. I think Brook trout are in this river and we saw three gorgeous trout streams. We drove north to the next park entrance. It is a dirt road, which we drove for about 30 minutes, crossing a stunning trout stream flowing out of a big lake. At the end of our 30-minute drive was a small lake with a boat and oars in it. We only saw one person in this part of the park.

It’s the last weekend before school starts, so EVERYONE is out. The main part of the park was jam-packed with people. We were lucky to get our trip in with little trouble. Our campground doesn’t have a spare lot anywhere. Two nice ladies came with their children from Quebec City last night and very efficiently set up their tent behind the trailer. It is very interesting to see how people do things. Canadians love to camp! Martha was amazed. She said she never knew so many people like to do this.

Exploring Parc National de la Jacques Cartier

We talked with a very nice gentleman in camp, Fred Bergeron, who lives in La Malbaic northeast of here, who gave us many tips on where to go and where to stay, even inviting us to stay with him! It is right on our way and we will surely pay him a visit! Then we went north to Parc National de la Jaques Cartier. Apparently there was a big battle in the late 70’s to protect this park when the government wanted to dam it to make power. I have heard this story before! I don’t know how far the park follows this river, but it is a very long way, and it is a gorgeous river! Clean, tannin-stained water cold enough to support trout and salmon. It is a canoe and kayak paradise, and there appears to good fishing here.

We walked up the seemingly small Sautauriski river, and certainly it was running a bit low, but it is a beautiful trout stream. It is closed to fishing at the moment, but it sure looks nice!

This part of the park is very crowded as summer comes to a close, but this is an incredible river and and incredible park!

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IÕm guessing racoon

I’m guessing racoon

After driving 12K up a gravel road, you find a steel bridge and covered picnic tables. There are rapids below, where you can watch canoers and kayakers try to make the turns.

After driving 12K up a gravel road, you find a steel bridge and covered picnic tables. There are rapids below, where you can watch canoers and kayakers try to make the turns.

From that bridge north.

From that bridge north.

From the bridge south

From the bridge south

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All along the west side of the river is a trail

All along the west side of the river is a trail

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