Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘August 16th, 2016’

Hike La Tourbière

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Friday, August 12, 2016

60℉ at 5am and 77℉ during the day

It was still raining when we got up, so we enjoyed a leisurely morning. Martha is into a good book on her iPad while I caught up on a few things. By 10:30 it stopped although we weren’t sure it was really done. There is a hike that starts just one campsite over, and it goes to a small stream you can fish for free, so we decided to take it. We were dressed for cool and rainy and a stroll, but we were soon hot and since we had taken the wrong direction, it was going to be a hike, but man was it beautiful – such a gorgeous forrest floor as I have ever seen. It looks like elves should live there. Blueberries lined the entire hike. I’m sure I ate a pint. I don’t know what the red berries are, or the lichens or the plants. If we knew anything about mushrooms, we could have had a feast as they were growing everywhere – on the ground, on the sides of trees, on dead trees. An hour later we found the small stream, which was very pretty, but it would be difficult to fish and it like every other stream here, it runs into a little lake, then becomes a stream, then a lake. We wound our way back to the campground, now hot and ready to change into shorts and short sleeve shirts.

After lunch we went to the office to get some firewood and ask again about fishing. I had perused the fishing regulation book, which is written in French, but hard enough to comprehend even if written in English. The very nice, young girl in the “accueil” (welcome center) tried desperately to help us understand how fishing works. Of course it is very difficult for her to speak in English, but she does very well. What we have seen is that it is so difficult for them that they are mentally tired after 20 minutes. Although I can read French somewhat, I cannot carry on a conversation. Then of course there are others coming into the office to ask questions or to buy things. After a while we had studied a large board on the wall that lists all the “lacs”. I must go back and get a picture. Columns show the size of the “lac”, how far away it is, how many are fishing it today, how many fish have been caught and how many kg’s of fish were caught. “So can I fish this little lake right here?” I asked. “No, you can only fish the ones in dark green.” OK, so I studied some more to find something small enough that I could reasonably cover it fishing from our kayak. “OK, so can I put our kayak on this lake this afternoon?” “No, the only lake you can put your kayak on is Lake Norman. There are two boats on each of the smaller lacs, and you can use those.” I can’t remember exactly what she said, since I am still trying to digest the last statement, but I think she said $40 to rent the boat for half a day and $80 for the whole day. So let me see if I have this right. Martha would like some nice trout for dinner, but to have a nice, quiet day of fishing on a “small” lake 42km up a gravel road, I will have to pay $20 for the “permit de pesche” and $80 for the boat rental. I can’t believe anyone fishes, but they do! To add to the confusion, I have no idea what the fish are, as I am totally unfamiliar with the names or the appearance, much less what I should use to catch them.  Buying a couple of salmon steaks at the grocery seems a better idea. I will take pictures of the forrest. 

Kelly and I took a four-month fishing trip across Canada in 2013, so I have some experience with fishing in Canada. It will no doubt drive you crazy, but to argue the other side, they are protecting their resources as well as funding the parks and managing the parks and paying the salaries of people like this nice young lady. Canadians love to hunt and fish. This country was founded on it, so it could easily be “fished and hunted out”. 

We went back to camp and Martha happily read her book while I worked on the back-up camera for the trailer. Laying it all out, I found I still don’t have the right connections. I tried to maintain my composure while cursing under my breath. I will put that project away until I get home.

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Leaving Mount-Tremblant

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60 at 5am and mid 80’s middle of the day

We broke camp, did the necessaries, filled the water tank and set out for Parc Du National Mauricie about 10:00. Mont-Tremblant is a wonderful park. Six days is not enough time to really get to know the park. We did all the usual things, hiked the most popular hikes, biked, and swam in the lakes. A beach to us is Nags Head on the ocean with large sandy beaches and salty waves. In Canada a beach is a smaller sandy beach on a lake with water so pure you could drink it. On a hot day, it is so refreshing to take a swim. Just like our ocean beaches, the water can be cool or cold at first, but once you get in and swim around a bit, it is wonderful. There are no sharks or crabs or sea urchins, but brook trout and smallmouth bass. It takes a while to change your mindset, but once you do, it is quite wonderful. Mont-Tremblant has so many beaches, you can have one to yourself, just kayak over to it, of float along the Diable River and take your lunch. My very favorite part is hearing the loons cry at night. We got one taste of the real park when we went up to Lac du Bois Franc and had a medium-sized lake to ourselves for just an hour with two loons swimming at the other end. You could smell the forrest and the clean air and feel like you are in the wilderness. How incredibly beautiful. I would love to come back.

Driving the back roads, mostly 348 and 350 and then 157 north to Mauricie. I felt like I was driving the highway to Stewart in British Columbia as we drove along the incredibly beautiful St. Mauricie River. It is a very large river with blue waters. I kept watching for salmon running. There were lots of boats, sailboats and lots of fishermen. Campgrounds along the river were chock full, so there must be salmon! Finally arriving at a teeny park office that was so small, we thought it was just two bathrooms, which we needed badly. I turned around and headed back to the car when Martha called me back. A very nice lady helped us. The only hookup available in the entire park is water, and Martha wanted it. I assured her water is not our issue as we have no power source to recharge the batteries. She signed up for three nights, but I knew we would never make it. I got a park fishing license and bought a book on fishing regulations. So much to get in the park, so much to camp, so much to fish, and then $12,50 to cross the bridge over the St. Mauricie River. If you wan to fish Lac Norman, you put your name in the hat at the campground where they have a drawing at 9pm each evening. You must then pay $20 to fish that day! Then you have to drive 41K up a dirt and gravel road. Sheez! Crossing the bridge and heading up the very dry and dusty road, a huge truck, loaded with logs comes barreling down the road. This brings bad memories of our former fishing trip. These guys must get paid for speed as they just fly down these roads making a huge cloud of dust. We will need a new air filter for the truck. The nice lady told us to stay on Rt. 1 the entire 41K to the campground. There are many turns along the way. Periodically you get a view of another big lake surrounded by forrest, and now and then a moose bog. This washboard road with rocks in it and bumps and dips will shake everything loose. This was a first for me as I have never taken the Airstream this distance on this kind of road. Surely all the rivets would pop out, or the kayak would loosen as we bounced along. Fortunately we only passed two logging trucks, but we passed several of what looked like food trucks. Then there was the occasional Toyota car or a Kia driving right down the middle. What kind of people would be camping in this spot? Who would drive this road? Why?

We finally made the campground about 4:00 and set up in a beautiful site. This campground with a small office has 70 campsites. Maybe it is 60% filled, but it is Friday and a weekend. Our kitchen sink cabinet door hinge came apart, but otherwise no apparent damage. I found a screw on the floor. Mostly people are in tents, and they are families, having driven their family car. Children are everywhere. There are also campers and pop-up campers, and people who towed a boat up here. Martha’s other requirements were flush toilets and showers, and they are here, the shower house being powered by a big solar panel. We walked down to the beach, which is the biggest we have seen. There were two young boys carrying their paddles, chairs and towels back to camp. There was a parking lot at the beach, a volleyball court, picnic tables and a dock where maybe 15 boats were tied up. Martha tiptoed into the water, reporting that it was much like the lake at Mount-Tremblant. This lake is huge though. I thought I was on Lake Superior! Of course there are ones much bigger, but this is a very big lake to us. Canadians think nothing of driving these roads, and everyone seemed quite happy to be here. It’s a pretty strenuous drive to get to Nags Head too. 

We took advantage of the showers and settled in for cocktails and dinner. It is supposed to rain for the next two or three days, so we prepared for it. You always have to prepare for it as it can be blue skies one minute and a passing storm the next. The gentle rain came in the night and was still raining in the morning. I got up in the night and turned the battery off, hoping the refrigerator would stay cold. Through the night I kept thinking about power. Where are the energy leaks? Martha did well to get a site with water as we would not have to use the water pump. Hopefully we wouldn’t need the furnace. Was there water in the batteries? Did it all bounce out on the drive up? Would our Canada National Parks pass have gotten us in? 

Hike L’Envol

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday, 60, 87 at 3:00 and that’s very hot here

We took the 2-hour hike L’Envol right up the mountain, which I think is rated moderate or easy, but it’s a pretty good climb. Chip Grobmyer would do it in a breeze, but I needed a sweat towel. The reward at the top is a spectacular view of the park and the way lakes run like rivers. A couple of cute families were in front of us and took pictures of the children on a bench designed for that purpose. I could see they do this often and were quite familiar with the hike. They will surely have a series of pictures of the kids on this bench through the years. Coming back down on a steep, gravel path is maybe as difficult as going up as there is the chance of sliding to a fall. 

A swim in Lac Jolie was soooo refreshing. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in camp.

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