Category: Kayaking

Kayaking Black River and Hiking Claire Fontaine Trail

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42℉ at 5:00 and 75 at 3:00

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Kayaking the Black River was the goal of the day. Since we just have one kayak, I went first to test the waters while Martha hiked the Claire Fontaine Trail. They haven’t had much rain, so the river was low. The tide was out, adding to the problem, but I enjoyed exploring for a little over an hour. I found a lot of ducks and some shore birds. Then the wind kicked up and I returned to the put-in spot. Shortly Martha returned from her hike, saying how much she enjoyed it. She opted to sit and read her book while I took the hike. Although the river is pretty, the leaves took center stage. We had our lunch at a picnic table in the sun, enjoying the view.

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Driving back, we stopped at Callanders Beach, which is on the sound. By now, the tide was in pretty good. It’s a couple of hundred yards to the beach, so I tried walking  across. Martha said she would wait. Once up to my knees at about 75 yards, I chickened out. Surely it would be fun in the summer. This is a gorgeous place, rich in fish, clams, lobsters, deer and moose. Like the Shenandoah National Park, they made a lot of people mad when they took their homes and farms, but it saved a beautiful place for generations.

Martha made Lobster Newburg with the extra lobsters. It was wonderful!

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Secret Beach

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We took Fred up on his incredible offer and moved to his house, where he has a big driveway next to his office. We had a great visit with him for a couple of hours when he brought us chocolate and pear brioches and a bagette. Those brioches were so good, we ate them right up. What a guy this Fred is! I know we got him in trouble with Marie-Eve, but it was such a nice morning to sit and talk with him. 

He told us about a one-hour hike to a pretty, secret beach, so that was our adventure of the day. We drove down a narrow road  that ended at a little dock facing a small bay with an island in the middle and mountains surrounding it. Two little cabins were perched on the rocks to the right. Small boats tied up at the dock were likely used to get to the cabins. We had lunch at a picnic table, watching people come and go and two kayakers with all the gear get ready for an excursion around the island. Martha watched especially closely as the young guy was quite handsome. 

After lunch we started across a little bridge and up the mountain. Someone had done a lot of work building steps and railings. Martha was a bit grumpy about climbing more steps and mountains, but she went on. Surprisingly, at the end it is a gradual walk down to the beach, and it is well-worth the trip. On a small cove, the beach is beautiful and quiet. We sat on a bench, resting and enjoying the view. Again, we felt like we could have been in the Bahamas. Three whales came through as we sat. Ducks and seagulls were swimming around rocks on the left that led to a great little house. A young couple had been walking on the beach and came up to clean their feet and put their shoes back on. They had come from Montreal, and she had found out about the trail on the internet. We told them we were planning to cross over to Gaspè, and they said it is quite beautiful. They hadn’t traveled all the way to the end, but said the road follows the St. Lawrence through cute little towns right on the water.

Riviere de Diable

Monday, August 8, 2016

Martha wanted me to float the Riviere de Diable and see how I liked her kayak, so she dropped me off at 8:30. There was no one on the river and it was quite pleasant. I saw ducks and woodpeckers and an osprey. Paddling closer to get a picture of the osprey, I just about had a heart attack as my phone rang in the chest pocket of my fleece. We haven’t gotten reception for days! Fumbling around  to get to a good spot to answer, I missed the call. It was a Charlottesville number, so I called, but it was busy. Having left a message, “who is this?”, Danis, my next door neighbor, called me back. He is getting our mail and wanted to know what was important. Of all the places to get reception, floating a river at the base of a mountain. I guess I wasn’t too far from the camp office, so maybe they have a cell tower there. 

It was a pleasant float, and I did like Martha’s kayak. It’s a sit-on-top, so it is somewhere between a canoe and a kayak, so call it a hybrid. There are deep grooves and holes on the bottom to keep it straight, which would make it more difficult in white water, but we’re probably not doing white water. It would be fine in class I or II rapids.

After lunch we hooked up and headed for the eastern part of the park in the Pimbina Sector. A better road than I expected, we arrived at 2:00. A very pretty young lady helped us. She spoke English and there was no one else waiting! I bought a Quebec fishing license for the year, but since this is Canada, you can’t just buy a park fishing license, but you have to tell them what lake you are fishing in. Then you get a one or three-day permit. I couldn’t really get a handle on the streams. They also give you a report to turn in with the number of fish you caught, released, what size and what kind they were. It is their way of managing the fishery. You don’t see many people fishing, and maybe this is good. It is, however, very frustrating.

We needed a few groceries, so after setting up camp, we drove into Saint Donat. What a cute little town with outside restaurants, pubs and shops along the main street. We found a little Bistro with outdoor seating where the people seemed to be having a good time, and they had WIFI! Martha ordered a sangria and I had a glass of wine. OK, it may not be a good idea to post for the world to see late in the day while you are drinking! Some pictures went to the wrong place. 

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