Saturday, July 20, 2002

Path: LE-3

YouTube  l  Panorama
LE-3 Legault Lake / Lac Legault
July 20, 2002


I have to say, using the GPS for the first time on this project, I was glad to have it with me. I would not advise using it without a good map though. I was glad that I had bought my topographical map along with me because half the roads were not indicated on the GPS. And even then, on the topo map it does not list the names of small streets, so I could have benefited from having my road atlas with me as well.

What’s great about the tool is how you can pre-program your waypoints so that whenever you are unsure about the way, you just point it straight ahead and see in which direction the arrow points. This is particularly effective at crossroads, the bane of my travels. It also gives a pretty good estimate of your going time and your arrival time. So I would not panic knowing that I was about 30 minutes away. This is good when you are going uphill on a gravel road with not a car in sight for over an hour.

I went camping on the weekend with Andrea and Heather. I wanted to bring my bike, but there was no bike rack. One of my lakes was – I believed – 10 miles from where we were camping. (I am slowly – the hard way – learning how to ‘read’ maps). So I set out on a rented bike with my GPS. I didn’t realize that the GPS gives the distance ‘as the crow flies” so that when you consider the loops and curves of the road, it ended up being 22 miles. 44 miles return: 113 km on a crappy bike.

The scenery was gorgeous, but all the way there it was uphill with lots of blackflies. On my own bike it would not have been difficult. But on this gear-skipping, too small mountain bike, it was admittedly unpleasant. In the beginning, I wanted to give up I’ll admit. I think my pride was hurt by all the noise the bike made.

I had to ask for directions several times as I felt like I was lost. Two women in bikinis with a child’s inflatable pool set up by the side of a lake appeared to be scooping the lake into it with buckets. A man with a hobbled gait, a walking stick and a friendly golden retriever offered to drive me to the lake.

Only once did I feel uneasy. I had stopped to look at my GPS by the side of the road. A old Chevy Camero slowed down and stopped, but nobody got out of the car. My heart started beating fast. I started a long animated conversation, talking into my GPS like it was a cellphone, though it did not have this feature. The car slowly drove off. For all I know, they had stopped to help me, but I had seen too many movies from the 70s.

When I finally got to the lake, imagine my surprise to discover that I had been there before. I had gone with Cindy Yip two years ago to Interval, one of those camps where you gather a group of friends to stay in a cabin and participate in group activities. St-Côme was like that. It is very popular in Quebec. Cindy and I had gone on a hike there, but had driven there through St-Donat. I must have biked there the back roads way.

You had to pay an admission fee to get in and there were no day passes. After all the trouble I took to get there, I was trying not to freak out. I told the woman that I was doing an art project and that I was visiting all these lakes with my family names. She either took pity on me or found my project interesting as she gave me an access bracelet and told me to sneak in.



Digression: As I write this I realize that I miscalculated. If I cycled for an hour and a half, then it must have been 22 km, not miles. And so 44 km return, perhaps at 15 km/hour as my progress was slowed by the gravel and the ascent.

Legault Lake/Lac Legault was gorgeous but there was a lot of people by the water so I did not take a dip. I found a quiet spot and took photos in the round. As I did not have a tripod, I simply manoeuvred the camera so that my bike was not in the photo. (My later documentations will reveal that I got lazy about having to camouflage the bike in my photos.)

I am so thrilled to have finally started the cycling aspect of this project - the fieldwork of finding my lakes.

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