Saturday, June 18, 2005

Path: LE-1, LE-8, LE-10

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LE-1 Legault Waterway / Cours d'eau Legault
June 18, 2005

DAY 1 - June 18, 2005

Left the house at 8:00 AM and didn’t stop again until I reached Masson-Angers to document a road sign. I had gone straight through for 50 km. I was feeling strong and energized. When I worked for the IBM Software Lab in Kanata, I spent all my weekends acquainting myself with the Ottawa and Gatineau trails instead of working on my thesis like I should have. With all this cycling experience in the Green Belt area, leaving Bell’s Corner was a breeze. I ended up in Quebec on rue Saint-Louis, overlooking the Outaouais. I realized that it was where I went with Pa last summer for the Montgolfières Festival. I remember having really liked the area with its little houses and large yards beside the water. It had character.

After the rush of downtown Gatineau traffic, I took rue Notre-Dame — a quaint, quiet street with rows of old houses. When I reached the highway again (148) there was little traffic and for the most part, I had a wide paved shoulder to bike on. All around me there were fields with cows and horses grazing and on my right were large expanses of wetland. It was nice to see land that was undeveloped and left to the water fowl and fauna. It was like green tongues were licking the river. Far off in the distance I could see the Ontario shore with the occasional steeple.

I stopped at a bank machine and a young man wearing yellow cycling glasses asked me: Comment tu trouves la circulation aujourd’hui? It was nice to meet a fellow cyclist, with the familiar wild gleam in his eye. He was craving the road. I stopped to eat at a casse-croute in Thurso and enjoyed reading a celebrity magazine. (I told myself that if I was improving my French, that it shouldn’t matter what I read.)

I passed Rue Legault on my way to the Parc national de Plaisance. I took a quick look around and went and paid for the campground. I was very impressed with the site. It was basically a long green strip of land that lurched into the Outaouais so that you could see the Quebec shore on one side, and the Ontario shore on the other. There was a lot of bird activity and it was very peaceful. I pitched my tent and ate a bite before setting off to visit two waypoints before night fall. At a crossroads in the park, I startled an animal and I heard a very loud splash. I neared closer and saw a huge beaver. I had never been that close before. I checked my map and went to leave again and I heard another splash. This time the beaver startled me. It sounded like a dog leaping in the water.



Legault Waterway/Cours d’eau Legault (LE-1) was just a street away, up a hill – Montée Papineau. I passed the cutest little houses, interspersed with old dairy farms. People were mowing their lawns, putting laundry outside to dry and taking care of their properties. It would be amazing to spend a couple of months soaking up the small town life, enjoying the slower pace. As it has often been the case, the river was buried in tall grasses off the road in the field. I could just see a hint of an indentation that suggested its passage. I went down a hill, my feet squishing and sinking in thick mud and came to a sort of foot bridge where water flowed underneath. Because I was so low, I felt like I was surrounded by a sea of green. In the distance I could hear kids crying out to each other on their motorbikes.

I’ve noticed that going back from my destination always seems shorter. Plus it was downhill. I decided since it was still relatively early (3:30), that I would go document Legaults’ Peninsula/Presqu’Ile Legault (LE-8) at the Baie Noire section of the park. This was the smaller tongue that made up the park and it had a few weathered sorry barns on it. I looked in one and fought the urge to scavenge – it looked to be an abandoned workshop. It was in grave disrepair with the roof falling in and grass growing on the inside. It reminded me of the boat house at camp.

On the trails, there were turtle nests everywhere with just the telltale shreds of their eggs remaining. I did not see one turtle. In fact, I did not see anyone at first and thought I was alone on the “almost island”. But at one point, my cell rang and it was Paul, wanting to know what I was doing for Canada Day. As I talked to him, a family cycled by and warned me that the ferry back to the campsite was not functional. (I was unaware that this ferry existed.)


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LE-8 Legaults’ Peninsula / Presqu'Île des Legaults
June 18, 2005


I cycled on anyway, wanting to photograph the tip. It was worth the ride, which in itself was pleasant: pebbly lanes lined with trees with the water on both sides. At the tip there was a small rickety dock, a perfect vantage point. The sky was overcast and threatening to spill itself on the water which was clear but rippling slowly in the breeze.

I arrived back at the camp at around 5:30 and ate supper before setting off for an educational talk on frogs. We learned to discern their calls and then about ten of us piled into a rabaska and hit the water. We visited three small bays filled with lily pads and tried to be silent so that we could document the frog calls. It was a very scientific system. There were children in the boat which hampered our findings. They could not sit still nor could they paddle with rhythm. I nonetheless enjoyed our evening ride.

Jeannette called and then I got a hold of Lucien for a chat and a much needed, good hearty laugh. It was soon dark outside and I had nothing to read (plus the mosquitoes were relentless) so I went to bed early. At around 11:30 my cell rang again and I fumbled around for it in the dark. It was Pa calling from Korea. I laughed. It felt very surreal. We didn't talk long because I was not making any sense in my sleepy state. In the end, I did not sleep well at all because I did not bring a mat and the ground was very cold and humid. It seeped into my bones so that I had to shift positions every 15 minutes. I finally got up at 5:00 AM feeling exhausted.


DAY 2 - June 19, 2005

The next morning I decided to take the same route to LE-1 and then veer left to document Legault Stream/Ruisseau Legault (LE-10). This way I could see the Plaisance Falls. I passed a farmhouse where two dogs were barking. I took out my whistle and eyed the big gray dog warily. Turns out it was the smaller poodle type dog which was gutsy. It came at my heels and so I let it have the full whistle blast which eventually deterred its course. In the end, I passed right through the falls because I didn’t want to stop and pay the admission fee. The rest of the way I wound through farmers' fields, but it was uphill the whole way. I had to cycle on the road as well, but there was little traffic. The more I went north, the more I was surrounded by dense forest and rock. It seemed very deserted and lonely. I came to a place that seemed to be the stream but I was not sure. I could have gone further but as I neared a bend, three large dogs ran to the edge of their driveway to growl and bark their warnings. None of them were tied up and I did not want to risk it. Plus it was uphill.


YouTube  l  Panorama
LE-10 Legault Stream / Ruisseau Legault
June 19, 2005


I couldn’t even see the stream, the foliage was so thick. But I could hear it trickling. There may have been a small waterfall. This was probably the least striking waypoint up to date. Basically some bush by a highway. No water to be seen.

I ate in Thurso again and actually sat down for breakfast as it was chilly out and I wanted to warm up. The couple beside my table were very friendly and wanted to know more about my trip. The woman had just come back from Switzerland and had been very impressed with that country. They asked me if I had seen the small group walking up the hill. In fact I had smiled at a group of hikers as I passed. A couple of them carried what looked to be staffs. I discovered that it was a group of pelerins (pilgrims) following Le chemin des sanctuaires. They depart from Ottawa and follow the trail bordering the Ontario and Quebec side of the Outaouais all the way to Montreal — 225 km divided into 12 days of about 18 km.

I was fascinated by this concept of time and space. While cycling alone on long trips, I am often left to my own thoughts. I appreciate the relative "slowness" of my travels as it leaves me room to reflect. Also, the physical aspect of it centres me into the present moment. My 20 km an hour average is equivalent to one day of walking. I would like to attempt a walking pelerinage someday to experience that unique relation with time, space and solitude.

The route back was fast because it was now familiar. Once back in Ottawa, I decided to try out some new trails. Baseline. It was a bad idea because I was tired and of course, I kept getting lost when all I wanted to do was go home and sleep. The first day I had done 120 km and the second day, 100 km. It was not the distance that wore me out so much as the lack of sleep. I arrived in Bells Corners at 2:00 PM and promptly took to the couch. I woke up at 9:00 PM when Jane called. It felt very decadent to sleep in the middle of the day.

Day 1 - June 18, 2005


Time Location Trip Odometer Moving Time Stopped Max Speed Moving Average


Stop: 10:55

Bells Corners


49.9 km 2:31 20 min 85.2k/h? 19.8/h
Stop: 11:55
Depart: 12:25

N 45°35'786"
W 75°14'741"

Rue Legault
N 45°36'336"
W 75°07'385"

67.6 km 3:25 23 min    

Arrive: 1:15

N 45°35'943"
W 75°06'531"

81.2 km 4:08 31 min
+ lunch with GPS off
Arrive: 3:25
Depart: 3:35
N 45°38'087"
W 75°06'945"
91.2 km 4:51 1:19    
Arrive: 4:35
LE-8, LE-1
N 45°34'921"
W 75°07'190"
102 km 5:27 1:36    
Arrive: 5:35
N 45°36'047"
W 75°03'982"
118k + 4k
= 122 km


Day 2 – June 19, 2005


Time Location Trip Odometer Moving Time Stopped Max Speed Moving Average
Arrive: 7:50
N 45°41'065''
W 75°12'993''
22.6 km 1:21 15 min 35.8k/h 16.6/h
Stop: 8:30
Depart: 9:10

Arrive: 11:20 Lady Aberdeen bridge to cross Rivière Gatineau
N 45°27'333''
W 75°42'183''
75.7 km 3:48 31 min 167k/h? 19.9/h
Arrive: 2:00
Bells Corners
Took Pinecrest way and got lost. GPS stopped.
97 km 5:01 1:01   19.3/h


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