Du Bic - Two More Trails
Le Pic Champlain
Waking up after my cold baptism, I decided it was time to energize myself with a few more of Parc National duBic trails, and even try some climbing.
I parked at the designated area for Pic Champlain, but did not locate the trailhead. Workers that were driving a pickup truck up the dirt road told me “Sure, this is the way”. It was, of course, a way, but a road of no interest. Luckily, there was a shortcut to the actual walking path at a certain point and then it, naturally, got more rewarding.
After 45 minutes of solitary walk with a bunch of squirrels, birds and ferns for company, a beautiful girl showed up on the trail. I felt like Dr. Livingstone meeting Stanley in Africa – wow, another homo sapiens. Excitedly and proudly I shared with her a video I successfully filmed of a woodpecker in action.
Automn Leaves and Akward Identity Issues
A couple showed up on the road. As I was going to share the video with them as well, I realized it was the same lady I met the night before in the campground. She was the one who told me about Peres’s death. They demonstrated excitement about the video, but shortly after she asked cautiously if she could ask me something. “Sure”, I said, and she proceeded with a suprising: “Are you Jewish?”
That took me a bit off balance, but I said, yes, I was, but not religious. I used the common Jewish American softening phrase and said I was born Jewish but I don’t “practice”. This is Catholic land after all… Then she went on to tell me that her son-in-law was a Jew from Italy, and that he was so, so nice… OK. She was a nice lady, but the interaction still made me feel as if I had a tail… My problem, I know.
Le Pic Champlain can be continued into its more moderate downhill on the other side, called “Les Murrailles”. I was still filled with outdoor energy and zest, but nonetheless decided not to go for it. Instead, I climbed the full hiking trail back down to the trailhead, that indeed was pretty easy to miss.
The leaves up here start changing colors
The day wasn’t over. There was still time for another ranger-recommended trail on the other side of the Peninsula:
Today I did a wonderful trail called “Les Anses” (the Bays), which included walking in amazing geology of conglomerates and shales, into which the tree roots are entwined. Creatures sometimes burrow their homes and winter dwellings into those root-soil mélanges, so oftentimes the trees seem hanging on mere threads…
The most precious resource here is soil, which mosses and lichen continue to create de novo. Later on I reached two beautiful bays. Low tide means quiet, peace, the most relaxing murmur of water kissing shore lovingly (sea video above). Sometimes the tranquility is so extreme, the water surface serves as a mirror. This is a common sight in the Dead Sea, where the water is very heavy and therefore doesn’t ripple much. These bays are inlets from the well-protected St. Lawrence estuary, which accounts for the calmness.
The Bay of Phoques
The second bay was the seal refuge defined as an “extreme preservation” zone. Signs are posted in the water to limit how close visitors can get to the seals if at all. I saw a few swimming very far away, but more cormorants and ducks. I sat on the beach letting myself temporarily drift into the embrace of the good sunshine, the relaxation and the beauty, but I knew the night would be cold and the clock to get back was ticking. Indeed, I got back to the camping just in time to still be able to cook and prepare for the night.
Les Anses Geology
Last Night in du Bic and Early Morning Visitations
29.9.16 7:15 pm, getting ready for the second night in the tent:
Already dark. The days get shorter and the cold threatens to reach 2-3ºC tonight. I am dressed in three layers of pants, four uppers plus the jacket for later reinforcement if needed by my side. Also gloves and the woolen hat.
BTW, the Quebeckers told me the horn sounds come from a train, about 4 km distance from here. I was mistaken to think these were the horns of the St. Lawrence boats I saw from Pic de Champlain, cruising far off in the distance…
Good night, Oriti. I hope you prevail this night as well,,,`
30.9.16, early morning
A Shower Crisis and a New Friend
I almost cried this morning, first time this trip. I so enjoy everything, I almost don’t mind the hardships, but this morning I reached my limit. Following a night in which I wore 6 upper layers, 3 lower ones, two pairs of socks, gloves and a woolen hat, I was finally standing under the showerhead, trying to remember I actually had a body underneath it all. I was ready to enjoy the four miserly minutes allotted for the four hard-to-get quarters, but the water didn’t come. To make things worse, the timer ticked the minutes, meaning the quarters were gone. Somehow, that was my last straw.
Luckily, before I cursed the universe and started to sob in earnest, a beautiful 20-something Belgian girl came to my aid. She showed me, simply, that I did not pull the handle strong enough. Apparently it was partially stuck, and required quite a pull. That’s why the timer kept going, even though the water didn’t come out… Some good souls changed me another Loonie (Canadian dollar coin), so I finally took the desired shower and was set to start the day after all…
I only missed one shower on that trip and that was in the Jigger Johnson Campground, NH, where a single shower cost 2.5USD… Some people have an absolute need for coffee. I need a shower or bath, or my day is doomed…
After showering, I located the Belgian girl who was tented two sites down and we had a chat. It was immediately clear she was travelling so basic and low-cost there was good ground to help her a bit. Her tent was of the close-to-the-ground-slanting single affair, good for keeping the heat in, but tiny. Her mattress was designed for weight saving, so it did not reach her legs…
She was hitchhiking, and therefore could not have had too much food with her or a stove. I invited her for a morning hot chocolate. She happily accepted, which warmed my heart. Unfortunately, I was travelling with just one cup, so we took turns. I also gave her three leftover apples from the crop I picked at Hacket’s Farm on South Hero.
I found it interesting she only travelled Quebec (two full months!!). Language and culture affect how many of us travel. South Americans, for example, prefer Spain. She was delightful, and not boring at all as my stereotypic based-in-almost-nothing image of Belgians presupposed. I’m always happy when my prejudices prove wrong.
Leaving du Bic
I wanted to give the Belgian a ride to the park entrance, but she wasn’t ready yet, and I was antsy to go. I would have given her a longer ride, of course, but she was now heading the opposite way, back home, while I was still challenging the North…
Before I left, she told me about Gaspe and how wonderful it was, especially Forillon National Park. She mentioned there were youth hostels there. That would be a blessed change! Wonderful!
As I left the park, I stopped by the side of park road #1 to take some shots of the amazing bay in low tide. I also stopped at the Accueil to buy the headband described elsewhere, a cool little travelling accessory and a contribution to the well-deserving Canadian Park Authority.