Sunday, August 22, 2010

Going Home - Again.

We drove straight home from Ottawa. We spent a night on the shore of Lake Ontario and another night in a little known national park in Maryland called Catoctin Mountain National Park. Anyway, here's some sunset pictures that we took.

Heading South

We made a side trip to Aiguebelle National Park which features a unique rift valley that has created two steep sided lakes. We did some nice hikes including one that went up a clift and then straight down via a vertical spiral staircase. Another hike crossed the rift on a hanging suspension bridge.

As we turned the bow of our ship south finally, we headed down highway 113, which was labled as " route isolee". It was very isolated with no fuel or even towns to speak of until we got closer to Gatineau, which is the Quebec side of Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

We tried to find a place in Ottowa to park and see the city, but it was so busy and the traffic so frantic that all we managed was a drive through downtown and a visit to the Canadian Aviation Museum.

Chibougamau Bound!

As we headed up the famous "Route de Nord", a 400 kilometer dirt road that links up with the James Bay road, which is another 400 kilometers up to the Huson Bay, we encountered this monster. These logging trucks pull two trailers with a total of some ten axles and the logs are stacked at least 15 feet high! Their dust trail is at least a kilometer long and they do not slow down for anyone. The prudent traveler is well advised to pull over as far as possible and stop until this behemoth passes.

I am not throwing up. I am just eating the wild blueberries that we picked along side of the trail. This is blueberry country and we actually watched a commercial harvesting operation which involved driving lawn mower size machines through basically wild fields and hand packing the berries.

We followed Route 167 up to the town of Chibougamau. The rather lonely looking visitor kiosk guy told us about the commercial campground, but then marked some spots on our map where we could "bush camp" for free. We found a nice spot on Lake Chibougamau where several fishermen had been dug in for awhile. We watched some kids fishing off of the bank catch a two foot long Northern Pike and release it unharmed. I guess it was too small for them.

Lake Saint John

We continued up the Saguenay River to its source, Saint John's Lake. This is an almost perfectly round lake 23 miles in diameter. It is a big weekend getaway spot for Quebecers from the big (and hot) cities further south. We checked into a busy campground right on the lake and actually went SWIMMING! The water was surprisingly warm and with the wind and the waves it actually reminded us of the Atlantic Seashore.

Deeper into the Saguenay Fjord

As we continued up the fjord from the Saint Lawrence River, we stayed at a remote salmon fishing campground on the Petite Saguenay River. Here are some shots of the scenery along the fjord.

The covered bridge was on the main route into the "River of Eternity" section of Saguenay National Park. I was nervous about trying to put the Great White through it so we took a long detour into the park. It turns out that the bridge, as were two others that we found later are built tall and strong enough for our 6.5 tons and 12 foot height. Since the bridges were all made of wood, They built a roof over them to keep them dry and prevent rot.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Saguenay, the great fjord of North America

This is a typical backwoods quebecois shower. Like the sign says, they call it "la douche" in French.

Note that the Quebec flag is always flown above the flag of Canada.

The Saguenay River makes its way to the Atlantic via a great fjord which was carved by the ice age. This huge waterway actually freezes solid in the winter and the Quebecois drive over the frozen water. They tow ice houses out and form whole towns to fish under the ice. In summer, the main activities are fishing, kayaking, sailing and hiking some very steep trails.