Bike Trips: Gaspé Peninsula:
July, 1992


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2002

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Day 2: Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts

Thursday, July 23, 1992

Getting Started

Click on photo to enlarge
Original Map Used: (Quebec Tourism Map: 1992)
Day 2 Map
I was up at a bright and early 06:00, even before my radio alarm went off. The air was cool and everything was covered in wet dew, but the sky was clear and blue. The sun was just coming up. Surprisingly, it took me a full two hours to pack up everything. I resolved to break camp faster on future mornings, but I never managed succeeded in doing so.

Negotiating the cliff with my fully-loaded and heavy bicycle was no picnic. I had visions ending the trip right there as I lost my bike into the foaming river below. Still, I did not want to climb and then descend the useless hill that the road followed. Slowly, and with care and persev­erence, I finally made it.

I returned to Tim Horton's for breakfast and then headed across the Matane River bridge and out of town, for points east. It was 9:00. The first day had been, in my mind, a kind of preparation, getting up-to-steam. As far as mountains and my ability to make the whole trip, I figured that this second day would tell the tale. Actually, though, day two was also to be fairly mild. The true test was not to be until day four.

La Carthèque Map: 1992)
Day 2: Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts - A
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Matane: Looking east at the road to come
 

East Along the Coastline

From 9:00 to 10:00 it was overcast. This effect was just over my head. I had my own personal cloud. All around I could see nothing but blue sky. It was chilly and very windy. There were some minor ups and downs, but nothing serious.

The coastline was rocky. Though there were occa­sional dairy forms, the countryside began to take on a more hilly and forested appearance. I made it to Anse à la Croix (Cove of the Cross), about 18km, in that first hour.

All along the road had been slowly climbing out of the large cove of Matane. I could continue to look back, and down, towards the city of Matane, behind me. Then, at the point, there was a hill. Once over the top I was looking east over another vast, gentle cove. I made a short 5 minute stop at this point.

La Carthèque Map: 1992)
Day 2: Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts - B
 

By the 11:00 stop, and after two killer hills, I was just past Anse du crapaud [Toad Cove], another 15km down the road. I began to learn that the appearance of a truck lane was bad news of a nasty hill to climb. I stopped for a break on a bridge where two rivers came together, out of the hills, and then spilled off onto the beach. A ring of boulders out in the water showed the boundaries of a sort of protected pool, into which the rivers issued, protected from the waves.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Panorama of Cove at Anse du Crapaud (Left:West)
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Panorama of Cove at Anse du Crapaud (Centre:North)
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Panorama of Cove at Anse du Crapaud (Right:East)
 

The next town was Les Méchins. The little town was nestled at the base of a drop to sea level (with the resultant climb back up that I was getting used to.) There was a small artificial harbour made of huge concrete blocks jutting out into the unprotected sea. In the harbour was a drydock, some fishing boats, and a Coast Guard ship.

The climb up out of town was a pretty serious one. I interrupted it about halfway up at a roadside rest area overlooking the sea, where there was a small eatery. Quite a few people were collected there, and several seemed impressed by my loaded bicycle. My lunch was a toasted tomato sandwich and coffee and the stop was short, only about 15 minutes. I casually said hello to a Vietnamese couple who I would end up seeing again a couple of days later. By 12:00 I was heading out.

(La Carthèque Map: 1992)
Day 2: Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts - C
 

Just as I came over the crest of the point, I could see the mountain of Cap Chat (Cape Cat, named so because it looks like a cat sitting) far off at the other end of the cove. I could see this interesting looking device far in the distance. Through my binoculars I could see that it was a giant windmill. It loomed ever larger as I got closer. It turned out this structure was 100metres high (400feet) and generated megawatts of power. It was then that I realized that the strong wind I had been enjoying must be pretty well a constant feature of this coastline.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Looking east towards Cap Chat
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Cap Chat: Detail
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))/>(Quebec Tourism Brochure:1992)
Cap Chat: The Windmill
 

Cap Chat

I made Cap Chat by 13:30, following a medium sort of climb coming up out of the cove towards the point. I passed by the windmill, but did not go up to it as the short access road seemed to climb straight up the sharp hillside from the main road. Passing by Cap Chat was very interesting. The town of was built right along the cliff, hanging out over the ocean. As I rode around past the rock, I saw the rest of the town spread out along the flat beach of the next giant cove. Cap Chat seemed somewhat like a tourist haven, but one cater­ing to not-so-affluent tourists. It reminded me a lot of some of the poorer towns along the lower Maine coastline, towns like Old Orchard Beach or York.

I had intended to stop in Cap Chat, but the campground I had planned on staying at turned out to be right out in the open along the beach and unprotected from the cold, strong wind. The campground was nearly deserted and it looked like it had no services. I decided to continue on towards the next campground listed in my tour book. It was listed as being in the next town: Ste. Anne des Monts [Saint Ann of the Mountains].

(La Carthèque Map: 1992)
Day 2: Matane to Ste. Anne des Monts - D
 

Actually, there was no real break between the two towns. The sprawl of seaside cot­tages just continued along the vast crescent beach and a sign indicated the town boundary line.

The Campground

The campground I was looking for, Camping des Monts, was actually seven kilometres to the west of Ste. Anne des Monts. It was still quite early, only about 14:00 when I got there. As I had had to do the day before, again I had to climb up away from the coast along a gravel road to get to the campground, about 2km inland. The regular big, white afternoon thunder clouds were already rolling in from the sea as I started to set up my tent. Unlike the campground the night before, which had been sheltered by trees, this campground offered only wide open grass-covered expanses, with little defense from the wind. I had a fairly hard time putting up my tent.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period Document)
Ste. Anne: Campground
 

I had made the Matane to Ste. Anne run, 77km, during the five hours from 09:00 to 14:00. Actual cycling time had been 4:35, for an average of 17km an hour. At the time I had thought I had seen some pretty serious hills, but in retro­spect that day's cycling had been nearly flat. The grades I had faced were, for the most part, long and gradual. They looked bad from the distance, but once onto them, the ground seemed almost flat. I discovered that one becomes much more conscious of the grade of the roadbed when one is on a bicycle.

An Evening in Ste. Anne des Monts

By 16:00 my tent was set up and I was headed into town. I was not pleased that the campground was to the west, for it meant that I would have to fight the strong headwind as I was coming back to the camp­ground, and that would be later in the evening when it would be colder and I would be tired.

Ste. Anne des Monts, as it turned out, was pretty depressing. It looked like a really poor town. I looked in through of the stores, until they closed. I sat out a couple of short showers under the awning of a gas station. The heavy ran passed my by this evening.

I took a nice, long walk along the beach. There was a sandbar by where the river met the sea. I noticed it because of the strange wave patterns. Waves were breaking at right angles to the coastline, on both sides of the sandbar, and far out into the water. Where the sandbar was already under water, the breakers would meet head on and explode up into the air. I walked far out onto the sandbar in my bare feet and took some pictures of some pretty young girls who were out there with me. As it got colder, I left the beach.


Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Une petite saucette à Ste. Anne des MontsDetail
 

Supper was uneventful. Afterwards, I had a leisurely ride back towards the campground. Staying on the beach street instead of the road, and thus sheltered by cottages on both sides, I avoided most of the wind. I did not have to rejoin the main road until I was just shy of the campground. I was nestled into my tent by 9:30

Daily Report

My daily progress has been described above. [See the Kilometrage Study for more details]

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
January, 2002