Bike Trip: The Train du Nord
Linear Park:
Day Four - July 1998


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2002

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Day 4: Lac des Écorces to Mont Laurier

Friday, July 26, 1998

Getting Up

I awoke first at 05:00, to see a pre-dawn mist hanging over the lake. I was up the second time at 07:00, by which time the sun was already burning the morning mist off the waters of the lake. By 08:00 I had packed everything up. I struggled to push my heavily loaded bike up the steep trail. All the other campers are still fast asleep. I would have liked to have thanked Yvon for his hospitality, but he and his the family, too, seemed sound asleep. All was dead quiet.

On to My Final Goal

I headed down the gravel driveway and back out onto the trail, ready for a gentle ride along its final 8.5km. The trail continued first on around Lac des Ecorces. Then it ran through various farmer’s hay fields and along a marshy creek. Off in the distance, I could see the steam rising from the pulp plant in Mont Laurier.

Click to enlarge
(Taken on 1998 Trip)
The Road Approaching Mont Laurier
 

Just outside of town, I came upon this very impressive wooden trestle.

Click to enlarge
(Taken on 1998 Trip))
The Old Wooden Trestle at Mont Laurier
 

My final approach to town took me past a vast lumber yard. Then I crossed the main road, Hwy 117. There was a McDonald's at the corner.

Click to enlarge
(Guide Touristique Hautes Laurentides 1998)
Mont Laurier
 

I continued on across the road for another kilometre of so, until I get to the Mont Laurier Train Station itself.

Click to enlarge
(Taken on 1998 Trip)
Approaching the End: Mont Laurier Station
 

The station had been completely refurbished, like many of the others I had passed, but there was nothing in the building yet. It was strange to see the grading of the trail come to an abrupt stop, so used was I to having it continue on ahead of me.

Click to enlarge
(Taken on 1998 Trip)
Mont Laurier Train Station
 

I stopped briefly to savour having reached my goal, at km 200, and to give thanks. It was 09:00 in the morning.

Morning in Mont Laurier

I backtracked to the McDonald’s where I had breakfast and called Sheryl. This was actually the same McDonald’s where I had stopped with Tannissa and Alex on the last day of our 1992 trip out west, returning from Minnesota via North of Superior and Timmins and Rouyn-Noranda. Across the road in the small shopping centre was the Mike’s, which also played a role in that trip.

Sheryl was on her way to get me, but I knew it would take at least 3 hours for her to get there, so I set about exploring Mont Laurier. It turned out there was not much to see. At the west end of town, there was a big bridge over the Riviere du Lièvre, where the main highway climbed up from the valley and into the hills heading towards the far north. I came back across town and checked out the shopping centre again. Nothing was open yet, but a small crowd was already waiting. I found a small Catholic church nearby. Amazingly, the crowd outside the church was a lot smaller than the crowd waiting outside the shopping centre! I really felt like going into the church to pray and thank God for my trip, but I felt self conscious, for I looked pretty grimy. I hovered for a while, as all the well-dressed Sunday citizens arrived, but I finally lost my nerve.

I went back to the train station and just relaxed. Other cyclists arrived up the trail, and I spoke with them. Some were just starting out in the other direction. I spoke with them as well, and offered up my experiences. I had a long and interesting talk with this elderly cycling couple who had cycled The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, one of the rides I would like to do someday.

At 12:45, Sheryl arrived and the bike trip was officially over.

The Trip Home

We spent some time hanging around the train station while Sheryl combed the fields looked at flowers. After a three-hour drive, she was in no hurry to jump right back into the car.

We went to have lunch in Mont Laurier, and then I started the drive back along Hwy 117 towards Montreal.

It felt strange to pass by the familiar landmarks, although the highway does take a somewhat different route.

We stopped in the town of Labelle for a little walkabout, to see some antiques, and for Sheryl to pick some flowers.

At La Conception, I went off the main road to locate L’Achilée Millefeuilles so I could show the place to Sheryl. Finding it by car, off on a side road, was no easy task! I was happy to show it to Sheryl, however. We had a second lunch there and Sheryl looked through their garden.

I made one more stop on the way back, at St. Faustin, to show Sheryl the Pisiculture. Alas, the place was just closing. We'll have to come back another day.

Evening was coming on, and so after St. Faustin I drove straight back.

Daily Report

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

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
March, 2002