We were up at 06:00 and ready to leave the room by 06:45. I greeted Mme. Levesque in the kitchen, and then descended the back stairs into the gloom of the basement, where I packed up my bicycle. It was 07:30 when we sat down at Mme Levesque's table for a scrumptious breakfast of quiche, cheese, and toast. As we were the only guests, Mme Levesque sat down with us and we all talked. Following up on Sheryl’s interested in herbology, Mme. Levesque suggested a place off-route that she could explore. I set off on my way at 08:00, leaving Sheryl to continue talking with Mme. Levesque. Sheryl gave me a big send-off, along with a photo-op in front of the B&B.
|Cabano: Sheryl sends me off||Cabano: On my way…|
I began my day's ride by backtracking a short bit. I re-crossed the Bike Trail and took the main road along the lakeshore to the north of Cabano.. The goal of my detour was visit to Ft. Ignall, an early fort along the portage trail and a fur trading centre. I rode the mile or so along the quiet residential lakeshore street, the more modern suburban side of Cabano, until I came to the fort itself. The fort was a reconstruction of the original, and was nestled in amongst the houses. The grounds did not open until 09:00, so I had no trouble nosing around and taking photos without paying the entrance fee. The grounds keepers who were around and the re-enactors who were arriving in costume and getting ready for the opening took little notice of me.
Cabano: Fort Ingall (Adapted from Ecotours)
During the 1830s, the great forests of the Temiscouata region were the subject of a border dispute between the Britain and the United States. The British decided to establish a number of military posts along the Grand-Portage so as to protect this vital land link between Quebec City and Halifax. The signing of the Ashburton Treaty in 1842 resolved the conflict, ending the bloodless "Aroostook War" (after a river in Maine). Tensions rose again during the American Civil War, when it appeared Britain might be brought into the conflict. These tensions passed, the forts of the Grand-Portage were abandoned and fell into ruin. The original Fort Ingall, built had been built in 1839 on the south shore of Lake Temiscouata was dismantled and the wood used in building a number of the homes in Cabano. Archaeologists were able to uncover the remains of the fort, however, and it was rebuilt in 1973. Fort Ingall had been strategically positioned at end of the Grand-Portage. Once the lake was reached, travellers could follow the water the length of Lake Temiscouata, then down the Madawaska River to the Saint John River and thence to the Bay of Fundy.
I was back at the bike trail crossing next to the gare by 08:30. I decided, then, to take yet another short detour: This time I went down to the town wharf, which I had briefly seen the night before while looking for Pub du Lac. The wharf afforded a great opportunity to take some pictures of the lake. Standing at the end of the stone jetty, out by the lighthouse and in the lake breeze gave me a real feel for the maritime nature of the town of Cabano.
|Cabano: Lac Temiscouata on a cloudy morning|
Ready to go at last, I rejoined the bike path once again. It followed a wide curvedaround the peninsula of the town, through a vast city park just below Commercial Street. As I neared the far edge the park, I noticed it was about to rain and decided it would be prudent to stop and change into my rain gear.
It was not until 09:00 that I finally left Cabano. I was starting out at kilometer 59 from the end of the Trail at Edmundston. The section of the Petit Témis Trail south of Cabano, along Lake Temiscouata, would be the nicest part of the trail. It ran, for the most part, right along the lakeside, at the bottom of an often steep cliff. Only occasionally was the wilderness broken by any houses. The light rain made it difficult to see far out onto the lake, but its presence soothed me.
|Le Petit Témis: Rock Cutaway along Lake|
|Le Petit Témis: Lac Temiscouata from Trail|
|Le Petit Témis: House along Lakeshore|
I reached the town of Notre-Dame-du-lac, at kilometer 49, at 09:52. Along the way I had passed the most delightful alpine house, which looked like it could have come right out of the Swiss Alps. The spectacular lake view that one must have had from the house would have been interrupted only by the bike trail. I saw in the distance the ferry which crossed the lake at Notre-Dame-du-lac, located at a narrow spot at the lake’s midpoint. On the way into the town proper, the Bike Trail led right through the middle of a trailer court. Half of the trailers looked like Summer resort homes and the other half looked like permanent, year-round residences. I stopped when I reached the ferry terminus and took a short break.
|Le Petit Témis: Approaching Notre Dame du Lac|
|Notre Dame du Lac: Trailer Court along Trail|
|Notre Dame du Lac: Ferry Terminal|
Most of the town was built on the steep slope of the hillside, so I decided to leave the trail and ride up the brisk incline to get a better view from along the main street. The rain had abated and so I thought I might get a good panoramic photo of the lake. Alas, once I had reached the centre of town, the rain had set in again. There was no clearing through the buildings which would have allowed a good photo.
|Notre Dame du Lac: Church||Notre Dame du Lac: Grotto|
I was back on the trail at 10:15 and continued riding through town. At the far side, I stopped at the local marina, which offered a good view up and down the narrow lake. Beyond, the Trail left the town and led back into the wilderness.
|Notre Dame du Lac: Looking back along Lake||Notre Dame du Lac: Looking forward along Lake|
|Le Petit Témis: Trail along Lake|
|Le Petit Témis: Boat on tiny beach|
Despite the rain, as it got later and later in the morning quite a number of cyclists collected along the Trail. I passed singles as well as whole groups out for a morning ride. Most cyclists seemed to be riding only the lakeshore section: From Cabano to Dégilis. Like myself, they seemed oblivious to the falling rain.
At 10:25, as I passed kilometer 46 and it was still raining, I began to ride through the most spectacular rock cutaways. There were 'haltes' every few kilometers. I've seen no rural bike trail with facilities as nice as those along the Petit Témis.
|Le Petit Témis: Cutaway at Halte Trestle|
|Le Petit Témis: Rock Cutaway|
I stopped briefly at Halte l'Isle to relax on the bench underneath the abri, to enjoy a brief moment out of the rain. Suddenly I was accosted by a horde of young cyclists who settled all around me like flies, totally ignoring my personal space. The lady in charge of the group seemed oblivious to the bad manners of her group. I packed up my gear and moved on.
I realized I needed to find a quiet place along the trail where I could change my bike shorts. The old ones I was wearing had totally lost their elastic capability, with the result was that my legs where chafing. It had taken me a couple of days to identify exactly the cause of the problem. Once I changed into the newer, tighter shorts, the chafing problem went away immediately.
From 11:00 to 11:10, I was stopped at Halte Trestle, at kilometer 40. The rail trail had been going right along the cliffs of the shoreline, and at this point made an abrupt curve to cut through the point in a steep and dramatic cutaway. The walls of the rock cutaway were dripping with water and were lined with thick moss. The kilometer marker was simply painted on a handy piece of shale, the sort of rock through which the cut had been made. Past the 'halte' was the section where the Trail actually went out onto trestles out over the water and along the cliff's edge.
|Le Petit Témis: Vertical rock layers||Le Petit Témis: Kilometre 39|
|Le Petit Témis: Approaching lakeside trestle||Le Petit Témis: Trestle along Lakeshore|
|Le Petit Témis: Approaching Dam at Dégelis|
At 11:35 I came to the Dégelis town line, where I took at 0.5 km detour, to go along a side trail and get a close up view of the dam I had been watching come closer for some time. The dam is at the outlet of Lake Temiscouata, as it empties into the Madawaska River. The area is called Dégilis because the water at the lake’s outlet does not freeze in the Winter. Relatively warm water from the bottom of the lake is brought to the surface to flow over at shallow rock ledge at the outlet. This keeps the surface ice free, both at the outlet and for a ways down the river. The result is a Winter nesting ground for flocks of local ducks and geese who do not fly south for the Winter.
|Stop Dégelis Dam||Dégelis Dam: Water from Lake enters Madawaska River|
|Dégelis Dam: Pedestrian/Bike Crossing|
|Dégelis Dam: Fish ladder for salmon||Dégelis Dam: The Madawaska River|
|La Ville de Dégelis|
I reached the old train station at Dégelis at 12:00 Noon. The station had been re-furbished and now served as a town information centre. It was set amidst a well-groomed city park. I asked the ladies who were serving at the information centre about the history of the railroad that had subsequently become the Trail. They knew little more than that it had once been a CN line. Was it part of the original Inter-Colonial Railway? They could not be certain. I made a note to check up on that fact, but I was to discover that finding any information about this particular rail line would prove to be quite difficult!
|Dégelis: La Gare historique|
It was time to check in with Sheryl, but I had no service on the cell. I left the Trail and rode the couple of blocks (relatively flat blocks, thankfully) into the town proper in order to find a pay phone. I finally located such a phone, only to discover that Sheryl, too, was out of service. (She was on her way to the herb place off in the hinterland that Mme. Levesque had told her about.]
|Dégelis: La rue principale||Dégelis: L'Eglise|
I rejoined the trail and rode a short distance through town until I found a giant,rocking picnic table, sheltered by an abri. It was a great place to stop for a quick lunch.
|Le Petit Témis: After Dégelis - Straight - long - flat|
I was on my way again at 12:35. What a change in the Trail south of Dégelis! Gone was the magnificent scenery offered by the lake and then by the river. The Trail now led through the bush of the flat bottomland of the Madawaska Valley. Its gravel line stretched on, straight-as-an-arrow, with nothing to break the monotony of the underbrush closing in sharply from either side. It was a highlight when the Trail finally came out alongside the highway, for a least there were curves and the cars provided something to look at besides a wall of scrub bush. Whereas the Trail had been quite well populated by cyclists all morning, south of Dégelis it was virtually deserted. I would end up meeting up with only two cyclists along the entire section from Dégelis to New Brunswick!
|Le Petit Témis: Along the Trans-Canada|
At 13:33 and kilometer 22, I came upon a cross by the roadside, marking the site where someone had been killed in an accident in 1966. There were fresh flowers. At another point I came upon a source of spring water. I passed some small ponds and lakes which held beaver houses. Finally, I saw a bridge up ahead, where the Trail crossed under the highway to continue along the same side as the Madawaska River. I had hopes that this section would be more interesting, but it proved not to be the case. The river had moved far over to the edge of the valley, well away from the road.
|Le Petit Témis: Prise d'eau||Le Petit Témis: Trailside beaver lodge|
|Le Petit Témis: Overlooking Highway and Madawaska River|
The road was now straight and the trail ran right alongside. I came upon a giant Irving gas station, sporting an enormous Canadian flag (an oddity in Quebec), and then soon thereafter was at the New Brunswick border. I reached the border at 14:00, which would be 15:00 in New Brunswick, as I was entering the Atlantic Time zone. I was losing an hour!
|Le Petit Témis: Approaching NB Border|
Last Irving in Quebec
|Qc/NB Border: Quebec Side||Qc/NB Border: New Brunswick Side|
Right across the highway at the border was the New Brunswick Travel Centre. I decided it would be prudent to ride over and get some information and some maps. What I found inside was utter chaos! The place was packed with people, all desperately trying to find lodging. There were no rooms to be had all the way down past Grand Falls! It turned out that not only was the Monday (Aug 5) a provincial holiday for all of New Brunswick, but this weekend was also that of the Foire Brayonne, a local celebration for New Brunswick francophones. The Foire Brayonne was centred on Edmundston. I had been totally unprepared for this turn of events.
I tried calling Sheryl from one of the pay phones they had there, but she was still not within service range. I was wracked with questions: Should we go back to Rivière du Loup? Should we return at the end of the weekend? I would have loved to have conferred with her. Since I could not reach her, though, I decided to return to the desk and do my best. I finally managed to book a campsite at the Iroquois Campground, located on an Indian reservation just to the south of Edmundston. I was not too thrilled by the prospect of unpacking the entire car in order to set up the tent in the rain. I was certain Sheryl would not appreciate it either. (Although we had brought the tent for just this sort of eventuality, all the camping gear was stored deep within the trunk, behind everything else. After camping, it would all be wet and difficult to stow)
It was 15:45 (NB time) when I left the Visitor's Centre and headed back towards the Trail. Right at the border was a small exhibition of airplanes, which I stopped a few minutes to investigate.
|Qc/NB Border: Lancaster Bomber on display|
The Trail continued on in the same boring manner as before, a thin gravel ribbon alongside the grassy border of the highway. The valley was growing ever more narrow, however, bringing the river and the surrounding hills closer to view. Road construction forced the abandonment of the old railway right-of-way, and I found myself riding along a section of new 'bike trail', whose gravel was so new and soft I could hardly proceed. I finally gave up and crossed over to the frontage road of the highway. South of the construction, the highway was all four-laned freeway.
|Trans-Canada Trail: Rough Going on the new right-of-way|
As I was riding past Exit #8, the St. Jacques Exit, I noticed a motel across the road which looked pretty empty. The new freeway and all the roadwork had left it fairly isolated. Something called to me (God's hand?) and so I rode over the freeway to the other side and came around on the side road to check the motel out. It was 16:30. A young girl named Julie responded to my question, "Do you have a room?" Yes, they had one. I took it on the spot, with an option for a second day, which had to be exercised within a few hours. The owner was right there, so I asked him how they could still have rooms when everything was booked solid. He said they did not take reservations, that they would fill up anyway, on a first-come-first-served basis. It was far less hassle to operate that way than to wait for people coming in by reservation. It certainly worked out well for me. I figured, with Sheryl's approval, that we would have to sit tight for a couple of days, until Sunday night, when people would start heading home.
|Trans-Canada Trail: Ritz Motel from Freeway Crossing|
At the Tourist Centre, I had picked up the New Brunswick Tour Guide, which listed all of the lodging for the entire province in a single, tiny booklet. The province is not well served with motels. I remembered that I had faced a similar problem in 1990, when picking up my father. The same holiday had come upon us unexpected and we were almost left without a back then as well.
I still could not reach Sheryl, but left my phone on as I rode back to the Trail. It was 16:45 and I was still a fair ways out of Edmundston proper. I wanted to finish my trek for the day by reaching the official end of the Petit Témis Trail.. She ended up calling at 17:10. She had just reached the Visitor's Centre at the border. The reception was very bad, but I managed to get the message across that we already had a room and that she should “book lodging for Grand Falls for ‘Sunday’ night”. I would explain later. I told her we would meet in Edmundston when she was done.
As the Trail approached Edmundston, it began to get a little more interesting. The valley had become quite narrow by this point and was surrounded by low hills. To my right was a ski hill. The Trail led, at last, away from the highway, to run right alongside the river once again. The river flowed in a large elbow shape, making for a point on the opposite side, which was dominated by a giant trailer park.
|Trans-Canada Trail: Ski Hills near Edmunston||Trans-Canada Trail: Along the Madawaska|
|Note: Extreme lighting conditions at the closing of the day made photography difficult.|
At 17:48, I came to an old railway trestle, which carried me over to the far side of the river. From the trestle, I had a clear view of highway bridges, looking both up and down the river.
|Trans-Canada Trail: Campground along the Madawaska|
|Trans-Canada Trail: Crossing Madawaska on old Trestle|
|Old Trestle: Highway Bridges Crossing Madawaska|
|Upriver to New Freeway Bridge||Downriver to Old Highway|
Just beyond the trestle and amidst a large vacant lot (for houses were beginning to fill in around me), I came upon the end-of-steel. An industrial spur remained of the old railway and the Bike Trail left the old right-of-way to head off into the trees where it twisted and turned its way through a vast city park.
|Trans-Canada Trail: Reaching End-of-Track|
|Old Trestle: Looking back on Trestle|
|Edumunston: Trail through the forest|
At one point I came upon a golf course which provided a tunnel under the fairway for the cyclists. Below me, down the hill towards the river, were the railroad tracks.
|Edumunston: Rails & Trail through Golf Course|
|Edumunston: Golf Course protection for Trail|
Coming out of the park, the Bike Trail led right alongside the river in a narrow city park, lined with benches and small shelters. Just alongside was the railway. There was a point where a spur led off into the giant pulp and paper mill which I passed. Finally, the Bike Trail came to an inglorious end at the centre of town, where there was yet another giant city park.
|Edumunston: Trail alongside Rail Line|
|Edumunston: Approaching Town||Edumunston: Rails into Factory|
|Note: The extreme end-of-day lighting conditions made photography difficult.|
The old rail line was at the bottom of the steep-walled valley, alongside the river. All around me the city of Edmundston climbed up the sides of the hills which formed the valley. To my right, far above the city, could be seen the new freeway. I had came out at the old train station, now completely boarded up. It was 17:56.
|Edumunston: End of the Line at River Park|
|Edumunston: Old Train Station|
|Edumunston: River Park & Bridge||Edumunston: River Park & Famous Blockhouse|
|Note: The extreme end-of-day lighting conditions made photography difficult.|
See Better Views in postcards found in Edmunston Arrival Composite
|La Foire Brayonne: 2002|
My access to the final few hundred meters of the Bike Trail, as it crossed the city park to the Old Blockhouse, was blocked by the fairgrounds for La Foire Brayonne. I found close by, however, a convenient Tourist Information kiosk, where the young attendant filled me in on what the Foire Brayonne was. The festival would last all weekend. There would be nighttime concerts at "le parking" (I thought at first this referred to a nightclub or arena. It turned out that he meant the municipal parking garage downtown.). He suggested I had to sample the local delicacy called ploye while I was there. ( I would have some the next day. It was a sort of sugared pancake.)
While I was cooling my heels at the tourist info in downtown Edmundston, Sheryl called me from the Tourist Centre at the Quebec/NB Border. As I had instructed her, she had booked a room for us in Grand Falls on the Sunday night. With the help of the young kid at my end, I gave Sheryl driving instructions and twenty minutes later, she has arrived at the park. I had already stripped the bike and so all was ready to load onto the car. We packed up and I directed her back up the road she had already traversed, back to the motel I had engaged.
Sheryl’s Day: Cabano to Edmundston: 122 miles on the odometer (530-418)
Once I had left at 08:00, Sheryl returned to speak more with Mme. Levesque, who gave her directions to a place called “Viv-Herbes” in the town of LeJeune (well off-road). Sheryl went and checked out the marché aux puces in Cabano, and then the shoe store, where she bought some shoes. When I called her at 12:00, she was already on her way to "Viv-Herbes", following the directions given her by Mmr. Levesque. She would eventually found the place and spend the afternoon there. She had also marked in her book: *Jardin de la Petit Ecole, in Notre Dame du Lac, but this was crossed out, so presumably she did not go there or failed to find it. When Sheryl contacted me, I gave her directions to find me in town.
On the way back to the motel, I told Sheryl of the plan that I had hatched. Clearly no rooms would be available further ahead on the Saturday night, so we might as well stay two nights in Edmundston, where we had a room. We could spend the following day just exploring the area together and it would be a day off of bicycling. She agreed with the plan, so when we got to the motel I dropped back into the office and paid 'Julie', who had already forgotten me, for the additional night.
Once my bike was off-loaded and stowed within the room, Sheryl and I drove back into town and parked at the town centre, near where the streets were closed off for La fete des parking, which would be a large, outdoor disco. Lots of people were already hanging around the outside the barriers, so we had the chance to talk up one of the security guards. She was clearly a Brayonne, and proud of her heritage.
Once my bike was off-loaded and stowed within the room, Sheryl and I drove back into town and parked at the town centre, near where the streets were closed off for La fete des parking, which would be a large, outdoor disco. Lots of people were already hanging around the outside the barriers, so we had the chance to talk up one of the security guards. She was clearly a Brayonne, and proud of her heritage.As the rather pricey disco did not seem to be for us, we took a walk down the hill and had dinner a block or so away at an International Restaurant. The Thursday night spread was two steaks for the price of one: $12. The restaurant was quite crowded and the steaks were great, as were the vegetables that accompanied them. An organ player gave us live music, though it consisted mostly of music that would have been my parents' favourites.
After supper, we walked up and down the short three block main street of the town, taking in the crowds. The street had been closed to traffic and people of all ages were everywhere, just hanging out. We happened on a convenience store which was also a used book store, and so we browsed the books and bought a few.
We walked then by the Tim Horton's at the corner, where I got some regular coffee and Sheryl had an iced cappuccino.
We returned to the car just about the time that the music was about to begin. I decided to try a new way back, taking the surface road rather than the freeway upon which we had already traveled twice and three times (Sheryl). Along the way, out in the middle of nowhere, I stopped at a convenience store which was the lone light in the darkness. Although my goal had just been ice, we had a good time exploring the tiny store, which was full of monster tools, giant wrenches, power tools, and the like.
Continuing along the dark road, I got lost. I realized that I was on the wrong side of the river and lost confidence that there would eventually be a bridge. Eventually, I lost my confidence and turned around and drove all the way back into town. In the dark, it had seemed like the road was disintegrating into little more than a cow track. (I would, in fact, discover a bridge the next day, one at St. Jacques, just across from our motel. I could have continued.) Once back into town, I returned along the now quite familiar freeway (This would be the third time, thus far, that I had made the short drive between the motel and town along the freeway. I would make the drive many more times!)Top