Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sept-Îles, QC: Clouds...Drizzle...Rain...

We celebrated crossing the 50th parallel by popping another spoke on my bike. I wobbled my way another 25 kilometers to Port-Cartier. We sprung for another Canadian souvenir and bought a new rim. Port -Cartier is neither a large or beautiful city, but the one bicycle store was able to set us up with a strong rim that was more round than the one I had.

Clouds escorted us to Port-Cartier, and drizzle kept us there for two days. We stayed at a municipal campground, which was both reasonably priced and nicely equipped with a recreation room. Set up with tables, a microwave oven, and steps away from the bathrooms, we made it our home for a couple of days. We became friendly with the other campers, since we were on the way to the "comfort stations".

Port-Cartier is an industrial town with a history of 50 years. It is gray and non-descript with block-style apartment buildings in the style of Soviet architecture. But it is situated at the mouth of the Rochers River, with a scenic cascade that has become a destination for salmon fisherman. For $60 a day they are allowed to fish in designated sectors in the park for limited time periods. We were told it is a popular place because it is both easily accessible and the city sprays for mosquitoes, so one can concentrate on casting rather than swatting.

As we sat in our adopted rec room, we checked the weather report and satellite images frequuently (read obsessively). Whatever wierd weather system was happening, it seemed to be confounding the forecasters,too, because the report changed every time we looked at it. But we did find a window, and were able to cycle the 60 miles to Sept-Iles.

Now Sept-Iles is a bigger industrial city, but equally deficient in the aesthetics department. But it does have a hostel that is big, funky, and warm. And we went out into the rain only when we wanted to.

From here we take a passenger ferry north to the border of Quebec and Labrador, our lauching point for the Maritime provinces. I remember our first day of cycling after we took the train to Kingston, and how three days of rest did not cure a pesky case of tendinitis, and how I shed a few tears at the prospect of not reaching where we are today under my own muscle power. But the combination of rest, stretching, ice, ibuprofen, massage, Leukotape, and a strong husband to draft have brought me back to 90+% and to this place. And a little rain can't spoil that.
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badhatharry said...

We went to twenty lakes basin two days ago. There were snowboarders going down the slope from Coness.

The lakes are still frozen and the snow was really weird....Nancy called it sun cups. I can't imagine getting down it in one piece.

We're going up there again next Wednesday to spend the full moon night. Hope it doesn't rain!

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