Posted by: Silver | June 14, 2012

Forestville to Mont Joli

Forestville to Baie Comeau:
Distance: 105 km
Ascent: 593 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Baie Comeau to Mont Joli:
Cycling distance: 70 km
Ascent: 281 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Today’s entry is a tale of two riverbanks… I specified cycling distance in my stats for the journey from Baie Comeau to Mont Joli, because my day also included a 60 km ferry ride: the St Lawrence has opened its mouth so wide now that you need a really clear day, and really good eyes, to see one side from the other (I, incidentally, had neither…). It has also been tidal salt water since before Les Escoumins, yet still everyone does seem to continue calling it ‘the river’ (well, OK, yes: they actually call it ‘le fleuve’…)

However you define it geographically, though, the two sides of the St Lawrence are certainly very different. My ride along the north shore from Forestville to Baie Comeau reminded me a lot of the north shore of Lake Superior: lots of multi-coloured rocky outcrops, secluded bays, crashing waterfalls and increasingly boreal trees; there was a real ‘frontier’ feel to the sparse settlements clinging on between the road and the river. The south shore, on the other hand, was far more ‘genteel’: the neat, multi-coloured houses in the little waterfront villages had a more settled, artsy feel about them – indeed, part of the highway here is designated as the ‘route des arts’. The terrain is flatter (how strange that a cyclist should notice that, eh?), with considerable amounts of farmland stretching down to the rows of identical holiday cabins along the shore itself.

One thing that both shores had in common, though, was that both were glorious to cycle along! Never mind the fact that most of the day from Forestville to Baie Comeau was haunted by grey clouds and drizzle. Never mind the fact that the fabulous bike paths I’ve been enjoying so much in Quebec dwindled to just a few short fragments, leaving me pedalling along the shoulder of the main highway for most of the time. Never mind the fact that, due to the timing of the one-and-only daytime ferry, I had to race against the sunset to make it into Mont Joli before dark: I still spent both days intensely appreciating just how lucky I am to be insane enough to have ever thought that this journey for SOS Children’s Villages was a sensible idea! 🙂

If you particularly want a waterfall to sit beside while you eat your afternoon snack, you generally don’t have to wait too long on the north shore, it seems…

Even the public lavatories in the south shore villages were pretty: just a shame they couldn’t have, you know, UNLOCKED them!

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the evening sunshine along the south shore 🙂

It was touch and go whether or not I would make it to Mont Joli before dark, but sometimes, heck: you just gotta stop and take a photo anyway…



  1. Continuing to enjoy, and look forward to your posts sharing your journey with us Silver. Living vicariously with you along your many paths. Thank you!

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