Day 6 – Grande Vallée

Town day! With yesterday’s foolery behind me I’m ready to grab some food, and hit this trail with a fresh mind.

Still 10 or so miles away from the village I quickly learn some rumors I’ve heard are true. Some areas of this trail are so steep the trail organization has installed ropes to help folks like me get up or down. In this case it’s down. About 100 yards of rope strung down the mountain. More fun than it sounds! And surprisingly so much easier on my knees and ankles than just descending typically would have been.

I pass a couple beautiful lakes, which happened to have small boats with paddles, unnatended, with no signs telling me not to use them……….. but I was too stoked on town so I kept moving. I know I know, shoulda done it!! But I swear the second I step foot in one of those things I betcha the owner would have come by!!

As I approach my beach walking for the morning, a local comes out of his house, obviously aware of the trail I’m following. Apparently today I’m not so lucky and the tide is high. I’ll be walking road as the alternate. The beaches are hit or miss. Or well timed.

Passing a small town along the way I start to see signs for some festival that’s going on. I see nothing going on, but in such a tiny village could you even tell if there were a party?

Arriving in Grande Vallée, a larger town on the coast, but still probably under 1,000 residence. I start scoping out the hotels. That one is too small, probably no wifi, that one I’d have to camp at, and then all the way across town I see the perfect one. Fully booked. I should have called ahead and reserved a spot. Like a month ago. The festival apparently, along with now being tourist season. My hopes were because it’s the middle of the week I’d be solid. Hopes dashed and destroyed!

Back the way I came, that one’s full, that one only speaks french but I think they’re full too, and then the RV park…. I’m camping I guess. Not exactly the town day I had in mind. I set up my tarp, spot a couple other tents, and hopes are high those are more SIA/IAT hikers. Off to shower and do laundry, charge my phone, and get food for my stomach and the next stretch of walking. I’ll check back on the tents later.

All Quebec towns wouldn’t be complete without a small roadside french frie restaurant. So fries, and salad for dinner it is.

Back at my campsite someone has set up their tent next to me so I say hello. He is a young Quebec man who is walking highway 132 from Quebec City to Gaspé. About 600km I think, and he has the beef on the other tenters staying here as well. They too, are also hiking the 132! How strange I think. You have this trail through the mountains yet all these people choose the busy highway with its infinite sixteen wheelers hauling trees. It’s a beautiful highway I must admit, but I feel this says something about the trail I’m walking. Maybe it’s not well enough known, or maybe it’s too difficult. Sadly, highway tramps, instead of dirtbag hikers like myself.

Having my tarp pitched is strange among all the RV’s, but it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done it. However I’d like it to be the last time.

I’m setup down by the beach, and am informed it’s going to be a very cold night, about 5* Celsius. Which I guess translates to upper 30s in Fahrenheit. I had actually been aware that these temperatures were present at this time before I left for the trip, and was selecting gear. Although an unseasonably cold July for them, I had no idea. Despite being prepared I guess the flimsy 5×9 poncho tarp I use for shelter doesn’t give off a great impression. The campsite owner approaches trying to give me all sorts of warm gear to help. Naw I’m alright.

It was a cosy night for me, not once feeling like I was cold. Despite the winds whipping off the ocean in my direction.

Not exactly the town day I wanted. Not a comfortable town vibe for me in Grande Vallée, and certainly not the comfort of a hotel room with my feet kicked up resting sore bones. Dreaming of actually taking a rest elsewhere I fall asleep as the sun sets.

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