The night in the tent was cold. We had left one side of the rain fly open for better ventilation, and to save some space and weight I had brought only my middle-of-the-summerßweight sleeping bag. The bright morning sun and a cup of coffee warmed me up quickly, though.
As it is usually the case on the first few days of a tour, it took us a while to get ready; but by 9:45 we were on the road again. Our tentative plan for the day was to make it to Mont Orford National Park, about 80 kilometers and a bunch of climbing. We knew that this might be a challenge; but since there were a number of other campgrounds along the route we went for it anyway.
The road from the campground was mostly empty on this beautiful Saturday morning, and after only a few kilometers we reached the Route Verte 1.
|Fountain in Lac-Boivin in Granby|
|Kiss the flatlands goodbye!|
|Inside, there was a model railway and information about the Estriade and its history|
The Estriade ends in Waterloo, and the Route Verte continues on the appropriately named Montagnarde. Right after getting out of town, we were on a rough gravel path along a pipeline corridor -- and the climbing got a lot tougher. The path ended soon and for the next hours we'd be riding on magnificent gravel roads. Riding on gravel roads is all the rage these days, and no matter if you buy into the hype or not: they make for some fine riding! We encountered very few cars and the road surface was smooth enough to not cause any discomfort.
|Someone needs to hook that up to a fatbike|
|Big hill out of Stukely|
Eastman had some very tempting looking restaurants with sunny porches, and was just generally bustling with weekenders. But I just got food and a cold sixpack and returned to the biketopus. After some deliberation, we decided to just continue to the park. The Route Verte guidebook had a warning of an above 10% climb on the way there, but whatever! The path from Eastman to the park is a gravel trail through quiet woods. And while there were a few steep climbs, we were very happy to have finally reached the park border and soon after the turn-off to the campground without any hills worthy of a warning sign.
new cyclist-only campsites this year, similar to the hiker-biker sites in US National and State Parks on the West Coast. This means that cyclists have priority, no reservation is required, and they're a little cheaper than the other campsites. Other than one other cyclists who was going the opposite direction, from Sherbrooke to Montreal, we had the nice space all to ourselves.The normal campground, in contrast, was fully booked.
|Lac Stukely in the morning|
> forward to day 3