My alarm is set for 4am, I did this before I left for the trip. At least to wake me up, and hopefully to get me hiking early in the day, because as we know big miles means big smiles. That and the sunrise is beautiful or something.
Today I woke up at 3am for whatever reason instead. Went to the campgrounds rec room to grab my phone, which I left charging all night there, and decided to pack up and get out.
Grande Vallée to me didn’t feel like home. I planned 11 miles to the next shelter, but by the time I got there it was so early I decided to keep moving, and look for a real town to relax in for a day.
Once walking I didn’t stop, just keeping an easy pace. My trail paralleled the highway, and took me through the mountains next to it. The following town was also small, and with my soreness gone I continued forward hoping to come across something better. Although a beautiful view of the water, and another lighthouse with coffee, it wasn’t quite right, and the day was still young.
At times I was on the road, thrown back into the woods briefly, and again on the road. It was mostly easy walking. My sights set on a Gîte in the village of L’Anse-Pleureuse, 40 miles from where I started. What would be my longest day hiking ever. (I have done a couple 38s, and such under that but I seemed to be stuck at that number.)
I think a Gîte is like a bed & breakfast, or maybe just an extremely fancy hostel, I’ve yet to stay at one but it was all I could think about. Not getting to take my day off I was bent on getting there.
My pace quickened with darkness approaching, but by the time I arrived, I came to see the place had closed down. 40 miles for nothing, and rain had begun to fall. Now I had little choice. Still set on resting in a bed, I decided I’d push to the next town. 7pm with an hour left of daylight, and just over 4 miles to go, I wasn’t sure I could do it. What if I got there and everywhere was booked? To late now, I was going to try.
Up old rural roads into neighborhoods not many ever go, getting strange looks, and cars driving past extra slow, the trail takes me back into the woods. Past rusted broken cars, and old appliances in equally as bad of shape. This must be the make shift dump. Some ATV path high above the water, and the highway.
Plodding along, the markers designating I was still going the right way dissapear. Dissapointed, and not prepared to turn back wasting another 20 minutes I take a fork that is pointing the direction of the ocean and the main road. Without pause there the markers are again, but coming out from some other location. Not interested in repeating what just happened I aim for the road anyway.
Beautiful asphalt, easy motion, and the sea right beside me, I’m glad to be on way again.
The rain continues to fall, and being so close to my destination I choose just to use my umbrella, instead of wasting time looking for my poncho. Clothes getting wet, the village now in sight, it almost doesn’t matter anymore.
Walking past the RV campground, trying to read french signs in the rain, attempting to decipher whether any given building might house me or not. Comparing words in my guide to those I see it’s not much luck.
Tired of walking, and ready to lay down I see a party overflowing outside a cute pink home. I walk up and am greeted immediately by a nice man asking if I need to crash. It must have been clear in my face, my damp jacket, and my flimsy umbrella I was done for the day. Swiftly greeted by the co-owner and shown my room, life is good again.
44 miles, and finally I get what I want. A hotel. Not just any hotel, just my luck, this one only opened a few days ago, and I would be it’s 20th customer. Not yet online, not yet in guides, I somehow stumbled on what is likely the only place with rooms available for many many many miles around.
The party was pivate and mostly friends, a celebration for the new business, and they welcomed me with open arms. The desheveled english speaking tourist. I was fed, they gave me drinks, and it was all on the house.
Even one of the bartenders took time with me to help me learn some basic french, and get me up to speed on some Quebec history. I really had no idea how important knowing just a little bit of their language would be. From here on I will be sure to use her teachings to good use. I was so caught up in planning this 6 month trip I hadn’t taken the time, and that is my mistake.
I met just about everyone, and they were all so very kind and generous. Here I had just come out of the blue, and was met with the most wonderful people in the land.
The former mayer of the city over was there too. He’s a pretty good singer. Johnny Cash must have been on his mind.
Mont Louis is my home today and tomorrow. Sometimes things work out.