section of the trail follows closely beside the rouge and provides
very nice views of the river and lots of great picnic areas. The
day was a mix of sun and cloud with a very comfortable temperature
for riding. While the riding was easy, I was looking forward to
reaching Mont Tremblant to have lunch and just kick back for awhile.
I pulled into
Labelle (km 106) and decided to explore the restored train station.
I had the where with all to bring my bike lock but I couldn't secure
my gear very easily, so I locked the bike as is an left it where
I could keep an eye on it. One of the problems with riding solo
is you don't have anyone to watch over your equipment while you
buy groceries or check out the colour scheme of a gas stations washrooms.
One solution is to find some fellow cyclists to keep an eye on things
for you but it isn't always possible or practical.
Train Station is an excellent example of how the communities have
re-purposed and brought new life to these unique buildings. One
section of the building houses the Labelle region tourism office
and includes a fascinating wall of old photos of the region. Another
section has been turned into a small brewing outlet, with medieval
furnishings and one of Quebec's fine microbrewry's beers, Griffon.
If it had been a little later in the day I would have pulled up
a chair and tried a sample myself.
While the older
generations tend to take train stations for granted, the younger
generations may never have been inside a country station or any
station at all for that matter. As I took a quick tour through the
caboose, which was permanently parked beside the station, it dawned
on me that the kids playing in it probably never saw one of these
train cars before and given that they've retired them in Canada,
aren't likely to ever see one in service.
The first of
two surprises on leaving Labelle was the Labelle et la Rouge Campground.
I had seen the short description in the guide book which lead with
the word "teepee". Since the last time I had any desire
to spend the night in a teepee was when I was six, I quickly jumped
to the next listing in the book. The campground is beside the Rouge
in a beautifully forested area and the nicely constructed teepees
actually look interesting in this setting. You'll also find some
rustic cabins for rent which look cozy. All in all not a bad option
for a nights stay.
The second surprise
was completely unexpected (they are in the guide but I guess I missed
them). As I was traveling through a wooded section of trail two
woman seemed to walk straight out of the thick forest just ahead
of me. As I approached I realized there was a beautiful country
B&B just about on top of the bike path but hidden on approach
by the trees. Les Jardins de L'Achillee Millefeulle is a rather
unique place with a restaurant-bar serving health food surround
by a beautiful ecological garden.