Monday, August 17, 2009

Romaine River Trip - Getting There

I know everyone is patiently waiting to hear the details of our trip, especially about the dramatic end. First off, it is impossible to write about all the incredible things on this trip as there is way too much. I am having a hard time deciding on how to relay this trip to my readers without going into too much detail, but at the same time not wanting to leave too much out. Secondly, I cannot give justice in words or photos to the experience and grandeur of this unique river. The Romaine River just has to be experienced to be totally understood. But since we cannot not all go there, I will try my best to share our amazing experience.

I decided that I will touch briefly on various topics/subjects regarding the trip to give you an overall idea of our experience. In the near future we are planning to do a presentation as well which will probably go into more detail and showcase many more photos. So without further delay, let's start!

Two red canoes on two Toyota's heading for the Romaine
Photo: Dimitry Sapon

I won't beat around the bush. The drive to Havre St Pierre is damn long. It took almost 2 whole days and approx 24hrs on the road. As there were 2 drivers per car, we took turns, stopped only when necessary (does stopping for alcohol in Quebec count?) and made good distance. We stopped outside Quebec City the first night.

Hotel antics - when you have a camera, almost anything
is fair game. Eh Dimitry!

The second day of driving was amazing as the scenery was stunning. We passed through deep valleys and towering hills shrouded in mist beside the St Lawrence. Of course crossing the Saguenay River on the ferry was pretty cool too, despite being fairly short.

The ferry took just 15mins - barely enough time to stretch your
legs. Can you spot the 2 red canoes?

The last part of the road trip gave us a clear indication of the weather and the remoteness of the area. The approaching storm brought strong gusts of wind and rain that had huge swells breaking in from the St Lawrence. Not to mention the trees that were being bent over and our canoe-topped vehicles constantly rocked!

We decided to briefly stop and admire the dramatic scene that
was unfolding, as Rob wished he was surfing his kayak

As there was hardly any vehicles on the 2 lane road including any signs of civilization, we cringed to think what it would be like to be stuck out here. (OnStar would be good about now)

All there was on this stretch of the road was lots
of scrubby bush, trees, and bog
Photo: Ben Albert

Or course we had to stop when we crossed the Romaine River bridge where we thought we would be passing under. Little did we know we would never get there.

We had hoped to continue under the bridge on our way to the
St Lawrence and dip our paddles in the salty water.

We finally ended our driving marathon at nightfall, thankful to get lodging in Havre St Pierre. (there isn't many choices) We quickly celebrated the occasion by eating at the local restaurant (closed at 10) with local seafood and a couple pitchers of beer. We were all now more than ever excited and nervous. We just hoped the weather would improve for the morning flight out.

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