68km, Grand Falls – Beechwood Power Station

A good hair dayLooking down to the power plantAwoke very early in the morning, probably because of where we’d camped and being hyper-aware of every sound and movement around us. After spending our money saved on a campground on a Tim Hortons breakfast (2 double doubles and 2 toasted bagels) we headed out on the rail trail towards Florenceville.

Alas, the rail trail wasn’t half as good as the one from Quebec to NB. They hadn’t put up barriers to stop ATVs from going on it and as a consequence it was ripped to shreds in many places, with rocks too big for us to navigate or loose gravel so thick we just slipped from side to side. A real shame since we’d seen how good such a trail could be for cyclists but it wasn’t long before we just hit the main road again.

Wound our way through mountains covered in changing fall colours on either side of us, with the Saint John river below. In Perth Andover, a small town with the river running right through it, we stopped for lunch and lots of people passing by asked what we were doing, where we were going. Most of them nodded, made ummms and ahhh sounds and then left with a look that seemed to say they didn’t quite believe our crazy plan, we must have been pulling their legs!

Lunch was couscous, broccoli and sausage. We are finding we can eat pretty cheaply yet very well out of grocery stores and with our little stove, spending about $15-20 a day on three fill-em-up meals and snacks inbetween. It is hard to work the veggies in sometimes, as it seems most things in Canada come in big quantities. You can’t get just one carrot, take a 2kg bag. You want two or three mushrooms? Nonsense, buy the whole pack.

We’d covered about 40km by lunch time but as always, the last 20km seems the hardest. Maybe it’s the heat, fatigue from the morning, headwinds that always seem to show up in the afternoon. By the time we’d reached the top of the third or so hill we were beat and out of water. But help always seems to show up where you need it and this time it was in the form of a friendly man washing his dog in his front yard. You can just tell when people will help, they always smile or wave and you know you’re among friends.

We stopped, chatted for a while about his trips on a mountain bike some years ago, and then asked if we could fill our water bottles from the garden hose. He gathered up the bottles and returned with them full a few minutes later, not just with water but with ice too. A real treat! We carried on, wondering where we’d camp.

We’d seen a few possibilities for wild camping but were still a bit short on water, having quaffed most of what the man had given us. For some reason we decided to try the trail again and it was there we lucked out for the second time in one day. We found not only a fast running stream where we could get water and wash off the sweat, but also grounds belonging to a power station. The perfect place to pitch our tent, with lots of trees for cover and very little passing traffic. So, here we are in the tent, just about to settle down for the night, listening to the brook babble by.

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