a conversation with the earth guidebooks + guided hiking

Posts from August 17th, 2015.

What’s the “4th Dimension” of Hiking?

Craig explains the four dimensions of hiking on CBC Radio:


Listen in. The segment begins at 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

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Where to Road Cycle in Quebec

The following road rides rank among our favourites in Quebec. All are from the guidebook we relied on most often: Le Quebec en 30 Boucles. (A boucle is a loop.) Like the other guidebooks we used, it’s in French. But the maps are excellent, and if you can read of bit of French, you can easily decipher where to begin the ride, then follow the map the rest of the way. The trip numbers here correspond to those in the book:

Trip 2 – The description suggests riding on the roads through much of Gatineau Park, just north of Ottawa. But we preferred staying on the extensive bike paths in the park and along both shores of the Ottawa River.

Trip 4  Laurentides: Brebeuf, La Conception. Often along Riviere Rouge. Length: 57 km. Gain: 267 m.

Trip 5 – Laurentides: Monteregie et Ontario. Along the Ottawa River, passing many historic, stone homes on the N bank. Length: 70 km. Gain: 179 m.

Trip 6 – A beautiful, vigourous loop passing several lakes. Length: 79 km. Gain: 645 m.

Trip 10 – Mascouche / Crabtree / L’Epiphanie. A relatively quiet ride in the countryside just NE of Montreal. Length: 54 km. Gain: 88 m.

Trip 12 – Cantons-de-l’Est (Eastern townships, near  Sherbrooke). Bedford, Dunham. We liked best the section between Frelighsburg and Pigeon Hill. Length: 83 km. Gain: 468 m. But you’ll see options to shorten it.

Trip 13 – Richelieu River: NE of Montreal-St Marc Richelieu /Antoine sur Richelieu / St Denis Richelieu. Length: 47.5 km. Gain: 60 m. 

Trip 16 – Mauricie et Quebec. Cycling on the historic Chemin du Roy, beside le Fleuve St. Laurent, you’ll visit a a few of the most beautiful villages and eglises in Quebec: St. Anne-de-le-Perade, St. Casimir, and Grondines. Length: 62 km. Gain: 146 m.

Trip 17 – Cantons-de-l’Est. Magog, ESE of Montreal. To shorten the ride and avoid some of the Magog traffic, start in St. Catherine-de-Hatley. Visit North Hatley, Hatley, Ayer’s Cliff, and Lac Massawippi. Length: either 58 or 78 km. Gain 600 m.

Trip 24 – Chaudiere-Appalaches. Along the le Fleuve St. Laurent, this ride takes in Beaumont, St. Michel de Bellechasse, and St. Vallier. Length: 54 km. Gain 179 m.

Trip 29 – Bas St. Laurent et Gaspesie. Hwy 132 along the St Laurent is usually very busy, so it’s not enjoyable. If you cycle this, travel from W to E so the prevailing wind is at your back. The section from Metis-Sur-Mer up to St. Octave is tranquil and lovely, with views over farmlands to the le Fleuve St. Laurent. Length: 83 km. Gain: 423 m.

Not Recommended – Trip 25 – I’lle-d’Orleans. There’s virtually no shoulder on the road circling this island outside Quebec City. The asphalt is terribly broken and rutted. Traffic is nearly constant. We didn’t enjoy it. It often felt dangerous.

The following, two road rides rank among our favourites in the Montreal area. Both are from the guidebook titled 15 Circuits Autour de Montréal — Itinéraraires de 63 à 107 km. The maps are detailed and indicate distances between each junction. But the book does not state the elevation gain for each ride. The trip numbers here correspond to those in the book:

Trip 8 – Lachine / Chateauguay / Voie Maritime. We did this 70-km loop on a Saturday, when it seemed all of Montreal was outdoors, in the parks and on the bike paths. It was exhilarating to experience the city by flowing along with the energy and enthusiasm of the locals. Because we were camping at the KOA in St. Phillippe (10 minutes from Sainte Catherine), we started on the Voie Maritime (La Riveraine)—a narrow strip of land in the le Fleuve St. Laurent. The ferry from Lachine departs at 11:15 am, 1:45 pm, 4:45 pm. If you want to shorten the loop, from Lachine you can return on Les Bergers path along the S shore of Montreal to cross Pont Champlain.

Trip 11 – An easy, nearly level loop starting in St. Martine. Traffic was minimal. Pavement was good. The undulating agricultural land was a constantly soothing sight. Length: 65 km or 76.9 km

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Hiking and camping in the wilderness can be dangerous. Experience and preparation reduce risk but will never eliminate it.

Information published in a book or on a website—regardless how authoritative—is not a substitute for common sense or sound judgment. Your safety is your responsibility. The unique details of your specific situation and the decisions you make at that time will determine the outcome.

When hiking, threats to your wellbeing are unpredictable; you must always be aware. In the backcountry, risk is subjective; you must gauge it for yourself. Away from civilization, small mistakes can have severe consequences; you must vigilantly prevent injury and avoid becoming disoriented.

Never hike alone. Before setting out, check the weather forecast and current trail conditions; adjust your plans accordingly. Always carry a map and compass, a first-aid kit, extra clothing, a personal locator beacon, plus enough food and water to survive an emergency.

If you doubt your ability to negotiate rough terrain, respond to wild animals, or handle sudden, extreme weather changes, hike only in a group led by a competent, licensed guide.

The authors and the publisher disclaim liability for any loss or injury incurred by anyone using information published on this website or in the books presented on this website.