As I type this, Eve, Raisin, Greta and I have arrived safely back home. I first stopped at their regular park, Eglinton, so they could sniff around and realize they were back home. No more strange new scents; just a feeling of security.
Here is the last 2 days of our journey. We were out early, before dawn, to walk around Centre-ville Montreal. It is a strange, street combination of art and road construction. Every street we turned down seemed to have construction fence setup. We went to Saint-Catherine and found this art installation. However the construction light gave it an extra flavour.
In front of the art was Christ Church Cathedral. – pure Gothic Revival. Built between 1857 and 1860, it was an Anglican return to the English medieval church style.
Looking way up, the gargoyles also reflected in the church’s sodium light.
The only restaurant open was a 24 hour A&W. Coffee and breakfast sandwich. However I had planned to stop at Sainte Agathe Des Monts for lunch. It was only 30 minutes from the park entrance. Picked up a fabulous Banh Mi sandwich. There was only 1 cook working for takeout only and he was busy. It was worth waiting for.
We sat in a wonderful park and had lunch. It was next to a lake so we went down to the little beach and felt the spray from the fountain. Greta didn’t like that part and hid behind a bush.
The thing about camping in Quebec’s provincial parks with dogs is that you can only book certain campsites. For the longest time they did not allow dogs in any campground. Then in the mid-2000s, they opened up a few spots as a pilot project.
I arrived at Mont Tremblant’s registration kiosk. When I told her the campsite number, she looked puzzled. I showed her the confirmation letter. She explained I was at the wrong entrance. L’Assomption was the dog friendly campground I had booked but it was way over on the east side. I didn’t realize how big the park was. I still had to drive another hour and a half to get there.
By the time I setup I was exhausted. We were just happy to sit there and enjoy the quiet, peaceful camp. Raisin found sitting in the water bowl just perfect.
The ground was sandy with a few stones scattered about. I stretched out the poly tarp for the pugs. Eve had already gone into the tent to relax on the sleeping bag. At first Greta and Raisin settled at opposite ends. It was the first time I used the tarp so maybe they were choosing their spots.
But then Greta came over to give Raisin comfort (not that she needed it – she was asleep). We walked to the washroom building. There were “No Dogs Allowed” signs leading to the beach. Odd that, for a campground that allows dogs, they ban them from the beach. What is the point of camping here?
I was up at 4 am the next morning. Nice, long sleep. It was going to be a long, straight drive back to Toronto so I wanted an early start. The starry sky was amazing. There was also a full moon peaking through the pines.
By 4:30 I was packed and ready to go. It was going to take about 15 mintues to reach the park exit – that is how far the campground was in the park. I was doing about 40 with the high beam headlights on.
Then, it finally happened.
After driving along so many miles of forest on this trip. After seeing so many “Beware of moose or deer” signs on our travels – there it was.
In the headlight was a huge, black moose butt. I immediately hit the brakes. I slowed down and realized it was galloping down the road. If it had been standing on the road, I would have hit it. And, as there was no cell reception, and 4:30 in the morning, I would not have known what to do.
But he was big, and he was running down the road. It was about 10 seconds in total and then he veered off into the forest. It was an “in the moment” moment. An image that will stay with me forever.
Thank you all for coming on this adventure with us. It was epic. It was freedom. It was, surprisingly, normal. It felt very much like the Western road trip with Eve and Raisin. Or the East Coast trip with Dublin and Raisin. Except for the occasional use of a mask and hand sanitizer, it was everything I expected it to be.
And I was happy to share it with you. I’m going to categorize the trip itself so it can be loaded and viewed as itself.
Coming in 2023 – the Western Road Trip