Google maps shows a bike trail starting off on the east side of Riverside Drive, just south of Rivergate Way. When I got there this evening it was blocked by a locked gate, the chain link fence kind. The paved trail was further obstructed by a fallen tree about 10 yards beyond. I had noticed a small uncharted path a bit further north along Riverside Drive, so I followed that instead, anticipating it would eventually lead me to the blocked off trail.
This was an unmarked mystery path, which looked alot like this most of the way.
Eventually it did become wider, confirming my instincts I was on the right scent. I had just passed another bicyclist who was out with his dog when disaster struck. A stick got caught in my derailleur and busted it right off, like so.
I carried my bike to the corner of Uplands and Country Club Drive, sent a drop pin to my super partner Carla, and waited to be picked up.
While waiting I sent a photo of the damage to Mike, my bike-whizz-bro-in-law, asking if he thought the repair was within my skill set, or whether I should ask a pro. Regardless, I am desperate to get back in the saddle. “sigh….”
There are a couple of small streets I had yet to cover on the other side of Pont Champlain, so this evening I biked along the Ottawa side of the river to get there, and then back home along the Gatineau side.
The streets in question are just off Chemin d’Aylmer right after you cross the bridge. Now Chemin d’Aylmer is a very spooky road to bike on at anytime, which is probably why it has taken me this long to visit, but I’m glad I did. Chemin Berkley-Powell is a quiet little promenade with vines inching onto the road on either side. They must look great in the Fall when their leaves turn bright red. It’s a dead end, but I zipped up a dirt path back onto Chemin d’Aylmer.
I only had to bike a little further before arriving at my next destination, Rue d’Augusta. Turns out it’s the entrance to a new development called Château Golf with a big stone gate. It’s right across the street from the Royal Ottawa Golf Club which is where this ball must have come from. I found it in the grass while pausing to take this photo.
Beyond the stone gate entrance are these sorts of buildings. All the exteriors are done in warm tones.
Back along the river, just west of the bridge, the exposed rock river bed has this incredible pattern.
A number of projects I’m working on has me delving into stories surrounding the horrors of war, particularly those involving Canadians. One tale I came across is that of Private Richard Rowland Thompson who in the Boer War Battle of Paardeberg saved the life of a wounded colleague and stayed with him throughout the heat of battle. He also attempted to save another as the fighting raged about him. For this he was the only Canadian recipient of a Queen’s Scarf of Honour, one of eight scarves crocheted by Queen Victoria in her final year of life. The scarf is now at the Canadian War Museum. Turns out the fellow is buried in the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery. So I biked up the 105 right passed the small dirt road that leads to the small cemetery.
Realizing my mistake miles later, I headed back but not before cursing the terrible conditions of the 105 north of the Larimac golf course.
I also passed this very clever bike rack outside the Chelsea Smokehouse. They smoke fish.
Anyway, back to Private Richard Rowland Thompson … in commemoration of the honour Queen Victoria bestowed upon him, stone pillars flank the entrance to the small cemetery and a small cenotaph stands just beyond, listing the sons of Chelsea who fought and fell in the First and Second World Wars. It’s a very serene contemplative space, well worth the visit.
Sunday mornings are fantastic for long rides because there are hardly any cars on the road. Yesterday I managed to ride along the 307 on the East side of the Gatineau River, before turning onto Chemin de Mont Cascades towards Wakefield.
Beyond Mont Cascades the road was narrow, winding and picturesque like this.
Chemin de Mont Cascades becomes Chemin Clark, which meets up with the bigger 366, or Chemin Edelweiss, but I didn’t have to follow it for very long before I turned down Chemin du Vieux Pont, named after the covered bridge across the Gatineau River. Originally built in 1915, it has a long and illustrious history, including it’s complete reconstruction in 1998 by the local community after burning down 1984. Here’s what it looks like on the bridge.
The myriad of trails throughout the NCC Greenbelt has this unique signage system to help users navigate their way.
Once one gets used to the idea that the number and letter code at the top of each post designates their specific location on the trail, versus the norm of each trail having its own designation, be it a name, colour or number, the rest is easy-peasy. The location codes correlate to the trail map affixed to each post. You can also download all of the Greenbelt trail maps here.
I found myself travelling through a section of the Stony Swamp trails I’ve hi-lited in blue on this map, along with an image of only one of the wonderful natural landscapes I passed through.
I also came within yards of deer on three occasions, including these two staring back at me.
After exiting the trail at West Hunt Club Road, I was unable to access trails on the opposite side of Moodie Drive because of the brush fire in that area. Access was blocked off to everyone, except these turkeys who chose to ignore the barricades. I photo’d them from Moodie.
Closing this post off with an image of one of The many farms circling Stony Swamp.
Crossing the Lady Aberdeen Bridge over the Gatineau River just before it blends into the Ottawa River, one arrives in Pointe-Gatineau. NCC bike paths can be followed the entire way from downtown Ottawa.
Named after the point of land on which it sits at the confluence of these two mighty rivers, the area has a long history of settlement dating back to the early 1800’s. From the outset the Catholic Church established a dominant presence. The picturesque Saint-François-de-Sales church greets you just as you pedal over the bridge onto the eastern shore.
UPDATE– Fall 2016: There is a new multi-use path that goes along the edge of the river infront of the church, along Rue Jacques-Cartier and it’s fantastic! Click here for a description.
Many of the streets I explored behind the church are named after Catholic Saints (Rue Saint Josephat; Rue St Antoine; etc). Most of these streets are lined with comfy one story homes, however the main street beyond the church, Boulevard Gréber, feels like a battered strip which progress has left behind.
On the way there, or back, if you follow the bike path behind the Museum of Civilization you will come across this great series of sculptures titled People by Louis Archambault, originally presented at Montreal’s Expo 67.
In tribute to our national holiday I set out to explore streets in Gatineau named after a few of our First Nations.
Rue des Algonquins and it’s surrounding streets are a pleasant meander along large wooded properties. Very nice to bike through. The Algonquins were residents in this area long before Mr Champlain floated up the river.
Rue des Montangais and surrounding streets have some big new chateauesque-ish homes.