SAGUENAY

Friday, September 7, 2007

Up early to pack up the tent and drive to L'Anse de Roche (Rock Cove).

last morning at Les Bergeronnes

Gorgeous misty morning on the Saguenay River, light breeze, no one around. Headed into the wind to have it behind me on return. It's obvious that the fjord acts as a funnel to create high winds. Amazing place, the cliff walls, dark water, mountains ranging into the foggy distance. Magical. Before I knew it, I'd paddled 4 miles.

After a stop, I rounded a point and there was Baie Ste Marguerite, home of belugas. I stayed close to shore to avoid the "hot zone" of beluga activity as instructed by the naturalist yesterday. But there were none to disturb.

Cliffs of the Saguenay, looking straight up

cool marbled patterns make me a little dizzy if I look while I paddle

Baie-Ste-Marguerite - an opening up of the cliff walls.

Saplings along the Riviere Ste Marguerite

I paddled on to the 6.5 mile point and came upon a park camping area - platforms built on the rock shelves. This was my lunch stop. Decided that a 13-mile paddle was plenty, given the iffy look of the weather, so turned around. Swung wide past the beluga zone, and did indeed see one passing, so far away that a photo would not be worthwhile. They look much bigger when you are down in the water with them though! A minke came through too.

Another mile or so, ambling along through a downpour of rain, then clearing, and suddenly I heard multiple whale-breaths. A pod of belugas! Three or four were far to the right, but one was directly in my path. I sat and waited as the whale surfaced closer and closer, finally passing within 20 feet of my bow. Ah, this was a splendid way to finish 9 days of paddling!

Okay, a crappy photo, but this about what you get with belugas as far as I can tell. It's proof positive anyway, that I did paddle with the belugas.

Tonight, a hotel bed - no tent or sleeping bag! - in Tadoussac at Hotel le Pionneer. I am going to treat myself to a restaurant meal. Tomorrow, Vermont. And then home.

And the answer to the question, "Wild Adventure or Cheap Vacation at National Park"? The answer is: YES!

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