Language Barriers in Canada on the IAT
ECT DAY 178&179
IAT Day 9&10
Day 178: 33 miles
This morning I left the Bear Lair super early to get my day started. I have a lot of walking to do and want to get into town early if I can. I was walking on the road well before the sun even came up. Which certainly wasn’t ideal, but I had to do what I had to do. Whenever cars drove by I just made sure to move way off onto the shoulder so there was no chance they could hit me. I knew that cars probably couldn’t see me in the dark.
About 7 miles into the morning I wound up getting off the road and crossing onto some type of logging road. Trucker had told me about it because it apparently cuts off 17 miles total. And also it brings you along the dirt roads rather than 50+ miles of main road walking. That sounded good to me.
When you got further down the road there was a gate that could only be opened by one of the people monitoring the road. There was a one way phone they you had to pick up to speak to the person down at the other end of the 24 mile road. I let them know that I was coming through on foot and they let me right in. It was a cool process honestly.
Once I was on the road there was very little traffic which was ideal. Though nearly every vehicle that drove by was a big 18 wheeler or logging vehicle. I walked for another few miles and then decided to take my first break of the day.
I found a nice pull off and sat down to eat something and do my stretching. The snacks that I got at the gas station last night were all really good! It’s been so fun eating new food here. I had lost my appetite on the AT from months and months of eating the same old garbage. It’s been nice getting it back and finding good things to eat.
After my break I continued along. As I got further down the road the path became more sandy and dusty. So when cars and trucks drove by they kicked all the dirt up into the air. It would fill my eyes with sand and was brutally uncomfortable. I learned quickly that I had to cover my eyes with my sun hoodie almost immediately. And had to keep them covered for almost a minute after the trucks went by. That was probably the worst part of the entire day.
I continued along for another 3 hours or so after that break. It’s been pretty easy to walk for hours and hours at a time on the roads and ATV paths. I’ve been making such great time recently. The logging road was pretty damn boring but time flew by. My main issue was having to move out of the way of the logging trucks. Not only did they kick up dust which was blinding me. But it also made it impossible for other vehicles passing by to see me. I was very cautious about that.
After a few hours I took another break at a road junction. There were signs for a lake and a camping area but I didn’t want to walk a far distance down to it. So I just sat at the junction in the road and took a long break. I ate some cool candy bars that I had never tried before. Then I stretched before I continued along.
It was tough to say for sure how much further I had to go. This route isn’t on the Far Out app so there’s no way for me to know. I was just using time as my estimate. I’ve consistently been doing 3+ MPH recently. So as long as I made note of the time before and after breaks I’ve been able to predict my mileage without a GPS or map. That had been nice. I knew that the logging road was 24 miles in total so I had to have been getting close.
From there I walked for another maybe 2 hours before I came to the end of the road. I wasn’t done for the day but it felt great just to be off the logging road. I was so damn sick of the dust going in my eyes. That was really bothering me especially with my contacts.
Once I got on the main road I began the 3 mile walk into Saint Quentin. I got in around 5pm and went straight to the motel. Originally I had told the woman on the phone that I’d be arriving much later. So she gave me a number to call when I arrived. But when I got to town I didn’t have any service. There was no one there working when I arrived so I needed to call to get let in. I wasn’t sure what to do considering the fact that I wasn’t able to call.
I wound up walking across the street and going up to a couple. They were standing by their vehicle and I apologized and then explained the situation. I don’t have a Canadian phone plan but need to call the motel in order to check in. They were very nice and let me make a phone call. Then I was good to go! I walked back over and got checked in to my room.
Once I got in I showered and then walked down the street to run some errands. The room was 20 CAD cheaper if I paid in cash, but I didn’t have any cash. So I walked down the street to a UNI to take cash out. But the whole ATM was in French! With no option to swap the language over. That was terrifying. I managed to take money out but I was so worried about pressing the wrong thing. I wound up withdrawing 60CAD three separate times because I didn’t know how to type in a specific amount to withdraw. What a wild situation.
Then I went to a gas station and did a quick resupply. I got so many new and exciting foods. And finally I went to a burger joint to grab some dinner. The lady only spoke French but I managed. I got a burger with ingredients unknown because it was all written in French. But I liked the idea of the surprise. I also got poutine and a milkshake. Portion sizes are so much smaller up here! The medium milkshake would have been a kids size in the states. That’s ok though. I’m still learning.
Once I did all my errands I went back to my room at the motel. I lounged in bed and was watching TV and using wifi. Then someone in a room across from me used the microwave and blew a fuse that impacted the whole place. The outlets in my room stopped working, the TV turned off, and the WiFi for the whole place turned off. What a goddamn joke.
The person who caused it called the woman who ran the place and she came over. But she quickly realized it wasn’t going to be a simple fix. None of the breakers had been flipped so it wasn’t that. It was a bigger problem of sorts. So she quickly gave up and went home. I was shit out of luck for the rest of the night.
Later on I wound up walking down the street to get free wifi from the UNI. I sat there for a while doing some planning and messaging with another hiker Trucker. He’s going to wait for me near the border of Quebec so we can hike together. I’m really excited about that. It’s been so lovely hiking by myself. But with the restrictions in Quebec’s reserves, the language barrier, and other obstacles, it’s going to be great to navigate everything with someone else.
After a while I headed back to the motel to call it a nice. I’m going to stick around for breakfast tomorrow morning but still hopefully do a nice long day.
Day 179: 35 miles
This morning I was able to sleep in until 7am which felt fantastic. That’s the latest that I’ve slept in in a while. After I packed up I headed out of the room to the breakfast. The lovely lady who ran the place made me a plate with bacon, 2 eggs, incredible toast, a slice of watermelon. It was the perfect way to start the day.
Then I began walking! Part way into my morning I stopped off in Kedgwick to go to the pharmacy. I haven’t been able to find contact solution anywhere and I’m getting dangerously low. I got what I needed there and used the WiFi at the library next door. Then I continued along.
I walked through the town and then followed highway 17 for a long while. I had the option to get on an ATV road after but that route was actually much longer. So I opted to stay on the main road and save myself some time. About 3 hours in I took my first break once again. It was so early in the day and I was already super close to the camp site I had originally intended to call at. Trucker told me I should stay at one of two snowmobile huts because there isn’t much protected camping along the ATV path.
But it was around 2pm when I arrived at the first ATV hut. There was no way that I was going to stop that early. The other snowmobile shelter was 20 miles past there so I doubted that I’d make it that far. That would be a 40 mile day or longer.
I decided to just keep going and hope for the best. There’s always some place to camp if you have a small tent and aren’t picky. Someone had commented on Far Out that there was a camp site 5 miles past the snowmobile hut. But even that was probably going to be too soon in the day. I’d just have to wing it.
Like I thought I arrived at the other camp site around 3:30pm. There was so much daylight left that I really didn’t want to stop so soon. Instead I just decided to keep hoping for the best and continue along. Though around this time my right foot did begin to hurt a little bit. Usually I’ll get a pain here or there and it will last for a couple of miles. Then it always seems to pass. But this was persistent which became a bit concerning.
The top of my right foot felt very sore. It seemed like it was stemming through soreness in my ankle. Which didn’t surprise me much. It was the ankle that I rolled horribly back in the whites. And the only thing that I did to heal that ankle was to keep hiking on it. I was just assuming that I was tired and worn out. I’ve been doing 30 miles every day for the last week.
As I continued to walk the discomfort didn’t go away. That definitely worried me a bit. So after another few miles I began to look for camping options. There was nothing in sight though. The ATV path literally crossed between a river on the left and the right. There was no land on either side most of the time. Every now and then I’d pop back into an area that had a bit more land. But I didn’t want to tent right next to the ATV road either. There was tons of moose and bear poop on the road. So I assume that animals will be walking the road at next. I don’t want anything walking right past me all night long.
After going for another couple of miles I wound up finding the most perfect spot. It was 5-10 feet of the road which was ideal. There were also a lot of trees surrounding the area so I didn’t have to worry as much about moose trampling through the site. It was super mossy and soft and the perfect amount of space for my zpacks plex solo tent.
I began getting set up and was immediately so happy with my decision. My foot hurt just walking around the camp site. I think it’s best to call it early today so that I can have a lot of rest tonight. That way I’ll hopefully feel much better tomorrow morning. Similar to what happened when I rolled my ankle a few weeks ago in the whites.
While I was setting up camp a game warden truck drove by. At the last minute I noticed the driver saw me there off the road. Then they proceeded to back up the truck to come over to me. The man and woman in the vehicle got out and came over. They were both super nice. I explained that I couldn’t make it to the next snowmobile hut and decided to call it a day. Neither of them had any issue with my tent site. They were more so curious about where I was coming from and what I was doing.
When told them that I had walked from Alabama they were shocked. Then they asked more and more questions. I hadn’t seen any hikers or ATV riders all day so it was nice to talk to someone. We talked for a while before they finally continued along their way.
Then I finished setting up camp and got into my tent. It felt great to lay down and finally rest. I put some KT tape on my foot and ankle just to help a bit. KT tape is pretty magical so I figured that it couldn’t hurt. Then I ate something and did my stretching. After that I called it a night super early. I wanted to get as much sleep as possible to rest my body. Hopefully I’ll feel much better tomorrow.
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