Monday, 23 August 2010

Remote crossing of central New Brunswick

22th August: Grand Falls to the middle of nowhere, between Plaster Rock & Renous (Wild camp @ N46º49.057', W66º36.668) 

Odometer: 113 km, Start: 9.15am, Finish: 5.00pm, Avg: 18.7 km/h,
Weather: Sunny intervals, Temp: 12-23°C
Road Conditions: #108, no shoulder, reasonable road surface, extremely light traffic after Plaster Rock. Services: Plaster Rock (35km) then nothing for 137km. Water available only from several rivers en route. Most are a scramble down to reach, though. The Dungarvon River at 110km was relatively easy to get to. Hilly day. Ascent: 1300m/1000m.

I was looking forward to today, but with some trepidation. When doing my research on getting across New Brunswick, I was intrigued by a remote looking road through the upper-centre of the province, the #108. From Plaster Rock to Renous I discovered, there is absolutely nothing, no gas stations, no rest areas, no tourist attractions, nothing that is but forest! It’s 138km between the towns and that’s a long day’s bike ride.

River at Grand Falls

A couple of days ago, I decided I fancied wild camping in the middle of nowhere, having ascertained there were several river crossings to hopefully obtain some water. So, I stopped near Grand Falls yesterday to make the distances work.

I visited the falls implied by the town’s name first thing in the morning, but when I got there I discovered it was the wrong time of year. (Spring is best apparently). The falls were just a dribble. Most of the water is diverted to a power station during the summer months. The scouring of the rock faces indicated that this would be a sight when the water is flowing, though.

Wrong time of year for the falls, though
Should be quite impressive during springtime…

I headed on to Plaster Rock, my last town to stock up on some food before heading out into the hills. The river at Plaster Rock was quite nice to view as I left town. On the way out there are a couple of signs warning about the large distance to the next town. There was a great big warning sign to expect winter conditions too. Maybe not today, it was 24 degrees and sunny.

River at Plaster Rock
Another remote stretch ahead, 137km of nothing but forest…

The road climbed into the Central New Brunswick hills and twisted it’s way through dense pine forests. It also rose and dipped repeatedly. I climbed and descended, climbed and descended throughout the afternoon, gradually gaining altitude. I reached 550m at one stage.

Heading into the hills of central New Brunswick on the #108

At the Dungarvon River I managed to get some water (to filter later) and started looking for a camp spot. The GPS helped here, as it showed a few logging roads in the area. I managed to find a nice hidden spot off a logging road and set up camp for a lonely night in the woods!

My wild camp between Plaster Rock and Renous at N46º49.057', W66º36.668!

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