Cycling Across Canada: Atlantic Canada
Guest post by Kane Mercer
Get the background on my cross-Canada cycling trip in memory of my dad.
The scenery from the St. Lawrence River from Montreal through Quebec and the maritimes was surprisingly similar in that both were surrounded by kind people, beautiful vistas and expanses of water.
After spending a week with close friends in Montreal I set out again through the south side of the St. Lawrence River in Laval and then directly up north towards Quebec City.
Quebec City was such a beautiful place that I spent 3 days there even though I had originally planned on only spending one — it was that beautiful.
If I weren’t alone, it would be the most beautiful place to share with a loved one. I suppose that was the reason why it was simultaneously a nice experience and hard for me to be there. I had a lot of moments reflecting on family that had passed on and past relationships. Everything considered, these were precious days for me.
As I continued from Quebec City there was a really nice trail that went all the way from Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec to Edmundston, New Brunswick. The trail was not only scenic but it explicitly said that camping anywhere on the trail was fine. I really like this aspect of society in Quebec, as things were a little bit more liberal some respects than any of the other provinces that I had been to. People in other provinces also told me I could just camp in places, but having it explicitly pointed sure helps to feel welcome.
I worked my way through the last part of Quebec and then got to New Brunswick, which reminded me a little bit of Vancouver Island because of the coastal feel next to the ocean in places like the Bay of Fundy.
One of the best moments for me was when I first caught a glimpse of the ocean. I was rolling down the hill with the wind at my back and off in the distance I saw a shimmering band of blue off in the horizon. It was a really nice moment and the memories of the last 80 days came rushing back as I went down the hill. In some ways I reached my goal even though I still had another 10 days to reach my destination.
In another epic cycle through the night, I started at Hopewell Rocks in the morning and then cycled through Moncton and Shediac where it became dark. From Shediac, I continued my journey into the night until I reached a small town called Port Elgen in the twilight before the morning, rested, and then headed to the PEI Confederation Bridge. I crossed the bridge via shuttle and then went the last kilometers to the northern side of the island where my hostel was on Brackley Beach. This was the last time on the trip that I did something like this all in one go.
PEI has chewed up roads, but gorgeous cycling trails. As I made my way through, I wondered if the farms and rolling hills had been so beautifully constructed with alternating greens and yellows in order to make a profit or simply as competition with neighbours for the most beautiful property. It was stunningly beautiful to me.
I stayed for a few days and met some friends to explore the island with and then on a rainy morning set out again towards New Glasgow, Nova Scotia — my destination.
I arrived in New Glasgow and on the next day had a welcoming reception with surprise messages from my family as well as a visit from the local MLA and reporters waiting for me. All of this was thanks to Ian Bos, who also went across Canada to raise awareness for palliative care and hospice in 2015. He arranged all of the media attention and the tour of the facilities which they have in at the Aberdeen Palliative Care Unit New Glasgow. It was really nice.
This is the point where my trip officially ended, but I decided to take the train home from Halifax, so for two more days I cycled there. Truly Quebec and Atlantic Canada were beautiful places that reminded me of home, but after being through the different provinces of the country a part of me was missing family and was ready to return to school — then again, another part of me would have continued if it were possible.
As usual, here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip during the stretch between Montreal and Halifax.
For a daily account of my cross-Canada journey in memory of my father, or to learn more about my charity, please visit: rideforrand.blogspot.com