Wednesday, 19 March 2008

On yet another plan

The Trail Guide of the New Brunswick Trails Council arrived in the mail yesterday. It proved interesting in a way that I didn't expect. I had been hoping it would contain significant amounts of information about trails along the East Coast of New Brunswick. Alas, it didn't. It did detail a trail I hadn't known about from St-Quentin to Campbellton. This led me to come up with a new route for the trip, Plan 6. Instead of turning inland a little past Rimouski, I would now do so earlier at Rivière-du-Loup. In this way, I would take the Petit Témis interprovincial Linear Park (which is also part of the Trans-Canada Trail and the Route Verte) to Edmunston.

From Edmunston, I would travel by the roads that shadow the Trans-Canada Highway to St-Leonard. From St-Leonard, highway 17 would take me to St-Quentin and the start of the trail to Campbellton. From Campbellton, I would proceed as per Plan 5. The map for those of you who need it.
I did the math regarding the mileage of this route compared and came up with the fact that it would be about 15 km shorter than Plan 5. It would also feature at least 200 more kilometers of bike paths made from former rail beds than Plan 5.

Conversely, it would involve around 60 km on a provincial highway that features comparatively heavy logging traffic. If that wasn't enough, the terrain is said to be somewhat hilly.

I also have concerns about the St-Quentin Campbellton trail. While the guide I have describes it as not allowing motorized vehicles in summer, I have concerns about whether this is enforced given that much of the trail is in the middle of nowhere. As well the guide lists the surface as fine gravel, with some rough spots. It even warns that the trail is rougher in some of the back woods sections.

Finally, I am not sure I want to spend quite so much time on rail bed trails in the middle of nowhere. It could be a recipe for "trees, trees and, oh look, more trees." The Plan 5 route goes through more civilized country, including some very nice sections along the St-Lawrence.

For these reasons, I think that Plan 5 is still my default plan. However, Plan 6 is definitely an active and very viable alternative that I shall continue to investigate.

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