Subscribe to Scotiana's blog RSS feed in your preferred reader!
Follow-Scotiana-On-Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    October 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031  

    Archives

    Be The First

    To Know

    What's New

    on Scotiana.com!

    Follow Me on Pinterest
    Find textbooks at Alibris!

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White : Episode 10

    Road 138 Havre-Saint-Pierre road sign Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Havre-Saint-Pierre - Road Sign on Route 138 © 2010 Scotiana

    I was making for Havre-Saint-Pierre.

    When I told that to the bus-driver, he said:

    ‘It’s the end of the road. Can’t go any farther than that. It’s the end of the road.’

    Two Indian youths got on the bus at the same time as myself (..)

    ‘Where you makin’ for?’

    ‘Havre-Saint-Pierre.’

    ‘That’s the end of the road.’

    ‘So they tell me.’

    ‘Got friends there?’

    ‘Nope’

    ‘How come you there then?’

    ‘Maybe just because it’s the end of the road.’

    (Kenneth White – The Blue Road)

    Kenneth White The Blue Road 1990 Mainstream Publishing

    Kenneth White The Blue Road 1990 Mainstream Publishing

    Saturday 9 october : from Havre-Saint-Pierre to Pointe-Parent. The end of the road.

    Today, as I’ve told it recently, the road ends further than Havre-Saint-Pierre.  Soon, it will go further still than Pointe-Parent and even than Kegaska where a gravelled road, ‘la route blanche’  is leading to presently. If you want to reach Labrador, following the St Lawrence, you must go up to Blanc-Sablon, either by taking a boat or a plane. And don’t forget, the sea can be rough in these cold waters. So we were told by a team of employees going back home for the week-end. After being terribly sea-sick during their journey they were not eager to sail back there on the next monday!

    After leaving Havre Saint-Pierre at 11 h 50 a.m, we find ourselves back on our way, driving on Road 138 East, in the direction of Natashquan which is situated 150 km further, after Baie-Johan-Beetz and Aguanish (122 km).

    Québec-trajet-Les-Escoumins_Pointe-Parent Scotiana Modified Google map

    Itinerary: Les-Escoumins @ Pointe-Parent - Scotiana Modified Google map

    On our return trip, later on the same day, and this time following Road 138 West, we would be very happy to find, in Aguanish, a motel still open at 11 pm. On this cold October Saturday night, we would be offered ‘Chez Maxime’ not only a good room to sleep in (though without Internet) but also the free use of a kitchen to heat our soup and a delicious salmon pie prepared by the receptionist’s mother. We would share quite a good meal there, in the big dining room which had just been left by a joyful team of local workers. A jigsaw puzzle representing an Italian landscape lay unfinished on a table and we would linger on the place, drinking coffee and adding a few pieces to the sunny picture.

    But let us return to our road, sooner, in the afternoon…

    Route 138 road signs Côte-Nord Quebec PQ ©Scotiana 2010

    Route 138- Road Signs- Côte-Nord, Province du Quebec © 2010 Scotiana

    The weather is grey and the wind icy cold, blowing from Labrador. On each side of the road, the vegetation reflects our progress in this lonely and remote part of North Quebec…

    Hydroplane toundra road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ

    Hydroplane flying over a toundra landscape © 2010 Scotiana

    Is this hydroplane flying to Labrador?

    We have passed from the boreal forest (kind of taïga) to a landscape of maritime toundra with fewer conifer trees (black spruce mainly, locally known as ‘épinette noire’, and a few pale green tamaracks known in French as ‘mélèzes’) and more and more areas of peat bogs …

    Toundra moss carpet in bloom on road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2

    Toundra moss carpet in bloom on road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    Signposts announce the presence of caribou.

    Here’s what a certain John Maclean wrote around 1840 about the caribou migrations:

    ‘They make their appearance in March, coming from the west,

    and direct their course over the barren grounds near the coast until they reach George’s River, where they halt.

    In the month of October, the does follow the banks of George’s River until they meet the bucks.

    The whole then proceed together, through the interior, to the place whence they came.’

    (Kenneth White – The Blue Road)

    In some places, carpets of moss and lichen (food for caribous) are covering the ground…

    Toundra wild flower on Road 138 Côte-Nord  Quebec PQ  Scotiana 2010

    Toundra wild flowers Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    And here and there,  wild flowers, beautiful and mysterious (we don’t know their name) are blooming.

    Peat bogs on  Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Peat bogs on Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    Here we are in the realm of fishers and hunters, also berry pickers (chicoutai) during the Summer. In front of such a landscape, and though the Canadian wilderness spreads on a much wider scale, I can’t help thinking of Rannoch Moor, in the Highlands of Scotland.

    Rannoch Moor Highlands of Scotland Scotiana 2006

    Rannoch Moor Highlands of Scotland © 2006 Scotiana

    We would like to learn more about the local flora and fauna but it must be extremely dangerous to venture into these wintry and swampy areas without knowing the place. The Indians must be good guides…

    A time was when they were scattered all over North-Eastern America, following the caribou trails, trapping beaver. They called themselves, in the Algonkian tongue, Innut, ‘the human beings’.

    When the French explorers arrived in the Gulf of the St Lawrence in the sixteenth century, they called them Montagnais, the mountain-men.

    In Summer they stayed on the coast, for the sake of the cool breezes, but as soon as the leaves spoke September, they made their way up to the Labrador plateau for the hunting season. All might have been well if they’d been able to keep moving from coast to plateau, from plateau to coast, according to the rhythm they knew.

    (Kenneth White – The Blue Road –  ‘On the Coast’)

    Rivière de la Corneille road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Rivière de la Corneille road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    We’ve crossed many rivers on road 138, salmon rivers with evocative Indian names: animal names very often. Even the name of ‘Romaine River’, the Roman connotation of which sounding so strange up there, has an indian origin as I’ve just read in Wikipedia : ‘since the end of the 19th century, it is a French adaptation of the Native American term Ouraman or Ulaman as noted by Jean-Baptiste-Louis Franquelin in 1685, while Jacques-Nicolas Bellin wrote Ramane on his map of 1744. It comes from unaman, meaning “vermilion” or “red ochre”. Deposits of this material are found on the banks of the Olomane River.’

    St Lawrence Gulf Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    St Lawrence Gulf Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    On our right, the St Lawrence Gulf is widening, dotted here and there with islands and islets, the big Anticosti Island pointing northwards in the direction of Newfoundland (‘Terre Neuve’ in French), a name which, together with a few other ones like  ‘Labrador’ or ‘Nova Scotia’, makes us dream…

    Repair works on Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Repair works on Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    The road goes on and on towards Natashquan but, being repeatdly delayed by road repairs, we sometimes feel we’ll never reach it before the end of the day. Not that this part of road 138 is so old but it has been badly damaged in many places because of repeated harsh weather conditions during the long winters.
    For kilometres we have to follow this big red vehicle… and so zealous is Janice, the best driver I ever met, that she will follow the guiding car up to its parking place 😉

    Repairworks on Road 138  Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Repair works on Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    Just try to imagine the extent of the works…  we are well placed to measure the quality and efficiency of the working teams, men and women. A sign indicates the number of people needed to do such hard work. Not so many of them, I say to myself.

    Gravelled Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Gravelled Road 138 Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    As we have to drive very slowly on the gravelled road,  we have much time to admire the landscape and in many places it’s quite beautiful !

    Inukshuk road 138 near Natashquan Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    An 'inukshuk' on the hill on road 138 before arriving at Natashquan © 2010 Scotiana

    Our eyes are suddenly attracted by a strange stone monument up the hill.  An Indian cairn ?

    Inukshuk Road 138 near Natashquan Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    An 'Inukshuk' on road 138 near Natashquan © 2010 Scotiana

    Janice tells us that yes, this strange stone monument is an ‘inukshuk’. There are many of them in the area.  I’ve found some more information on Wikipedia.

    An inuksuk (plural inuksuit), alternatively inukshuk in English or inukhuk in Inuinnaqtu, is a stone landmark or cairn built by humans, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. These structures are found from Alaska to Greenland. This region, above the Arctic Circle, is dominated by the tundra biome and has areas with few natural landmarks.
    The word inuksuk means “something which acts for or performs the function of a person”. The word comes from the morphemes inuk (“person”) and -suk (“ersatz” or “substitute”).
    The inuksuk may have been used for navigation, as a point of reference, a marker for travel routes, fishing places, camps, hunting grounds, places of veneration, drift fences used in hunting or as a food cache. Varying in shape and size, the inuksuit have longtime roots in the Inuit culture.
    Inuksuit continue to serve as an Inuit cultural symbol. For example, an inuksuk is shown on the flag and Coat of Arms of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, and the flag of Nunatsiavut. The high school in Iqaluit is named Inuksuk High School after the landmarks.

    Les Galets Natashquan sand beach Côte-Nord Scotiana 2010

    Les Galets Natashquan sand beach Côte-Nord © 2010 Scotiana

    As soon as we arrive at Natashquan we take the direction of the seashore and there we stop and look at the landscape. The view is breathtaking. The breaking waves mingle their voices to that of the wind. It’s icy cold but we stay there, silent…

    Natashquan Les Galets Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Les Galets Natashquan PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    On the website of  ‘Port de Havre-Saint-Pierre – Rendez Vous Minganie’ I’ve found a good description of the nice little wooden houses which face the tumultuous waters of the St Lawrence Gulf, the ocean we’d better say here.

    ‘Known as the “Magasins du Galet,” this strip of a dozen small buildings mysteriously yet bravely huddled together on a peninsula, greets you on the outskirts of town.

    Over time, this place commonly referred to as the “Galets” became the town’s symbol, and was recently declared a historical site by the government of Québec.

    Their granite foundations since polished by the tide, these former fishing warehouses have weathered time, winds and sea mist. Once owned by the fishermen of Natashquan and used to store tackle, salt and dry cod, and stow seal oil, they now belong to small independent local fisheries.’
    While we are taking pictures of this magnificent landscape, our fingers get more and more frozen and we soon look for a place to warm ourselves up. We begin to be hungry and we would do anything for a bowl of hot soup.

    Bar l'Echouerie at Natashquan Scotiana 2010

    Bar l'Echouerie at Natashquan © 2010 Scotiana

    We’ve fallen on a very inviting bar but there seems to be nobody there. It’s closed. While we’re walking up and down the dunes, a car drives up the sandy path and stops in front of the wooden building. The driver welcomes us at once and introduces himself. In fact, he is the landowner. He recently moved here from Montreal. The bar is not open still but we are welcomed inside anyway. What a place !

    Bar l'Echouerie Natashquan Côte-Nord Quebec PQ © Scotiana 2010

    Inside Bar l'Echouerie Natashquan Côte-Nord, PQ © 2010 Scotiana

    Our new friend is quite talkative and we learn many interesting things about the place and the local life. Le bar l’Echouerie is a vital meeting place in the area and the only one of its kind, serving at the same time as a bar, a restaurant, a library and a cinema for the few inhabitants of this remote place. A screen has been installed for the hockey game which is going to take place the same evening.  In Summer Natashquan is a popular holiday resort.  Many artists, and among them Gilles Vigneault of course, come to perform here. The very popular national bard was born in Natashquan, not far from this bar.

    Alas, we can’t stay too longer here for we want to go up to the  end of the road and also take pictures of Gilles Vigneault’s house before it is dark. Night falls early in October, in the North…

    Gilles Vigneault's house in Natashquan Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Gilles Vigneault's house in Natashquan Côte-Nord, Province of Quebec © 2010 Scotiana

    MON PAYS
    paroles et musique: Gilles Vigneault

    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
    Mon jardin ce n’est pas un jardin, c’est la plaine
    Mon chemin ce n’est pas un chemin, c’est la neige
    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver

    Dans la blanche cérémonie
    Où la neige au vent se marie
    Dans ce pays de poudrerie
    Mon père a fait bâtir maison
    Et je m’en vais être fidèle
    À sa manière, à son modèle
    La chambre d’amis sera telle
    Qu’on viendra des autres saisons
    Pour se bâtir à côté d’elle

    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
    Mon refrain ce n’est pas un refrain, c’est rafale
    Ma maison ce n’est pas ma maison, c’est froidure
    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver

    De mon grand pays solitaire
    Je crie avant que de me taire
    À tous les hommes de la terre
    Ma maison c’est votre maison
    Entre mes quatre murs de glace
    Je mets mon temps et mon espace
    À préparer le feu, la place
    Pour les humains de l’horizon
    Et les humains sont de ma race

    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver
    Mon jardin ce n’est pas un jardin, c’est la plaine
    Mon chemin ce n’est pas un chemin, c’est la neige
    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’hiver

    Mon pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est l’envers
    D’un pays qui n’était ni pays ni patrie
    Ma chanson ce n’est pas une chanson, c’est ma vie
    C’est pour toi que je veux posséder mes hivers

    (figure sur l’album Chemin faisant, cent et une chansons – disque 3 – Le Nordet GVNC-1017)

    Natashquan Church  Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Natashquan Church, Côte-Nord,Province of Quebec © 2010 Scotiana

    The church of Natashquan dates back to 1859 when a first chapel was built by the villagers. Its ceiling has the shape of a ship inverted hull.  Of course, at this late hour of the day, it is closed as is the old schoolhouse which we would have liked so much to visit. It is there that Gilles Vigneault used to go to school when he was a child. It has been converted into a very interesting and moving museum where everything seems to have been done to make you feel the sense of past in Natashquan… the good old days sung by the native poet. Each year Gilles Vigneault comes back to his native place to spend the Summer holidays.

    Old church tower bell Natashquan Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    The tower bell of Natashquan old church,Côte-Nord, Province of Quebec - 2010 Scotiana

    In Summer, at about 12 h00 and 18 h00  you can hear the old bell singing the Angelus… another song of the past !

    End of Road 138 Pointe-Parent Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    End of Road 138, Pointe-Parent , Côte-Nord ,PQ - Scotiana 2010

    But here we are, at last, at the end of the road !!!

    An end or a beginning, I wonder…

    Road signs Kegaska Route Blanche Pointe-Parent Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Road signs at the end of road 138 © 2010 Scotiana

    But ”la route blanche’,  a white road goes on… so we aren’t at the end of the road!

    End of Road 138 Pointe-Parent Aveo Scotiana 2010

    Our faithful Aveo at the end of Road 138 at Pointe-Parent © 2010 Scotiana

    Our little Aveo roars… how she would like to follow the gravel path and go on up to the very end of the road… another 18 kilometres. Not good for the nice little car !

    Pointe-Parent end of  road 138 Teddy-bear 'mascottes' Scotiana 2010

    End of road 138 for our Teddy-bear 'mascottes' 😉 © 2010 Scotiana

    And our furry  ‘mascottes’ grunt… they would also like to go on ‘la route blanche’…

    Scotiana team End of road 138 Pointe-Parent Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Scotiana team from left to right : Jean-Claude, Janice and Mairiuna at the end of road 138 © 2010 Scotiana

    And the three of us too…

    Sure, we’ll come back!

    Les Galets sunset Natashquan Côte-Nord Quebec PQ Scotiana 2010

    Sunset on Les Galets at Natashquan, Côte-Nord, Province of Quebec © 2010 Scotiana

    But what’s a ‘blue road? I hear somebody asking.

    I’m not too sure about that myself. There’s the blue of the big sky, of course, there’s the blue of the river, the mighty St Lawrence, and,

    later on, there’s the blue of the ice. But all those notions, along with a few others I can think of, while they talk to my senses and my imagination,

    still don’t exhaust the depth of that ‘blue’ (..)

    Maybe the idea is to go as far as possible – to the end of yourself – till you get into a territory where time turns into space,

    where things appear in all their nakedness and the wind blows anonymously.

    Maybe.

    Anyway, I wanted to get out there, up there, and see.

    (Kenneth White – The Blue Road)

    Many thanks to Kenneth White. After reading The Blue Road and following on his steps on road 138, in Quebec, we’ll never be the same and we’ll never travel as we used to…

    Bonne lecture !

    A bientôt. Mairiuna

     

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 1

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 2

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 3

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 4

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 5

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 6

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 7

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 8

    Following the Blue Road on the Steps of Kenneth White in Quebec – Episode 9

    Share this:
    Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

    Leave a Reply

    You can use these HTML tags

    <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>