Following my ascent of mont Frampton
, I backtracked along rang Le petit 5e, turned left on route Nugent, and then right on HWY 275. Back in Frampton, I turned left on HWY 112 and headed towards Vallée-Jonction. At the town, I turned left on HWY 173 and then right on HWY 112 again, crossing rivière Chaudière. I went through the villages of Saint-Frédéric and Tring-Jonction and then started looking for 3e rang N. I saw the signs for 1er rang N, 2e rang N, but then missed my turn when there was another street sign with a different name above the one indicating 3e rang N. I turned around at the next junction and then took the road heading northwest. I went past an old mine on my left and reached route Lessard.
Throwing a stick in the spokes of my planning, it was blocked to the west of 3e rang N. I parked there and looked at my options before deciding to try going as far as I could on my current approach and then see if reaching the summit was a viable option. I kept going and passed many homes and farms until I reached the last house after which 3e rang N became a plowed single lane logging trail. I parked there, looked at the map and decided it was probably possible to join back with my originally planned route. I geared up and started on the logging trail. I immediately saw many hunting and private property signs and expected to be trespassing most of the way, but I didn’t know if I’d meet anyone on this really cold day.
I noticed the local power line kept going along the trail and soon it diverged left through an opening and what looked like a logging patch.
I followed the line, on a recent snowmobile trail, and crossed skidder tracks leading into the forest to the south. As soon as I reached open ground, an unbearably strong wind lashed my face and forced me to take cover and put on the face mask and heavy gloves. At least snowshoes were again not needed at all and I was able to quickly cross this field and reach the cover of trees further ahead. The trail followed the power line until I saw they descended a kind of driveway towards some buildings ahead that looked like a cabin. I followed the trail and saw through the trees that it was occupied. There were many snowmobiles in the yard and smoke coming out of the chimney.
I took a wild guess, followed the trail further and reached a junction from which I could see lac Pelchat. Another intuition made me continue on the trail as it looked to head closer to 4e rang N from which I could access some trails to my goal. I passed many hunters’ lodges on this leg and soon found myself at the end of the trail, in a dead end. There was another lodge here and I noticed a few pink flags leaving west. I guessed this was a hunter’s trail and dove in the relatively sparse forest in the hope that this trail would lead to the road. The flagged trail was easy to follow and after a few hundred feet, I emerged on the snow banks of the plowed 4e rang N.
I headed north and immediately noticed the heavy machinery tracks under my feet. The road descended in a valley and I didn’t need to hike very far before I saw a worksite office at a junction on the left near the bottom. When I saw the familiar company logo on the walls, I knew instantly I’d have a road all the way to the top of the mountain, where I’d encounter some kind of wind turbine construction. Being the weekend, I hoped to see no one here as there were ‘no trespassing’ signs everywhere, both from private land and from Borea.
I kept going and the road went uphill until it reached another junction. I took a left past trestle barriers and the very wide road ascended gently along. The construction had included digging in the shale to even out the slope on the road as it followed the ridge closely. In a curve, I saw a crude cabin right on the roadside, lodged between mounds of excavated material. I followed the road as it meandered towards the summit and eventually made it to the wind turbine clearing where I faced a large pit into which I expect a concrete slab will be anchored to the bedrock. I saw higher terrain to the south and headed in the trees for a short bushwhack to the high point.
From there I retraced my steps downhill trying to keep up the pace. When I was near the worksite office, I heard engines behind me and saw two ATVs emerge from a trail on the east side of the road. They headed towards me and I stopped to greet them. The lead driver asked if I was allright and I explained why I was around here. The passengers seemed surprised when I told them it was the high point of MRC Robert-Cliche, but that’s expected. After saying goodbye, they went a bit further south and then turned around and went back the way they had come from.
At that point I started bushwhacking along the flagged trail to reach the roads south of lac Pelchat. The way back to the lake was uneventful and crossing the large open field wasn’t as difficult as on the way in with the wind to my back. A few minutes later, I was in view of my car and the last stretch of road didn’t take long. I dumped my gear in the car and left quickly back towards home.