Tightrope walking on a snowshoe trail is a good way to describe hiking on the trails at Le Prospecteur Park in Edmundston last week. There was still two feet of snow left in the woods around Edmundston with another 6 inches of wet snow on top from the night before. I didn’t bring my snowshoes with me because I didn’t figure there would be that much snow left this late in April but there was.
I parked in a parking lot off of Richards Road between the Penchant de la Madoueska and the Sapin Baumier Trails. I waded in snow up to my knees to the sign at the trailhead. I almost went back to the car but decided to try the trail for a bit. I crossed two small bridges over the same stream. Once on the packed snowshoe track it was easy going but if I stepped off the snowshoe trail I sunk.
I walked through the woods and at intervals crossed cleared right-of-ways, which I assume are future subdivision roads. These openings opened up small views of the valley below and the mountains in the distance. I followed what looked like large dog tracks. Since there were no human tracks accompanying them I figured they must be from coyotes hunting along the trail. The snowshoe trail made a nice flat shelf along the side of the hill that I crossed. I crossed a power line that offered a much wider view of the valley. Crossing the power line was difficult because let in enough sun to melt the packed snowshoe trail.
I crossed several snowmobile trails, saw some deer tracks, and eventually came to a junction in the trail. I turned right onto the Coulée de la Raquoise Trail and climbed a small hill. The snowshoe trail split at the junction. This meant a split in snow packing so the trail wasn’t as packed. The
trail you could walk on was much narrower. One foot in front of the other to keep from sinking. The trail started to descend into a valley. Every couple of steps I would sink deep into the snow. The only thing keeping me going was the fact that I had come this far and didn’t want to leave half a trail mapped. I soon came to a bench on a rock overlooking an old road. The old road traveled down over the relatively steep hill. I was mostly wading in snow up to my knees at this point so I decided to turn back. My jeans were soaked but it was warm so it wasn’t cold. I marked the junction and slowly climbed back up the hill, carefully choosing each step.
Once back at the junction I decided to take the trail to the right and see how far I could get. I knew I was close to the water tower so was hoping it would take me to it. Then I could walk back to the car along the road. I soon came to another junction with the Méssange à Tête Noire Trail and realized that I wasn’t on the trail to the water tower. I was on the other side of the same loop where I turned back. My GPS showed that I was close to where I had turned around so I decided to once again go down over the hill and finish mapping the whole loop. It was a much shorter distance this time so climbing back up the hill was easier.
Once back at the junction I started back the Sapin Baumier Trail. I was still thinking of finding a shortcut back to the car via the road. Sinking in the snow was getting old and I had already mapped the trail. I crossed one of the snowmobile trails and saw footprints that weren’t there before. I decided to follow them down over the hill towards the road. I spooked 7 deer on the hill and continued on. I soon realized that this was the old forest road that came out along the parking lot by the car. The snowmobiles had packed this trail good so it was easy walking.
I got back to the car after 5PM and had a decision to make. Should I go downtown and quickly explore the trails there, or should I go straight to Rivière Verte and try to find the trails to the lookout tower on Mont Pointu. I didn’t know if the trails at Mont Pointu would be packed enough to walk on so I decided to go check out the downtown trails.
I parked at the visitor center near the walking bridge. I took some pictures of the bridge and then started across. I took some pictures looking up river at a large church in the middle of town. There were a couple of geese swimming in the river but they were too far away to make a good picture. When I got to the other side of the bridge I turned left as I watched the skateboarders at the skateboard park. I took several pictures of the Fort (Le Fortin Du Petit Sault) on the hill on the other side of the river. I then came to another bridge that climbed the hill to the street.
Once at the street I turned left on the trail that led along the back of a parking lot of the fire station. After the parking lot I hit a junction. Going right took me to the street and going left took me down a set of stairs to the dam that crossed the river. The dam provided a way of crossing back to the other side of the river. There was a lot of water coming out of the dam due to the spring runoff. I took some pictures then wanted to check out the view from the car bridge above me to the right. I climbed the hill and crossed the bridge. In the middle of the bridge I took some pictures up river towards the large church and the walking bridge.
I returned to the skateboard park and instead of crossing the walking bridge I continued on past the park. The trail went through a long steel tube that I assume was to protect me from a possible leak from the large pipes overhead. I followed the trail along another small parking lot and was soon led up onto the other main car bridge crossing the river. I crossed the bridge and took the stairs down to the Trans Canada Trail below. I then followed this trail back to the car taking pictures along the way. There were two ducks sleeping on the grass in front of the walking bridge. Once I was done taking their picture I got back in the car and drove off towards Rivière Verte.
I knew I didn’t have time to hike of the trails at Mont Pointu but I at least wanted to find the trailhead for the next time. I exited at Rivière Verte then soon crossed the river. When I looked up river I could see the sun shining on the lookout tower at the top of the mountain. I got out and walked back across the bridge to take some pictures. I got back in the car and continued straight on the Rivière Quisibis Road Not long after a sharp turn I came to the Therrien Road. It was a dirt road but Google Maps showed me that it led directly up to the mountain. I drove up the road and eventually came to a junction in the road. I was surprised to see the road turn to pavement. It looked as though I had taken the wrong way to get here. I continued past farm fields until the road once again turned to dirt. I could once again see the tower on the top of the mountain in front of me.
After a short distance I came to a cabin on the right with a very muddy parking lot. There was a trail sign and red blazes across from this parking area. I could see on the snow that there had been no traffic on this trail. I would have needed snowshoes to explore this trail. It looked like I made the right choice by going downtown. Now I knew where to come the next time to find the trail.
I returned to the highway (on paved road this time). Now for the three and a half hour drive to the Miramichi. On the drive I daydreamed about how spectacular the view must be from the top of Mont Pointu. I would have to return once the snow melted. That could be as late a July or August this year.