At the beginning of the summer I started going on long bike trips inspired by a desire to exercise as well as explore. I found the Trans Canada Trail this way, and was fairly content for a time to keep pushing on to see how far I could go.
But, as is often the case of a well beaten path, I began to long for something different.
A few days ago, I went apple picking with my mother and grandmother in the Mont-Saint-Hilaire area. Chambly is on the cusp of the Montérégie region (as opposed to the Rive-Sud, or South Shore, of Montreal where most normal other people live when they’re off island), so it’s not too too rural, but Mont-Saint-Hilaire is another story. The deeper in we went, the more you get the characteristic rural landscape.
As we drove the winding curves and passed numerous people on their bikes, my mother mentioned how she used to bicycle this area. Seeing how close we came to the cyclists on such narrow roads, I was a little unconvinced that a bike ride in this area was worth putting my life into my own hands (or stokes) for.
Still, when I wheeled my bike from the garage the next day, I felt no attraction to once again chew the pavement of the Trans Canada Trail. I wanted to explore again like at the beginning of the summer.
And so I was off. Past Fort Chambly, over the canal, across the river, and suddenly I was looking at my town from the other side of the water. Always refreshing, such changes in perspective.
I happily raced down the back roads, one ear plugged into my audiobook of Game of Thrones (seriously audiobooks are the best thing for long distance exercise), appreciating the change in scenery beyond belief.
After a while I noticed how much the leaves had turned even from the day before.
I love autumn, but I get really bad SAD, so the end of summer is particularly bitter for me (no matter how sweet autumn with its pumpkin spice lattés). But for the first time, I fully embraced the autumn.
I mean, who couldn’t?
It’s been a bucketlist item for me for a while to stop by a cornfield and eat cob of corn fresh from the stalk, but guilt at stealing even one ear has always stopped me.
But as I whizzed by the golden fields beckoning in the autumn light, I thought, “Why not?”
I veered to the shoulder of the road and parked my bike. It was a quiet bend in the road and no one was about to judge me for theft. I marched purposefully to the nearest stalks…
…and found they were all dried out and rock hard kernals.
Ah well. Now I’ve worked up the courage once, I’ll make sure to go earlier next year!
It makes me wonder why the farmers left their crops unharvested though. For animal feed? Fuel production? Cornmeal? If anyone knows the answer I’d be happy to learn!
It was really beautiful walking through the rows of dried stalks though. Felt like Halloween early.
I took the stop as a much needed water break and stretched my legs, admiring all the autumn colours.
Once it decides its fall here, it means business.
And that’s not just nature: everyone everywhere feels the end of summer and coming fall. Lots of bikes and the like were up for sale.
One thing that was particularly beautiful was a type of pale mauve flower growing everywhere. It’s rare to have such seasonal late bloomers, but against the bright foliage, they really pop.
I think by far though, my binary (and indecisive) love of autumn was summed up perfectly by this tree.
It ended up being a pretty long bike ride and I was properly pooped by the time I made it back to Chambly. To cap off a lovely day of adventure, I also treated myself to a lunch out at La Garde-manger de François. Their roast beef sandwiches are officially awesome and their potato salad has hearty bacon bits in it. Godly.
I’ll definitely be heading that way again soon. It’s nice having options of bike routes – and fresh air to breathe while you go. The bonus of living in the sticks.
Until next time!