Joliette/St-Zenon/La Tuque/St-Raymond ride-report 10-11february2018

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One of our son and  his girlfriend had booked us a night at La Tuque as a Christmas gift and it was last weekend that we enjoyed it. Here is the path of 486miles that we traveled last Saturday and Sunday.


-22C under a cloudy sky at first, not so good for pics, but acceptable visibility to ride. We were going first to join our friend Snowcruiser who was leaving Champlain and we had agreed to join him for lunch a little past 1:00pm at Marineau in Trois-Rives. We had an ambitious ride to do before lunch, so we left home early a little past 8:00am. The trails were beautiful and freshly groomed for the most part. Here in the fields north of St-Gabriel de Brandon to St-Damien. The little white line up to the top of the mountain is the snowmobile trail ...


We crossed a bumpy section in the Zec des Nymphes which had not been re-surfaced due to a broken dozer, otherwise north of Réal Massé everything had been done and was beautiful.


The cold had frosted the top of the mountains


We passed by the Taureau dam reservoir whose level is already well lowered


We took the opportunity for a short pics break



The #360 was like a carpet and very fast. With the gray sky and the high cruising speed we have unfortunately not many good pics



Another little photo break at halte 440. We see that it has been cold this season because the river is frozen over most of its route leaving only the rapids to clear water. Usually high flow prevents it from freezing over a large portion



When exiting Zec Chapeau de Paille, the trail runs along the river about 1mile this year that give nice view on the 
river in this area


Here the beautiful classic view, and the trail takes the usual path from there


We had a surprising good timing and arrived as planned to lunch at Marineau with Snowcruiser at 1:05pm with 149 miles on the dreammeter.


Having arrived there a bit late we left around 2:30pm
towards #355 north. A friend of Snowcruiser, Michel who had come to lunch with us accompanied us up to  #360 #355 junction and then continued south while we lined up to the north


Too dark sky for good  pics but beautiful scenery


The classic  pipeline. The trail was ruff in this part, especially the big hills. Enough snow just need a dozer run


The famous railway bridge la rivière du milieu. Always a nice spot to take a break


The next section was much better and we even met 2 dozers who were leaving from La Tuque to go down to groom the #355 we had just done and #73 to the east


We arrived at 5:30pm in La tuque to stay at Marineau hotel where we had our reservation. 



It's really a sledders place, almost just snowmobiles in the parking lot. We had quiet evening, lying down early to compensate for my abuse the day before and get in shape for

the next day ...

Sunday morning during breakfast, guess who had come to sit just behind us: Mr and Mrs Iceman! accompanied by their friends, world is small!!! Was very nice to meet them and chat a bit (with my bad frenglish) too bad my other crew members don't really speak english so we would had talk longer... Krikri english vocabulary is limited at yes, no, toaster, bumber and wiper! 

Then we got back on the trail toward St-Raymond. Another nice cold night, -22C when we leaved which already announces nice hard trails


And we were not disappointed. The #73 "La Jeannotte" as whe called it was freshly groomed by one of the dozer we had crossed the day before



We even had a few sun rays! We took the opportunity to take few pics, with the sun it makes all the difference for photos, looks almost as postcards with it



Un vrai tapis



We arrived just at noon for lunch at Roquemont. It has changed a lot since our last visit, which was already a few years ago. It may be my nostalgic side but personally I liked better before. The drink side is very large with
 a lot of choice of beer but the meal side for dinner is rather limited. It's certainly not everyone's opinion because the place was packed full.


We then pointed our skis south to return on home side. We still had a good distance to travel but most on fast fields trail which were very nice


Instead of taking the #3 trail all the way ,we went down further south a notch via trails #302/351 which are a little faster in my opinion. We ride along the #40 highway for several miles. Here on the Batiscan River just under the highway


We left our friend Snowcruiser just a little further so he got back home in Champlain area while we continued south alone. Following the advice of Snowcruiser we tried a new trail (for us) that goes to St-Louis de France but then newly 
connect to the #3 trail (not on the map). The trail is not super wide but ride very well and represented for us a shortcut of several miles. We ended  up in the power lines just few miles from La Gabelle St-Maurice river crossing . I have approximated the route on the map on my first pic on this report  for those interested...


We did one last fuel up in St-Étienne just after crossing the St-Maurice river at around 4:00pm followed by a short break. It was then that it get worst...


The ice storm began as we started again. The visibility with the ice and night coming was really difficult. I managed to find a functional rhythm: my Nolan electric visor plugged + heated handles at maximum 
and wiping with my hot left mits at 10 seconds so the ice was wipable. And when my right hand was about to catch on fire (7-8 minutes) I stopped and cool it down in the Kristine visor so she can see something front again


As darkness set in, it became easier with the lights. It did not stop us from smiling, was just part of the adventure!


We finally been home around 6:30pm. We started to be crusted a lot! and snowmobiling too ...




A very good ride, it gave us a total of 246miles for the day and 486 miles gps for the 2 days. The ice storm has not damaged the  trail network and has instead added compact stuff the dozers used to give us beautiful solid trails ... We are really in the best of the season and time flies quickly so it is the time or never to go for it!



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Well done!! I see an iPad now too? Love the pictures!


Good gift from your son and his girlfriend!

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