20 June St Jerome to St Donat

Meeting at the Vendôme station for the just-after-7 train we were a group of three.   Needless to say there was a bit of catching up on sleep as we headed to St Jerome.    It was satisfying to see the cycling path out in the farm fields once we were beyond Laval.   The same three had done that fine bit of cycling a couple of weeks earlier.

We had the obligatory cappacinos at the café terrace at the kilometre 0 arch of the Petit Train du Nord near the old railroad station.    It was still nippy and we moved to the outdoor table with the most sun.

Heading north there are a few street crossings but it seems everyone in St Jerome is aware of cyclists and there was courtesy all round.   We first caught sight of the Rivière du Nord after a small tunnel.   It is where the river falls in a fantastic set of rapids.   The water level is still rather high, making them all the more impressive.  

From there the river changes character many times from buccolic, to rolling water, to grassland islands, swinging back and forth from the path.   The first railway station we came upon was Prévost.   Its large quai had a rectangular string of fleur de lys banners strung in the air.   I imagine it will frame an entertainment stage for the St. Jean.  At the next station, Piedmont, an adjoining building had an excellent exhibition of artworks from local artists, two print makers, one photographer.  And they offered tea.

A bit later we crossed over short sturdy railroad bridge that traversed a tributary.

Taking a side path we investigated.   Its name might be Rivière Durocher.  Upstream it had a stepping ladder of chutes at the bottom of which was a wide pool.   A swimming stop for sure.  Soon the railway grade became a constant climb for quite a few kilometers.   Thankfully there were long shady stretches while the river dropped down into a gorge.   One could hear it but not see it.  In the future it would be interesting to take a hiking trail down to the river's edge.  The top of this long climb is through a cut of solid rock, nearly fifty feet in depth.

Then the trail swings around a large lake with the highest Laurentian mountains being a backdrop on the far side.  We had hoped to have lunch in Val Morin's restaurant next to the cycle path but it was closed.   So on we sped to St Donat.   There we found a plethora of lunch eateries.

The weather was changing.   The clear skies we had all morning were no longer.   And some of the cloud banks looked quite dark.   So the return was for the most part a flying glide and very quick.   Whenever we had a level section or slight uphill it seemed as if we were not moving at all.   At kilometre 23 on the way back I looked to the right in the near woods and much to my surprise there was a young deer running alongside, a little bit startled to have seen me.    A quick whistling tune seemed to calm both our nerves.

It sprinkled for about 10 minutes, nothing to amount to anything.   We were back in plenty of time for the 4:50 train.

H.S. Tibbs

Minute Book Account



  1. Nice description of the ride Tibby, however I am pretty sure we had lunch in Val David, not St Donat.


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