X88 expeditions - Documenting and sharing overland travels, adventures, and expeditions

December 19, 2006

Madawaska Highlands

Returning from business in Ottawa, I had the opportunity to explore the Madawaska Highlands (or the Opeongo Hills) in late autumn. The interesting part was that the area received substantial snow beforehand but due to a spell of warmer weather, it started to melt so most of the forest roads were drivable (with M+S tires and 4WD).
I found a great little forest road that took me west from Lake Clear. The snow that was left was just shallow enough to allow good driving. Any deeper and you always run the risk of getting bogged down and putting strain on the drivetrain.

Because of the warmer temperatures (+5 C), runoff created several water crossings.

The last two pictures are when I got back on a cleared gravel road heading south-west to Hwy 7. You can see different levels of cottages in the area. The one across the lake looks "winterized" and would definitely be nice and cozy on a cold Fabruary night. The second one looks more like a hunter's cabin. I guess it would be OK in the winter as I see some logs for burning outside.

Overall a nice little exploration with some good potential for a proper route definition in the future.

Here's a shot of a nice farmstead from a nearby hill.
The forest road ended at a gravel backroad but also partially snow covered. I continued west on the backroad across several bridges spanning creeks and small rivers.
Later in the day I decided there was enough light to take one more forest road shortcut. I didn't see anybody for most of the length of this exploration. On this road however I heard an engine coming up behind me and saw an ATV in my mirror. I decided to pull over and let them pass as they could negotiate the road faster than I could.

As the local passed me and waved, I saw what appeared to be a killed fox on the back of his ATV rack. I guess hunting season was still open up there.