North - Day 24

After a gentle downhill grade for a couple kilometers, the trail arrived at magnificent waterfalls feeding Rivière Duvivier. Then began an arduous 3-hour climb up Mont de l’Ouest, part of the same ridge I had been running the prior day. The trail afforded magnificent views of valleys back to the northwest before passing by a side trail leading to the peak. After cresting other satellite peaks, the trail followed a ridge along Lake Matane before descending steeply to the shore. I was too “beat” from recent exertions to be grateful for this cool, cloudless day. Stumbling out of the woods at 3:30 p.m., I found hospitality with the hunters at Chalet Matane #1.

At dawn I awoke to a glorious light raking across the treetops from the right. Nature paused in a delicate balance of breezeless, cool conditions with ice forming on the water. Already I contemplated getting another layer of fleece for warmth at night. Departing quickly to generate heat, I heard a crashing sound on the opposite shore. Emerging from the woods came a huge bull moose — the counterpart of my nocturnal wildlife encounters. On more than one occasion during the day, I heard moose scatter from the trail ahead before I arrived.