Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mount Stewart to Hunter's River

Distance travelled: 70 km
Time in saddle: about an hour too long
Average speed: thrown off substantially by the steep hills

(Bram writing)

This was a rough ride.

To be fair, the start was very pleasant. We had a lovely breakfast at our B&B, starting with fresh raspberries (raspberries ended up being a running theme this day) and blueberries with cold cereal and yogurt. I was immediately reminded of when I was growing up and we had raspberry bushes in our back yard. I still have fond memories of adding fresh raspberries to cereal (Shreddies, both today and in many of my memories) during summer breakfasts. They were delicious.

After this course was hot food to order. We split an omelette stuffed with peppers and onions, blueberry pancakes, and bacon. They even warmed up the maple syrup before serving it. Everything was fantastic and we hit the trail with full bellies and our lovely hosts insisted we take some fruit and muffins for the road. In fact, we were so full we skipped our customary "first break snack".

With our changing plans, we took the Confederation trail from Mount Stewart into the northern outskirts of Charlottetown. We have had a hard time finding some supplies, especially camp stove fuel (our stove is tiny, efficient, and runs on a propane/butane blend in a canister which is less common than pure propane) and veggies. The only place we've found stove fuel is Canadian Tire, which essentially means Charlottetown is the closest place to get it. We had to get off the trail and hit up a few big malls for groceries, fuel, and some alcohol. For the record, Charlottetown has some of the cutest buses I've seen.

The supply stop dragged on longer than we intended, partially because we took turns watching the bikes while the other walked around picking stuff up, partially because of a navigation mishap, and partially because of all the hills we had to navigate with fully loaded bikes. Finally, we took the highway back out to another section of the Confederation Trail and followed it to Hunter's River. Lunch on the trail was a Subway lobster sandwich we had picked up in Charlottetown. It was fine, but it really didn't taste much different from their usual seafood mix. Lobster seems to be best cooked as is, rather than in part of a larger dish. A better treat along the trail were the wild raspberries growing everywhere! At least twice we snacked on tasty little morsels while taking a break on the trail.

Once we left the trail, the riding became much more difficult. We were immediately thrust onto major hills, with bikes extra loaded with groceries, in the scorching sun, about 50 km into our ride. We made it into town and stopped at the local bakery for some treats and a break, then pressed on deeper (and higher...) into the hills to reach our campsite. Remember how we mentioned that many of the coastal towns are in river valleys? Well, it turns out its not just the coastal towns. We had to push our bikes up more than one hill before we finally arrived at the campsite.

Our campground is another private campground, and the service continues to astound. Lori mentioned our lack of veggies to the owners, who promptly harvested a generous helping of yellow beans and a cucumber from their own garden for us! And they brought a couple of lawn chairs, a cooler, and a pitcher for us to use. When one of the owners was dropping off all the goodies, he noticed an errant root in our driveway. Concerned about people tripping, he promptly pulled out an axe and cleared it out for us. Lori pulled together dinner in the cook house, which includes a stove, oven, microwave, plus various cooking pans and dishes for communal use.

While Lori was working on dinner, I tackled the campsite plus a special project. In among the supplies we picked up in Charlottetown were a bottle of Merlot, some brandy, and a bag of frozen raspberries (finishing the raspberry theme for the day). I dumped the partially melted raspberries into our borrowed pitcher and poured in about a cup of brandy to soak while I set up camp. Next came the red wine, with a bit of stirring. When it was time to eat dinner, I half filled a travel mug with the mixture and finished filling the mug with some lemon-lime soda to make campsite sangria. It was fantastic, and we still have a fair bit of it to go for the next day or two.

Sunday is probably going to be a rest day; the hills took a lot out of us.


  1. brewmaster you! In our dotage, a house full of retired damsels may have an opening for someone with such talents! There would always be a room for you and Lori between biking excursions.

    1. Sounds like an interesting position :) and I'm certain,y willing to refine the recipe to taste.

    2. "Room for us"? I'll be living there, if I recall correctly!

  2. Absolutely...your home base when the open roads weren't calling you away...