Sunday: A day of altered plans.
First there was the Whoop! Yikes! Thump!
That was me, arms full of sopping wet tent and fly, distracted by conversation, slipping on the slick wooden tent platform and, as far as I can tell from the consequences, hitting my rear several times on the way down and toppling over to slam chest-first into a rock, or maybe more than one rock, on the ground. A week later, the bruises on my bottom and legs are healing, and I can finally lie, for a bit, on my left side. I probably do have actually cracked or broken ribs; I have my annual physical in another ten days, so maybe I’ll find out.
But it didn’t seem so bad at first, so off we went, further east along the coast of the St. Lawrence River. First stop: a small island ~ a short boat ride and a hike on a spot somewhat famous for shipwrecks and for a hermit who dwelt there for forty years. (I felt fine.)
Then, as we would almost every day, we kept driving, and came across small villages in which churches with towering steeples loomed above the sea. Had we photographed them all, we would still be on Monday!
Our conversation continued to focus on Northfield. Gratitude for what we gained there, despite the frustrations and pain of those years: The music. The impossible academic standards. The sheer physical beauty of the campus. The regret over the merger of the boys’ and girls’ schools, which seemed like a good idea at the time, but ultimately led to the closure of our campus. The dismay we felt at the fate of many of the women teachers, who with the merger lost the place they called home.
Meanwhile, Judi was beginning to stress over a work proposal she had promised to submit by Monday evening. Our plan . . . my plan, I should say . . . involved a 20-mile drive deep into the forest to a wilderness campsite. Judi’s involved a desk, a laptop, and a Wi-Fi connection. I was getting a little achy, and there was obviously no way that she could enjoy a remote campsite with that project looming overhead, so we reconnoitered, and headed for Matane.
What a fabulous change in plans! The town of Matane is charming, and we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at La Fabrique, a microbrewery recommended by our boat guide that morning. Judi was full of compliments for the ways in which the town has arranged its public spaces to facilitate walking and community gathering.
But even better: our hotel, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, which by this point was beginning to look like the ocean. Very contemporary, inside and out. Filled with families. We didn’t visit the restaurant, but I enjoyed the indoor hot tub and pool area while Judi got to work, I didn’t at all mind sinking myself into a hotel bed rather than clambering into a tent, and the view from our balcony was spectacular. I am a Riotel convert!