Monday, October 22, 2012

KTM 350 EXC-F 2013: Papineau Labelle Wildlife Reserve Ride Part 2

See part 1

Scarecrow near the former Kilmar mine railway.

10:30 a.m. No luck.  I do not know who put this scarecrow here, but one thing is certain: this person knew what they were doing: it is a clear warning – don’t!

I walked to the middle of the flooded road to convince myself even more. I had knee-deep water ... and the water level kept rising.

How very unfortunate! This section is the missing link to complete the loop around Black Lake: the view is nice there – probably a good (e.g. challenging) section to include in a rally ...

Now that I think about it, a Panoramio user, Karlos Gibeault gave me more information about this road: 

...I went with my car last week (May 8, 2012) and we were able to cross with a Jeep YJ ... by the way, this is not a road, but the former railway that connected Kilmar mine to the processing plant at Marelan,  at each end, there's a factory, it is not for nothing!!” 

So based on this affirmation, it should be possible to pass!

An overview of Black Lake and the railway …

An overview of the former railway from Google Map.

The railway leading to Black Lake (Lac Noir) is almost completely flooded: see the zoom in the upper right corner of the image.

[At the same point] An alternative path?  It was not the first time that I saw this trail, but I had never dared to adventure in it before because of its apparent roughness a little further…but with the KTM it was different.  I was hoping that this path would lead to further discoveries in the area…

Not quite! There were many obstacles: deep mud, logs and trees whipping me on my way with their branches.  There were some nice sections, but too few.

On many occasions I had to push the bike through deep mud.  On some others, I had to lift the back of the bike to change its direction to be able to continue.

At least I learned something here: the 350 EXC is light enough to go through any situation.  I was tired after this experience, but I could not have done it with a much heavier bike.  Out of 10, I’d give the 350 EXC an 11 for its lightness.

Unfortunately, this path was a dead end.  I was totally lost in the middle of this forest.  When I looked at Google map afterwards, I was heading through Lake Cook – with no hope to connect to any other trails in the area.

The motorcycle was covered with mud at that point.  The folks at KTM Canada had given me their blessing a few days before –  allowing me to go through all those obstacles with peace of mind!

I took a moment to relax, take a few shots and appreciated the calmness far from everyday burdens.  Then I had to go back through all those mud holes backwards!


11:30 a.m. Out of the woods.  After my journey out of the woods: I rode the old railroad backwards, I followed the 6e Concession road (one of my personal favorite challenges); then connected to Scotch road.  A stop at the sand pit was a must to see how the beast would behave in such conditions.

I met “Le Bleuet” there:, a rider on forum.  He took this picture while I was starting the bike prior to diving into the sand pit.  I was hoping to have a short movie to share my “prowess”, but unfortunately it did not work out with the camera.

I had quite a blast with the KTM even if I have only had a few experiences in sand pits - the bike performs pretty well in this type of situation!  I let “Le Bleuet” - who used to ride dirt bikes - have a try.  Here he is in the video.


Entrez la légende de la vidéo ici

After this, I continued on Scotch road with “Le Bleuet” to the end of the road.  He was riding a heavier adventure bike.  I realized that I had quite an advantage with the small 350 EXC in rough road conditions – I lost him from sight a couple of times before reaching the end of the road.  Then “Le Bleuet” was heading East, I was heading West, we shook hands and left our separate ways.

To be continued…Part 3


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