Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its seventh year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

Comments, thoughts, or just a friendly chat, use the response box below or email me at patrickgroleau@gmail.com.

August 10, 2019

WANDERABOUTING TO THE END OF THE ROAD

... liz's christmas present was a trip north to "swim in the arctic ocean" ... with john joining us as a trusty sidekick, we headed out for james bay, which is part of hudson bay which is part of the arctic ocean ... outside of matagami, quebec, we stopped at the check-in station before the last leg of our little wanderabout, a 385-mile stretch through the seemingly endless forest north to radisson and what will eventually become the world's greatest hydroelectric complex, the "james bay project" ...


COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... broke my sunglasses, so i had to do with service station shades for our "hope we make it" selfie ... cut through the wilderness in the early-70s, in today's dollars the road cost well over $2,000,000 per mile to construct ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... we stopped at the rupert river ... john disagrees, but i'm pretty sure liz spotted a polar bear ...
  

... this guy was in the bush along the trail to the river ... luckily he'd already eaten a tourist and was dozing away the afternoon while his meal settled ...
   

... okay, so the bear was in the maine wildlife park ... we did see two lynx, however, but they moved too quickly for picture taking ...

... our first visit was to the spillway at the robert-bourassa generating station ... each of the "stairs" is 30-40 feet high, and the full cut is greater in height than niagara falls ... this giant excavation is but one tiny part of the entire james bay project ... i'll leave the numbers to the wikipedia article, but the scale and complexity of this project clearly bring it to the level of planetary engineering ...
   

... there are eight of these 40-foot wide gates which hold back an impound the size of new york state ...
   

... the first basin below the dam is almost 450 feet wide ...
   


... the rock damn is over 500 feet high, two-miles long, and contains over 926,000,000 cubic feet of fill ...
   

... that cool hat reflects so much sunlight that my hair glares to to the point of being overexposed ... [sigh] ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 

... liz volunteered her new car for the trip ... overall mileage average was about 56 miles-per-gallon ... with canadian petrol at over US$4/gal, the savings more than made up for the crack in the windshield that was result of a rock thrown by a huge tractor-trailer rig ...
   


... the robert-bourassa reservoir covers almost 1,100 square miles ...
   


... we made it ... !!! ... peacefully quiet, beautiful, and, our great luck, the very best of the region's weather ...
   

... i put together a really nice ᐃᓄᒃᓱᒃ ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... other than the 459 mile-long gravel road to the remote center of quebec, this is the furthest north you can drive on the eastern side of north america ... 53°58'32.0"N ...
      

... john wandered a bit further north ...
   

... i'd have swum, honest, but between the frigid water and the fact that i would have had to wade out quite a distance across the slippery river stones in order to reach water deep enough to swim—well, let's just say that i'm no fool when it comes to freezing solid my ***** ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... john and his super-duper pal ...
   

... me, trying to thaw my popsicle legs ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... at first we couldn't understand why boats, four-wheelers, snowmobiles, etc., were left unsecured, but we ended thinking that it was because the cree see things like this "communal property" ...
   

... liz loves the shore ...
   

... i played a bit with this image of the la grande-1 dam ...
      

... beyond this, hudson bay, nunavut, and the north pole ...
   

... on our drive south we stopped again at the cascades on the rupert river ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... liz remained calm while being blasted by the water's deafening roar ...
   
 

... i found a perfect spot ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 


... from the perfect spot ...
  

... john sketched the scene ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 

... the "oatmeal rapids" ...
   

... john found this large erosion pothole ... very strange, while water gushes out of its kettle shape there is no water flowing in ... when i put my hand about two feet below the surface i could feel a strong current coming from the bottom ...
   

COURTESY JOHN MEADER 

... a wonderful place ...
   
  
... the flank of bigalow mountain welcomed us home ...
   

... the three of us sharing liz's christmas present, a 2,300+ mile round-trip as-far-as-you-can-drive wanderabout ... what a wonderful time we had ...