Sunday, July 3, 2011
Tandem Cycling, Fort Chambly, the Chambly Canal and Spring Floods in Montérégie, Québec
The most obvious thing we noticed while cycling in Montérégie were the signs of the recent flooding. Many of the areas we cycled through were hit hard by the rising spring waters of Lake Champlain that drains north in to the Richelieu River. At our first hotel, Auberge Premier in Lacolle, our tour's reserved rooms had been given to families displaced by the floods. Their homes were ruined so mightily they couldn't remain and couldn't return. They lost so much, it was a small thing for us to not have the ground level rooms where cyclists could easily store bikes. Two days later at Auberge Harris, I met a delightful nine year old girl frolicking in the swimming pool. Speaking only French, she relied on her mimere nearby to help me understand her family lost their home in St Blaise sur Richelieu on account of the inundation. Her family was living in the hotel while their home was being restored to a habitable condition. Meanwhile, endless days in the hotel made her eager for playing with any hotel visitor offering to play underwater tag in the pool. And of course, Fort Lennox was still closed to the public but opening up soon - officials hoped. The town of Venise en Québec, directly on Lake Champlain's Missisquoi Bay looked like it was still recovering with bulldozers, wrecked campers and vacationers in abundance. Below is a map of the high waters in La Montérégie.....
At Fort Chambly, park service personnel told me the waters were high on the grounds but did not enter the fort or destroy the interior. The walkway around the fort and along the side of the Richelieu, seen in the photos below was torn by the waters and blocked off.
Although I am not completely certain why it was that parts of the Chambly canal near to Chambly were drained, it was quite apparent it was closed to nautical traffic. Was this a consequence of the floods? Below is a dry canal inside Chambly.
Of course, for tandem cyclists there wasn't any problem! Pedal on!