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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bike Ride to Gananoque

On Wednesday, July 16, 2014, we started the first of two bike rides to complete all the segments the length of the bike trail in the Thousand Islands.  Last month, we cycled to Brockville and then to Rockport from Mallorytown, which is north of where we were now staying in Ivy Lea.  This time, we had bicycle rides south to Gananoque and north to Rockport from Ivy Lea.

The Gananoque ride was the longer of the two - a total of about 20 miles.  We started out, full of vim and vigor, from our KOA campground:

The weather was beautiful.  We had the St. Lawrence River and Thousand Islands to our left, and numerous wetlands and bays to our right.  Here is one of the many pond/lake/swamps in the area, full of health and animal life:

Halstead's Bay was dotted with cottages around its margin.  The owner of the cottage hidden in these trees had a bucolic little setting for some patio chairs on a private dock:

The plant and animal life thrived.  Everywhere we could hear peepers and bullfrogs.  Shorebirds fished in the estuaries.  These cattails danced merrily in the breeze:

Here is another view of Halstead's Bay, but looking out to the river:

This lovely old property, needing lots of tender love and care, is for sale for only $495,000.  It's right on 1000 Islands Parkway and has a grand view of the river.  I'm sure it has an interesting history, but we couldn't find anything on its background:

After about 8 miles of pedaling, here we are at the entrance sign for Gananoque, a picturesque town that bills itself as "Canadian Gateway to the Thousand Islands":

Gananoque is pronounced by the French Canadians, as you can imagine, in the French fashion:  gan-an-OAK.  The Anglos in Canada, however, pronounce it "gan-an-OAK-way," and, as we learned from one of the young rangers at the Thousand Islands National Park, all the locals of whatever descent affectionately refer to it as "Gan."

We entered Gananoque at the downstream, or eastern, end, and quickly found the Gananoque River Trail, which stretches into the uplands behind Gananoque, winds through forests and then down along the Gananoque River, pausing (at least in our case) near some picturesque restaurants and a brewery), and then continues through the town of Gananoque along the St. Lawrence River. The first part of this segment was a barely-maintained hiking trail just suitable for trail bikes. Here, Kathy is demonstrating her versatility in applying the "hiking" gear when necessary on the steeper uphills:

We worked our way up to what is called the "Overlook," but, due to the growth of trees in the area, there is nothing to see.  Still, the rocky outcropping is dramatic enough.  We paused to cool down and hydrate before biking along the woods trail back down toward the Gananoque River:

Deep in the woods, one stream crossing required the use of a long wooden bridge.  Here, David is demonstrating the "hiking" technique of crossing a bridge with a trail bike:

We paused in our bike adventure for lunch at the socialist pig, a cafe and coffeehouse right near the river, sitting, conveniently enough, next to the Gananoque Brewing Company , which is a local microbrewery.  Unfortunately, the restaurant didn't serve any of the local beer, and the brewery didn't serve food, so we made a hard decision and went with a scrumptious lunch at the pig:

From the restaurant and brewery, the bike trail winds through town down to the St. Lawrence River, and eventually follows a street back across the Gananoque River.  From the bridge, we could look up the Gananoque River toward a Catholic church and many quaint houses ---

-- and down the river toward the St. Lawrence, where the Gananoque Inn perches atop a small hill:

The church was striking from across the river, so, once we crossed the bridge, we biked up to see what the church looked like from the front.  It did not entirely disappoint:

From here, our path wound through pretty little residential neighborhoods in Gananoque.  We returned to the 1000 Islands Parkway and perambulated back along the St. Lawrence to our campground, already looking forward to the next day's ride further downstream to Rockport.

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