Tuesday, 4 November 2014

...But Not For Long.

Tuesday Oct 7th and as I loaded the horses in the morning Del seemed unsettled, high blowing at something invisible across the fields. The two horses pulled me along the track as I set off walking, and quite suddenly took fright at a falling leaf or somesuch and took off down the trail, leaving me face down on the gravel.  After a few hundred yards they stopped at an anti ATV gate, but my relief was short lived as Lady squeezed through the narrow gap in the barrier, complete with baggage packs, one containing my brand new tablet. The two horses disappeared across the golf course on the other side, leaving skid marks across the greens in their wake, while I trudged morosely behind, wondering if I would ever see them again.
But suddenly they reappeared, and having had her fun, Lady came trotting straight up to me.
Not a good start to the morning and I led them for a few kilometres until I thought they had calmed down.  We happened to be passing ,...

....and  I must say I wondered if St Louis was having a laugh at my expense.
This section of the trail was blocked at regular intervals by gates as shown below...

..and I was glad it was not raining as I could dispense with the tarpaulin and securing rope, which meant I only had to unload and reload the two packs every time - still quite a bother.
The day proceeded without further incident, and I arrived safely at St Honore de Temiscouata, where Paulo had arranged a place to stay with Manon Damours, shown below with Lady and the fluent English speaking mayor of St Honore Richard Dube who came to greet me...

Manon not only provided us with food and accommodation, but phoned around and sorted out places for us to stay for the following three nights!
Perhaps a portent of things to come was a phone call from David and Marion Macfarlane to say my truck had been broken into, but though they thought petrol had been taken from the tank and they could not find my car documents, nothing else appeared to have been stolen.
It was a wet morning on Wenesday Oct 8th as we left St Honore for the long ride to the stables of Denis Fortin in Riviere Verte..
..but the horses seemed far more settled and we made good progress for the first ten kilometres. My spirits lifted, but not for long as around the corner came a vehicle bearing a trio of jobsworth officials who insisted I get off the trail immediately as it was only for bicycles.  No amount of pleading would sway them. This in spite of the fact that only motorised vehicles were banned on the warning signs, and I had not seen a single bicycle for miles. Does this also mean one has to take a bicycle with you if you want to walk the trail?  They even went so far to call the police, though the policeman who turned up as I was riding miserably back along the gravel road to St Honore was very sympathetic even if he could not do anything.
Del had already been unsettled by the bother with the officials, and as the policeman drove off something upset her again. This in turn unsettled Lady and suddenly the two of them bolted flat out down the road and I was completely unable to stop them.  I had been pulled off-balance by Lady and had no idea where I was headed, so decided in the circumstances to make as much of a controlled dismount as is possible at full gallop.  I managed to land on my feet but inevitably crashed forward onto my knees, while the reprobates disappeared round the corner.  Battered and bruised, I struggled to my feet, but at least the fact that I could hobble along meant it was unlikely I had broken anything.  Dreadful images of the horses crashing into lorries flashed through my mind, but thankfully I found them grazing peacefully on the roadside about a kilometre further on, though only a few hundred yards from the Trans Canada Highway.  Then it was a long limp of around 7 kilometres back to Manon's.with the horses in tow.
The horses went in the corral and I lay on the sofa while Manon plied me with ice for my right knee which was most badly swollen.  Mayor Richard Dube kindly came round to help discuss my next course of action.  It was obvious I could not carry on riding until my knees had recovered, and I also made the decision that having been bolted on twice, I could not risk a third episode, particularly at my advanced age!  I would leave Del behind and continue with Lady once I was better, and in the meantime I would take the coach to Fredericton to rest at the Macfarlanes', and sort out and move the truck.   Although I was sure there was nothing broken, a nurse who keeps her horse at Manon's looked at my knee and advised me to go to hospital first.
So after quickly sorting out a few essentials I was driven to Riviere du Loup and dropped at the hospital, where after several hours of hanging around it was pronounced that I had not broken anything (as I thought) and did not have any infection (as the nurse had feared).  But I was advised to rest my leg completely and use crutches.  An unedifying sight but where has my knobbly knee gone?...
  After all this palaver there was just time to catch a middle-of-the-night bus to Fredericton, where David picked me up from the station.

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