A white desert out of sight

News 4 March, 2018
  • Magalie Lapointe

    Sunday, 4 march, 2018 01:00

    Sunday, 4 march, 2018 01:00

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    KEGASKA | You can ride for hours on a snowmobile on the Route blanche in Basse Côte-Nord without ever crossing person in some of the most beautiful landscapes of Quebec.

    For two weeks in early February, The Newspaper went to the snowmobile between Kegaska and St-Augustin, a round trip of 660 miles on the Lower North Shore.

    When the road 138 stops at Kegaska and the shift away from the van for the snowmobile, we are in a wild territory. A white desert at a loss of sight for hundreds of kilometres in temperatures of sometimes -40 degrees and winds reaching at times 100 km/h.

    Seat and fingerless gloves warmers are prescribed.


    But the cold is not which is the more surprising, because one expects and is preparing to.

    We cannot, however, imagine seeing such beautiful landscapes. The frozen river, mountains, sunsets, and the trail will be snowmobile endless where the dangers are omnipresent. One sometimes has the impression of being alone in the world, like in the movies.

    The trail is maintained by the department of Transport between the month of January and the beginning of April. But before you venture into it, it is better to be informed as it should be with citizens.

    The Journal team has learned to his cost. After driving for four hours, he had to turn back due to a creek that was thawed out and we could not cross. He had to come back two days later, the time that the cold do its work.

    However, the ministry of Transport stated that the trail was open and fully functional on its web site, but each case is unique. A snowmobile alone would have been able to get through, but two people, in addition to 200 pounds of equipment were much too heavy.

    Satellite phone

    The innu were very surprised to see the arrival of two people from the region of Montreal without a guide or communication equipment. The cell phone, Facebook and other bébelles electronic are useless in this wild territory.

    “You don’t have a satellite phone ? But it is dangerous ! Even we, we do not venture without a satellite phone, ” said Doris Bellefleur, of the community of Unamen Shipu.


    For european tourists, this road is the epitome of the myth canada, one crosses several villages and that there are huts to warm up. For the 5,000 inhabitants of this very remote area, the white Road is a synonym of freedom. For nine months, they must take a plane or boat to get to Sept-Îles in order to shop, which is very expensive.

    But during the three months when the white Road is open, they can visit the nearby villages where to go in the city.

    “For us, the white Road is the freedom. We feel less isolated, and only in this moment one feels connected to the rest of the world “, told the Innu Doris Bellefleur.


    At the end of the asphalt


    The white Road this is

    • 455 km between Kegaska and Blanc-Sablon
    • 10 sections to check before each ride to see if it is open or not
    • 4 patrol boats of the MTQ who ensure the safety
    • 22 shelters available for warm-up
    • For the winter of 2016-2017, the white Road has been fully opened from 24 January to 4 April (71 days)

    * Source : ministry of Transport

    Criteria for the opening of the white Road

    • Quantities of snow significant
    • A thickness of ice sufficient
    • Proper markup

    To ensure the safety

    • Always travel in a group of two people or more
    • Follow the signs
    • Have water and food
    • If possible be equipped with a satellite phone
    • Have a small shovel
    • A 5 gallons of gasoline
    • Spare clothes (at least one pair of stockings, extra)

    * Source : Ministry of Transport and Log