Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Montreal - Ain't no Mountain High Enough!

Monday morning came on dark and wet. The weather channel radar suggested that the rain would end and so we left our room with the goal of conquering Mt. Royal. The clerk at the desk provided us with a map and info about transportation and the location of the foottrail if we wanted to hike to the summit. He seemed to suggest that the hike would be a walk in the park. We later discovered that the park had a steep vertical grade.

We ate a light breakfast while watching a workman dismantle the coffee shops deck as the seasonal closure of St Catherines Street had come to an end.

After a metro trip and 2 buses we thought we were well on our way. It is an unfortunate oversight on the part of Montreal that there are no signs or indications that the bus has arrived at the summit and you should get off if that is your destination. We figured this out when we found ourselves at the base of Mt Royal on the opposite side from where we had started. We managed to find our way around the mountain's base and located the stairs pictured on our map that would start us up to the summit on foot and began our assent.

The trail, as I mentioned, had a steep grade. The skies had begun to clear and the day began to warm up. However, the Olmsted landscaping, he also designed New York's Central Park, kept us shaded and cool.  We reached a small pond with restrooms, which were welcomed, and picnic tables. We ate the lunch we had brought with us and continued on. We soon came upon a large expanse of lawn peppered with modern sculptures. After exploiting this photo op we found an arrow sign pointing to the summit.

A large plaza with a stone balanstrate along the mountain's edge greeted us. It afforded a panoramic view of the city below. Modern, muscular highrises shared the streets with smaller buildings whose copper clad mansard roofs wore the bluegreen patina of age. My friend remarked "This is more that I thought it would be. I thought we might find a wooden platform reached by stairs."

After we departed, a short walk found us at one of the bus stops we had rode past earlier in the day. As we waited for the bus that would return us to the metro station and more familiar environs my friend noted "There appear to be two ways to get to the summit. We took both."


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