Friday, January 2, 2015

Meanwhile, on the Road to Montreal, Weeks 4 and 5


I’m now quite sure of my May-June walking route to the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal. Having previously posted maps for week 1, week 2, and week 3, I’ve developed the above map for weeks 4 and 5, north and west from St. Johnsbury, Vermont.

I hope to leave my home north of Boston on or about the first of May (feast of St. Joseph the Worker) and arrive at the Oratory on or about Sunday, June 7. 

The route for the final two weeks has a few virtues: (1) It allows me to attend daily mass at least two or three days during week 4, as I work my way to the Canadian border via Newport, Vermont (St. Mary’s Catholic Church on the map); (2) it permits me to spend my last weekend on the road at the Abbaye de St. Bénoît du Lac in southern Quebec; and (3) it takes me in week 5 through two small towns where Brother St. André Bessette once lived, Farnham and Saint-Césaire, Quebec.

Also, each week’s route is approximately 75 miles, which is about the average for all five weeks of my pilgrimage.

There is a notable pattern or progression in my overall route. Each week I will walk in less familiar, less citified, more rugged country.

During my first three days, leading into the first weekend on the road, I will walk north to Amesbury, Massachusetts, virtually my backyard. During the following seven days (week 1, counting Sunday to Sunday) I will follow the Merrimack River as it winds southwest by north through Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell, Massachusetts, and into Nashua, Merrimack, and Manchester, New Hampshire.

Week 2 will be a bit more rugged, though it will pass through familiar vacation ground for many Bostonians, south and west of Lake Winnipesaukee. Week 3 will take me through the White Mountain National Forest and Franconia Notch across the border into Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom at St. Johnsbury.

That’s where the map above begins. I am warned by people who know that the country north of St. Johnsbury and then northwest through southern Quebec to Montreal is pretty barren. I may have a friend bring me a tent and sleeping bag in St. Johnsbury so that I can sleep outdoors during the final two weeks.

Obviously, plans are still amaking, but now you’re up to date. 

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