St-Leonard: Rural Village by the mountains

Saint-Léonard de Portneuf Travel Blog

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Bear Lake Waterfall in Perthuis
St-Leonard de Portneuf, the village in itself is a wonder for the eye. At least for us, or for me. While driving the Route 367 northward going along some graze and corn land step by step more up into the Laurentian piedmont suddenly you arrive at a major curve and it is there opening straight before your eyes. The village roundly tuck around the church spire just on the slope of a neighbouring hill which bear a giant cross on its summit and you slowly drive toward it. It is a surprising view and the landscape is also amazing.

St-Léonard is also the place of origin of my mother's family, it is also where my grand-mother lived and where I was going to visit every once in a while and especially during the long festivities of Thanksgiving (in the fall), Easter, Christmas, New Year.
Overview entering St-Leonard Village
.. and sometimes, The corn harvest gathering and the Sugar Season.

So I know the street quite well as I could be staying there from time to time and I also had cousin there. In the summer, there was the local bus taking the children and anybody else willing to enjoy a day at the beach further up north to a tiny municipal resort at Lac Simon. Lac Simon is a pristine lake since no boat are allowed on it, it used to be a purely religious congregation property who has been nationalised at latter stage and now own some private development but as well a wild camping and still the sandy beach where people go spend a sunny summer day getting a snack or poutine at the local snack and relaxing until they come back to the village.

When you reach Lac Simon, you have crossed one hamlet on the way, Allen's Mill, which is situated just behind the hill where St-Leonard is perched and is surrounded by a tiny plateau surrounding by the hills.
Turgeon Chapel on the Hill in Allen's mill
This place is a majestic area when the indian summer and autumn colour hit as you find yourself surrounded with a canevas of red,green,yellow,orange colours and a sunny blue sky.
By leaving the farming plateau, you officially enter the Canadian Shield deep into the Laurentian... this place is called Perthuis and you won't find any living soul for 30 km until Rivière-à-Pierre in the north. This is where Lac Simon is located and still though it is the place where all the villagers have their cabins mainly for hunting. There is no sugar shack has you gradually reach the northern limit of the Sugar Maple breeding land... from now on the conifer is king in the country with land full of spruce and fir. The maple and other trees are still populous though, but gradually being replaced by the conifer.
Rural Landscape

You can find some tiny waterfall on the way, some snack-bar along the road, mainly at the junction where the Route 367 bump with the Portneuf/Jacques-Cartier Bicycle path. But one marbelous natural wonder comes a bit further along the route 367 in Perthuis. The 'Halte du Pont de Pierre' is a municipal rest area along the road. The site was chosen for one particular reason, it includes a naturally built Stone bridge, by naturally built, I mean here that it was made by nature itself.

This bridge crosses a tiny stream which runs about 3-4m beneath and has carve into the hard granit roack a tiny canyony valley. The biggest feature is that it has carved in the rock shaping some sort of tunnel which creates a bridge of about 5m long crossing from one side to another and of which you can also walk beneath if you manage to keep your feet dry.
A marsh land view in Perthuis in the Laurentian
It is definitely worth a look if you are amaze by natural wonder and it is in a very charming forest environment.
This geological feature is a remaining creation from the Ice Age, when the ice cap of a few km thick was still covering all this land that surrounds you (and just a few thousands years ago) and rivers were still running on the ice, into the ice or at its bed. The water somehow did manage to carve into a fault into the rock instead and this featured remained as such when the ice disappeared.

This cycling strech was built over the old historic railway line going from Quebec city all the way to Rivière-à-Pierre (from where it still remains northward). It is a total of 60 km stretch, crossing Lac-Sergent, St-Raymond and St-Léonard further north.
Landscape along the Rang St-Bernard
The cycling is easy as a railway path does not have any harsh hill, it is now also free compare to a few years ago when they built the entity and asked for a permit to travel. You cross similar landscape that you can see from the road but at your own rythm and well might even bump into a bear (or at least see their droppings as they seem to like to foul the path) or a moose.
It passes nearby Lac Simon as well, and it is there that you can stop by the Lac-à-l'Ours Cascade, which is pleasant area all beneath the shadow of the trees.

You drive the wilderness further north for several km and reach the northernmost settlement in the county: Rivière-à-Pierre ...
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Bear Lake Waterfall in Perthuis
Bear Lake Waterfall in Perthuis
Overview entering St-Leonard Villa…
Overview entering St-Leonard Vill…
Turgeon Chapel on the Hill in Alle…
Turgeon Chapel on the Hill in All…
Rural Landscape
Rural Landscape
A marsh land view in Perthuis in t…
A marsh land view in Perthuis in …
Landscape along the Rang St-Bernard
Landscape along the Rang St-Bernard
Autumn Colour in Allens mill
Autumn Colour in Allen's mill
Farmland landscape by the Piedmont…
Farmland landscape by the Piedmon…
Saint-Léonard de Portneuf
photo by: maplefanta