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Stage 684 – Amable Du Fond River to Mattawa

Stage 683 marked a return to the mountains and 684 carries on in much the same vein with another testing stage of climbing, as do 685 and 686. With a heavy workload, these are stages that you just have to get through. This is another west to east affair with two significant climbs and a whole stack of lumpy stuff besides. The second half is way more difficult than the first and even though the last six miles are supposedly downhill, it doesn’t quite work out that way.

The rollout is lumpy for four miles, crossing the Amable du Ford River after a mile on a curving right hander beneath Pacaud Lake. The river itself flows into the neighbouring Moore Lake from Kioshkokwi Lake twenty five miles to the south. After Moore Lake, the road straightens up and after crossing Pautois Creek at three miles, begins the first proper climb of the stage, three miles to Mattawa River Resort at six miles. That’s a taster for what’s to come.

Off the top, Highway 17 descends down past Taggart Lake and Earl’s Lake to Mattawa Airport at nine miles, then as the road picks up the line of the Mattawa River, it rolls into Mattawa itself where the highway hangs a right at St Alban Anglican Church. The Ottawa River flows north from Mattawa, and the Mattawa River splits from it heading west: the southern bank of the Ottawa is in Ontario while the northern bank is in Quebec. The border is in the middle of the river.

The major climb of the stage, and to its highest elevation, begins as soon as the road turns right in Mattawa and starts heading east along the Ottawa River. The river is flowing in the opposite direction. The road climbs almost four hundred feet in three miles, such is the difficulty of the task, and it crosses streams that flow down into the Ottawa either side of thirteen miles. Shortly after the summit at fifteen miles, McMartins Road heads south off Highway 17.

The descent is less steep than the climb and it’s halted temporarily at eighteen miles when the road crosses Burritt’s Creek on a gentle right hander. After the bend, the road runs straight for the remainder of the stage, climbing back up initially and putting another hundred feet of climbing into the stage between miles eighteen and nineteen. But then the descent resumes, passing the Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort at twenty miles, before one last short sharp climb takes the stage into the finish at Klok’s Road approaching Almond Creek.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 965 feet / 294 metres

RGT Magic Road: rmlNcxwQHL3J

Total distance: 21.99 mi
Max elevation: 838 ft
Min elevation: 489 ft
Total climbing: 965 ft
Total descent: -984 ft

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