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Stage 686 – Bissett Creek to Laurentian Hills

686 is the last of the truly difficult stages in the mountains, although 687 should not be ignored in that regard. 686 does what the preceding stages have done in running west to east on the Ontario (south) side of the Ottawa River with Quebec away to the north on the other side. It’s another big lumpy stage, although in contrast to the last few stages, most of the climbing is in the first half. The stage is lumpy throughout, and even after halfway when the road supposedly flattens out a tad, there’s not a lot of flat tarmac on offer.

The rollout is uphill through Bissett Creek and although there’s a short descent after a mile, the climb resumes just after two miles, peaking at the first of two summits either side of five miles south of McSourley Lake: the first peak is the highest elevation of the stage. Water’s never far away on the stage, and at four miles, on the way up the hill, Lafortune Creek flows under the road.

Off the top, Highway 17 descends steeply and quickly back down to the river, and from being at the highest elevation at five miles, finds itself at the lowest just after seven miles. From the riverside, the road rises to cross Pichette Lake at eight miles before swinging right to Smith Lake at ten miles where the road curves back left again, passing Driftwood Provincial Park as it does so.

There’s more water at fourteen miles where the road hangs a left to cross Conway Creek on a causeway before more lumpy climbs kick in past the Mackey Motel at fifteen miles and Harvey Creek at sixteen miles. That leaves just enough time to pass by Marsh Lake on the left at seventeen miles followed by Colton Lake on the right at nineteen miles before the highway bends left into Laurentian Hills where the finish is on a curving descent two miles east of the town.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 846 feet / 258 metres

RGT Magic Road: hBGZuUVRfQcO

Total distance: 21.97 mi
Max elevation: 762 ft
Min elevation: 506 ft
Total climbing: 846 ft
Total descent: -859 ft

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