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25 The next day was Thursday and a beauty again and for a change, warm. Discussing our options for the day's activities during a delicious and bountiful ham-and-egg breakfast at Mme. Hoeckx we finally decided to explore Laurentide National Park, which was a reasonable auto trip for a day. So we had Mme. Hoeckx prepare us a picnic lunch which we planned to eat on the shore of Lac Jacques Cartier in the park. Soon we were off for the mountains which we'd been admiring from afar and now were about to admire close up. We were delighted at the prospect. We stopped briefly at Stoneham, a town I don't find now on any map I have, but I believe is on the main road near the southern edge of the park. The girls used the "des dames" at the gas station and we drove on. Presently we reached a tollgate at the park entrance where we received a rude shock. The conversation with the attendent went as follows: Attendent: May I have your permit please. I: Pardon me? Attendent: Your permit. I: Permit? Attendent: Yes. Your permit to enter the park. I: We don't have one. We didn't know it was required. Attendent: I'm sorry, sir, but I can't let you in without one. I: Where can we get one? Attendent: In Quebec-- at the post office or the park office. I: You mean we have to drive all the way back to Quebec to get this permit? That doesn't make any sense. Attendent: I'm very sorry, sir. The attendent made it very clear that we were not going to get in without a permit so we had to say uncle and turn back. We were bitterly disappointed and blamed the Canadian Tourist Bureau for a laxity in informing their guests. But there it was. There wasn't time to return to Quebec for the permit so we gave up visiting the park. It was really our first setback of the trip. The trip wasn't a total loss, however, because we'd penetrated some pretty wild country before reaching the park and the scarlet foliage was gorgeous. Also the red, white and purple fields of phlox. We visited a patisserie in Stoneham where we got some ultra-luscious French pastry, and picked up some Coke at a nearby drugstore. Then we picked a good roadside spot in the vicinity and had our picnic. It was beautiful even without Lac Jacques Cartier and the Laurentians were visible if not surrounding us. However, we were way ahead of schedule because of being unable to go into the park. What to do with the afternoon was the question and we answered it finally by deciding to make a pilgrimage to Ste. Anne de Beaupré, and visit Montmorency Falls on the way back. So we returned to the River Road and headed
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