And onwards we have gone. Moving east at a tremendous pace, even we are astonished at how far we travel in a given day. But with warm smiley faces awaiting us, we can’t help but move places in a hurry.
After our last minute decision to head to Kingston, we were greeted by Ashley, who showered us with late night burritos and Cheryl’s finest chocolate chip cookies. Mmmm. Kingston also offered us a great spot to wait out a day of rain, rest our limbs and see the local Farmers Market.
And another wonderful treat was Peter, Paul and Mary.
They invited us into their home after a 140km day of biking, a huge relief for our tired legs. They are residents of a little town called Morrisberg, their backyard beckoning for a quick dip in the St. Lawrence. It must be said however, that when we first arrived, we were a little intimated… as we realized the extent of their white interior and its contrast with the state of our dirty bodies. Thank goodness for showers.
One thing we have learned along the way is that everyone has a story to tell. And even more importantly, everyone wants to tell their story – it’s all just a matter of asking the right questions.
So, questions we have asked and stories we have found. Our curiousity about water led us to the St. Lawrence River Institute, which revealed some alarming facts. In the 1980s, the St Lawrence River was recognized as a priority area, and in need of much love and rehabilitation. Manufacturing facilities had been dumping pollutants and invasive species were having a hay-day, ruining the natural order of things and the health of the river. As a result, the Institute was formed to manage, educate and improve the St. Lawrence. To this day, the river is still plagued with mercury from industry effluent; foreign species, like Asian Carp; and the most exciting of all, endochrine distruptors! Endochrine disruptor is code for all those fun drugs we humans take on the regular, like prozac and birth control. Sadly, they have yet to find a treatment to remove these water additives… well, at least our fish are happier.
As for the lack of accountability, we also learned that small towns which aren’t supplied water by the municipality are responsible for testing their own water. But water regulations require frequent testing, which can makes things tough for small towns – forcing certain places away from their local water source and onto the bottled variety.