I went on a really cool trip this weekend so I figured I'd do a trip report here for posterity :) It was a really cool and unique experience!

My friend organized this trip to the Monts Groulx, way up north in Quebec. Basically, they needed volunteers to open up the winter trails - pack the snow and dig smoother assents for the snowmobile. So she got together a group of 12 people and we set out for the adventure 12h from Montreal!

I borrowed my mom's SUV, and we all left Montreal around 6am. I never wake up that early...

Crossing the river to Tadoussac on the ferry, about halfway there:

We also passed by one of the biggest damns in North America. Manic-5:

(this was taken on the way back. It was already dark when we drove by on the way there).

Nature up there is beautiful. It's all massive pine trees:

It doesn't stay light for long, but at least, it's golden hour for photography about half the day! And there is SO MUCH SNOW.

We stayed in this big cabin Marcel started building in the 90's. He's still not done, but it's super cozy and big. That's all of us in front of it:

You can see how every little detail is hand made. All the handles are just branches without the bark. Who needs home depo when you have plenty of time and trees all around?!

And the inside is heated with multiple wood stoves. We also cooked on them. Real rustic.

That's Marcel:

He's 74 years old and he lives there alone most of the time. No electricity, no plumbing, no phone reception. He's super nice and friendly. Used to be a wilderness guide in the area, and now he's retired. He's also really funny, and has that typical Quebecois demeanour that's hard to explain. It feels like people like that don't exist anymore. Like you only read about them in books or something. I'm really glad I met him. I even stayed behind on the 2nd day instead of going to the trail to help out with dishes. Partly because I'm weak and was tired, partly because I wanted to hang out with him more. No offence, but I feel like I have plenty of opportunities to hang out with other university students in Montreal if I want to ;) He asked everyone for their postal address. I suspect we might get mail from him someday!

The kerosene lamps made the place super cozy:

I loved how every little thing had it's place. And how most of the plates and bowls were hand made.

So next morning, we set out to go help out with the trail:

The first 3km was already done, and we had another 4 or so to do. But first, we had to walk there. Who knew walking 3km in the snow was so hard? About 1km in I started questioning my decision. Why did I decide to come there. I was sweating like crazy and super hot despite it being -15 outside. But I just kept going and at some point we got to the end of the trail and started digging!

Here I am at lunchtime - tired but happy:

The next day, we did the same thing (but I only did half a day because I spent the morning doing dished and cutting wood for the stove). But everyone was twice as effective. We all wanted to climb that small mountain at the end of the trail! I honestly didn't think I would make it. I'm not the most in shape person, and I knew there is the big walk back after too. Thankfully the walk back is downhill. And peer pressure is a hell of a motivator. If it was just me, I would have said fuck this and turned around way before.

I was so proud and happy to get up top!

Never really did much hiking, let alone winter hiking. If you exclude shitty school trips, that was my first time snowshoeing!

The walk back was HARD and LONG. We were up top right at sunset, and by the time we got home it was completely dark. Good thing we had headlamps. And the starts were beautiful. Too bad it was overcast later, because the only other thing I would have wanted was to see some northern lights. The next day we packed up and drove back to Montreal! What an awesome 4 days. And just that time away from the internet was super nice and refreshing. Next summer, I really want to do a couple hikes in the Adirondacks nearby :)

BONUS: We somehow even got a little energy leftover to go mess around taking pictures in the snow that evening!

I think that's pretty much where we were, right next to the massive crater: https://goo.gl/maps/EavTJPXzKjH2


Since I had no clue exactly where it was, I google mapped "Monts Groulx" and realized immediately that the area was an impact crater. So cool!

Have you ever watched Letterkenny? I hope their depiction of rural Canada is verbatim, 'cuz I love that show.

posted by elizabeth: 193 days ago