There are two types of hikers in life: the expert / passionate hiker and the amateur / Sunday hiker. Which one are you?
For our COVID-19 trip, we stayed in our region as many travelers had to do during quarantine, we (re)discover the surroundings and we go on an adventure in areas that we did not know, but who are just as beautiful as the rest of the world. Advantages? It is more economical 😊, we know more about our region, less trouble to organize a long trip and we still escape from our daily lives. Let me tell you more about our little getaway in the Quebec region, at Mont Sainte-Anne and at the Hauts-de-Gorges park.
Montmorency Falls Park
No, not the city of Montmorency in France, but the Montmorency Falls in Quebec, Canada. This is the first park we stopped at to admire a very high waterfall, even higher than the Niagara Falls, 83 meters in height, which is 30 meters higher than the Niagara Falls.
As our getaway was done during quarantine, the cable car to climb to the top of the fall was closed and we were at the bottom of it, which already gave a breathtaking view, but you can go by car up to the parking lot and admire the view while crossing the suspended bridge over the falls. For thrill seekers, there are activities that may be available but that were closed, including crossing the cove of the falls by 300-meter long zip line where you will be suspended in the air and pass very close to the falls. You also have the option of doing via ferrata where you are hooked on a cable on the rock walls around the falls and take several paths, a kind of climbing. In short, memorable experiences that we would surely have had if they were open.
Small advice that we experienced: at the bottom of the fall, there is a small path to be closer to the fall and a forest on the side where the sign “pedestrian crossing prohibited” is however well indicated, but we still wanted to climb to the top of the fall despite the sign, through this very angled forest. As a result, we ended up on an incredible adventure that almost cost me an eye. Walking was not really the activity, I would rather say that we hung on tree branches to move forward. In any case, respect this instruction or you risk being in trouble. But who would do that anyway? (except us). Get on the cable car or take the car to the top parking lot.
Ouch what a hike! I didn’t expect that at all. In fact, I didn’t really have any expectations, I thought it was going to be an easy and enjoyable hike. This is where I realized that I was not an experienced hiker 😊 So for hikers who like elevations, you will be served.
Where is Mont-Sainte-Anne located? It is about 40 km from Quebec City, it is one of the greats for alpine skiing and mountain biking, the nature and landscapes around are magnificent. I did not think, or at least I did not take into consideration that a few kilometers from my home, Montreal, there were places as original as on the other side of the world. It’s different, it’s interesting and I’m learning.
There are several trails to go up and down the mountain, easy ones like the Tour du lac, the Panorama or the Charlevoisien, but also difficult ones like Crête, Libériste or Mestachibo. We took the Pioneer trail to climb, this one was not easy, it is considered as intermediate. To tell the truth, I was wondering if it would end one day, there are lots of elevation differences strewn with rocks, it is a steep climb where you will exercise your legs as well as your cardio. Guaranteed effect! After a few hours of sweating, shortness of breath, wondering when we get to the top of the 800 meters, here it is: the magnificent, the breathtaking, the reward … Its majesty The View! Yes, a breathtaking view of the Charlevoix region, Quebec City, the St. Lawrence River and the Island of Orleans. So as much as I was breathless because of this endless climb, the view was worth it. At the top, there is also a chalet where you can eat, drink, rest or take the cable car to go down, which I would have done but everything was closed because of the Covid. So, we had to go down on foot. Great, I can’t wait!
To go back down we took the Gondoleuse path, considered difficult, we did not find an easy path for the way down, so we took this one. You would think that going back would be easy because the slope is down, but when it is very steep it also hurts your legs, you would want to just roll down to the bottom, but it is impossible, so you will have to hang in there and you will see the end of the tunnel coming.
Hallelujah, we arrived at the bottom of the slopes, we can go home with a feeling of having accomplished a good sport challenge, well I would have liked it less drastic, but it was a great experience in very good company.
In any case, Hallelujah again since we had rented an Airbnb a few minutes from the slopes with a jacuzzi on the balcony, pure happiness especially after an intense excursion, the spa allowed us to relax our muscles and beautifully end our day.
A beautiful canyon with pleasant trails surrounded by nature to enjoy the fresh air and admire the Sainte-Anne waterfall. We start the visit from the top at 74 meters high. The entrance price per adult is $ 14.50. It was the first activity that we had to pay because Mont Sainte-Anne and Montmorency Falls did not have an entrance fee, surely due to COVID.
We had followed the trails to the bottom of the falls with three suspended bridges over several waterfalls, there are stories at each observation stop for both children and adults, including the geological formation of the rock walls dating from 1.2 billion years. Impressive! Ziplining and via ferrata may be available but again due to quarantine we did not have access to them.
Nothing to do with Mont-Sainte-Anne, it’s a short easy walk of 3 km and the view and noise of the falls are fabulous. The trails are safe, they have been adapted for families.
Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park
Wonderful hike! No breathlessness or rock or tree climbing here, I had time to take lots of breaths of fresh air and enjoy the sumptuous nature. Several trails are also available and we wanted to make the most known of all, the highest and the most difficult, that of the Acropole-des-Draveurs but it was closed because of COVID (surprise!), So we took the one called Le Riverain which was around 11 km. The entrance fee to the park is $ 8.90 per person for the day.
I really loved this park and this trail, picnic tables and breathtaking views, not many elevation changes, a pleasant hike that offers panoramas of valleys between high mountains of forests. The flora mixes nicely with the fauna since we can see animals such as squirrels, chipmunks, some can even meet caribou, but we had not seen any. However, we saw a porcupine on our way. In short, this park offers you a beautiful natural scenery.
Our little getaway makes us feels very good, especially during this quarantine. We couldn’t travel outside the country, but we did even better, we were able to adapt to the situation and enjoy every moment. I learned what kind of hiker I was, and I appreciate more and more physical activities, they are good for the mind, but I also learned that local discoveries can be surprising.
We look forward to telling you on our next trip!