2021 opens on a global pandemic.
And where we live in Montreal, QC we are also under stricter lockdown measures, including a curfew. But... we can still go outside and we can still drive to the mountains (not recommended, but not forbidden).
I'm looking forward to the day when we will look back on this time with a "remember when". And I'm keeping this journal to remember how the outdoors, and especially winter, can hold and sustain me through difficulty.
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Our first visit to the P’Tit Train du Nord.
This is a linear trail extending from St Jerome, in the south, to Mont Laurier, in the north.
It’s 200km long.
An old rail line, in the summer you can bicycle the whole thing, in the winter some sections are reserved for x-country skiing and the rest of it is for snowmobiles (stretch dream for me!)
The x-country ski section is tracked.
In non-pandemic years I think you have to pay to access the ski trails. That’s what my guide book says. But when we arrived it said it was free. Yay!
In previous years we have ventured further north into lanaudiere region for our x-country skiing. But today we were looking for something within an hour of our home, which landed us at an access point near Sainte Adele.
It was a wonderful introduction to a trail we will definitely return to in the future.
The section we did is circled in green on the map.
For more info in English see linear-park.com
I recommend this trail area in the Lantier municipality for winter day hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
@toesalad and I have been here a few times over the past couple winters.
Things I like about the area:
I wouldn’t hike here in summer, not enough elevation for me but it’s great for winter sport.
Today I introduced my friend Kim to the area.
This is the first time I’ve snowshoed the trails here and I have to say I recommend the skiing more than the snowshoeing since a lot of the snowshoeing is on a multipurpose trails laid by snowmobile. However you can just tramp through the woods on your snowshoes if you like.
Best access for snowshoeing is parking lot on chemin Lac de la Montagne Noire (see map in another post tagged #lantier).
Joining (what feels like) every other cross-country skier in Montreal at Caps Saint Jacques today.
Again, more people than I’ve ever seen at the park. I feel a little sad that we can’t stop and rest in the chalet at the wood burning stove and drink tea. But mostly I’m happy just for the chance to be out.
Also part of me finds all the people annoying but I’m part of the people.
Such a weird winter, both in terms of weather (warm and little snow) and global pandemic.
We’re hoping to go winter camping this year. We’re testing our tent and sleeping bags to make sure they’re warm enough.
The only gear we’re missing for winter trips is a pulk (or two, since we’ll probably each need one for the best weight distribution).
That path by the way is for the cat in winter so he can easily get to his favorite corner of the yard, it’s not a path to the outhouse :)
Ski day at Parc Maisonneuve. I’ve never seen so many people at this parc out for skiing and snowshoeing.
The tracks in the photo shows how popular the ski trails have been today. Thankfully the tracks were freshly laid this morning and the walkers had mostly respected them and not walked on them.
But I’m sure by tomorrow, especially without fresh snow fall these tracks will nearly obliterated.
Everyone wants to be out in the park and you can’t blame them. I’m one of them!
I got binoculars for christmas and my birthday (both are in the same month).
I am so excited about using these while hiking and canoeing (not backpacking, too heavy) to see animals and to learn to identify birds.
Maybe one day I’ll start a bird journal.
This is in Parc Maisonneuve in Montreal which has great winter ski trails and lots of places to observe birds.
Identified a sharp-shinned hawk on this outing.