I live in the city. I dream (and dream about living, adventuring, and travel) in the country. Married to Outsideways creator @toesalad.
My adventure life is summarized well by William Lewis Morton, who once observed that the “alternate penetration of the wilderness and return to civilization is the basic rhythm of Canadian life.”
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Parc des chutes de Denholm
I had been hoping to visit these falls someday and I was delighted that our somewhat random backroads tour brought us right past them.
Before visiting the falls I took a quick hike up the Sentiers des arts to the look out. Well worth the short hike up.
At this time of year, spring, the bugs are bad so bring bug net and bug spray. (Good to keep in your “grab ‘n go” gear all summer.)
Swimming at the covered bridge in Wakefield.
This is a popular spot. I took a quick swim, water was very chilly this time of year.
Watched a group of young adults jump off the bridge into the water.
There’s a small historic park near here with old buildings, interpretive signs, and parking. In high season I imagine that fills up quickly. There is also road parking up the hill.
According to locals I chatted with, the “swimming rock” where I lounged in the sun is sometimes nearly covered with water if the Paugan Dam, upriver, is opened.
Wakefield itself is a beautiful little village, artsy & touristy with all the usual necessities/attractions - brulerie, boulangerie, patisserie....
For our long weekend trip we stayed at an Airbnb in Chelsea.
Chelsea is a cute place with good access to Gatineau Park. It also feels like the gateway to the Gatineau River valley region with all its outdoor recreation.
Or, you can head south into Ottawa for all the historic and cultural sites.
Lots of possibilities.
Gatineau park is a large park just north of Ottawa & Gatineau.
Close to the nation’s capital this is a popular park. We visited during Covid when non-essential travel was banned between Ontario and Quebec, which meant we encountered way less people than would normally be found in the park on a long weekend.
In normal times this would not be a destination for us on a long weekend with all the crowds.
There are a multitude of 4 season activities to do in the Park including hiking, x-county skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, paddling, cycling, camping etc.
The Gatineau Park website itself warns of busy weekend experiences and recommends weekday visits. Keep that in mind if you go.
On our inaugural trip to the park we took a little hike to the cascades at Carbide Willson Ruins, accessed via Trail 36 at parking lot P11. Trail is a 3.25 km round trip.
Easy walking, some elevation change, and a lovely destination - combination of history and nature.
If you click on the map with the photo you'll see lots of trails in the area.
See also: https://ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places/carbide-willson-ruins
Getting in a early season paddle before bug season.
Lac de l’Achigan is an easy drive (1.5 hours) from Montreal. There is boat launch at the Saint Hippolyte Beach with nearby parking.
For a location so close to the city I was pleasantly surprised with the lake. This time of year was perfect as there were few people or motorboats on the lake. I image summer is very busy here with all the cottages dotting the shore.
This was an attempt to go car camping at #reservefauniquedepapineaulabelle
I packed the car and drove west from the city with the hopes of camping in the woods for the night.
Unfortunately, the roads in the reserve were still snowy and wet from winter and impassable and so no stealth camping was possible.
I cooked my supper and enjoyed this river view instead. No bugs yet this early in the season.
Made sure to get back home to the city for the 9:30 curfew.
First hike of the spring season 2021!
Brienne was my hiking buddy today as we got out the city for some time in the woods.
This is my first visit to Parc Régional des Chutes Monte-à-Peine-et-des-Dalles
The #lanaudiere is full of beautiful treasures like this. What is so surprising about this area is that these falls are nestled into the terrain where the rolling farmland meets the piedmont (foothills) of the Laurentian mountain range.
You wouldn't expect such beautiful falls.
The park is accessed by three different village entrances - St-Jean-de-Matha, Ste-Mélanie & Ste-Béatrix and has 17 km of trail with 3 chutes. This photo is of chute Monte-à-Peine.
You could easily spend a whole afternoon walking/hiking most of the park or come for just a couple hours and see the highlights. There are sections with some elevation gain/loss but a lot of the hiking trail loops and sections are on the wooded plateau above the falls and wind through lovely and easy walking forested sections.
Highly recommend a visit for the falls and the woods. If you go in late winter/early spring bring crampons/something spiky for your boots. The climbs up and down from the plateau area are very icy this time of year.
The area is 1 hour away from Montreal and there is a fee to access.
There is camping also.
So ends a winter trip to a cabin, on a lake, in the woods and mountains.
We enjoyed getting out every day to walk in the nature of the area right around the cabin. And on the weekend we enjoyed snowshoe routes at nearby parks.
The Jacques-Cartier region has a lot of easy-to-access winter sport areas including:
I highly recommend the village of Stoneham as home base for your adventures. See this page for map and more info. https://www.jacques-cartier.com/en