Filip H.A. Claeys

Trekking in Mountainous and Subarctic Regions


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Quebec 2016: La Mauricie – ter

On the second day of my last weekend in Quebec I pay another visit to the national park of La Mauricie. There’s quite a bit of wind, so I go for a hike instead of a packrafting trip.

I park at the Mékinac parking and do a combination of the Mékinac and Les Deux-Criques trails. These trails lead through a hilly and densely forested area, and offer a series of lookouts on the park’s woods and lakes, as well as the Saint-Maurice river. In the afternoon I also hike part of the Les Vieux-Brûlis trail.

I will be flying back to Europe soon, so this will be the last Quebec post (at least for a while).

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-25: La Mauricie

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Quebec 2016: Charlevoix – bis

Winter is coming, and it is coming fast, at least in Quebec’s Charlevoix mountains.

I spend the first day of my last weekend in Quebec in the Grands Jardins provincial park. Although the day is generally sunny, daytime temperature on the Charlevoix heights is only around 5°C. There’s a cold northerly wind blowing and snow flurries come in every once and a while. Indeed, summer is over and winter is on its way…

I first hike up to Mont du Lac des Cygnes and return via the Le Pioui trail. I get to see a beautiful fox from up close, and enjoy the display of autumn color. There’s still quite a bit of green at lower elevations, but higher up intense yellow and reddish colors are clearly starting to appear.

In the afternoon I also hike the La Pinède trail in the vicinity of the Château Beaumont cabin. In this area there are thick carpets of moss that have given the park its name.

By 5 PM temperature has sunk to a mere 2°C and a new load of snow flurries seems to be coming in. I therefore call it a day and return to Quebec City where temperature is about 8 degrees higher.

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-24: Charlevoix

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Quebec 2016: Jacques Cartier

Many trips to the Quebec province and the city of Quebec itself, but never had I been to the Jacques Cartier provincial park, although it’s only a stone’s throw (i.e., some 50 km) north of downtown Quebec. So, on Saturday I finally decide to pay a visit to this 670 km2 park that is made up of densely forested hills, plateaus and deep river valleys.

A school bus shuttle takes me from the service center to the trail head of Les Loups, the park’s best known trail. Since one trail a day isn’t nearly enough, I afterwards also respectively take care of the La Matteucie, Le Draveur Sud, Les Cascades and Les Coulées trails. In all probably just over 30 km.

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-17: Jacques Cartier

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Quebec 2016: Quebec City

Following popular demand, here’s a set of pictures from a walk through picturesque Quebec City, starting at the “Plaines d’Abraham” park (which is literally the backyard of my temporary residence), and continuing via the iconic “Château Frontenac” to “Vieux Quebec”. First down to “la basse ville” and then back up to “la haute ville”.

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-10: Quebec City

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Quebec 2016: La Mauricie – bis

The third and last day of the beautiful Labour Day weekend takes me and my packraft back to La Mauricie national park, where at higher elevations the first signs of autumn foliage are starting to appear. This time I leave the beaten path and do a tour that day-trippers normally won’t do as it involves several portages.

I start with a 500 m portage from the parking to Soumire Lake. On the other side of the lake is another 500 m portage to Giron Lake. Once across this lake there is a 1 km portage to the small Dubon lake, followed by a 500 m portage to Dauphinais Lake. I have lunch at the other side of Dauphinais Lake, do a bit of swimming and then return the same way to the parking.

As expected, I do not meet any day-trippers on this tour, only a number of canoeing parties that have spent the weekend camping on one of the primitive back-country camp sites around des Cinq Lake, and are on their way back to civilization.

On this trip I strap my backpack to my packraft in such a way that by putting on the backpack without detaching it from the raft, I can easily carry the raft entirely inflated. It is clear that this way I have a major advantage over the canoers, who have a hard time carrying their stuff over the slippery, stony and steep paths. Overall, I am able to proceed almost twice as fast as the canoers. They have the advantage on the open waters, while I have much more of an advantage during portages.

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-05: La Mauricie

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Quebec 2016: Charlevoix

I spend the second day of the Labour Day weekend in the provincial park of Les-Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie, which is located in the Charlevoix region north of Quebec City. In this park the Malbaie river cuts deeply into the Charlevoix mountains, of which the highest summits just about reach into the arctic zone.

I first do the Acropole des Draveurs hike, which is probably the most alpine among the easily accessible hikes in Quebec. Over a distance of merely 5.2 km it steeply climbs about 800 m from the valley floor onto a plateau with 3 distinct summits. Views into the river valley and onto the surrounding mountains are quite impressive. I manage to do the climb in approximately 1.5 hours and need 45 minutes to descend.

In the afternoon I hike part of Sentier Les Rapides to Barrage des Érables, followed by Sentier du Belvédère. Finally, I hike part of the track along the river to the lookout of La Vallée Suspendue.

In the high season cars cannot be taken into the park. There is however a shuttle system that uses school buses. When I was here in June 2012, high season had not yet begun and I could take my car all the way to Barrage des Érables.

Pictures > Quebec 2016-09-04: Charlevoix

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