Hiking: Mont Chapman (Stokes, Quebec)

The next hike went back to probably one of the most popular areas in Quebec and pretty well-known for its nature and that’s the Eastern Townships. After some research, we landed on finding this location called Mont Chapman. Its one of the farther hiking trails in Eastern Townships as we headed into a smaller country road that lead to a little parking lot in the middle of nowhere, with actually a few cars as the starting point for the hike.

Mont Chapman

The part that we did is the Boucle du Mont Chapman which goes around. We ended up doing the entire loop (and some more…I’ll talk about that later). Its pretty much a loop to the summit and back. With the shorter distance and the height of the summit, the elevation went up fairly quickly and it was almost a constant sloped trek, which is one of the bigger challenges of the path especially going upwards. We took the 4.9 km path upwards and did the 3.3 km downwards.

The path was pretty well maintained. There are a lot of little stones and twigs sticking out of the path through which can be hidden by all the fallen leaves. That is the only issue but its all about being observant. At the same time, there are some efforts to put planks to cross over little streams and some steps were made out of the terrain to help the process. There are some rocky steps as well. If not, in the little streams area, there are little rocks to walk over to stay a little more dry. It has to do with the weather still be cooler and more rainy this spring, I think. There were also some unique things like walking between boulders to get to the other side or on the down path, there’s some boulders to climb down from, as expected as the return trip is shorter distance, making it a steeper downhill trek.

And then, the view at the summit had a few angles, here it is:

Mont Chapman

Its a pretty hard track to be honest and it probably has to do with the fact that we expected it to be milder than it turned out to be. The issue with expectations, right? Either way, it was listed as an intermediary path, I believe but at times it did have some difficult moments. Setting that aside, my biggest issue was that we went the 4.9km path up where you follow the orange and white indicators on the trees, but going down, we had to follow the red and white indicators and man, was that confusing. Why I said that we ended up doing more than the total was because in between, we had to try three paths and each headed back to the fork, taking us over an hour to figure out where to go while walking up some really steep paths up and down to come to the conclusion to go back to the summit and take the path back and realized there was a sign at another angle in the distance that gave you the right path to follow. A lot of issues for my ankles (almost twisted it a few times on the downward jumps or hidden protruding rocks) on this one hike that I had to use some the trusty KT Tape and we had bought recently. That’s one of my complaints about this track, the unclear signage. While a part of the path has some work being done and didn’t have an alternate route so we checked that it was still just muddy but safe so kept going through the area to get to the other side since it was so close to the summit.

On the more positive side, this was the hike that got us ready for some harder trails. While we were both fed up of the trail on the way back and it was a tad painful (for my ankle specifically), there is a good amount of satisfaction to toughing it out and getting through it at the same time, having a good idea that we’ve really improved our preparedness over the years that we still had water left and food to sustain our energy. Not to mention, we had also got some pasta salads in the cooler at the car as a reward.

This was a rough one. 
Can’t say the view was a huge reward since it was also bug-infested. Insect repellant is a must on this trail.
We are hoping to squeeze in one or two more hikes before event season starts up in July. 😉

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My Weekly Adventures: Hiking, Grand Prix and Food!

Its mid-June now! Summer is just around the corner although the weather probably doesn’t really feel like it much. Its been feeling very spring lately, which is normal but its been a while spring has lasted so long. Either way, enough about the weather. With the season well underway, we’ve been keeping ourselves eventful while different events have been showing up as well. I’ll wrap up with a little gardening update.

Hiking: Parc de la Yamaska

Parc National de la Yamaska

June kicked off with our walk in Yamaska National Park. Its a casual walk along a fairly flat walk also set for cyclists as well. Its one thats great to kick off the beginning of the season. You can see the full recap HERE.

Grand Prix in Downtown Montreal

Grand Prix

As usual, Grand Prix landed in Downtown Montreal last weekend. Its always a busy weekend. I ended going with my mom for dinner at Noodle Factory in Chinatown and then heading to see the stuff going on on Peel and Crescent Street. This year was pretty disappointing. It felt not very special with not a lot of cars in general being showcased. It was kind of boring..although the music performed on the Crescent stage was probably the best show I’ve seen so I believe the line-up might be the highlight.

Hiking: Mont Chapman

Mont Chapman

Being the hiking crazy people that we are trying to be and working hard to keep up with it as much as we can before any potential things with events all pan out in July, plus the weather being cooler works well for those long hikes. After some long debate, we ended up going to the Eastern Townships in the middle of nowhere on a mountain hiking trail that we found called Mont Chapman. I have a few good things to say about this, mostly how challenging it was and how I somewhat disagree on the difficulty level they put it as and well, some complaints as well about this location and warnings/suggestions I’d give on this hiking track. That is coming up very soon in the hiking recap for this one. 😉

E3 2019

As usual, we had our E3 2019 off site coverage over at Game Warp. I talked about it over at the What’s Up segment this past week. It did set the course off over here a tad bit but other than some late posts, most of what I wanted to do still stayed relatively on track. You can find all the written recap coverage on Game Warp blog HERE.

Shopping Haul: Prep for Bridesmaid Duty

Its a week until my best friend gets married. I decided to take care of my hair and make-up so I had to go hunt down some stuff since I don’t normally put on make-up or do my hair in any particular way.  I did also get a curling iron which was on sale. I have a general concept of how do it and its going to simple but still match with the dress. Anyways, lots of new things that I’m trying out here so I’ll have to do a test-run at some point before since its a fairly early morning.

Gardening Update

Flower Garden Flower Garden

First part of the gardening update is planting in the flowers that I didn’t get around to plant the last time. Its not too obvious but I ended up putting the Hibiscus into the patch because I lost my chrysanthemums. And then in the other patch, I pulled up some of the other plants that was there that wasn’t looking too healthy and put in some foliage and the Monarda (Bee Balm).

Garden

Cabbage, Marigolds & Lettuce/Kale

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Gardening

Kale, Tomatoes, etc

The vegetables are all in. The garden is now all planted. The cabbage/marigold containers are growing very well. At the same time, the kale and the lettuce containers are also growing incredibly fast and pretty much ready for the first harvest. As for the poor tomato plant that was supposed to be hanging, it looks so miserable even through the last few rainy days.

Restaurants

Noodle Factory Noodle Factory

The restaurant that my mom and I went to was Noodle Factory in Chinatown. We got some pan-fried dumplings and then some fried handmade noodles. They were pretty decent.

Labothery

Labothery

A new bubble tea concept place opened up in Quartier Dix30 called Labothery. I will do a more elaborate post for it soon. Its a neat concept but as with any customizable ideas, the price increases accordingly.

Cute Kitty Pic

Cat

That’s it for this Weekly Adventures!
Its been a fun two weeks even though a bit busy as I was working out some press pass application also! 
Events are coming up in Montreal so I’m hoping to get ahead with some posts.

Double Feature: Perfect Stranger (2007) & Red Riding Hood (2011)

Welcome to the next double feature. Still braving through some Netflix titles as we head into the P and R selection, well, the first R selection, it would seem. The alphabet thing is more of a guideline at this point. This time, we’re heading into two thriller-esque movies. The first being Halle Berry and Bruce Willis’ Perfect Stranger which I remember I had wanted to see when it first came out but never did until now. The R selection is also a movie that I had wanted to see even though it looked like it was not going to be good which is Red Riding Hood. The result of both of these films were fairly similar, to be honest.

Let’s check it out!

Perfect Stranger (2007)

perfect stranger

Director: James Foley

Cast: Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Portnow

A journalist goes undercover to ferret out businessman Harrison Hill as her childhood friend’s killer. Posing as one of his temps, she enters into a game of online cat-and-mouse. – IMDB

With a pretty great lineup of cast playing a tight knit group of characters, Perfect Stranger definitely feels like it could be a winner. While I can’t truly fault the acting or the roles here, its the final moments that somewhat break the film a little. Plus, some of the roles are a tad over the top. The story does make the effort as a thriller to keep you guessing while giving you a few suspects to consider but as experienced viewers now know to question whoever is the most obvious in movies, it creates those smokes and screens fairly well.

Perfect Stranger is one of those films that I really want to like. Bruce Willis is pretty good in his roles. There some issues with Halle Berry’s character and then, the best role here that really delivers has to be Giovanni Ribisi who brings up a lot of question marks. Deal is, the story feels really choppy and the ending is one of those trying too hard to give you a surprise endings and it thinks its more clever than it actually is.

Red Riding Hood (2011)

Red Riding Hood

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie

Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure. – IMDB

Red Riding Hood has a decent idea behind it. Its a bit been there done that. Which is also why, it hasn’t been too long since I saw it and I already don’t remember too many of the details. So, let’s get the good things out of the way. This one was alright in the acting department, not so much in the dialogue department though and its one of those things that feel very much one way that it could all go. Plus, its one of those easy to figure out twists because its not exactly far-fetched and it doesn’t help that its a re-imagining of Red Riding Hood which doesn’t seem like the Red Riding Hood elements make a huge difference to the outcome. The ending is pretty meh and honestly, the film wasn’t so bad at the beginning but falls apart as it goes along.

Overall, Red Riding Hood was kind of a lot of weird bits added together. Nothing felt really necessary but it felt like it needed to add those elements of love to give that spicy edge, the vengeance to give the revenge and hatred edge and then the reveal being the surprise element except nothing seems like it works long enough to make it have a truly lasting effect. Its not exactly a bad film but then its not exactly anything special either. I mean, to make things better, I went ahead and watched Hoodwinked which is a much better twist on the Red Riding Hood story.

That’s it for this double feature!
I’m indifferent regarding these two films so its a bit harder to write about.
Have you seen either of these films? Thoughts?

Restaurant: Yunnan Rice Noodles (Brossard, Canada)

Asian food is having this nice interesting wave on the Montreal South Shore lately, especially in the Chinese noodles sort of thing. Yunnan Noodles has also picked up especially in Chinatown so its nice to see it come into the South Shore as well. Yunnan Rice Noodles hasn’t been opened for a long time (I don’t remember when it opened) but finally got a chance to go check it out.

Yunnan Rice Noodles are also known as “crossing the bridge” noodles which derives from a Chinese tale about a wife bringing lunch to her scholar husband. The menu actually had the story written out for those who didn’t know about its origins before. However, while noodles is the focus, the traditional style rice noodles is the actual experience while the other ones feel like it is more like the normal experience. I’ll explain later when I talk about the food. At the same time, there is a free helpings of noodles (just the noodles, not the ingredients). Also, there are other foods on the menu such as appetizers and such as well as a pretty good selection of tea as the back has something like a tea “bar”.

Appetizer

Peanut Butter Dumplings

Slightly spicy because of the chili oil and mixed with peanut butter sauce, these dumplings are pretty good. They definitely have a nice kick to them. The taste of the actual dumplings are a little mild and perhaps for some, even bland, but then my taste buds are adapted to the milder flavors so it was alright for me.

Main Meals

Traditional Rice Noodles

Traditional Yunnan Noodles Traditional Yunnan noodles

The concept of the Yunnan Rice Noodles is that the noodles is separate from the ingredients and the soup so everything is added in in sequence with the meats going in first, the veggies and I honestly can’t remember if you put the noodles first or last. Point is, everything ends up being added to the broth and it gives it this more crispy sort of taste and the noodles don’t get as soaked up in the broth. Its an interesting concept and as with many soup noodles style, the broth is really the key to all the flavors as well as the texture of the noodles and this one delivered on both of those elements.

Chicken Leg Rice Noodles

My friend got the Chicken Leg Mushroom Noodles (something like that..can’t remember the exact name) and its one that already has everything inside like normal noodle bowls. I had a little taste of the broth and its a little more salty and other flavors mixed in. My friend said that its good. It looks interesting especially as it has goji in it as well.

Overall, Yunnan Rice Noodles is a decent spot. The service was good, the decor was comfortable and the food was pretty good and the prices are relatively good as well.

Have you had any Yunnan rice noodles before?
Is the noodle/ramen phase hitting wherever you are?

What’s Up Week 23

Week 23 is upon us. This week was pretty average and it was a lot of gathering energy and preparing (as much as possible) for the E3 2019 event. I’ll talk more about that in the Playing section. As for now, let’s just see what’s gone on this past week!

READING

Osgoode As Gold

  • Osgoode As Gold (Toronto Comics #5)

Currently reading: Lifelike

Taking a moment to dive into graphic novels was a nice change in pace. Osgoode As Gold from Toronto Comics was pretty good. The stories each had their style just like anthologies are and because of that, there is a lot of creativity set in the bustling city of Toronto both set in reality and fantasy. The review for it should be coming up soon. After much debate, I decided to read Lifelike, which is a solo project from Jay Kristoff who is the co-author of The Illuminae Files which I love a ton. I’m still fairly early in Lifelike so lots to see before I can say how I feel about it.

PLAYING

 

Its E3 time everyone! No games except preparation for the event then a lot of press conference coverages and recaps to put together.
If you missed it, we covered all the key conferences and whatever other smaller ones, we will be doing in the podcast recap. I’m not sure what will be done by the time this post goes live but for now, here are our recaps. It was a fairly star-studded occasion so maybe it’ll bring some movie fans who aren’t gamers yet to test the waters.

E3 always gives us a kick in the behind to get back into gaming with a lot of demos and new releases to want to try out or add to our long list of games to play.

WATCHING

I Am Mother

  • Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (rewatch) Review
  • I am Mother (2019)
  • The Super

Currently watching: Tracers

I don’t usually do a currently watching for movies but I happen to be in the middle of a movie since the weekend and haven’t had time to return to it just yet.

As for the movies watched last week, the first was a rewatch for Friday Film Club. You can check out our double feature HERE. The next two movies were chosen by the husband for the weekend viewings. His first choice went to the newly released sci-fi Netflix Original, I am Mother which has its issues but overall, its a pretty decent movie. The second is The Super which I don’t really want to talk much about right now as its held up by probably one element and a lot of it falls apart.

BINGING

Produce Camp 2019

  • Produce Camp 2019

Currently binging: Le Coup de Foudre, Class Monitor “Your Highness”, Love Timing

Honestly, its a lot of the same going on. I’m trying to tone down on TV because I have too much stuff thats just sitting on the pile and not done in every single category. With E3 taking over, it also lowered the amount of time for TV. Plus, I was hooked on the latest episode of Love Timing and kept playing it in the background over and over again. Luckily, there’s a new episode out now. I have to say, that show has increasingly been a fun experience and while I think Dream Space has its merit, perhaps this formula might just work a little better. Still a few episodes to go, so we’ll see how it comes together at this point.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

Wine Recap – May 2019

Welcome to the next Wine Recap! Last month was a bit lighter with one that already showed up in a previous post and one that is a repeat from a previous wine recap. Let’s check it out!

Val Caudalies – Cidre de Glace Reserve 2016

Producer: Val Caudalies Inc.
Alcohol Content: 10%
Location: Quebec, Canada
Taste Tag: Fruity and Extra Sweet

We’re big fans of ice ciders during any season. This one was one that we picked up at the Bonsecours Market (if I remember correctly) after going to an event in the area earlier this year. Its been sitting around for a while but never quite made it with any meals. Fruity and sweet would be how I would describe this one. It has some depth especially since it has this smoky accent to it, which is an element of certain ice ciders that we tend to prefer. Reserve are usually more selected and limited for ice ciders and has a more well-rounded taste and a little sweeter due to the process duration and it appealed to our preferences quite a bit.

Petale de Rose 2017

Petale de Rose

Producer: Régine Sumeire
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Location: Provence, France
Taste Tag: Fruity and Light

You can see the full Battle of Ingredients post HERE.

Petale de Rose is a more dry rosé wine which has be baffled why it would be considered light. Although, it can’t be said to be too intense either. It does have those fruity elements. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this one in terms of rosé wines however, it had some pretty decent ending notes. Rosé wines are always a bit hard to find a perfect one and the shift from one year to the next sometimes makes quite some change as well in its taste.

Batch: 1904 Cider

Batch: 1904

Producer: Brickworks Ciderhouse
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Dry & Aromatic

Brickworks Ciderhouse Batch: 1904 is a return selection here. I personally like their Queen Street one (forgot the actual name of it) but this one is pretty decent. Its a bit drier than the ciders I usually drink but this time around, it seems more to my taste as well. These ones are fairly light and perfect for the busy times and also just getting a taste rather than some a lot heavier. Plus, ciders are really great as the weather warms up. Anyways, this one actually worked out better than the last time I had it HERE (a year ago, it would seem).

That’s it for this Wine Recap!
Have you tried anything new lately? 

Hiking: Parc National de la Yamaska (La Digue & La Pinede Trail)

Hiking is still top on our list of activities when we get to chance on the weekends. The last weekend, we headed out a little later than normal due to a prior appointment. After some thinking, we decided to go for a closer location and ended up going to Parc National de la Yamaska (Yamaska National Park) which is mostly known for the Yamaska Beach. I hadn’t gone to this park since a really long time ago. At least over 20 years ago, I’d say when I went with my mom and her friends to the beach. However, its been so long that I don’t remember any of it.

One quick walk around, you can see that there are a lot of water sports that are available on site. At the same time, the hiking trails are for both cycling and walking and if it interests you, it seems there are some winter trails here as well.

Parc National de la Yamaska

While we would have wanted to their Grand Tour trail, which is 19+km long, it just felt more like a cycling trail to do in a day rather than walking so in the end, we decided to go via the La Digue trail and connect to the La Pinede Trail. Parc National de la Yamaska is a fairly flat park so there aren’t a lot of elevations or many views either but they do have a few spots that we found. Its not exactly exciting in terms of hikes but it is a good one to kick off the season and warm up a little before hitting anything more intense.

I’m not exactly sure where the La Digue actually starts so I’m just going to share some pictures.

Along the path we found a little lookout path that pretty much looked out at the river. It didn’t really have a lot to see but there was some views of the water sports going on outside.

On the La Digue Trail, there is also a secondary path. The La Digue also leads to the Choiniere Reservoir which is a stone wall on the North Yamaska River. There are some signs that talk about the wildlife there as well and looks out into the best view on the trail (in my opinion).

Parc National de la Yamaska Parc National de la Yamaska

The rest of the trail looks a bit like this…

Parc National de la Yamaska

Parc National de la Yamaska

Parc National de la Yamaska

That’s really it for this walk. We walked probably around 10km and something. Its a nice little walk although a little lacking on the viewpoints (as mentioned before).