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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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).

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (Quebec, Canada)

To celebrate the end of a crazy work phase for myself, we decided to head out of town. Its about two weeks earlier than our normal start of travelling/hiking destinations as most national parks or hiking trails aren’t open yet or doesn’t quite open until Victoria Day. After much debate, I found out that Parc de la Chute-Montmorency had opened in early May which worked perfectly, plus, I hadn’t gone since at least 20 years ago (or more) and my husband had actually never been before and I felt he should go to see it at least once in his life.

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

Located in the outskirts of Quebec City, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is a completely different experience outside of going on a tour, which is how I went the first time years ago. Going by ourselves, there are still things still not quite completely open yet like paths and such due to the early season but there are a lot of places to still go. You can choose to take the cable car down to the lower level and there the boardwalk is open to a certain degree until the long wooden staircase, where that is closed access to a part because of the unmelted snow probably. However, you can choose to not take the cable car (like ourselves), and walk the upper path through the overhead suspension bridge over the waterfalls and then to the other side which had a small trail into the forest, various observation points and the long winding 487 steps staircase to get a better angle on the Montmorency Falls, as well as a large field with an orchard to relax.

La Promenade de la Falaise

Promenade de la Falaise

Walking from the manor, you first go through the boardwalk trail to the suspension bridge. There this beautiful easy walking spot which has some stairs and leads to the first observation deck which is a highlight spotm Le Belvedere de la Baronne. 

La Belvedere de la baronne

Suspension Bridge

Chute Montmorency

Walking across the suspension bridge, its quite the experience to look out into the beautiful scenery around it. One looking down the 83 meter waterfall and then to the other side with some nice view on the water coming down to the falls as well as a good look at the long panaromic staircase we were about to tackle from afar.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

The other side of the Park

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

Once you cross the bridge, there’s an area in the back to look back. Its nice to see the bridge in full as well as the starting point of where the falls start.

From the Panoramic Staircase

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

While 487 stairs is a pretty big task to take on as a starting location, we still decided to take it one flight of stairs at a time. Its not so bad to descend as expected especially because each observation point or open deck really gave such a different angle to the falls. Its a majestic scene to take in to the say the absolute least. Of course, if you were in the season where the stairs can access the boardwalk below, this is what the boardwalk looks like. There were people on it so I can only guess that it was open from the other side if you took the cable car down. Of course, perhaps at this point, it might be open on both sides as the weather gets better.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

Its been decades since I’ve been back and for a returning trip, it was definitely worth it because this is one of Quebec’s landmarks. Its a beautiful natural beauty and in the park behind, there are also some historical elements as well to look at. We didn’t manage to check out the actual hiking trails which should be 2 other ones, one that is open now called Le Sentier des Resurgences (2.5km round-trip) and also one that opens in July 31st (I would expect) as its called Le Sentier du 31 juillet (1km round-trip). Of course, for the more adventurous types, the season also opens later on for Via Ferrata and Ziplining which should be really cool to do across and around the waterfalls.

That’s it for this trip recap for Parc de la Chute Montmorency!

Have you been here before?

Toronto Haul – August 2018

I go to Toronto more than I actually should. Actually this year was the exception to the equation. I usually just go about once a year or something unless something else comes up and well, something else came up. This past weekend was my best friend’s wedding. Her husband is from Toronto so they ended up holding their wedding there. I honestly think I’ve been to more wedding outside of Montreal than in Montreal. Its a weird thought and shows how many of my friends have moved away, I guess.

Either way, it was a really fun weekend. We ate some awesome food, tried out some new places: two of which I’ll do a restaurant overview for during this week. I’ll show more of the wedding stuff in the next Weekly Adventures, mostly because well, it seems we may have skipped the last one. I know I did and it was deliberate.

Before I jump off onto another tangent, let’s check out some stuff I got in Toronto.

Things I Bought Because I Was Forgetful..
Scarborough Town Centre – Yves Rocher & Walmart

Cosmetics and Lotion

First stop on Friday in Toronto was the hunt for everything we remembered that we forgot during packing for the wedding stuff. For myself, it was not exactly all forgot but I don’t use make-up a lot so a lot of mine had expired and I needed to get some new stuff. Nothing heavy since I don’t do eye make-up because it causes eye infections for myself so just some simple concealer to do the job and seeing Fantasia and work destroyed my sleeping schedule, I’m currently rocking some puffy panda eyes and I had forgotten my eye cream. A trip to Yves Rocher was in the stars and the closest we could find on the way to the hotel was at Scarborough Town Centre. I’ll share the eventful moment there in the Weekly Adventures but one of the great things was the great service at Yves Rocher but a lovely lady who gave me some really fantastic suggestions and actually suggested that I changed to the other skincare line as my skin had changed and its why I was having all the blemishes I’ve been having lately. I didn’t get the skincare line seeing as I was away and didn’t really want to spend so much just yet but I loved the service of just sharing the knowledge of it all. So I got some body lotion and the eye care gel at Yves Rocher.

At Walmart, I got a concealer and some nail polish. I actually ended up not painting my nails for the event but I did also pick up this interesting product called a blur stick which I’m still exploring whether its something I could use or not as it felt really oily. I’m not sure the texture works well for my skin type, so I passed on using it and am still researching. If you all know what it is and have any suggestions or dos and don’ts, please do share with me.

T&T Supermarket (2 Trips)

T&T Supermarket

Most of the snacks and such were bought on the first stop. We didn’t think that we would go back but we did end up going again on Sunday. Friday was to pick up a late lunch of dimsum, which I didn’t take pictures of. We stocked up on drinks which I also didn’t take pictures so and they are all consumed. I can tell you that I was on a semi caffeine detox since March where I cut tea out of my life completely. I don’t drink coffee so its a given, I suppose. Either way, this weekend, I drank all the tea that I didn’t drink in the last few months or at least it felt that way. However, the Vita brand which usually is known for its lemon tea and such actually has this Green Tea and Japanese Green Tea which both tastes fantastic and its unsweetened so its the legit ones. Going back to the picture, look at these flavors, its like a world tour of Lay’s flavors.

T&T Supermarket

During the first trip, we saw these pokemon Ocean Bomb sparkling water. Actually when we went back in the second trip, we saw one new one and lost two so I guess I shouldn’t procrastinate so much in buying stuff. Either way, that was a spontaneous purchase although I’m still fairly unsure about trying the Pikachu Cucumber flavor. We also saw this KIM brand drink for bird’s nest drink. I’m not sure how many people know about bird nest’s drinks. Regardless, the happiest purchase here is the black sesame stuff because I love black sesame paste. Its my favorite dessert. I’ve never tried this brand so hopefully it’ll be good. I ended up sharing the bag with my mom.

Big Apple & 401 Brewery

Big Apple

Our always must-stop location is The Big Apple. I love to grab a pie and strudel and my husband loves the brownies. It is quite amazing to see how this location as grown in size and variety of what they offer. I remember stopping there the first time and it was still known but not quite as popular as it is now. I kind of miss the quieter days but they have really diversified and made it a truly Canadian experience with what they offer also.

401 Brewery

In the building, they have the store for 401 Brewery. We’ve never had anything from there before. Seeing as we didn’t manage to pick up anything at LCBO this time, we decided to grab some ciders. We picked the traditional apple cider and then a peach cider and a pear cider to try. We also saw a sparkling oaked cider which seems like it could be a nice smoky taste sort of experience. We are looking forward to trying it out eventually.

That wraps up this shorter Toronto haul as I get things into order!

Hiking: Parc Regional du Mont-Ham – Button & Panoramique Trails

The second hike of 2018 takes us back to the Eastern Townships of Quebec to the Parc Regional du Mont-Ham.

We actually found this one the way back from the last hike in a little pamphlet. There is a nice variety in the trails and the loop you choose to make. If you want to do the direct path, the L’Intrepide trail is 1.7km (intermediate to difficult level) and takes you on a climb to the summit. Of course, being the hikers that we are, we decided to do one of the longer loops starting out in the Button Trail to reach the summit and consequently hitting about 3 lookout points before, then going back on the Panoramique Trail. It took us about 4 hours to complete the 6.9 km route we went for. These two trails are also intermediate to difficult levels so much to our surprise, it was very challenging with the steep slopes and constant quick changes in elevation. A lot of times, hiking for us is both exercise but to see the natural beauty around us at the peak and this one takes you to the absolute peak of Mont-Ham so nothing is obstructing the view (except other hikers). There’s a cross at the top and its quite the climb where they give you ropes to go up. Like I said, its a pretty awesome spot. We actually like to do secluded spots so this location was a little too popular for our preference but we still thought the feeling was fantastic.

Here’s a few snapshots of the trail!

And for a more 360 degrees view, here’s my Instagram video for it. Of course, if you want the updates more, just follow me there. I don’t post a ton but a lot of this hiking views and food stuff.

This wraps up this hiking adventure!
A memorable and breathtaking one as well as a very crazy uphill trek!
We climbed up rocks and hopped down rocks and it almost felt like an obstacle course at some parts.

Hiking: Le Mont-Megantic Trail – Mont Megantic National Park

Hiking season has officially started for us this year!

Eastern Townships

The road to the national park

Monday was Victoria Day in Canada so it was a day off and we were able to figure out somewhere fun to hike. Our plans almost did change in the morning but things worked out and we headed off to the Eastern Townships in Quebec to Mont-Megantic National Park.

Its about 2.5 hour drive for us to get there. We always stop at the visitor’s center first. Essential when you are doing a hike to get the bathroom break and also to pay for the fee while getting info on the trails. The lady at the desk was a great help and gave us a good idea of what trails were around us while also telling us the original trail we were going to do was still covered in snow. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem but I haven’t gotten around to getting a new pair of hiking shoes so I was in my running turned walking shoes so the grip wasn’t as good. We ended up going for the Le Mont-Megantic Trail which is a 10 km loop and takes you up to the observatory at the top. The entrance here includes parking and the entrance code to go to the observatory and sanctuary up the hill by car. So, we actually stopped at the top of the trail just before the hill up the observatory which was muddy and snowy in various areas. The trail here is intermediate (although it felt hard for a first hike). Here’s a few pictures and the scenery! Trust me, its so worth it!

A lovely trek but it was a little tough so the pictures were a little scarce for the path going up. Before I wrap this up, I’d love to share a video I posted on Instagram for the scenery at the Sanctuary since that is the top most part of the area and offered a 360 degree scenery almost.

There is a whole bunch of trails at this national park and we’re pretty sure that we’ll come back for some of the other ones later this season. Its a close enough drive and the Eastern Townships are pretty and the national park also has some space observation stuff that we’d love to check out when its not a statutory holiday and they are open.

Not sure when the next hike is but we’re planning on doing a lot more this year so I’ll probably be checking in with another trail that we’ve explored soon!

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition at Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau, Quebec)

I’m going to confess right now that I procrastinated in transferring my pictures to the computer and that is why this is only going up today. Honestly, I wanted it to be posted a little earlier so that if anyone in the area could go check it out before it ends. It runs until April 8th if you are in the area and want to see it! You can more info HERE.

This is our first time at the Canadian Museum of History. It did feel a little pricey when we first went to pay $20 per person for entry fee but then we realized it included not only all the exhibits: 2 (or it seems more) special exhibits and the 6 other permanent exhibition plus the Children’s Museum along with a film viewing of Shrek 4 – Forever After (it changes every week, I think). Anyways, thats quite the bang for the buck since we did get there late but managed to skim through a lot of the permanent exhibits and hopefully will come back for another exhibit and get there earlier.

Journey from Sketch to Screen

dreamworks animation exhibition

There are days I sit at home watching animated films, especially when Disney (or Pixar) drops sequel non-stop that I think about how great Dreamworks Animations are in general. With that said, I have my definite love for them from Kung Fu Panda to Rise of the Guardians (review), Flushed Away and of course, How to Train Your Dragon (review). So many things to love about this exhibit since it had a lot of the models and sketches and artwork. It had some cool parts where it showed off how the whole creative team goes from sketches to the drawing board. There was even this video that took us for a first person view as we saw Berk be built.

This is only a super tiny portion of exhibition. It was pretty enlightening and lots of stuff to learn from.

After this exhibition, we went to check out the First Peoples Hall, Tsimshian Prehistory and the Canadian Stamp Collection and then wrapped up with the top two floors with the The Canadian History Hall.

Tsimshian Prehistory

Canadian Stamp Collection

Canadian History Hall

This is such a small snippet of what we walked through in the few hours we were there.

Its a pretty awesome museum and we’re definitely looking forward to going back to have more time. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any other cool exhibitions that’ll be going on in the future and hopefully when that happens, we can spend an entire day there to just carefully go through everything. Just the Canadian History Hall was a whole two floors from the very very start to modern history, which is pretty interesting even if I’m not much of a history nut (although my husband is.).

Overall, it was a great experience! Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition was all kinds of awesome and has me wanting to add on the Dreamworks movies to my Baking project although the title would have to be changed.