Saguenay, QC: Centre d’observation de Falardeau

The last day of Saguenay was for the Centre d’observation de Falardeau.  Its a observation centre for animals.  They  hold only a few of certain animals but they take very good care of them.  Right when you go in to the reception hut, they have a bunch of baby animals there. You can pet some of them and some are in their cages depending on how interactive they are.  I really wanted to get a chance to pet the tiger cubs but they already outgrew that stage so it was the first weekend where they were back to just viewing.  But thats okay, I still got to pet baby kangaroos and baby raccoons. One day, I’ll get to those baby tigers and have a chance to pet them…one day, it’ll happen! 😉

There’s really nothing to say about this observation centre or we can even call it a zoo to a certain extent.  Its amazing to see actually pretty happy animals (or at least they look that way) and healthy.  They all look excited to see everyone thats there and they live in a fairly decent amount of space for them to roam around.  It should give them a natural habitat sort of feeling. It was a very memorable experience.

Without saying anymore, here is a portion of the pictures that I took there.  A lot were behind cages (like bears and tigers, etc) so I just gave up on showing those pictures because its not clear enough.

Saguenay has a lot of beautiful things to offer and this observation centre goes right along with everything else I’ve done here.  They actually have another zoo that I went to last time in St. Felicien which is more of a zoo and bigger.  Its also worth the visit and I invite you head over to check it out if you missed it back in 2012 right HERE! The most epic moment goes to my distant staredown with a wolverine.

I’m falling really behind with a bunch of this travel stuff.  I still have stuff to post up from Hong Kong.  Hopefully,  I’ll manage to do some catching up and sharing a bit more of my travels this year throughout September 🙂

Have you gone on your vacation yet? Where did you go? Are you a fan of zoos? Which was your most memorable zoo visit?

Saguenay, QC: Hiking in Mont-Valins National Park

Day 2 started on a good note.  We were energized and warmed up from the day before and ready to tackle the Mont Valins National Park.  It was about a 45 minute drive or so from the hotel.  We had to first go to the Information Building where we paid our fees and learned a little about the trails to decide where to start and what takes us where.

We finally decided to drive up to the higher trails so that we could benefit from seeing the higher viewpoints and not having to worry about not completing the trail and ending off in the middle of nowhere and having to turn back.  The drive up was the most painful for the car because it was off road and huge slopes.

It was quite a relief when we finally got up there and parked.

Off we go for the hike on the Pic de la Hutte Trail! It crosses over two other trails and includes three viewpoints. The top most one is also the starting point for paragliding and has a breathtaking view.  It makes trekking through this crazy mountain with snakes, birds and frogs worth it.

Hiking is amazing because of getting in touch with nature (even if I’m mega freaked out by snakes). Its also great because its motivating and great exercise.  This time, we were better prepared with snacks and abundance of water so we were able to set a good pace and keep our energy going.  The best part about hiking is going higher and higher up and seeing that absolutely stunning 360 degree view that really nothing can compare.  The reward at the end makes all that hard work feel almost like nothing.

Saguenay Lac Saint Jean region has some of the most beautiful hiking trails that I’ve ever gone on.  Its really a treat and if you are a hiker, I highly recommend it! 🙂

I’ll be wrapping up the Saguenay weekend getaway with the last day events tomorrow! Remember to check back..I promise a lot of cuteness! 🙂

Saguenay, QC: Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fée

This year, my boyfriend and I had a big purchase: our house.  With a few other events budgeted in, we had to make cuts.  That went to cutting down on the vacation we had together in the end.  However, we did decide to take a trip since it was nice to take a breather, relax and just be together away from everything.  Thats what weekend getaways are fantastic for.

Our choice was Niagara Falls and Saguenay.  Seeing as we’ve already been to Niagara Falls two times in the last 6+ years, we decided to go back to Saguenay and do what we weren’t able to do last time.

The first one was scheduled for Day 1 for a cave exploration and walking and hiking trail located in Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee. What that directly translates to is “Fairy’s Hole Cavern Park”.  The park is actually very affordable with a guarantee of at least 3 hours of activities. Its separated into 4 parts.

The first part is going for the 15 minute cave exploring.  They are known for their wide settlement of bats, except summer isn’t the season and with some climate changes, its caused an irregularity from what the guide said.  Inside the cave, it was impossible to see anything so I didn’t even bother to take any pictures but I promise you, there is actually a shape of a fairy in there on the walls and there’s a little piece of history attached to it.  However, the walk to the cave had a few pictures.

Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee

Overview of the park area at the start of the trail

Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee

Looking back from the bridge over the falls

When you reach the other side, its a little bit of a hike and then you get to the cave, where we wait for a little bit and head in to explore.

Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee

Waiting to go into the cave!

If you recall, I actually did another cave exploration earlier this year.  This one had a little bit more maneuvering around rocks.  It had some narrow spaces but it was short enough to not be too much of a problem. There was three chambers to go through and some stairs to climb here and there. It was pretty impressive!

Coming out of the cave, the second part of the hike is following the path back, except when we cross to the other side of the bridge, there is an actual hiking trail to the Three Falls.  This trail does a loop and leads to an open area with three waterfalls.

Parc Caverne Trou de la Fee

Lots of water around the site! Love it!

Parc Caverne Trou de la Fee

Near the falls!

Parc Caverne trou de la fee

A beautiful rainbow

The hike is a simple family trail.  Its easy and comfortable.  Coming back into the loop, you come back to the main path and this time, instead of heading back the way we came, you go down to walk on the old electric dam facilities which now forms a tunnel with some information about what this site used to be used for.

Parc caverne trou de la fee

As you walk through this, it is connected with some wire barriers like this one, which leads to wooden pathways.

parc caverne trou de la fee

This path eventually leads to the final part of the trail which is the Green Corridor/Coulée Verte. This part is yet another hike but a super calming and beautiful fun.  The only thing is this one gets a little more challenging with narrow paths and some slippery uphill areas, rocky paths and that sort of thing.  Hiking shoes are useful not only for the caves but also for this trail.

During this path, I gained my new obsession on this trip, aside from waterfalls and flowing rivers: assorted berries and mushrooms, especially along mossy areas.

The Green Corridor was long and curvy.  It was pretty tiring as the ending of this trail, mostly because our day started at 6am and a 6 5+ hours drive.  However, it was a great preparation for warming up the muscles and getting ready for our actual hike the next day.

If you are in the Saguenay Lac Saint Jean area, this area is a must do.  Its not expensive and you get a whole lot of activities to do which makes it completely worth it.  Its part of getting in touch with nature.  You can always choose to not do the cave and just do the trails and that costs less.  Or you could choose to do everything including the 350 feet high zip line crossing.  I wasn’t brave enough to do that.  I’m not actually sure of the actual height but its pretty high so I wouldn’t be surprised if it is.

Thats Day 1 in Saguenay for us! Getting in touch with nature, a bit of hiking, lots of water, calming and refreshing! I loved it! 🙂

Day 2 coming up tomorrow! 🙂

Saguenay: La Voie Maltee (Chicoutimi, Quebec)

This past weekend, I had a 3 day getaway with my boyfriend.  Although, we didn’t splurge too much on food, we always choose one day to eat out and enjoy ourselves at a restaurant.

La Voie Maltee

After some research, we came to the rather highly praised resto-bar/microbrewery called La Voie Maltee which actually has some award-winning beers to offer.  I’m personally not much of a beer drinker and well, seeing as I’m going gluten-free and going through a 30 day alcohol detox, there was none of that going into my system, but my boyfriend is not either of those things so he can.  Plus, the menu looked really awesome.  Although almost everything was malted in one way or another, which is weird because it doesn’t bother me when anything is malted, we decided to go.

La Voie Maltee has a nice little atmosphere once you enter.  It has some nice decorations and there is even a terasse near the back so that in the nice summer weather, its comfortable to enjoy a few drinks with friends.  For dinner, however, we preferred to be inside.

If you take a look at its menu, you will see some very interesting twists on various meals and its this that attracted us in the first place.

For appetizers:

La Voie Maltee

Lobster Rolls VM

I started with Lobster Rolls VM. They are mini hot dogs with shredded lobster, veggies and fine herbs along with the mayon-Ale “East Coast”.  Ever since last year in Maine, I’ve been a huge fans of lobster rolls.  These were not only cute to look at but they were delicious.  I don’t know what herbs they used but mixed with their mayon-Ale, it was absolutely delicious.

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Chili Cheese Sticks

As for my boyfriend, he started with Chili Cheese Sticks. These are spicy cheddar covered with crispy corn served with tzatziki sauce.

We both enjoyed these quite a bit.

Now for the main meal:

La Voie Maltee

Pulled Pork Sandwich

My boyfriend had the pulled pork sandwich. The pulled pork is mixed with “BBQ sauce Libertine” (not that I know what that means). Its served with fries and coleslaw. He really like this a lot. I remember him complimenting it a lot.

La Voie Maltee

Buccaneer Ribs

As expected, I’m a huge ribs lover so I took the Buccaneer Ribs. All these fancy terms that I don’t understand is what I’m thinking as I write this up.  These ribs are served with Stout BBQ sauce, fries and Caesar Salad. I must say that the taste of the ribs tastes some time to adapt to and the meat didn’t fall off the bones like I’m used to.  However, the taste does get increasingly good and the let me say, the fries are done so delicious.  I was absolutely hooked.

I wasn’t particularly fond of the waiter and the service he provided but he seemed to lighten up a little by the end of the meal.

Overall, a great meal in Chicoutimi and I think we made a very good choice in the restaurant.

What do you think of the food? Are you into drinking beer? What restaurant types do you go for when you travel? 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

This week’s photo challenge is all about showing our summer lovin’ selves.

If you live in Canada or at least central Canada like I do (and I know a few of you do), then you’ll understand that winter is longer than summer.  Those cold wintery days never seem to end so when summer comes around like right now, every moment is so sweet.  Honestly, unless its crazy humid, I just fall in love with it.

Summer lovin’ is hard for me because I love so many things about well, summer.  Thats when I’m a busy bee and I just always like to be out.

Its going to be a list of sorts 😉

What I love about summer is:

1) BRIGHT FLOWERS

Pink flowers

2) HIKING & EXPLORING

Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm, a few years back

3) FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

Fantasia Film Festival

After movie talk with director Jon McNaughton for The Harvest, 2014

By the way, review coming up for that 😉

4 &5) BIKING & HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDSwpid-20140719_120149.jpg

6) SUMMER DRESSES
(AND OTHER LIGHT CLOTHING)

Summer dresses

(Part of my) Summer dresses

It also includes, sunglasses, tank tops, sports bras, skirts, flip flops, bikinis and all those lovely things that I can’t wear freely 🙂

7) BEING BY THE WATERSIDE (beach, waterfall, etc)

Parc national pointe taillon

Parc National Pointe Taillon, 2012

Chicoutimi

Chicoutimi, 2012

8) ROAD TRIPS

Quebec roads

On the way to Saguenay Lac St Jean, 2012

I’m going to have to end this here since reality is calling 😉 Odd number for a list but it wasn’t supposed to be an actual list. There’s probably more but thats what I can think of right now. Its already more pictures that I probably should have shared.

What part of summer do you love the most? Tell me all about it in the comments 🙂

Check out more posts here!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

BEYOND reminded me of the beautiful places I’ve been.  Last summer, I took a few days off in July to take an extended weekend with my boyfriend to Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean.  These pictures are all from the trip.  I have posted before about this in a few previous posts about the landmarks if you’re interested to see it, you can visit HERE, HERE and HERE!

When you look at wonderful landscape, do you ever wonder what is BEYOND the next curve in the road?

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How about whats down the the river bend that gets faded away by the mountains?

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Whats beyond those fields of green? Is it more vegatation does it have water running between it?

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That is what adventure is after all, right? Seeing whats beyond the next horizon!

If you’d like to join this challenge or see other entries, please click HERE!

Trip to the Zoo

On the fourth day of my trip, we went to the zoo, Zoo Sauvage de St-Felicien.  It was definitely a big zoo with lots of animals.  The zoo layout was formed based on different regions, there was  Arctic, Mixed Forest, Mountain, Mongolia, Asia, Mini Farm, and Nature Trail Park.

So we can see these animals: (first row) Fox, Wolverine, Przewalski Horse; (second row) Polar Bear, Demoiselle Crane, Bald Eagle, Grizzly Bear (last row) Japanese Macaque (feel bad for the one who lost that camera)

What made this zoo special was its caged train ride which lasted about an hour to drive along paths right next to certain animal habitats and showed us the evolution of civilization in the region and the significance of the Borealis Forest.

On the top you can see what its like to look out from the caged train and after that is one of the settings.  The following are some of the animals on the trail, they were really close so I rarely had to use any zoom.  First row has the baby prairie dogs and the adult prairie dog.  They were all over the plains area.  After that in the second row is the reindeer, musk ox and black bear.

Another highlight was the fact that they had feedings for most of the animals there which allowed everyone to see a lot of the animals come out of hiding so we could understand a bit more about each of them as well.  We didn’t see all the feedings but we did go to a good few animals.

The feedings we caught was for Japanese Macaque, followed by the next one with the Amur Tigers.  These are just the males though, the female is with her newborn cubs and could only be seen on live camera inside their resting area, since the baby tiger cubs were just born in early June.  After in the second row, we can see the Lynx patiently waiting for food, then the cougars and finally, we saw the Polar bear feeding.  The polar bear had just jumped off the boulder into the water to get the fish and shaking himself afterwards.

This zoo was so amazing.  I would definitely consider going again especially since the ticket also included two short movies.  One of them is a documentary and the other was a multisensory movie which was quite fun and entertaining.

Trip to the Fjord Museum

Saguenay is known for its fjords and its marine life and research on that level as it runs along the Saguenay River and ends at the Lac Saint Jean.  This museum is situated on the Saguenay Marine Park and featured multiple exhibits.  Please note that I didn’t take pictures for all the exhibits especially when it was for mostly reading material or photographs.

The first exhibit was when we walked down the hall from the reception area to the first exhibition hall.  There was an exhibition of photos titled “Underwater Beauties”.  It had pictures of various colorful marine species like starfishes, sea anemones, etc.

The second exhibit was in the first hall and was a temporary exhibit featuring various types of whales.  It provided information on all sorts of whales like the Beluga, Dolphin, Killer Whales, Blue Whales, Right Whales, etc.  It was accompanied by little interactive games to better understand how the animals functioned such as their hearing, adaptation, maneuvering through water.

The third one that we went to was about BALSAC, a program collaborated by multiple professors throughout Quebec universities that focused on building a system on the historical values and figures of the Saguenay region.  It focused on the roots and colonization and the development in this region.  We walked through the panels of this exhibit called “Roots and Dreams: A Fresh Look at the Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean region.”  I was interesting to see how the region itself has developed over the last 40 years or so, socially and economically.  This one not only had a whole lot of information but came with video clips, sound clips, articles, various objects from the pertaining period.  They also explained the programs and how each professor occupied a crucial position in putting together all the data in about this region.

The fourth exhibit is where we get the real deal.  We enter into the farthest part in the museum and we see 2-3 aquariums with various fishes.

The aquariums weren’t really crazy or anything.  I believe it was focused on the marine life around the area, typical fishes, etc.  The one thing I really enjoyed about this museum though was the fact that it had the pool where you got to touch some of the marine life and because it has less traffic, they actually carefully explain everything to you and gives you the full experience.

So lets check out the stars of the little observation pool full of…

STARFISHES!

The girl explained that starfish had their teeth at the center and they would suck out the meat of say the mussels

SEA URCHINS

Sea urchins are similar to starfish as they also have their mouth at the middle which if you look clearly has 5 little teeth.

This was really funny because while in my boyfriend’s hand it was leaking water out of it from the back.

HERMIT CRABS

Hermit crabs usually borrow the empty shells to hide themselves.

The one on the bottom was placed down upside down which made them crawl out a bit more.

SEA CUCUMBERS
To end off this exhibit area, I’d like to show you a little stunt our little friend, the snail has when near a starfish, as they are their primary predators.
After this exhibit, we went to the another new permanent one called Museum Vivarium. Its where we can touch amphibians and arachnids and insects.
This little guy here is extremely fierce. He went straight for the finger.  Thank goodness there was a glass.
After that, there were the frogs.  That little guy is sitting on my boyfriend’s hand.How cool is that!?!

After the frogs, we had this aquarium full of leaves and branches. Or is it?

Voila! Stick bugs!

It was actually funny.  These stick bugs camouflage with trees and their branches.  So when the guide open the door to get one to show us and touch, the bugs started moving up and down, as if there was actual change in the environment so it was wind blowing through them.  It was hilarious to look at!

This area had a few other little nifty things, for example, a horseshoe crab skeleton (that thing is massive in size).  They had tarantulas and crickets.  They had specimans of insects all around the world, even one of the biggest ones were winged insects in Malaysia and Indonesia.  I’m not much of an insect person so that was somewhat disturbing.

Overall, this museum was really fun.  It wasn’t as big as  I had expected it to be but because it was less populated with visitors, it allowed the visit to feel more personal and experience a lot more.

Hope you enjoyed our visit to the museum, next stop will be to the Zoo Sauvage de St-Felicien!


Falls Trail

I just got back from vacation as I had said in my previous post, Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moments. As promised, I’ll be posting in a bit more detail on my various adventures in Saguenay Lac Saint Jean.  The first place I visited was the Falls Trail (Sentier des Chutes) found in the Fjords du Saguenay National Park.  This trail was supposed to be a intermediate to difficult level hike.  They had some really crazy markers as well for distance.  Their 1 km didn’t feel like 1 km..more like 2km (but thats maybe because by the end of the path, it was just like a wilderness obstacle course of climbing big boulders, walking up steep hills and paths full of water running through it.  I’ll take you along for our walk on this trail!

LETS BEGIN!!!

The first 1.5 km was pretty smooth.  We had to pay with this envelope ($6 per person) then started off on a pretty decent dirt path between slight slopes and tall trees.  At the 1.5 km mark, there was the first Falls.  That one I featured in my previous post mentioned above. There was 3 levels that you could climb up to get close to the falls, which was just breathtaking (how many times have I said that already?)

At around 2-2.5 km, we had the viewpoint and the top of the falls that we were at before.  The view was so amazing (for lack of a better word).

The next point was at 3.5 km where the second falls was situated.  This one is a bit less majestic as the first but its located at a nice little peaceful area.

It was such a beautiful atmosphere to relax and regain energy before we decided that we’d try to move on for another 3 km to the top of the mountain with the limit that wherever we were, at a certain set time, we’d have to set back.

So the next place was undetermined distance from where we were.  This part for the last part was crazy…we had to climb a mountain and drop back down to reach the walkway to cross and walk over all sorts of crazy paths over mossy boulders, water and mud, etc.

In the last 3km path, we went by a few areas that were pretty nice.  Like the one before, where it was a stream or river or something running along the wall.  We walked on the slippery path on the side.

We also passed this lake called Lac mort, translates to Dead Lake.  For something dead, it sure was peaceful there.  It was really quiet and we made a stop here on the way back to recuperate energy.

After Lac Mort, that was it.  The path went from bad to worse.  It was just path of boulders and on top of that it was going up a steep path.  By the time, we reached the 5.5km marker, we had a flight of wooden stairs which lead to the boulders below.

At that point, our time limit was up, our water was all gone so with only a few hundred meters left, we had to just go back before it got too dark in the forest (since we didn’t have any flashlights).  Sad, but it was a decision that had to be made.  Next time, we will be better experienced and bring a whole lot of water and probably energy bars and maybe pack those hiking poles (or whatever you call them).

Hope you enjoyed that! More adventures from Saguenay Lac Saint Jean coming up!!

Viewpoints of Saguenay Lac Saint Jean

Saguenay Lac Saint Jean is beautiful.  All the highways had various viewpoints to stop and take pictures of the scenery from the water intertwined between all the mountains, etc.   It gives you a chance to stop and admire all the scenery around you, all the beauties Mother Nature has given us, something people like us in the big city miss on a daily basis.

This area is definitely getting very popular as a tourist area for its natural beauties and well some man-made ones as well.  These are a few places that we made stops at: viewpoints, landmarks, beaches……….*daydreams*

One of the first viewpoints we stopped at. It was on the way coming back from L’Anse Saint-Jean to Chicoutimi.  I’m not sure if the town was Roberval.

Across from the museum that we visited (will show in the next blog), we saw this pyramid of yield signs called Pyramide des Ha!Ha!

Its supposed to be an observation site where we can go on the top but it was all fenced, so I just took a picture from the bottom.

We went to visit the landmark (in the picture below) next to this church.  So it was a random picture, but I thought it looked really nice.

This was next to that church and its called the  Petite Maison Blanche (Small White House).  Its known because there was a while when a flash flood (I think) hit the town and there was water rumbling around this house.  Water was flowing through it and it stayed intact for x amount of years.  Right now, the water that flows out of the door, I think is just pumped through. I didn’t have the time to go in to check out the videos or whatnot, but it was quite a sight.  I can imagine how majestic it would be when there was rumbling falls flowing around the house.

That same day we also moved to our next hotel in Alma.  We had some extra time after check-in so we decided to visit another national park, Parc National de la Pointe Taillon.  This place had mostly bike trails instead of hiking ones.  It is very known for the beach along the Lac Saint Jean.

Look at it! Now this is why we went on this trip…Saguenay River was around Chicoutimi and now, Lac Saint-Jean around this area.

The water was chilly but we still had a little walk along the beach

Looking at Lac Saint Jean

Before we knew it, we were already on our way home.  Before we left, we had two more viewpoints.

These are the little snippets along the trip. Not big landmarks, not big goals in our trips but just little things we were able to fit into our schedule. It turned out just as great.  We enjoyed being in the nature a whole lot…filling our lungs with lots of fresh(er) air.

Next post I’ll be taking you all for a trip to the Fjord Museum  😉 Enjoy!