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.

#hiking #montham #landscape #scenery #canada #quebec #nature #view #easterntownships #estrie

A post shared by Kim (@tranquildreams) on

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.

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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.

Alight at Night (Upper Canada Village, Ontario, Canada)

Back in October, we went to the Pumpkinferno event in Upper Canada Village, you can check out that post here. When we went there, we picked up the combo that included their winter event called Alight at Night. In the rare organized times, we set up the date with friends for this event. Granted there was no snwow when we went on the opening weekend, the city still brought a lovely holiday mood to everyone.

Alight at Night is different than Pumpkinferno. For one, this one leaves the exploration up to the visitor so you can wander outside and in the backyard of buildings and its  city maze in itself for this town transformed with lights. Aside from that is the obvious, its all different lights decorated instead of pumpkins. There was the Santa mansion and then the church had a live performance of a singer and her piano accompaniment that took song choices from the audience and performed them. You could watch the bakers make the bread on the spot. There are also shops and restaurants to eat. If you fancied, there are also horse drawn wagons to take you for a tour. If you choose to walk, just make sure to stick to the side of the path as to not step on anything you don’t want to. It took us about 2 hours to walk through (what we think is) everything.

Being the fool that I was, I forgot to charge the battery for the DSLR camera so only used my phone for these photos. I apologize for any bad quality and blur in advance.

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

alight at night

That’s it for this beautiful event recap!
If I were to go again, I might have liked it after a light dusting of snow to give it an even more festive atmosphere.

Hiking: Thousand Islands National Park #Canada150 #DiscoveryPass #hiking

I realized that we’ve been having a ton of movie reviews lately. So, for my sake and anyone else who drops by here not for reviews, we’re having a review-free day! During my vacation, we headed off to Thousand Islands National Park to take advantage of the Canada 150 Discovery Pass to do some hiking.

Thousand Islands is wildly known for its cruise around the beautiful Thousand Islands area to see all the lovely residences on the different islands scattered about and eventually for the longer cruises and those with passports can head on to see the castle. We’ve never been to the castle but its on our bucket list however, Thousand Islands National Park was somewhere that popped up on our radar to check out. We ended up heading into the park and while one of the three locations to go hiking were closed, we ended up going to check out the other two trails locations.

The Visitor’s Centre is located at the Mallorytown Landing Trail area which is kind of like walking around in someone’s backyard as a good bit of the beginning and end rounds around some houses in proximity. However, the trail is pretty nice and easy. Its mostly flat and goes up a small hill in the back roads.

Thousand Islands National Park

It turns out I did take some pictures but nothing was quite as memorable as finally seeing the toilets here which were in little cabins like this and had this Phoenix composting system or something. It said to close the lids on the toilets when people were done but of course, no one does so as I was in there, I kept imagining that the whole Snakes in the Plane scenario would happen or some frog would hop out at me. Stupid since its crazy deep but hey, overactive imagination can be a curse sometimes.

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Here are two shots that I liked of the Mallorytown Landing trail.

Just down the road for about a five minute drive was our next location with a network of over 2 hours worth of trails if you really wanted to do it and it was the Jones Creek Trail. We headed over there and figured out a way to at least reach the other side of their boardwalk and the lookout spot and then head back. The trails have all these animal names and it was pretty cool. For those looking for those trails, you can find the map HERE. we started on the eel and kept going right to follow Turtle which keeping right lead to Heron which leads to the Boardwalk and we did a part of Snipe to the lookout point and headed back. The trails are marked pretty well with the colors of the trails on the map so its easy to just spot where the trail is by looking for those little tags hung on the trees. The trails were relatively easy and its mostly lookout points at marshlands.

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

Thousand Islands National Park

As much as it was a flat course, it was still really comfortable to walk in. The trails were nice and it still had the nature trail that the trails weren’t always really defined so the hunt for those colored signs happened at times. Some of the lookouts aren’t exactly great but its still a milder walk which turned out for the better since we don’t get the chance to hike as much as we’d like.

Thousand Islands National Park is a decent spot. There are some nice scenery around. Although, you should definitely go for the cruise if you are in the area. As for us, we’ll probably see if the leaves are still around and hunt down another location to hike up in the mountains to catch some leaves before the weather gets cooler and we only go hiking in the spring after the snow has melted and/or when the parks open up again.

Pumpkinferno 2017

We went back to Pumpkinferno this year at Upper Canada Village. This year, we had a pretty decent group with a lot of family and friends. Our group ended up being 6 adults and 6 kids which is a pretty sizable group. One advice I do have is that if you have a choice to not go during Thanksgiving weekend. It goes without saying but there’s traffic to go into the parking lot and the parking is packed solid so its a great distance to walk to the entrance. Second, is to buy tickets online before going because you won’t have to do the incredible line-up just to buy tickets to go in. My husband and I ended up buying the combo package for the winter event called Alight at Night also, so look out for that in December. We already planned out tentative days to go with some friends who are also interested. They didn’t come with our group for Pumpkinferno but apparently, they did a LONG traffic line-up to get in (like an hour or something).

This week is our vacation as we’ve taken last year also because its our wedding anniversary and we like to spend time together. This event came at a great time also since this is one of those events we discovered together as a couple back in 2012 or something. I posted that one back then and it is one of my posts that did the best and still get views every year. Its pretty sweet!

Anyways, this one was great. They had dragons and windmills. witches brewing, and Jailhouse Rock, and Coins from around the world and historical events as well as astronauts and snow activities as well as Dia de los muertos (if I spelled that wrong, I’m sorry).  Check it out and yet again, my Samsung Galaxy S6 does a great job at taking pictures but it still doesn’t do the exhibit justice…keep that in mind if you think it looks meh.

Pumpkinferno

Let’s start!!

Pumpkinferno

Heading to the start of the trail

Pumpkinferno

After some funky pumpkins (not shown here), its time for some dragons…

Pumpkinferno

And migratory birds

Pumpkinferno

Witches are brewing

Pumpkinferno

And Dia de los Muertos is also happening

Pumpkinferno

Jailhouse Rock is going on with Elvis and Marilyn and Audrey (see below for Instagram video)

Pumpkinferno

And we see coins of the world..its Canada 150 so here’s some Canadian coins

Pumpkinferno

Then we get to test our knowledge of Canadian provinces with their trees and provincial flowers.

Pumpkinferno

There’s even an art gallery and Mona Lisa is of course there.

Pumpkinferno

Not pumpkins but near these windmills, we get a nice shot of the beautiful bright moon

Pumpkinferno

Astronauts floating in space

Pumpkinferno

And one of the most beautiful exhibits of snowflakes in the trees

Pumpkinferno

Ending with some iconic snow activities like hockey games and dog sledding!

This is really just a fraction of  Pumpkinferno. If I added more pictures, it might take a millions years for anything to load on the page. I’ll probably post some other photos over at Avenue of Daydreams later in October. Before you go, as promised from above, here’s the Instagram video of the Jailhouse Rock exhibit. Its pretty awesome!

That’s it for today’s Halloween post!
It felt a little inappropriate to talk about the Saw franchise today with the wedding anniversary!
Everything resumes tomorrow and man, do I have a ton of reviews to write up!

Vacation 2017 Day 3: Prince Edward Island Drive

And we continue our journey of Day 3 recap of our Vacation 2017.

Today’s itinerary includes mostly a drive around Prince Edward Island. One of my husband’s request for the trip was to cross the Confederation Bridge so that’s what we are doing today. Hopefully, we’ll manage to get a hike in and see some nice scenery. We had a sudden change in our plans halfway through the day as we stopped for lunch to meet up with one of my good friends currently undergoing training in Charlottetown, which was pretty cool.

Let’s see Day 3!

Shediac, New Brunswick
World’s Largest Lobster

Shediac

In the words of my fantastic Game Warp Podcast cohost when I sent this picture to him, he wondered why and who thinks of these things. But then, why not, right? The Atlantic Canada is known for their seafood and PEI for their lobsters. I visited this when I was 12 probably (or younger) and it doesn’t look as menacingly large anymore although still very sizable.

Crossing the Confederation Bridge to PEI

We had a gloomy morning heading into Prince Edward Island. What can we do, right? Breakfast was included at the Days Inn in Moncton so that was pretty awesome. It took one headache off our hands and gave us time to hit the road faster and cross bridge which takes over 10 minutes to cross, I think. The speed can’t be too fast and its about 13kms long.

Lots of Lighthouses Along the Way

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island

Not weird for an island to have plenty of lighthouses and Prince Edward Island had a whole lot. We obviously didn’t stop at all of them, because we are under a time crunch, much more than we even imagined. You’ll see… However, these lighthouses are different just from where they are located and how they are taken care of really seems like they have their own story behind each one.

Port-La-Joye-Fort Amherst

 

Port La Joye Fort Amherst

Port La Joye Fort Amherst

A last minute decision to turn into this National Historic Site to check it out! Port-La-Joye-Fort Amherst is a pretty location. It has several walking trails spanning out of the main trail. There is some history to learn from this land during war and still seeing a part of the formation/trenches. It was a gloomy day and the rain was going to hit any time so we did the main trail, took a general look around, borrowed their washrooms before getting back on the road.

Lunch at Charlottetown

Swiss Chalet

Swiss Chalet

This trip has marked both a lunch and a dinner experience at two different Swiss Chalet restaurants. Funny, because both of us haven’t eaten there before and we wanted to see how it was. The dinner in Moncton wasn’t so good but this lunch at Charlottetown was much better. A nice and relaxing meal to catch up with our friend about what is going on and his upcoming plans.

Prince Edward Island National Park

PEI National Park

PEI National Park

PEI National Park

PEI National Park

Cavendish Beach

PEI National Park

Green Gables House

Prince Edward Island National Park spans over the top part of the island with three areas to visit. We visit maybe two of the areas as we drove along the scenic routes. The highlight is to visit Green Gables House and the Cavendish Beach’s sand dunes. Our little last minute detour did cost us more time than anticipated however we did see these beautiful sceneries, plus at two parts, we actually saw a fox. You see one of them here, right in the middle of the road. It did break my heart a little to see it so skinny. I think it was looking for food which we don’t have and I don’t believe we should give food to wildlife anyways.

This was the final stop before exiting the National Park. For us, it was getting late and we still had to get to Summerside and exit the island and head further up to our next hotel. At this point, we were certain that we were immensely behind schedule.

Dinner at Summerside, PEI: Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West

Five Eleven West was the best meal on our trip. While we were behind schedule, we still took time to relax for a nice meal and just enjoy ourselves. My husband loved the burger, and I was pretty happy with my mussels. However, the show stopper here is the sweet potato fries. They were awesomely delicious.

Last stretch to Miramichi, New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Sunset

Prince Edward Island

Confederation Bridge from afar

Crossing back to New Brunswick on Confederation Bridge

We ended up getting to Days Inn Miramichi past 10pm. It wasn’t bad but we pretty much got to showering and resting right away as we have a long day on the final day and pretty much our trip back home for another 9 hours. And we do recommend Day Inn Miramichi if you ever decide to go there. Really nice service, the rooms are comfortable and spacious and breakfast is included.

That wraps up Day 3 of Vacation! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun! 🙂

Have you been to Prince Edward Island?
Did you visit the red sand beaches and the sand dunes or even Green Gables House?

Vacation 2017 Day 2: Fundy Bay Coastal Drive, New Brunswick

Moving onto Day 2 of our vacation!

To compensate for the incredibly long drive on the first day, we decided to take it a little easier on the driving department and instead of the 900+ kilometres of the first day, we actually only have about 400 kilometres in the second day. However, we do have some time sensitive spot to hit and also want to get some hiking in so its going to be a time trial all on its own. Good thing that we are great with working on tentative schedules and don’t mind missing out on things if we need to. The second day works mostly along the Fundy Bay Coastal Drive.

Let’s go!

Breakfast at Mix Resto-Bar

Mix Resto-Bar Mix Resto-Bar

Seeing as we were tight on time, we decided to just eat at the hotel restaurant and went back to Mix Resto-Bar. The selection was pretty good. My husband had the belgian waffles and I had the classic breakfast with 2 eggs and bacon. It was very good and really enjoyable.

We took a quick walk to our first stop…

First Stop: Saint John’s City Market, New Brunswick

Saint John's City Market

Saint John’s City Market

Our first stop was a quick walk to Saint John’s City Market which was open pretty early so it fit our schedule. We picked up some apples for the road and also some souvenirs for the family. I’ll have a haul post in a few days. My family reads this and I’d like them to get their gifts before I post it up here to ruin the surprise.

And back on the road after check-out!

Fundy National Park

Viewpoint in Fundy National Park

Second stop: Fundy National Park – Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National  Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Fundy National Park

Dickson Falls Trail

Dickson Falls Trail in Fundy National Park is a really nice short trail. Its a pretty easy trail and for us needing to do a quick but pretty one, it fit perfectly. Along most of the hike is walking next to the flowing stream of water that came from the waterfall. If you don’t know, I love waterfalls. A major sucker for them. A lot of times, its really the treat of hiking on certain trails. If you need, just flashback to a Saguenay hiking where we did the Sentiers des Chutes.

 At this point, we were getting incredibly close to missing out on walking the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks so its time to press on…

New Brunswick

Stop on the way…

Third Stop: Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

Hopewell Rocks

We made it with about 30 minutes to actually walk around on the ocean floor. I had been here before but last time, we came on tour so it wasn’t as much time so this time, we actually walked across the entire length. We made it to one viewpoint as we walked back which is about a 15 minute from the entrance to the ocean floor access. I actually took a few pretty cool macro shots however those shots will be over on Avenue of Daydreams. I’m going to have that up and running back to normal again.

As the thunderstorms caught up with us, we sat down for a late lunch at the restaurant at the Hopewell Rocks area.

Fourth stop: Magnetic Hill, Moncton, New Brunswick

Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill has changed a lot from my memory of it. My husband and I decided to try out the Magnetic Hill experience, which is pretty much an optical illusion made by the rolling hills next to it to create the effect that it is pulling your car uphill and all you have to do is steer. Here’s a little video of our experience. Its mostly my husband talking. He’s only steering and for him, that is a strange experience.

Moncton was where we made our stay for the second day at the Days Inn.
We had dinner for the first time at Swiss Chalet and also went to New Brunswick Liquor to find some local wines.

Check back this weekend for the haul and next week for Day 3!