Hiking: Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

Its been something like over 2 months probably since we’ve gone out for a hike. It had to do with a lot of different reasons for both of us. It definitely wasn’t for the lack of desire, I can tell you that much. A part of it had to do with the extreme heat we had over the summer. When we had time it was either too hot or too busy (with events and other stuff). We’ve actually been doing a fair bit of research on hiking so we had a few place in mind when we wanted to go this past Sunday (aka yesterday, if you are reading day of release).

Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

My husband found this Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes via some friends on Instagram and told me about it. If you all don’t know, while nothing else is a big concern for us, the biggest one of them all is the road work galore going on everywhere in the city. Even my little town on the suburbs has roadwork. Its honestly a little annoying. However, this one headed away from the Montreal island and into the Eastern Townships area.

For some of you looking for a decent hike, let’s say, this location is pretty cool. From the moment you start entering the path heading to the natural reserve, its a fun time. We actually saw a deer on the way in. We stopped so that it could frolick back into the forest. Its was an impressive thing. We do a fair amount of road trips and deers aren’t exactly a rare creature in our forests but we’ve never actually seen one on the side of the road. Second reason this place is cool is because its less than two hours to get there by car plus there are three trails which pretty much level up in difficulty (I would guess) by length. The Decouverte (aka discovery) is more of a flat forest walk that passes by a marshland. We ended our trip diverging onto the Decouverte trail to pass by that one. However, we did the estimated 3.5 hour hike on the Etang trail which leads to a lake called Lac Fullerton. Its really nice there and you could see mooses swimming in the pond if you are lucky. We didn’t see anything but it was gorgeous. If you are feeling confident and are experienced, then you can do the 6 hour Sommets (Summit) trail. We obviously weren’t since over 2 months of not hiking makes us quite rusty. Plus, I was breaking in some new hiking shoes so not exactly feeling that ambitious either.

Here’s a few of the parts of the trail. I love it because it passes through a lot of water, little creeks and such.

Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

Reserve Naturelle des Montagnes Vertes

reserve naturelle montagnes vertes

Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

Reserve Naturelle Montagnes Vertes

This hiking trail is pretty good. One of our criteria for hiking is a quiet location where its not frequented a lot. This location literally is like a little stop station with maybe 4 car spots if everyone parks properly. Suffice to saw, we saw nothing other than insects and chipmunks and frogs and such. There were mostly the same type of flowers because those are things I take pictures of on hiking trails. The times for the hike are pretty accurate too. We took about 4 hours to walk it mostly because at one part, it gets a tad confusing and we doubled back to double check the trail and find where we had to go again. The second thing is how natural it is. This one has a really narrow path in a lot of spots to not interfere with the growth of the plants and such. Its why finding the track at times was hard because it has rules of how to respect the natural reserve and not disturb the environment there like not stepping into puddles and going off the path.

We absolutely loved this spot. It reminded us a lot of one of the trails in Saguenay Lac St. Jean where we went into a fairly deserted but challenging trail that we vowed to go back on day when we are in better shape to finish it and get to the top. We were 1 or 2 kms short the first time but due to time and lack of energy for the upward climb, we decided to head back. Hopefully we will get back next year or something for it. However, for this one, we are thinking of going back to do the Summit trail eventually however, as I was getting stuff together for this post, the part is entering into hunting season in a few days so will be closed. If you do plan on going, this summer, its best to check how their schedule is.

As for us, we’ll be heading out hiking again soon. We should have a few more hikes before winter arrives.

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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.

My Weekly Adventures #46!

My Weekly Adventures

 And we are back to another Weekly Adventures  segment! If things have gone as I wanted and you are seeing this post, I am currently away on vacation and have managed to keep up with posts. I’ll be home soon and will have another week of staycation so it will be fantastic to catch up on everything from personal projects, blog backlogs and Game Warp. 

Lets not get ahead of ourselves and look back at the second half of June. 

Pointe-Claire Half Marathon & Bakery Visit


My friend who runs all these half marathons I go to had his next one at Pointe Claire Village. It was by far the hottest weekend we had, hitting the high 30s Celsius in the late morning with the humidity. While I waited for him, I went looking for some much needed tea because I had an early 2am airport dropoff and found the bakery I went to the year before called La Mie Bio.

La Mie Bio is a cute and friendly bakery with a nice selection. There are lactose free and gluten free baked goods. I ended up taking these spelled croissants. They were really delicious. 

Magog Day Trip & Haul


We had our St. Jean Baptiste holiday (pretty much our provincial birthday). As it was on a Saturday, my office had Friday off so my husband and I headed out to the Eastern Townships. If you remember, we went to Festival des Vendanges last year and got a coupon book so we wanted to start checking out. Our first stop was Bleu Lavande, one of the first places we went to when we started dating. Above is our haul. Two of the sprays was a promotion free with our purchases. We bought the hand soap for my mother in law and kept the vase and soaps for us. It was rainy and the cooler weather meant the lavender hadn’t bloomed yet so onto the next stop.

Next stop was a free tasting of two chocolates at Chocolats Vanden Eynden. My husband tried two milk chocolates and I had these dark chocolate selections. 

We ended up picking up a few other chocolates. I even picked up a bag of dairy free chocolate chips for future baking projects (probably next week).

A few quick stops but still a lot of fun. Plus I had to get back for a dinner with my girl friends.

We had dinner at Zibo at Quartier Dix30 in Brossard. It was pretty good. We took a quick walk afterwards.

Family Hangout


Long weekend and birthday celebration for my husband’s nephew meant a family gathering. They wanted to head to our place so we hosted a quick afternoon and dinner gathering. There were hamburgers and hot dogs, some wine and beer for the adults along with soda for the kids. We had a passing downpour which was quite the adventure but the sun eventually came back.

I was off dessert duty so my sister in law got me some dark chocolate and everyone else had the ice cream cake as birthday cake. 

Overcooked Hype!

Following E3 and Summer low season for gaming here, Playstation had a lovely sale and we finally got Overcooked. It finally put our second controller to good use. Good, fun, hectic and awesome fun! 

Vacation!!!

Due to work deadlines, I had to start vacation midweek and only had a few days overlapping my husband’s vacation. However, as I said at the beginning of this post, we are on vacation at the moment and am heading home very soon. I’ll be posting up the travel posts next week once I sort through the pics. 

Cute Kitty Pic


Upcoming:

  • TV Binges
  • Travel/Vacation recap
  • And more…Game Warp, gardening update..etc

La Face Cachee de la Pomme: Guided Visit and Ice Cider Tasting!

Summer is when all the activities start happening. Its why we’re having more little day trip and stuff. I guess that’s the best opening for going on this little guided visit and Ice Cider Tasting to La Face Cachee de la Pomme in the Magog/Eastern Townships area of the province of Quebec. This was redeeming a Groupon deal that I had bought last year but we never ended up going until now.

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

I love La Face Cachee de la Pomme ice ciders a lot. Its my must-buy at the Salon des Metiers d’Arts  during the Christmas season.  I talk about my haul for the last two years already. Its just great gifts and nice for Christmas and New Year’s parties. Now, I’m going far away from the main point of this!

The guided visit and ice cider tasting! Let’s go!

I have no pictures from the guided tour but it was extremely informative to get how it all works. I wasn’t sure if I was allowed and it was super cold in some of the places. I only thought about it on the way there but then it was a hot day so I was in shorts and tank top. I guess it was my fault. Still, the place is incredibly impressive. The process is really intricate.

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

Cheeses

The tasting took a good bit of time with four types of local cheeses to match with nine products. I’ll have a nice little gallery  under and talk about it later. It’ll be in the order we tasted.

Here’s hoping that these pictures are correct. They should be from memory but regardless, below is the list of them and some thoughts:

  1. Bulle de Neige Rose: One of the few here that I haven’t tasted before. I’m not a huge fan usually of sparkling wine in general with a few exceptions. I do like rose wine so this had a fair shot of being something I’d like. However, it was okay. I found it a little dry for my taste but it wasn’t bothersome at all. I would drink it if it was offered and it can probably be an acquired taste.
  2. Neige Methode Traditionnelle: This one was definitely better than the Rose. Its still something like a bubbly but it was a much smoother taste.
  3. Neige Inspiration: If I remember correctly, the way it was described was a mix of the Winter Harvest and Autumn Harvest Ice Cider. Autumn Harvest seems to not exist anymore but I do remember that it was a product before but then I don’t trust my memory all that much. I do remember thinking that if there was a mix of the harvests, it would be an interesting combination and voila! Here we have it! Inspiration is a decent ice cider. I liked it quite a bit but then it has a little bit of a taste that I can’t grasp which I’m not sure how I enjoy past one glass.
  4. Degel: My husband and I had Degel once when we went to the one super fancy restaurant we went to before and I remember not being so impressed with it but its either my tastes have changed or its been improved significantly because Degel was the surprising find! I liked this one a lot!
  5. Neige Premiere: Now we’re heading into the ice ciders I’ve tasted. Neige Premiere is really good. One of my favorite ice ciders ever! But..that was before I tasted the next one…
  6. Neige Reserve: I get Reserve and Premiere every single year because its just so great. Its absolutely awesome! The taste is the perfect balance between sweet and tart and the acidity from the apples.
  7. Neige Winter Harvest: I remember when I tasted this one at the Salon before Christmas, that it was described in some way like a more exotic experience. This one has a very different taste. Probably more exotic and more fruity. I still like this one quite a bit.
  8. Neige Noir: We’re heading into the hard liqueur bit here. I think the best way to describe Neige Noir is that its like a Cognac. Its why we love to mix it. According to our guide, the last year’s batch was like maple syrup whereas this year’s batch will have maple syrup and adding hints of hazelnuts. That has us excited because we love maple syrup and hazelnuts.  Its more pricey but its really worth a try.
  9. Gin de Neige: Ending this off with the strongest of the products and also one I haven’t tasted before. Honestly, I’m not a Gin person mostly because it smells super strong and its not something I enjoy because it would just knock me out in a sip. Its not far from how I felt after I drank this. It burnt down my throat and then made me a little dizzy for a few moments.

Luckily, ending the tasting with Gin de Neige was too much for me, but it was also offset with some Ice Cider Sorbet.

Ice Cider Sorbet

This is a sweet idea on top of it tasting amazing. I believe this was with the Crackling Ice Cider. I’m going to try and make some of this.

That was the end of the tasting and tour! Time for some shopping and picture taking! The decor is something to admire also. The interior design is beautiful and actually a funny bit was that a former employee dropped by for a tasting or something with friends and they beelined for the washroom because apparently its super pretty so of course, we checked that out also. It is done really nice. Look at it!

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

Outside Decor and Plants

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

Haul & Gift Bag(with Groupon)

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

The gift bag is with the Groupon deal. It has a 375ml bottle of Neige Method Traditionnelle, Sample bottle of Gin de Neige, two wine glasses with the Neige logo along with a recipe for Sangria Verde (using Degel) and what I assume is the place that provides the cheese samples. I’m sure we’ll be hunting down some of the cheeses because my husband can’t stop talking about two of the four cheeses.

After that is the haul!

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

La Face Cachee de la Pomme

To wrap this up is our little haul. Its a little cheaper to buy from the main facilities of La Face Cachee de la Pomme than in the SAQ (our wine distribution stores). We ended up getting our faves and because we had a decent purchase, we got a little coupon for our next purchase.

Overall..this was really fun! I’ve always wanted to do wine routes and I figured this would be a nice way to see if my husband would like to in the future and he had a lot of fun also. I think maybe we might plan for a wine route next year or something.

That was the end of the visit and time to go home!

Have you gone on wine routes? Have you tasted ice cider?

Summit Drive in Quebec’s Eastern Townships

The past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving.  My annual activity is to go for a nice hike with my boyfriend however, this year he ended up hurting his foot so we had to look for an alternative.  He had suggested for a drive on one of the many scenic routes so after a little research, we ended up leaving in late morning on Monday and heading to the Summit drive in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

The Summit Drive is 157km in length and goes over a series of that area’s mountains to see the beautiful views.  Although there aren’t any actual viewpoints (unlike the Charlevoix River Route that I had done last month), it was quite nice to see the beautiful mountainous and colorful scenery full of colorful trees 🙂

The route looks like this:

Route des Sommets

It starts at La Patrie and Notre Dame des Bois (where this picture was taken) and then to Piopolis, Lac Megantic through to the granite houses in Lac Drolet and then to Stratford in the core of the Eastern Townships area ending in St Adrien.  Thats the short version of this drive because despite its many stops, we drove through the landmarks because most of them were closed due to Thanksgiving holiday.

With that said a lot of the pictures are in the car so excuse the reflections in certain pictures 😉

Autumn in Quebec

On the way to Summit Drive starting area

Summit Drive

Eastern Townships

Summit Drive

Over the treetops

Magog

Heading into the Magog area

Autumn in Quebec

Colorful tree all around us on the highway

Beautiful sunny weather: blue skies, slightly cloudy

Beautiful sunny weather: blue skies, slightly cloudy

In the lovely small towns

In the lovely small towns

Notre Dame des Bois

Viewpoint at Notre Dame des Bois

Lac Megantic

Lac Megantic crash site (extends for a pretty long distance)

I need to pause a little and talk about this.  I’m not sure how many people know about the Lac Megantic train crash but I actually left for vacation in the US  (the day of) a year or so ago when this happened, so I didn’t get to see the footage on how extensive the damage was.  Seeing it in front of my eyes while driving through was pretty intense.  Its a tragedy to see this beautiful area being affected like this and the distance that it covers.

Eastern Townships

On our way home

Lac Megantic was the middle of the Summit Drive but we always forget that Thanksgiving is literally the last weekend for seeing these colorful trees because wind and rain usually takes away most of the leaves.  Next year, we have to mark it down to go at the end of September or early October to get even more colorful pictures 🙂

Still, it was a nice drive out with my boyfriend and we had a few laughs and sang to songs on the radio. It was the quality time we wanted together. Plus, we came home to make a lovely meal: our breakfast style dinners 🙂

IMG_7309

Whats on the menu: Sweet Potato Fries, Fried eggs, Bacon, and Lettuce with a delicious rose wine called Beringer 🙂

That was my Thanksgiving event (along with dinner with family but I’ll talk about that in another post).

How was your weekend? Did you celebrate Thanksgiving? 

Hiking: Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises

Thanksgiving weekend usually also means going for a nice hike to catch the last of the colorful palettes that cover the forest from the maple trees that change their colors. The drive is beautiful and the walk is calm and comfortable.  We definitely chose the best day to go for our hike this year.  It was mild weather, sunny, colorful leaves and it was in a beautiful area of the province of Quebec of approximately an hour drive over.

We went to Eastern Townships in the Magog area. Eastern Townships of the beautiful Province of Quebec is one of the many places known for its impeccable scenery.  I’ve been there a few times for Bleu Lavande which is lavender fields, one of the biggest in North America, and I’ve been for the Magog Winter Fest.  However, I’ve never done the hike there.  We chose a relatively easy hike which felt more like a walk on Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises.  Its pretty much a flat area with a few trails that run through the forest and then onto a boardwalk for a good length and that makes this one very special because we haven’t done one like that before.  My boyfriend and I were both recuperating from lack of sleep from the past weeks so it was easy enough for us to get some fresh air and for me to do some photo shooting.

The longest trail there is the Pioneer Trail which is 2.5 km.  With all the stops and detours we took to see observation points, we took about 2 hours or so to finish it up.  I’m sure we’ll be back to hit some of the other trails in the future, maybe at the other national parks to get some mountainous hiking in. This time around, it was amazing fun and very family friendly if ever you want to head there for a relaxing walk :).  I can imagine how equally beautiful it’d look in the summer when all the flowers are blooming and the marsh lands looking more moist than it was this time around.

Do you like to take nature walks/trails? Are there any around you that you’d recommend?

 

Giving Thanks Even More and Lots of Food!

I know, lame title! You already know about the highlight of last week: Boyce Avenue Concert! If you missed that post from earlier today, you can check it out HERE!

This weekend was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada! YAY! Long weekend means so much more time to do lots of stuff! I did talk about doing some stuff on my Pinterest post on Friday night! Guess what? Apparently, whenever I post about doing something, I end up actually doing it more than when I just write it up on my notebook or post it on my fridge or something.

Friday night was nothing special but consisted mostly of watching Pretty Little Liars! I’m on Season 3 now! Its getting more than relaxing intense but intense intense! Other than Pretty Little Liars, my guilt of sitting around doing nothing kicked in some time around 10pm and I got straight to work and did a ton of chores for the next two hours.  Nothing to really post about there..unless you want to see my wonderful laundry hanging skills 😉

Saturday was pretty cool.  I actually got in a lot of sleep.  One of the 10 things I wanted to do! It doesn’t make up for the past 2 weeks of not sleeping a lot but its getting there.  My boyfriend and I got woke up earlier than usual and we managed to do a shopping run.  I picked up 2 horror movies at Walmart for $5 each: The Descent Original Uncut (my review HERE of it with US ending) and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. I also got a indie horror film called Frozen, which I did manage to watch yesterday night as well.  The review goes up next week 🙂 I’m still processing it a little.

I promised you food, right? Last night, I went all out and decided to make a crazy meal, which my boyfriend had to step in to help out nearing the end since I have this weird frustration that sets in when I cook for a while longer and things start going crazy.  Panic, I guess….he never understands why I’m a completely different person when I bake…I’m sure some of you do, right?

Here it goes!

First up, I made an Autumn Sangria in the afternoon to let it sit and soak up the fruits a bit.

Autumn Sangria

Prep for Autumn Sangria

The recipe that I used is this one HERE! This is how it turned out 🙂

Autumn Sangria

Autumn Sangria!

This was really strong in my Chinese alcohol intolerance level.  For one, the bourbon tastes very strong and its what soaked into the fruits mostly, so the fruits were delicious, especially the apples.  Second, if you expect citrus like the normal sangria, this one hits the spicy level a little more.  Definitely more autumn with more fruits from this season and a cinnamon sticks (preferably), I only had ground cinnamon so I added a hint of that to the mix.

Moving on, for the main meal, we made a little twist of the Avocado Basil Pasta featured HERE!

Avocado Basil Pasta

Avocado Basil Pasta

We cooked a bit of topping since I’m not really good with raw foods.  Also, we added in some leftover italian sausages and made a side of potatoes. As much as it may not look that great, it tasted pretty awesome 🙂

Sunday morning came around and I was in an extremely happy mood to make some pancakes.  I mixed the batter and my boyfriend helped make it. They were these Pumpkin Pancakes right HERE!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Pancakes!

I’ve never made pancakes non-Bisquick style so this was a pretty good trial.  Plus, they tasted SO GOOD! Whats Halloween or Autumn recipes without pumpkins, right?

After that, we headed off for a nature trail in the Eastern Townships for the afternoon.  I have to sort through about 200 pictures from that but the post will be going up soon.  Here’s a picture to give you an idea!

Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises

Marais de la Riviere aux Cerises

I already remember to be thankful everyday for the great things in life that I have but its also a weekend for me to reflect how to be better at being thankful and grateful for all that I have. So far, this weekend’s been pretty epic.

One more day to go! Before I leave you, here’s a nice video about What to Eat for Happiness from Popsugar Fitness! Enjoy!

Just in case you ever need this, with Halloween around the corner! Lets train in case we get hit by a zombie apocalyse (and to insert a bit more Halloween in here)!

I’ll definitely try it soon 🙂 Tell me how it went if you try it out!

Stay happy and healthy! Thats what I’m grateful for: just being alive, being blessed with what I have, and especially meeting all of you in the blogosphere! Thank you for all the love: likes, comments, follows and just simply visiting! Its been a great year so far on Tranquil Dreams and there isn’t enough thank yous to express how grateful I am and how much I appreciate all of you! 🙂

Hope you all had a great weekend! Drop by again! I have a lot prepped for next week 🙂