Hiking: Colline du Lac Trousers (Bolton, Quebec)

Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t have any time off during this hectic times so with the current landscape I’ve been working on taking random day offs to have some breathing space instead of going on long vacations. The first day that I took was last Friday and it was given to doing a morning to early afternoon hike in the Eastern Townships.

This year’s main focus for hiking destination has been the Les Sentiers de l’Estrie hiking networks. We went to a closer area in the Bolton zone of the network and chose the Colline du Lac Trousers which is a 9km round-trip trail. The trail itself is a bit vague. It actually gives you the parking not the closest to Lac Trousers but actually on the Missisquoi-Nord trail which leads on to Lac Libbey in the first leg and walks a portion on a road before heading into another stretch of road for a quite a distance before turning into a road that leads to another trail to the final summit spot. The last leg has a constant upwards trek with the final 100m being mostly steep upwards climb up to the summit. That’s a quick rundown of how the trail works. I’ll have a detail description below. You can check out the details of the trail HERE.

This is the start of trail which is part of the Missisquoi-Nord trail. This picture is looking back at where we come from by the parking. The parking spot is actually down a road where you walk towards this park where its a Sentier Mise en Forme meant for workout stations along a trail. There’s a park and marshland at the beginning and its full of a lot of weeds and wild flowers. The first part of the Missisquoi-Nord towards Lac Libbey is fairly flat. If anything, the beginning portion is either flat or going downhill for most of it with very little uphill until it goes to Lac Libbey which is a fairly flat road by some very pretty houses. You can get a peek of Lac Libbey from afar. There should be a trail around Lac Libbey but we didn’t notice it. At the end of the road is the entrance to the next part of the trail.

Colline du Lac Trousers

Its also part of the Missisquoi-Nord trail for this portion to the next road area. In reality, there isn’t much of difference in the whole way. Missisquoi-Nord trail goes to the next road area where it changes to the orange trail of Les Sentiers de L’Estrie sector which is following a little left turn into a road. The next road around is actually fairly calm and a few houses along the way but mostly forest on both side. As you go into the next section, its the final trek upwards.

Colline du Lac Trousers

The final trek upwards is pretty much the last 100 meters or so if I remember correctly. It starts off like this with rocks as steps and gradually increases in steepness going up and up. You can tell that its a more narrow path with little paths between trees and rocks and such and needs a lot more attention even if they have two blue ropes aligning the trail all the way up for extra safety.

After that trek, we get to the summit. There was quite a few people there so in order to respect social distancing rules, we just slipped into the higher rocks to get the view and then we left. Although the trail in general is pretty much just wildflowers and weeds and tall grass and shrubs and trees and just this one viewpoint, the summit view is still rather pretty.

Overall, Colline du Lac Trousers was an average trail. It does fulfill the easy trail element but it also doesn’t have a whole lot to see since its one where its very much based on your own focus and patience for the one payoff of a beautiful scenery. If we knew that, we might have done the closer parking spot instead. The entire trail averages around 3 hours going and return but we did it in around 3.5 hours or so. Its definitely one of the longer trails we did this past year or so.

Hiking: La Boucle du Mont des Trois-Lacs (Brompton, QC)

After a few weeks of rain and heat wave, we finally managed to get out for another hiking trip. This time, we went back to the same area as the previous hike to do the other trail in Brompton part of the Les Sentiers de L’Estrie. You can see the previous hiking recap HERE.

Brompton: La Boucle du Mont des Trois-Lacs

La Boucle du Mont

This trail is a fairly decent length at 4.8 km. Although its ranked Easy, its still pretty much our second hike of the year in heavy humidity weather. Luckily, we did go fairly early so the heat hadn’t hit and it was mostly cloudy as it was getting ready to rain. The hike itself is easy although its a lot of constant steep elevation. A lot of the path is like above where its climbing up steep rocky paths. Its a nice challenge as a second hike and didn’t feel too long. There are three lookout points along the path.

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The first lookout point was pretty rewarding as it marked a good part of the beginning which was almost all uphill and was quite exhausting as the warm-up stretch. The view is a bit obstructed but still, the lake is visible and while its hard to capture on the camera well, the view was pretty decent.

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The second viewpoint was heading towards the peak at the turn. There’s a pretty intense section going towards this point as well. Its some narrow paths and such. The view is a bit lackluster as this one took a lot of moving along different rocks on the slop to catch this view. We were a bit worried that this was the peak and the view that we were going to have to deal with as it left us wondering where the three lakes were.

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Of course, after another fairly exhausting trail around the mountain moving uphill, we get to this final lookout point at the second half of the trail with a roped off boundary to look out at this view with its three lakes. If you look far enough, there’s even a fourth lake in the far distance.

The trail itself is rather surprising that it is an Easy level trail since there was such constant uphill trek and a few steep areas to go up and down on. The path is however fairly straight forward. Its mostly a forest trail with just bushes, trees and shrubs and not a lot of flowers or colorful plants. Its mostly just greenery .

For us, we’re trying to hike closer to home so the Eastern Townships is a good spot for us. I’m not sure if we’ll be coming back to Brompton area for this network of hiking trails since there’s only one more trail here that we haven’t done. I’m thinking we’ll move onto another area for the next one but not sure which one yet.

Hiking: Marais du Kingsbury & Mont Cathedrale

As Montreal starts reopening gradually (well, a lot of stuff is reopened at this point, except for a few things), the things we were looking forward to reopen the most is obviously the parks for hiking and such. Due to weather and the current situation, not all the parks are open but we did find quite a few to choose from. The husband decided that our best chance was to head further from the downtown area to the Eastern Townships to check out a trail part of Les Sentiers de L’Estrie. We’ve done a few other trails from that network before but this year, we’ve been thinking of getting the pass which would pretty much get back its worth if we do three more trails in the network and that sounds like a good deal (and doable, provided the reopening doesn’t launch a second wave of the pandemic).

First Stop: Kingsbury, Le Boucle de la Riviere

Kingsbury

Kingsbury

The hiking plans didn’t quite go as we planned even if we did head out the time that we intended, early in the morning. Our first stop as planned was to go to Kingsbury and do a 7.2 km hike. However, the instructions weren’t too good and we soon realized 30 mins in that there was a sign saying that the suspension bridge had collapsed. This trail is pretty much a trail by the water and marshlands. Uncertain of whether there was a detour or not, we decided to go back to the car and head to the next location.

Kingsbury

Collapsed suspension bridge

And we were off to the next location pretty much spontaneously. I suggested to go to the next hiking area in this network heading back the way we came so that at least we’ll start later on the actual trail for the day but lower the travel time back a little bit.

Second stop: Brompton – Le Mont Cathedrale

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Things not going to plan was apparently the theme of our first hike as we had intended on doing another trail but got mislead to believe we were on the right trail when it wasn’t. Oh well..these things happen and we ended up doing a fairly decent intermediate level hike (not what we had planned since we’re obviously not in that great of shape with the lockdown and such). I’m not quite sure how long the trail actually was but it was quick elevation to Mont Cathedrale so it was rather tiring to do, plus the scene was really lovely.

Brompton - Mont Cathedrale

If you look at the actual website, this trail is supposed to start at another parking location and then not only do the mountain but also a “Ruisseau Ely”, which we saw signs for but didn’t pursue it.

Overall, its a decent trail, in both cases. I’m going to say that this is one of the times where its less maintained than we’ve experienced before. I think its just the current times and the parks and the later than usual opening to not have addressed these things. We had a few hiccups in our plans but still, it was a decent few hours of hiking that we got out of it. Les Sentiers de l’Estrie has had a few places that we’ve done before like, Mont Chapman last year (that also had pretty confusing directions). That’s it for this hiking adventure! We’re looking up the next hike right now and will check in with the next one soon (hopefully).

 

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. 😉

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

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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.

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.

Festival des Vendanges 2016 (Magog, Quebec)

Summer is slowly coming to an end. This past weekend started cooling down a little with some breezes finally making its way into Montreal. Saturday was still a pretty humid day as we waited for the rain to get here but it is perfect for a small road trip out from Montreal, about an hour and a half approximately to the annual Festival des Vendanges 2016. Vendanges means harvest. This festival features a lot of local Quebec business. We had a lovely deal on Tuango for a discount on the “Prolonged Discovery Package” which had 40 coupons to taste what we wanted. We tasted mostly wines and ice ciders and you’ll see it in this post. On the other hand, we also ended up picking up some of them as well and you’ll see which ones at the end as well. However, it wasn’t just wine tasting. They also have local cheeses, baked goods, a variety of oil, balsamic vinegar, foie gras, jams, spices, tea and much more.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

First of all, let’s look at the crowd and imagine how much heat was generated in this tent alone…it was a little crazy.

Festival des Vendanges Festival des Vendanges

And they had these little basins to rinse out your tasting glasses.

Festival des Vendanges

Outside in other tents had restaurant terraces, seminars and little talks on different stuff.

Festival des Vendanges

Now lets get back to what we tasted. Just saying, I might have missed out a few because I walked away without a picture…

Vignoble de l’Orpailleur

Festival des Vendanges

On the left is an aperitif wine and the right is an ice cider by this winery. This was our first stop and it was so amazing. The wine had this hint of brandy/cognac sort of taste and when they described it to have a vanilla and spice aroma, it actually did. We’ve fallen prey to many bad descriptions on wine bottles but this one by the lady helping us with the tasting was spot on. Loved it! 🙂

Vignoble Chemin de la Riviere

Rosé, 2015

I’m a huge fan of Rosé wines. I’m always looking to find some really good ones. My husband encouraged me to try out this one. This one is pretty dry and the aftertaste was not exactly one I enjoyed. However, if you do like dry wines, this might be a good choice.

Domaine & Vins Gélinas

Festival des Vendanges 2016

Another ice cider next: this one was also really good. It had an original taste. The best ice ciders create a nice balance between the acid and sweet taste. This one does a super good job. I guess that is why its a Signature one. 😉

La Roche des Brises Vineyard

Festival des Vendanges

My husband tried this one. The distinct part of this is that it is a red ice wine. Its pretty original considering most are like apple juice colors because its either made by apples or pears. This one turned out to be very distinct in taste. The red texture made us wonder whether it was made with blackcurrants. There are actually a few of these at this festival.

Vignoble Morou

Festival des Vendanges 2016

Another try here for the next Rosé wine by Vignoble Morou called Le Rose des Vents. So…what to say? Remember the last one, I said it was dry. Well, this one was extra dry but, it had a very pleasant aftertaste. I guess pros and cons, right? I guess I’d drink this one much better since the aftertaste lingers much longer.

Vignoble d’Oka

Festival des Vendanges 2016

We tried the Ice Cider at the far left and the Rose Ice.

This place had really interesting sorts of wine. I kind of regret that I didn’t try the Rouge Berry Fruit Wine because that probably is my sort of thing. We tried the Rose Ice one and that one was on the dry side as well but it wasn’t quite as strong as the other ones. This is supposed to be served with ice and I didn’t have that so I wonder if it makes a difference. However, the ice cider blew our minds because it had this spice sort of smoothness to it.

Vergers Petit et Fils

Festival des Vendanges 2016

This ice cider from Verger Petit & Fils is pretty awesome. I think this one wins on the balance they create. It is more on the sweet side but has this nice acidity to it that makes it very nice.

Domaine Cartier-Potelle

Festival des Vendanges

Another ice cider added to our tasting! This one is pretty good. Not quite as distinct as the previous ones.

Domaine Le Grand Saint Charles (Vignoble & Cidrerie)

Festival des Vendanges 2016

A catchy logo, a nicely drawn out label for the bottle and an ice cider that wowed us. We both tried it and it just resonated in our minds. Its rare to meet a wine that not only has a really nice appearance but also has such a delicious taste. Unfortunately, this is one that we didn’t buy as you will see later because we didn’t have any cash on us and they didn’t take credit card, not to mention the line-up for the tastings was super long and there was just one guy super busy. Maybe we’ll visit the winery or check if we can get it on location if its not too far away.

That marks the end of the tastings! And for the haul…

Festival des Vendanges

We just came back from vacation or else we’d have bought almost all the ice ciders that we tasted but these ones won our hearts in the end, along with the last one that I couldn’t get at that moment. The tasting glasses came with the tickets so that is pretty cool. I actually already two from the year before last when I went to Le Grand Degustation. Actually this event was so fun that my husband is considering going to this year’s. That would be pretty cool.

Overall, Festival des Vendanges was tons of fun! Our Tuango coupon actually includes a deal for the coupon book as well as a discount on the entrance tickets.  I’ll be tell you all about the adventures to the different locations from restaurants to tastings and activities. It’ll be fun! It is valid for two years so tons of stuff to fill up our weekends gradually.

Vacation post tomorrow! Remember to drop by! 🙂

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?