Hiking: Parc National de Plaisance (Le Zizanie des Marais Trail)

With the big July month done with, our hiking resumes. Its still up in the air how frequent and where but we did find that we had never gone to Plaisance National Park which is in between Montreal and Ottawa and is a fairly simple flat hike. Its main attraction this year is the newly re-opened boardwalk after its destruction in 2017 (according to the Sepaq site).

There is a fairly decent amount of trails, not a lot is solely for hiking and walking but most of them are for hiking/walking and cycling. However, there are a few other ones that I have my eye on when we do come back. As for the returning to hiking after over a month away, we decided to take things easier and this one fit our criteria. We ended up parking at the information center which was a 3km hike to the boardwalk and then the boardwalk is a total of about 500m and then walking back so 6.5km as a comeback is pretty decent.

Trail to the Boardwalk

Parc national de Plaisance

As this is mostly walking around walking and wetlands, there’s a lot of scenes of that. The park also offers an array of water activities and equipment for rental which is something that could interesting for those into that sort of thing. We’ve been thinking about doing a canoeing trail soon but not for this one so above is a random shot as we walked towards the actual hiking trail.

Hiking Trail Portion

Parc national de Plaisance

The starting of the hiking trail is really nothing too crazy. If anything its in a forest and by water so there’s a ton of bugs as this year is fairly like that anyways. Not an issue usually but we thought this would be an easy hike and didn’t bring out hiking backpack which had our bug spray, it was an oversight on our end because other than the wetlands around us, we also did get thundershowers the night before. Either way, it wasn’t too bad since the trail isn’t too long but just a note for those who want to try this out.

Parc National de Plaisance

The trail went by a few lookout points. One is more general and the other is for shrubs growing in the wetlands. That wetlands area is pretty nice to look at. It had a lot of water lilies and shrubs.

Parc national de Plaisance

At the end of the normal walking trail is the boardwalk which the little stretch of trail is called La Zizanie de Marais. Its pretty beautiful especially since its really new also and pretty sturdy. It stretches across a good portion of the marsh land with 3 exits and trails that continue on at each side. One goes further in, the other loops back to the parking lot in the vicinity and back to the trail where we came from. In the center is something of a seating area to rest and enjoy.

Parc National De Plaisance

There’s a lot of little wetland aquatic plants and flowers surrounding it. The weather was partly cloudy so the sun kept coming in and out which made it really nice and not too hot.

Parc National de Plaisance

Parc National de Plaisance

I’ll be sharing more of the close-up shots of flowers on this wetland over at Avenue of Daydreams.

That’s honestly it for this trail. If you want to not walk from the info centre and save the 3km to and 3km from then there is a parking nearby. This trail is really nice especially since its completely newly re-opened. We love doing boardwalks and this one is just impressive.

As a finishing note, I have my eye on a trail that starts at the parking lot near the boardwalk so we should be back to do that at some point. Not sure if its this year since its fairly lengthy but its on our hiking to-do list right now.

Hiking: Parc National de Frontenac (Le Massif de Winslow Trail)

Last week’s hike went to a visit out to a farther side of the Eastern Townships as we headed to check out the trails at Frontenac National Park. The hiking trails there are normally in the more easy category with a few longer ones in the intermediate. Seeing as our last hike went a little more difficult than we had imagined, this was a good option for us. The final decision after talking to the visitor center was that Le Massif de Winslow Trail was the one most worth it to do which is about a 20 minute drive further to reach its parking lot for where the trail starts.

Le Massif de Winslow trail did have a few need to haves for sure if you are planning to go. Bug spray being one of the most important as it is lined with stagnant water all around with little lakes and lots of puddles and water on the left and right for a good portion of the beginning trail. Luckily, we did have all of that so we came out with not too many mosquito bites. Just a friendly advice before you decide to go. Sunscreen could also be good since the good portion of the beginning has not a lot of shade.

Parc national de Frontenac

If we were to talk about Le Massif de Winslow, it would be in 3 parts. The first is the above section. Its in the open air on flat ground walking towards the first intersection. There is a lot of lakes around it, a lot of insects flying around, bullfrogs here and there in the ponds on the side and then tiny little frogs that you can barely seeing hopping around the path every once in a while.

Parc national de Frontenac

The second part of the path is a turn into the actual forest path. it still is fairly flat but goes into this dense forest landscape. There are less bugs and less ponds and we start seeing some running water of little streams before you hit the next intersection which is a loop to go to the various lookout points: one is a beach and lake lookout and the other is a lower mountain to look at the scenery from a higher point of view.

Parc National de Frontenac

Parc National de Frontenac

Since it a loop in the third part, we went the counter clockwise direction (which seems to be the path less chosen) but its a good choice since the lookout points are fairly together at the beginning of the clockwise so it ended out trail with a nice scenery before heading back into the normal path. The height of the mountain isn’t too high but has a bit of weaving in and out at a short distance to get the mountain view so that was probably the more difficult part of the trail.

Parc National de Frontenac

The way back also passed through a lovely little waterfall like this one which was pretty awesome. Le Massif de Winslow in the end is just different in the loop so as the loop finishes off the mountain, the rest of the way is just flat land and going back the way that the trail starts.

That’s it for this hiking adventure!
Hiking might be taking a little break in July as the weather gets hotter and the schedule gets busier.
We’ll be back to it in August!

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.

Foresta Lumina

This past Saturday was a busy day with one event in the morning, Montreal Independent Games Festival (which I will cover over at That Moment In) and another late evening one, which is this one I’m about to talk about called Foresta Lumina! Foresta Lumina has been an event we’ve been planning to go to since last year but never found the time to last year. Finally, after our first reservation was cancelled due to thunderstorms, it was rescheduled for this past Saturday night. Foresta Lumina is located in Coaticook, Quebec which is about 1.5 to 2 hours depending where you are heading out from.

Foresta Lumina

It is located in the Parc de la Gorge which during the day is a park for hiking and outdoor activities. The Foresta Lumina trail is adorned with lights and visuals telling a story of an enchanted forest which once had a lot of fairies but was plagued by a monster that could turn into a handsome man to trick them into the fairy’s eventual demise. However, before the fairies were taken, a mysterious force from Foresta Lumina appeared and saved them. This is why the forest is magical and protected by enchanted forces.

Foresta Lumina

There isn’t really much to say about the trail and even pictures are hard to judge. Still, here are some more acceptable shots that turned out alright. I need some serious night time photo shooting practice.

For those that want to go on this Foresta Lumina trail. It is extremely dark in some parts but also quite enchanting and pretty to see. However, those with walking difficulties should be aware that there are some pretty steep slopes and the path winds up and down with tight walkways and stairs also. You do cross the beautiful suspended bridge which happens to be one of the longest in Quebec (I believe). It is also where they create it where it seems like we cross realms into the magical world.

Foresta Lumina is a fun experience however it is only 45 minutes and perhaps the hype of it got the best of us. We were a little underwhelmed while it was still pretty magical for the most part. We did discover that Coaticook may have quite a bit to offer to explore.

A Word A Week Challenge: Behind

I am once again late to the party for this one. Maybe I need to start scheduling in posts on a more routine level (but that might take away from the fun).  Thinking about it, its kind of funny, I am BEHIND in my posting and look at what this/last week’s word was.

I don’t know about you but when I go anywhere with my camera, I tend to take people’s behinds, especially hiking or whatnot.  I even do it when I’m at home. It makes the picture look more natural, as if there’s someone observing the motions instead of pulling someone from their normal and making them pose for you or give a smile.  Of course, my two models are almost always the same.

The first being my cat, at this point in time, you’ve seen all her in full and in different areas of her.

Autumn

Admiring the windy season from the backyard door

Teasing me to play with her

Trying to make me play with her

Next model is my boyfriend. This one was actually one that I didn’t use for THIS photo challenge but I found this weekend when I was looking through my photos for a personal project. I made him run slowly on a hiking trail and as stupid as it may have felt, this one turned out really well 🙂

Mont St. Bruno hiking trail

Running on a hiking trail

Do you like to step behind during walks or events and snap pictures of your loved ones observing their surroundings instead of asking them to pose for the camera?

This is my response to A Word A Week Challenge: Behind.  For more entries, please check it out HERE!

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?

 

Week 17: Summer and Outdoors Fun!

Another short work week is upon me.  Once summer starts, there is so many more options to staying active and its all about balancing everything out.  Somehow this year, group activities with friends have decreased leaving me time to insert individual activities or say, going out with my boyfriend and/or mom. Plus, this week, we start preparing for our summer hiking season as we usually do for vacation time! Let’s start! 🙂  Tone it Up is doing two a days, which means two workouts a day, usually cardio with body weights/strength training of some sort.  I’m going to try to follow along but no guarantees 😉

Monday

Our first hike of 2013! We did it at Mont St-Hilaire.  I’ve never done it before but the hiking paths there are not bad in difficulty but the viewpoints we saw were quite blah.  Nothing really worth the hike in my opinion.  Maybe if we did the longer hiking trails it would’ve reaped better end results.  I don’t know! It was a very suitable one to start the year and this time, even my mom joined us! 🙂 Definitely was fun! Our legs are just a little bit more ready for more hiking, although I need to be careful because I almost had an accident and sprained/twisted my ankle.  Thank goodness its fine 🙂

Tuesday

After the hike from Monday, my right leg was screaming in pain.  I think it had more to do with the fact that I almost twisted it rather than the walk but I soldiered on and did the Stars & Stripes Cardio Workout once.

 Its actually pretty tough, especially 25 burpees. My max I can do continuously is about 15, then after that I need to do them in fives and pause before finishing the next five. This one felt good at the end of just one routine.

Wednesday

My ankle started hurting today more than before.  I think it has to do with the hiking mishaps that happened.  Seeing as I had a somewhat busy evening getting rid of the rhubarb, I managed to get in the Beach Yoga workout at around 11pm.  Very close to bedtime but its yoga so it tends to relax.  Plus, its been helping with my back pains so I’m happy to do it whenever 🙂 Any yoga online routines you would like to recommend?

Thursday

I spontaneously decided that I’m going to take a day off! Especially since I plan on going to dragonboat practice tomorrow since I might need to race in the Montreal Challenge next weekend…its would come in handy to get myself back into the rhythm and connect with the team 🙂

Friday

DRAGONBOAT! I managed to pull through everything at work and make it to practice! It was raining on and off and crazy humid.  I took a 1km walk before practice.  The actual practice was an hour long and drained me.  We did 6x100m sprints consecutively.  It got me back into having a better feeling on how to do the starts, then we did a relaxed 2km.  Since I can only paddle on Sunday (if I do), I would be part of the 2km so it was an awesome practice.  Drained me completely!

Saturday

Due to yesterday’s practice, today had to be a day off.  With prep for vacation such as packing and printing and drafting and editing, I really didn’t have time to do anything else.

Sunday

VACATION TIME! Today’s plan is driving and hiking:) We did a view scenic stops and went to hike on the Bald Mountain Trail. It was a fantastic hike 🙂

OVERALL…this week was great. I did two outdoor activities that I love: hiking and dragonboat. I would definitely recommend trying it out if you get a chance. Other than that, the Stars and Stripes Cardio workout was really fun and effective. Not too bad, right? I managed to do 5 days.

Next week is vacation. I haven’t decided whether to do a roundup or not. I’ll be staying active and relaxing. 🙂

Jell-O Shots, Hiking and More Flowers!!

No huge intro this time since there’s quite a bit to cover from last Sunday evening till this week! We’re going straight into it!

Last Sunday evening was dinner with my girl friends! You’ve heard of them before as we were at the wedding together as bridesmaids and one of them was the bride back in May.  This time around, we had a nice dinner to celebrate Canada Day!

Snakes and Ladders and Jell-O Shots ready!

Snakes and Ladders and Jell-O Shots ready!

One of the girls had suggested that we do Jell-O shots with the game of Snakes and Ladders.  I’m totally new to that concept (the shots, not the game).  Its somewhat of a silly confession to make (but not really).  I live in a party city but yet I really haven’t gone clubbing all that much, meaning I don’t drink that much either unless with a close group of friends and its never about drinking or trying out too many new drinks.  Jell-O shots are a new thing but I have heard that they are quite strong.

Lined up for our doom..umm...consumption!

Lined up for our doom..umm…consumption!

My share of Jell-O shots!

My share of Jell-O shots!

My friend made 3 types: Strawberry Jell-O with Vodka, Orange Jell-O with Tequila and Raspberry Jell-O with Tequila. We all ended up having about 6 Jell-O shots before the game ended.  I conclude that it wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be 🙂 After that we did some karaoke and then watched part of Ocean’s Eleven before we were all tired and went home to rest!

OH! And I have to show some love to one of my girl friends, Day’s who just started a blog on WordPress! She’s totally awesome! She posts about food and Chinese-Canada culture.  She’s an awesome writer so you should check out her blog.  Just look at the awesome dessert she made for the dinner! Click HERE to check it out!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Pecan Coffee Cake

Monday was an early start with piano lessons then hiking at Mont St. Hilaire. This trail was possibly the most underwhelming with not such great scenery and lots of hills. It was solely walking and spending time with my boyfriend and my mom. Here are a few shots of the trail and the one viewpoint that we saw the lake in the distance!

The beginning of the trail!

The beginning of the trail!

The "view" at the top of the trail we were at....

The “view” at the top of the trail we were at….

Even though there wasn’t really anything fancy about the view we saw.  I’ve seen lots of better views in the many trails we’ve walked.  We did come back to the welcome center and I found a little pond that said they had frogs…which was inaccurate! They had tadpoles! I live in the suburbs of a relatively big city in Canada, ok? I haven’t seen  tadpoles before in my entire life! That was SO AWESOME!

TADPOLES!!!

TADPOLES!!!

My mom at this point was rolling her eyes are me…and my boyfriend was laughing but still, it was special to me 🙂

Coming to this afternoon, I managed to get in a few shots of the flowers in my garden!

IMG_1668

 

IMG_1673

 

Lavender are a darker shade of purple! So beautiful and smells wonderful! :)

Lavender are a darker shade of purple! So beautiful and smells wonderful! 🙂

Grape vine!

Grape vine!

Can you tell my mom loves purple? 🙂 Actually I like it a lot too! The first two I don’t remember the name of the flowers..so if you do, please tell me! Those grapevines looks like its going to have lots of grapes again this year!

Today was crazy humid and hot! It was completely burning!

Hope you are all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was great!

Especially since I’m on the road now!! I have some awesome plans for tonight so I’m excited!

How’s summer for all of you? Any vacation planned?

Hong Kong: Lamma Island Part 2/3 Seafood, Animals & Flowers

In Part 1, I took you on a little hiking trail and it gives you a good idea of what Lamma Island looks like.  Its altogether a popular vacation area.  Aside from being that, it is also known as a fishing village so being an island, it has access to lots of fresh seafood.  I mentioned that in the last post and I didn’t forget but rather I wanted to have a post to show you the seafood: giant shrimps and lobsters and crabs.  Whether you are into seafood or not, its still quite eye-opening to see it all live in front of you.  Your trail in Lamma Island is pretty much starting and ending with seafood restaurants all over the place, nested right next to the harbour. My pictures will go from beginning to end of trail in order.

So tanks and tanks of seafood may be the focus of Lamma Island.  If you are there and have time, you definitely should arrange some sort of seafood meal.

Other than seafood, there were animals.  I mean (mostly) domesticated pets.  My mom told me that its normal for business owners in small regions like this to have pets because then it poses as protection and security so you see mostly dogs around.  Oddly enough, there was an animal shelter and thats where you see the cat below.  I`m guessing there is a serious amount of strays as well.  I sure hope that it will be kept under control.

Look at that! I even gave you a little something.  We even saw cranes.  There were about 5 around this area.  It was absolutely cool!

Last time for the A Word A Week Challenge: Flower, I gave you mostly flowers from this trail.  So I just have a few more of the natural beauties I found to share.

I know one of them are flowers but the other one is super pretty too, right? I think that it was a very original picture so I had to share it with everyone.  The tree was made up of strands and strands of these draping downwards.  It was a pretty nice sight!

I actually have a little extra that I would like to mention before I end this post.  There was one feature of the hiking trail that I really loved and its this:

That is right everyone.  Its a dog toilet.  No more poop bags and carrying it through the whole path.  Just let your puppy take care of business here.  There are about 3-5 on the trail from my recollection.  I think its the best to make hiking on a family trail dog friendly because after all, our pets are part of our family.  Don’t you think its a great idea?

One more part to go! I am a bit behind schedule, please forgive me.  I will try to get it done before I head off to bed.  Any ideas on what its about? No worries you will see soon.

Hong Kong: Lamma Island Part 1/3 Family Trail

One thing that many tourists should be made aware of is that Hong Kong is surrounded a whole bunch of islands as Hong Kong itself is an island.  There are a few that are most widely promoted as tourist attractions for its hiking or heritage or culture.  Whatever you’re into, it never fails to disappoint.  The most popular one being Lantau Island with the Giant Buddha and Po Lin Monastery and the cable car system called Ngong Ping 360 which gives a fabulous view.  But, I’m not here to talk to you about Lantau Island.  I go every time I head back to Hong Kong but this time, I decided to switch it up and go to another island, a smaller one.  I’ve always wanted to go to the 3 other smaller islands: Cheung Chau, Ping Chau and Lamma Island.

I chose Lamma Island because there was an easier hiking trail so it wouldn’t be too hard for my mom either.  Some may know Lamma Island, because it had a serious ferry collision last months ago which caused some people to die.  However, we still decided to go. The deal with Lamma Island is that you can get there from one bay and then the hiking trail ends at the other bay, so that way you can take the ferry from both sides.  We took the ferry from Aberdeen and headed out to Yung Shue Wan.

Along the way to Yung Shue Wan, it was just beautiful.  We chose the warmest day in the two weeks I was there to go.  When we got to the harbour, it was a beautiful path lined with bicycles on both side.

You walk past restaurants with lines and lines of fresh seafood in the tanks.  Then you walk further in and its markets with food, wine, decorations, accessories.

Right after a good chunk of this, we reach the beach.

Just after the beach, we start our hike when it starts getting into a lot of trees and just starts having a bit more of an uphill climb.  Here’s where its amazing.  Flowers, trees and a beautiful view from up in the mountain.  There were rarely any barriers on the path and we had a blazing sun on us.

When we finally reached the other side, this side is called Sok Kwu Wan where we took our ferry back to the Central.

I haven’t talked to you about Central just yet but no worries, its the next part after Lamma Island. As you see, this island has so many aspects worth mentioning so its getting just a bit more attention. Expect them by the rest of the evening! I’m working hard to condense then into two more parts.