Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (Quebec, Canada)

To celebrate the end of a crazy work phase for myself, we decided to head out of town. Its about two weeks earlier than our normal start of travelling/hiking destinations as most national parks or hiking trails aren’t open yet or doesn’t quite open until Victoria Day. After much debate, I found out that Parc de la Chute-Montmorency had opened in early May which worked perfectly, plus, I hadn’t gone since at least 20 years ago (or more) and my husband had actually never been before and I felt he should go to see it at least once in his life.

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

Located in the outskirts of Quebec City, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is a completely different experience outside of going on a tour, which is how I went the first time years ago. Going by ourselves, there are still things still not quite completely open yet like paths and such due to the early season but there are a lot of places to still go. You can choose to take the cable car down to the lower level and there the boardwalk is open to a certain degree until the long wooden staircase, where that is closed access to a part because of the unmelted snow probably. However, you can choose to not take the cable car (like ourselves), and walk the upper path through the overhead suspension bridge over the waterfalls and then to the other side which had a small trail into the forest, various observation points and the long winding 487 steps staircase to get a better angle on the Montmorency Falls, as well as a large field with an orchard to relax.

La Promenade de la Falaise

Promenade de la Falaise

Walking from the manor, you first go through the boardwalk trail to the suspension bridge. There this beautiful easy walking spot which has some stairs and leads to the first observation deck which is a highlight spotm Le Belvedere de la Baronne. 

La Belvedere de la baronne

Suspension Bridge

Chute Montmorency

Walking across the suspension bridge, its quite the experience to look out into the beautiful scenery around it. One looking down the 83 meter waterfall and then to the other side with some nice view on the water coming down to the falls as well as a good look at the long panaromic staircase we were about to tackle from afar.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

The other side of the Park

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

Once you cross the bridge, there’s an area in the back to look back. Its nice to see the bridge in full as well as the starting point of where the falls start.

From the Panoramic Staircase

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

While 487 stairs is a pretty big task to take on as a starting location, we still decided to take it one flight of stairs at a time. Its not so bad to descend as expected especially because each observation point or open deck really gave such a different angle to the falls. Its a majestic scene to take in to the say the absolute least. Of course, if you were in the season where the stairs can access the boardwalk below, this is what the boardwalk looks like. There were people on it so I can only guess that it was open from the other side if you took the cable car down. Of course, perhaps at this point, it might be open on both sides as the weather gets better.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

Its been decades since I’ve been back and for a returning trip, it was definitely worth it because this is one of Quebec’s landmarks. Its a beautiful natural beauty and in the park behind, there are also some historical elements as well to look at. We didn’t manage to check out the actual hiking trails which should be 2 other ones, one that is open now called Le Sentier des Resurgences (2.5km round-trip) and also one that opens in July 31st (I would expect) as its called Le Sentier du 31 juillet (1km round-trip). Of course, for the more adventurous types, the season also opens later on for Via Ferrata and Ziplining which should be really cool to do across and around the waterfalls.

That’s it for this trip recap for Parc de la Chute Montmorency!

Have you been here before?

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Hiking: Le Mont-Megantic Trail – Mont Megantic National Park

Hiking season has officially started for us this year!

Eastern Townships

The road to the national park

Monday was Victoria Day in Canada so it was a day off and we were able to figure out somewhere fun to hike. Our plans almost did change in the morning but things worked out and we headed off to the Eastern Townships in Quebec to Mont-Megantic National Park.

Its about 2.5 hour drive for us to get there. We always stop at the visitor’s center first. Essential when you are doing a hike to get the bathroom break and also to pay for the fee while getting info on the trails. The lady at the desk was a great help and gave us a good idea of what trails were around us while also telling us the original trail we were going to do was still covered in snow. Usually that wouldn’t be a problem but I haven’t gotten around to getting a new pair of hiking shoes so I was in my running turned walking shoes so the grip wasn’t as good. We ended up going for the Le Mont-Megantic Trail which is a 10 km loop and takes you up to the observatory at the top. The entrance here includes parking and the entrance code to go to the observatory and sanctuary up the hill by car. So, we actually stopped at the top of the trail just before the hill up the observatory which was muddy and snowy in various areas. The trail here is intermediate (although it felt hard for a first hike). Here’s a few pictures and the scenery! Trust me, its so worth it!

A lovely trek but it was a little tough so the pictures were a little scarce for the path going up. Before I wrap this up, I’d love to share a video I posted on Instagram for the scenery at the Sanctuary since that is the top most part of the area and offered a 360 degree scenery almost.

There is a whole bunch of trails at this national park and we’re pretty sure that we’ll come back for some of the other ones later this season. Its a close enough drive and the Eastern Townships are pretty and the national park also has some space observation stuff that we’d love to check out when its not a statutory holiday and they are open.

Not sure when the next hike is but we’re planning on doing a lot more this year so I’ll probably be checking in with another trail that we’ve explored soon!

Vancouver & Kelowna: Vancouver Aquarium & Lynn Canyon Park

We’re finally here! The recap of the final day of vacation over on the Canadian West Coast. For this one, we took up our courage and headed to the Vancouver city central towards Stanley Park to go to Vancouver Aquarium and get an indoor activity before heading out to Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge. We talked with some of the locals there (my mom’s friends) and they told us that Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is almost as pretty as Capilano Suspension Bridge which charges more and is higher. This is a great choice for it being free and having just a lower canyon but still really  nice to walk through.

Vancouver Aquarium

As you can see, Vancouver Aquarium has all sorts of stuff, its not just fishes and rays and giant turtles and sharks. It also has monkeys and birds, etc. It is a pretty cool experience. Something else I like is that they don’t do a lot of shows with the animals. Only the dolphins are in these shows. The porpoises and belugas up top are actually in a training session which is like the trainer talks about these animals and how they came here and their story while giving them a little workout explaining why certain moves helps them to make sure they are healthy. In other cases, they also talk about the wildlife preservation centre that people can call if they ever believe that a marine animal is in danger and needs their assistance so that they can get them healthy and send them back to the wild. While I haven’t seen the documentary on Blackfish, I like the fact that it may be because of things like that documentary which make aquariums more aware about their transparency on how they are treating the animals with them.

Regardless of that, I like going to aquariums quite a bit and Vancouver Aquarium isn’t exceptionally different but they have their forte and is a rather educational process. They have a few different species of animals. My favorite is always the jellyfish tank and also seeing the porpoises and also going to the touch tank and getting to touch rays.

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

As I mentioned above, we indeed skipped the really well known Capilano suspension bridge. I have been there before when I was around eight years old. However, in my mind, Lynn Canyon Park was really beautiful. It was a rainy day but everything was absolutely lovely just with the rainforest and the tall trees towering over us. It was a great place to go. And a nice way to round up our vacation with a nice light hike around. It didn’t  take too long but was good enough to give us time and energy to head back to the hotel and pack up for our trip home the next day.

Overall, the Vancouver and Kelowna trip was a lot of fun. We had some fantastic scenery and we had an enjoyable time seeing all the relatives. We got to hike and eat some great food and even fangirl over Storybrooke. There are still a ton of activities we didn’t get to do because of time and hopefully we will return again eventually.

This vacation’s post is done now but as we speak I just got back to work this week after a week off for a lovely staycation where did also went out to do some hiking so that will follow for what seems like Vacation Tuesdays here. 😉 We do have some day trips planned before winter hits so hopefully this segment will go on for at least another few weeks.

Vancouver & Kelowna: Redwood Park & Iona Jetty Regional Park

Welcome to Day 5 of my vacation this year in Vancouver and Kelowna! We are done with the Kelowna portion at this time but head over to Travel on the menu on top and it will go to the previous posts.

Day 5 is the first full day in Vancouver. We ended up doing two walking trails and going for some shopping.

No day starts without breakfast. Next door to us was IHOP. We both have never tried it so we went to give it a go.

IHOP Richmond

After that, we headed out to Redwood Park. My husband’s goal for this trip was to see sequoia trees and we heard there was in this park. It was a rainy day but had a break when we got there so it was a nice cool walk through the woods. The trails were a bit confusing but we ended up figuring out where everything was. It isn’t particularly a huge park but it was a pretty forest and we enjoyed it.

redwood park

redwood park
redwood park

redwood park

When we left, it started to rain really hard. You will see in the next few days, we won’t care as much and still pack up the days but seeing as we still had time, we made a stop at Mall Metropolis at Metrotown to try to find a raincoat for my husband since he didn’t have a jacket to better prepare for the next few days and ended up with the majority of the stuff on the shopping haul post HERE! Still, what captured me was this awesome Nintendo booth!

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Upon leaving the mall, the rain had died down a little more and we had eaten a quick lunch in the food court. We finally decided to head back to Richmond which is where our hotel is and decided to make a stop at Iona Jetty Regional Park.

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty Regional Park

Iona Jetty is a long walkway stretching out like a pier. It is right next to the landing strip at the airport so you can see planes landing in front of you all the time. There is a small beach there and wildlife to observe. However, most people go for the walk to whatever distance. We did a few kilometers and decided to turn around mostly because we had a family dinner later that night and had to freshen up and head out.

Unfortunately, my phone went crazy and we didn’t take any pictures of the dinner.

This wraps up Day 5 of vacation! 🙂
Day 6 is going to be a bit different because we went to a lot of picturesque places.

Vancouver + Kelowna: Trails, Winery & Family BBQ!

Kelowna is located in the Okanagan Valley area in Canada. It is beautiful and stunning and just absolutely breathtaking to explore. The day after my cousin’s wedding, we only had a late afternoon gathering at my cousin’s home for a barbecue with the family. We decided to head out for some hiking/walking trails to see capture some lovely scenery and get some exercise. We went out to a winery for lunch and then rounded up the day with the barbecue. That is the quick runthrough.

Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park

Kuiper's Peak Mountain Park

Kuiper's Peak Mountain Park

Kuiper's Peak Mountain Park

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Kuiper’s Peak Mountain Park is a short 5 to 10 minute trail. There are mountain bike trails as well. This park’s wildlife is still recovering after a forest fire in 2003.

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park

Bertram Creek Regional Park also suffered from the forest fire in 2003. It is a casual walking trail along the Okanagan Lake. There’s a beach and a little area to walk out to take pictures.

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

We went to Cedar Creek Winery Estate to have a quick lunch and then went out to walk around. Suffice to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. I’ll be talking about the lunch portion in a separate post.

Family Barbecue

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The family gathering was fun and grand. My cousin’s home is beautiful. They had food catered there and they made burgers for everyone as well. There was this cool sparking wine or cider (local) called Bling. It tasted really good.

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The view from my cousin’s place is absolutely breathtaking. It kind of makes its a life goal to try to move out to Kelowna eventually just to live in this quiet little city.

That’s it for Day 3!
Drop by again to check out the Cedar Creek Winery Estate Restaurant post later this week!

Alaska Cruise on Norwegian Jewel [Day 7]: Icy Point Strait, Alaska

We’re almost nearing the end of the vacation.  Second last stop before we arrive back in Seattle and finish off that half of a day before going home.  But, let’s not jump ahead too much. These vacation posts are in delay and I did do a few little day trips afterwards so I’ll be probably posting about those after this series 🙂

After a beautiful day in Glacier Bay National Park, we arrived early morning at Icy Point Strait, which seems like a little island.  We didn’t have any shore excursions for this one so we just wanted to do a walk around the island and explore. For the first time, we needed to get a ticket sort of thing and have a shuttle boat or whatever you call those things get us from the cruise ship to the shore.  New experiences, right?

Right when our boat was about to head to shore, a whale popped up right in front of it. Obviously, it was a split second deal so my eyes captured it and not my camera.  Throughout that day, it was fabulous weather in Icy Point Strait and the island had a little trail that we took a walk around and then just explored the little museum area.

Along the waterside, I took a ton of close-up shots of shells, waves, stones, seaweed.  Stuff that doesn’t matter but I really like taking close-up shots and thing finding focus and adjusting what is the key of the photo and whatnot. That’s just the learning photographer side of me.  Here’s just a few selected ones that I thought was pretty good.

Icy Point Strait

Icy Point Strait

Icy Point Strait

We ended up going back to the cruise ship relatively early and having some time to finally enjoy some time in the hot tubs with my mom.  While I was reluctant and first to do it at first, it was remarkably comfortable and relaxing.  Plus, from where we were, we could see humpback whales playing in the water everywhere.  It was pure awesomeness! We didn’t get any whale watching shore excursions but we still got to see it as a bonus 😉

Icy Point Strait

It was a great day.  The next one would be spent at sea before we head on board back in Canada at Victoria, British Columbia.  I have a friend that moved out there so I was pretty excited to meet up with her.

Drop by next week to see the post on Victoria, BC 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee

Overview of the park area at the start of the trail

Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee

Looking back from the bridge over the falls

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

Parc de la Caverne Trou de la Fee

Waiting to go into the cave!

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

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

Parc Caverne Trou de la Fee

Lots of water around the site! Love it!

Parc Caverne Trou de la Fee

Near the falls!

Parc Caverne trou de la fee

A beautiful rainbow

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

Parc caverne trou de la fee

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

parc caverne trou de la fee

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

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

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

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

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

Day 2 coming up tomorrow! 🙂