Mont du Dôme trail, Zec des Martres.
We arrived in Charlevoix on Friday and the weather forecast for the next few days did not seem to cooperate. Rain and risk of violent storms. Fortunately, we were in the region for a few days. Because we were in the area for a few days, we needed to assess the weather on a day to day basis. We didn't want to risk anything. Saturday rain, hail, thunder and lightning. We waited a little longer...
Sunday morning, when we woke up, mother nature seemed to offer us the lull we were hoping for! We gathered our little ones and took the road, direction the Zec Des Martres. With the weather forecast, 70% chance of showers, I made sure to put in my backpack my essential KISA rain coat, a change of socks and enough snacks and water to last us through the climb. I carefully choose to wear light, breathable clothing that dries quickly in case of rain. My VICOLO pants will be my best ally during this hike, I will be able to use them as shorts in case of warm weather or if I am too wet from the rain. My light PISTA jacket breathes well during the effort and dries almost instantly when it comes in contact with the rain drops. Underneath, I wear my SPOR camisole and my TIMADOR top. It's a safe bet that I'll be the most comfortable!
It is thus after a good protein dinner and after the rain that we finally decide to attack the trail of the Mont du Dôme. A loop of approximately 8,8 kilometers, 378 meters of positive difference in altitude and 921 meters of altitude, according to my application.
We climbed clockwise, so that we’d start with a steep climb for the first 2 kilometers, through rocks and streams, and then come down more calmly to spare our knees.
We reached the summit after 2 hours of walking. At the top the view is breathtaking. The valley is clear, in spite of the clouds, the low ceiling and the doubtful sky. We felt alone in the world in this vast landscape! There is no one except a couple of hikers that we crossed on the way up. We can see Baie-St-Paul and the St-Lawrence estuary in the distance, surrounded by peaks reaching no less than 1000 meters! We took advantage of this scene to stretch a little and to nibble some carbohydrates to recover our strength before continuing this loop. After a great and well-deserved break, we started the descent. From the first steps, the fog surrounded us and the visibility on the valley disappeared. So we decided not to go see the two other suggested summits, the Moose and the Mont Saint-Michel (but they are two viewpoints that are usually worth the detour)!
It is thus after 4 hours exactly that we reached the parking lot, fulfilled and content. Then the raindrops stared to fall.
N.B.: It is mandatory to register when entering and leaving the territory of the Zec des Martres with the managers of the Traversé de Charlevoix (Sentiers Québec-Charlevoix), a non-profit organization, either at the reception of route 381 at km 10.6 or at the self-collection terminal at the parking lot on the side of route 381 at km 23.2. A voluntary contribution of $5.00 per person is greatly appreciated. This trail is open year round, from sunrise to sunset. But be careful and avoid the thaw periods (from April to mid-June), the trail is very muddy, therefore slippery, and the flora is weakened. During the hunting season, it is compulsory to wear a bib and an orange cap. Have a good hike!
By Pascale Anctil (@pascaleanctil)