An outdoor weekend in the Laurentians
The call of the outdoors—the great outdoors. True nature enthusiasts recognize this invitation and know how difficult it is to resist it.
I look out my office window and hear the trails calling me. I look at the weekend weather forecast while sipping a warm cup of coffee. What do I see? A lot of little sun icons in the weather section. That's all it took to convince me that this weekend would definitely be outside.
On Friday evening, I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. The alarm is never too early to enjoy an amazing hike.
The next morning, my alarm rings. I put on my compact but warm SULKA coat, ESCALON pants, very breathable, warm and stretchy, and INDYEVA toque. Then, I head towards the Laurentians with the goal of climbing Mount Kaaikop.
Once I arrived at the parking lot, I put my water bottle, snacks and camera in my bag and, without further ado, embarked on the trail.
I take the opportunity to fill my lungs with fresh air. For this article’s readers who share a love of the outdoors, you will understand the feelings of awe and abundance that nature brings.
The ascent of Mount Kaaikop, with its 350 meters variations in altitude, is sustained from the start and will remain so for 3 km until the summit.
The white fir trees, dark blue sky, and views from the summit are a great reward for all the effort.
The wind is harsher as I climb, and the -20° C can definitely be felt. But with my SULKA coat and my ESCALON pants, I am perfectly equipped to face the weather. Having the right equipment and performance wear makes sense in cold weather. It helps you to enjoy all your time in nature. INDYEVA is my go-to brand for all my outdoor activities.
Sometime later, I start the descent via the return trail of the small tour of Mount Kaaikop. This will total another 3 km with a steady descent right to the parking lot.
The next morning, I head to the oldest national park in Québec.
Formerly known as Montagne Tremblante, Mont Tremblant was the first park to be established in Québec. At 128 years old and 1510 km2 long, it is the oldest and largest park in southern Québec.
To my great delight, I arrive just in time to admire the enchanting sunrise at the foot of the trail. I park at the Sablonnière in the Diable sector, which is the starting point of the Boucle du Centenaire hike.
The first kilometre is flat and full of snow-covered conifers. The real challenge begins at the second kilometre. That is where the climb starts. The Boucle du Centenaire is an 8.5 km loop with an elevation gain of almost 400 metres. This trail is considered difficult. In winter, it is a snowshoe trail only.
By doubling up my efforts, I arrive at the first viewpoint. In the distance, we can see Pic Johannsen, the highest summit of the Laurentians. All this beauty gives me the necessary energy to continue my ascent.
The radiant sun is waiting for me at the last viewpoint. I took the opportunity to quench my thirst and eat the homemade candy bars that I had made the day before. What a delight!
Four hours later, I returned to the parking lot, my head brimming with unforgettable memories.
P.S.: For Mount Kaaikop, an access fee must be paid on site at the Coopérative de plein air l'Interval. For the Boucle du Centenaire, located at Mont Tremblant’s national park, the annual pass or a daily access fee from the SÉPAQ is also required to access the area.
Have a good hike!
Article written by @vigauv