Civic Long Weekend was quite memorable & filled with lots of outdoor activities.
Fri. Aug 2 to Sun. Aug 4 (Québec)
My friends and I always plan a nice little vacation every summer. This year, it was to Blueberry Lake Resort in Labelle, Québec – North of Mont Tremblant. It was a wet weekend, with constant showers and thunderstorm every half an hour. That didn’t deflate our spirits; we still had fun and managed to enjoy every activity we planned, soaked or dry!
The long drive began at 6am on Friday, detouring to Montréal for a Venezuelan lunch (at Arepera) and Chocolate Almond Croissants (at Au Pain Doré). Our car rental was upgraded for free to an SUV! Roomy and comfy.
After battling Montréal traffic, we continued to our final destination. The drive from Mont Tremblant to Labelle was scenic with mountains all around. When at last we pulled up to our Papineau Chalet at Blueberry Lake resort, we were in awe! The Chalet was luxurious & gorgeous, exactly how it looked on their website. It was 3 floors with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen, a pool table, and a hot tub in the backyard.
We wanted to hike a bit before sunset. As soon as we stepped out of the driveway, the drizzling became a downpour and thunderstorm. Too bad! We headed back and cooked dinner – Mac n’ Cheese! It was fun but disastrous. Never use mozzarella cheese unless you are making pizza! In the end, butter saved everything and it was edible. That was all that mattered.
The next morning began with soaking in the hot tub, followed by canoeing. Thunderstorm greeted us as soon as we got our life jackets and we retreated indoors. We braved the wilderness soon after when it became a drizzle. Blueberry Lake (Lac aux Bleuet) was beautiful but small.
Then it was my highly anticipated event of all events – cycling!! I gave props to my friends for agreeing to do this with me. The rental bikes were embarrassing and I refused to ride the ones with a basket. The bikes didn’t have gears or brakes; I felt completely out of my comfort zone. I originally mapped a route to the infamous P’tit Train du Nord trail but simply getting out of the long hilly gravel road to the main road proved too difficult. 10min later, I had enough of the bike. Let’s hike!
Hike it was …. for close to 2 hours. We got lost – I blame the poor markings.
Once we found our way to civilization at 1:30pm, we were starving!! Time for lunch at Kayak Café!! The sun finally appeared! We soaked it up on the patio, enjoying the view and food.
The Café was right beside the P’tit Train du Nord. If I can’t ride it, I must at least walk it! This trail is 200km and runs through the Laurentians to North of Montréal. It was built on an old CPR railroad track which closed in the 1980s, resulting in a flat and easy trail.
The walk on a flat trail quickly became dull. We headed back to the chalet and split up: 2 of us (me included) went paddle-boating and more hiking; the rest of us went swimming.
I was exhausted when all was done. We made dinner again Saturday night – baked marinara pasta, garlic cheese toast, and s’mores. Bare basics but quick and hit the spot!
Sunday morning was checkout day as we prepared for the long drive home. We stopped at Mont Tremblant en route since none of us had been there. I was intrigued by all the Ironman Mont Tremblant signs posted everywhere!! We took the free lift to the base of the mountain & walked a bit up the mountain to overlook the Village. Very scenic!
At my request, we did a detour to Gatineau Park (Parc de la Gatineau) all the way up to Belvédère Champlain, crossing our fingers that the remaining gas could take us back to the city later. I wanted to relive my Gran Fondo Gatineau bicycle race route. I could never stop and enjoy the Lookouts while racing there for the past 2 years. Now was the perfect opportunity to finally snap some photos and take in the scenery.
The hiking trails were amazing too, too bad there was no time to fully explore.
The rest of the journey included more driving and spotting 4 rainbows along the way! This was a downright tightly packed and productive trip. We had a fantastic time and I felt like we did a lot within 3 days!
Mon. Aug 5 (Terra Cotta)
My cycling craving was not satisfied in Quebec. I woke up Monday morning and rode to Terra Cotta, purposely to spectate the annual Tour de Terra Cotta. I spent half the day at the top of the hill, enjoying the agony on the riders’ face! I cheered them on of course …
A spectacular and enjoyable long weekend indeed. How was yours?