Our next stop in Quebec involved us ‘getting lost’ in nature and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect for it.
Given as it was in autumn, the weather has been a bit cool for the past few days but for some reason, on this one day, it just got ridiculously warm.
Like, warm enough that the ladybugs were out flying everywhere – which is apparently a thing that happens when they’d been getting ready for the cold but suddenly get a warm and sunny day. It seems like a mundane thing to mention but they were everywhere! Like millions of them!
But I digress… Anyway, on this day, we left Auberge and its pretty lake and headed over to the forests of Montcalm Regional Park where would be staying with Amishk Aventures Amériendiennes, a First Nations site where you get an interesting insight into how the nomadic First Nations people of Quebec live.
We would be staying in a tent in the woods and it was something of a first for me – especially so in Canada.
After chucking our stuff into the tent, we headed out to explore the forest around us.
It’s so pleasantly serene here and has lots of nooks and crannies where you can just kick back and soak up all of the beautiful scenery around you.
But here’s my favourite bit of the entire place – the families of beavers here who, perhaps because of how secluded the area here is, just go about their daily business without a care in the world.
We picked a spot in the woods near one of their dams and sure enough, there they were, beavering away! 😀 It was actually incredible! Partly because I don’t think I’ve ever seen beavers that close up but mostly because of how dramatically they can change the entire area they live in.
Like, I still find it mind-boggling how these tiny little animals can chop down huge trees (with their teeth no less) and move it all around to create these dams. It’s even more impressive when you see how effective the dams are at creating these layers of mini-lakes above each other.
The only animal I’ve seen change a landscape so dramatically (and not even nearly as impressive as this) is the African elephant and even then, given their size, that experience made sense.
Elephants easily weigh hundreds of times more than beavers and have the strength to do all of this work very easily. Plus for the most part, elephants just look like they’ve wrecked the place whereas beavers look like they’ve just created these beautiful new ecosystems.
Suffice to say, it took a lot to tear me away from the beavers but alas, there was one thing I knew we had to do before it got too dark and that was to head out rowing on the lake next to where our tent was.
Rowing on that lake was incredible and slightly surreal. It was so calm and flat, with nothing else in the background but the sound of birds getting ready to settle in for the night.
Coming from a busy city like London, where even at 3 am, I sometimes need to shut the window because it’s just too loud outside made this whole experience feel even more special. I think it just kinda heralded the serenity we miss living in the city and felt like such a brilliant escape, even if just for an evening
Dinner that night was made by our First Nations host after which we retired to bed, eager to explore even more of the Montcalm forest.
The weather the next morning was having none of it though. All my grand plans to head out exploring (and perhaps even sneak in a quick visit to the area we saw the beavers in the evening before) all went right out of the window, thanks to some rather strong rain!
With that, we decided to stay nice and dry indoors with pots of tea and snacks when the First Nations family we were staying with decided to show us how to make some of the stuff they would typically have used back in the day.
Lacking the dexterity to make some of the more impressive and rather complicated designs, I opted for something else that caught my eye earlier – a medicines pouch. It was actually quite fun to make and a tad trickier than I initially anticipated.
Slowly, the rain started to dissipate a bit and after a quick lunch, we said farewell to Amishk Aventures Amériendiennes and headed off to a city, I had a lot of fun (and lots of tongue-twisting) trying to pronounce (*hint: It’s right next to where the Prime Minister works).
But more on that in the next post.