This past Thanksgiving was different for me. This is usually a holiday that we don’t celebrate much on both sides of our family. It’s not like Christmas and New Year (which I have 2 of, by the way, because hubby’s side also celebrates Orthodox Christmas & New Year). We’re usually both working on Thanksgiving, but this year, we both had the day off and weren’t up for the long 4-hour drive to my aunt’s just to eat then drive back, so we opted to stay home.
The best part of that day was the weather. October usually is cool and rainy, but that day was beautiful and sunny. I called up my sisters and asked them if they had anything planned and asked them if they wanted to join me for a hike on Mont St-Hilaire, something I new they absolutely wanted to do. They couldn’t refuse.
I had to convince hubby to join me as he’s intended on boycotting Quebec’s National Parks. You see… We’re animal lovers. We have two medium-large dogs. One is a husky/German shepherd and the other is a husky/golden labrador. They love being in nature. You can sense the joy when you release them and run free. But unfortunately, we’re not allowed to bring any dog, even one that’s leashed, into any Quebec National Park or hiking trail. Hubby and I have recently discovered our new-found love for camping, hiking and being in nature, and the mere thought of us experiencing all this beautiful planet has to offer while our dogs are caged inside a house all by themselves, to us, is absolutely out of the question. Therefore, I agree with him. We spend our money outside of La Belle Province for this reason. We will go camping in Ontario because dogs are allowed on most campgrounds, but most of all because they’re allowed on the trails. We will even drive down to Vermont or New York to go camping and hiking in the Adirondacks. However, in order to make it worth our while, we need at least 2 night and 3 days.
This day was all we had. Not even 12 hours to enjoy the weather that Mother Nature was offering us… on Thanksgiving Day of all days! So I managed to convince hubby that even though we couldn’t bring our dogs, to just think of the beautiful view once we reached the summit and how we would still enjoy the fact that we’re hiking. I mean… everything was in our favor. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
The typical hour an a half drive to the mountain ended up being a two and a half hour drive as practically everyone else in the province had the same idea we did. Traffic was insane and it was starting to get hubby grumpy. Once we finally arrived at the main entrance, we were challenged with the awesome task of finding a parking spot. Parking spot found a few moments later, it was now time for the hike.
Hubby likes a challenge so he decided to walk (read: run) the longest and most difficult trail. Rocky2: 4.7 km with 400m (1,312 ft.) elevation. I’ve been having some health issues lately so I wanted to be cautious and it was also my sisters’ first hike… ever, so we decided to take a beginner trail. It’s #3 of 6 for trail length on the mountain. Pain-de-Sucre: 2.7 km with 413, (1,355 ft.) elevation. Because it was my sisters’ first hike, they weren’t properly equipped when it comes to footwear, so they were sliding on some of the rocks. Halfway up the mountain, we decided to take a tiny break to sit on a giant rock and capture the moment.
Back onto the trail we went, climbing some rocks and looking out for those darn tree roots so we don’t trip over them. Throughout the entire hike you could hear the leaves rustling in the wind above our heads and the fallen leaves crunching beneath our feet. We’re almost there. One last huge rock and we have made it. Done! We have reached the top. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The clear blue sky contrasted the changing foliage below perfectly.
After admiring the view for a while, it was time to make our way back down. It’s always easier, and faster, going down than going up. We arrived at the start of the trail and made a quick little stop at the washroom before we hit the road for another hour an a half drive. Five minutes into the drive we noticed a cool-looking restaurant and decided we needed to refuel. We ate our meal and enjoyed every single bite of it.
Overall, I think hubby would agree. Though he was initially reluctant to participate, this past Thanksgiving day was unforgettable. It is needless to say that we have a lot to be thankful for.