The city of Montreal sits at the base of the St. Lawrence River Valley, but it is bordered to the south by the Monteregian Hills and to the north by the Laurentian Highlands. As a result, once winter arrives there are skiing and snowshoeing opportunities available only a short drive away, even if there is little snow present in the metropolitan area.
So, once November arrives, expect that you may ski or snowshoe as much as you want, regardless of what the conditions are in downtown Montreal, if you are prepared to travel a short distance to the hills nearby.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
On September 20, I hiked several routes inside Mont Orford Provincial Park near Magog in the Eastern Townships. The first hike I undertook was Mont Chauvre, a 9km climbing trail to the top of a rocky peak. The view at the top was expansive and impressive.
But that paled in comparison to what I was to see later in the day, when I hiked the 10km (return) to the Pic de L'Ours on the Sentier des Cretes. There are numerous locations along the route that reveal great views, but at the peak, more than 400 demanding metres above the trailhead, a 360 degree vista presents itself as a reward to the weary climber.
It is definitely worth the climb.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
There are many wonderful trails that will be featured in the upcoming Hiking Trails of Montreal, but in my opinion, the route on Mont Saint-Hilaire will be one of the highlights.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Sentier du Carcan, one of the newest routes in the park, climbs the second-highest peak in the park (Mont Carcan: 883 m). This trail is a 14.4 km round trip, with short side trails to several viewing areas that add an additional 500m of walking to the total.
I have not decided yet whether Sentier du Carcan will be included in Hiking Trails of Montreal. There are so many good, but challenging, hiking options available in the Laurentians and Lanadiere that a choice will be difficult to make. Unless, of course, I decide to include only level 3-5 hikes in these regions. However, Sentier du Carcan ranks highly in what I have walked so far, and the work of SEPAQ deserves to be supported.
Check it out for yourself!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
So it is critically important to the success of a book to plan what will be included long before the writing begins. In the case of Hiking Trails of Montréal, that meant, among other things, deciding how many trail listings will be profiled.
In the previous entry, I mentioned that I had selected an area within a 100-150 km distance of the Island of Montréal Hill as the region to be profiled in this book. As any experienced outdoor person knows, Montréal are blessed with hundreds of possible hiking destinations inside that small area, and thousands of kilometers of possible walking.
However, if I attempted to profile every trail, the Hiking Trails of Montréal would be little more than a shopping list, with very small amounts of information available about any particular trail. Either that, or I could produce a volume of 1,000 pages or so - but I think the resulting price tag would be too high for most people. Creating lists is excellent for Websites; books need to be more selective.
For me, two facts are critically important for each trail profiled: how to find the start (trailhead), and what will be seen when on the trail. Obviously, you need to be able to find your way to the trail in order to hike it, but many books I have seen somehow fail to provide adequate or clear directions, and I find few things as frustrating as driving an hour for a hike and being unable to find "the third driveway past the blue house", or some similarly unhelpful postings. Perhaps even more importantly, once on the trail you should be able to follow a route without becoming lost. Again, some books provide such vague comments about a particular route that it is as much by luck as by design that a hiker is able to navigate their way.
To provide even this basic information accurately, approximately 1,000 words of text is required for each trail listing. Add supporting information such as natural history facts, hiking tips, maps, and general background, and for a book limited to about 350 pages - about $20-25 retail). That works out to being able to squeeze about 50 walking routes between the covers.
So, expect that Hiking Trails of Montréal will provide detailed descriptions of 50 hiking routes within a 100-150 km circle of the Island of Montréal.
Next Post: How were the profiled trails chosen?