Thursday, September 9, 2010

Trans Canada Trail - Segment St Tite Des Caps

This one should be a fitting reply to all those Canadian jokes floating around !

After ten months of being awestruck by US (less than a month from Colorado & then Texas), i finally decide to look back at Canada for some new hikes.

The Trans Canada trail ( is a 18000+ Km trail which runs across Canada. It is still under construction in almost all provinces - However, there are some segments which are already open to public.

So, I decide to do some research on getting information on hikes in and around Quebec. I was disappointed with the information available on the net and hence purchased the Trans Canada trail manual for Quebec which has all the details of the trail within Quebec. The Quebec trail connects Ontario in the west to New Brunswick in the east.

I read the manual thoroughly and decide on a segment which begins from St. Tite Des Caps. The full segment is a 3 night/4 day trek of 37 Kms - However, after realising my stamina (or lack of it!) from the recent Colorado trek, i lock down an itinerary for 1 night/2 Days.
Rias, a friend of mine, was also looking for some adventure in his life (not that he didnt have any in his life !! His story some other time)joined me - So, the adventure begins with just 2 people...

After my previous blunder of overestimating public transport during my skydive session (, I do thorough research on how to reach the trailhead. In fact, there was also a contingency plan - just in case we miss public transport timings.
So, everything was set and our itinerary for DAY 1 looked something like this:

SATURDAY, 4th Sept
0400 AM : Get ready
0500 AM : Leave for Berri-Uqam
0600 AM : Take the bus for Quebec
0915 AM : Arrive Quebec
0945 AM : Intercar to Saint Tite Des Caps
1025 AM : Arrive Saint Tite Des Caps
1030 AM-1200 PM : Finish Breakfast and reach trailhead
1200 PM - 1230 PM : Finish formalities at Visitor’s center
1230 PM – 0630 PM : Reach Camp Gribane
0630 PM – 0730 PM : Setup tent
0800 PM : Dinner/Snacks
0830 PM : Go to sleep

Everything seemed perfect and we were tracking to plan. We reached the trailhead on time (despite getting lost for a Km or so !!!)

Just at the start of the trail

Rias at the start of the trail

The trek was arduous and there were frequent uphill climbs. However, the uphill climbs were not very steep and always had a downhill or a flat patch following them.

Pose time

There were quite a few view points on the way - However, almost all of them had pretty long detours from the trail. But, we went to all of them despite not being able to see anything due to fog !! The fog/cloud cover had made our lives easy as hiking a trail like this under heavy sunlight would dehydrate you pretty fast and you could have trouble if you dont have enough water.

Courtesy: Rias & the wide angle lens

For your interpretation !!

At the crossing of various trails - bright spot for getting lost

Rias' prayers were answered and we got some sunlight !!

However, as we neared the camp site, the cloud cover was clearing up and the last couple of view points gave us some breath-taking views of St Laurence river (the largest river in Canada !).. The wide angle lens, which we had rented for this ocassion, was put to use in the best possible manner..

A look back at the dense vegetation

The mighty St Lawrence river !

We managed to reach the campsite as per plan, somewhere around 5PM. We setup our tent and were feeling really happy that almost everything was perfect until then - the weather, public transport, the trail..

Thats when we realised that things were not going to be that way for long !! We had forgotten our water filter and the water at campsite was not fit for drinking. Luckily for us, there were couple more tents at the campsite and we were offered help by a generous group. We filled our hydration packs for the trip back next day. We had been on a bar (energy bars - just in case you thought something else !) diet for the last 7-8 hours and were starving for some food. This was exactly the mistake we had made at Colorado when we had starved ourselves throughout the day went the nigth without dinner..

I was getting a feel that the 'rainy colorado night' was repeating itself...

Having no other option, we munched a couple of bars each and slept (Actually, I slept and Rias was on the phone with 'You know whom' !!). And it did rain hevily. We could hear the sound of water hitting the tent - rain coupled with heavy winds can be very distressing during a hike. It would have been really tough if things didnt improve the next day. We just hoped things would get better...
We got up after a good night's sleep (unlike Colorado) in single digit temperatures and moderate wind. The best part was that it was NOT raining. We packed our stuff, thanked the guys who had helped us last night and head back to the trail head which about 10KMs away.
The hike back was again very pleasant we were going through a dense forest and the sun was busy playing hide and seek with the clouds..

We reach the trailhead on time (in fact much before time as the way back was through a different trail - much shorter but more steeper).

There are shorter hikes for kids

Rias trying to be different !!

We had a 4 hr wait before the bus comes in - this is the worst part of taking public transit. The waits are inevitable...

What next??

However, we were really satisfied with the entire hike - It was more or less an ideal hike with the best possible weather conditions.

Coming up next: Ski season !!

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