What a privilege it is to wake up on this Sunday morning at the foot of Mount Albert. This majestic mountain, which seems to watch over us, inspires respect and humility.
The day begins slowly with a visit to the Park’s interpretive centre. We learn about our environment in the coming days, the mountains’ creation, the flora and fauna that is found there. A pertinent introduction before going out to discover the surroundings.
Back at the shelters, we receive our equipment to enjoy winter and learn the basics of the multi-layer clothing system, cold and energy management, and dealing with the small discomforts that may occur. A good discipline and listening to ourselves will be important.
After a good lunch to restore our energy, we finally put on our snowshoes. The first steps are fairly strange, but everyone gets used to them very quickly and the beauty of the landscape quickly overwhelms us. The day’s hike, about 7 km on a flat path, will be the perfect time to test our skills.
After only a few steps, we find the first surprise. We’re lucky to see two moose a few metres away in the forest. We observe them from a distance and start walking again until we reach the next surprise. Lying in the snow, it notices our presence but does not seem to care too much. Out of respect for it and its territory, we take a different trail for a short time.
We are now in the middle of the forest. The trees are beautifully covered with snow, only the noise of our snowshoes on the ground can be heard. Along a partially frozen salmon river, we walk single file, admiring the vegetation and different points of view.
After a few kilometres, we pause for a short break. In front of the Ernest-Laforce Summit, sitting in circles, we discuss our expedition objectives. Each of us is here for the adventure, but also to discover our physical abilities, get out of our comfort zone, free our minds and enjoy the moment. We share a very emotional and gentle moment here. We are reminded that the ordeal is sometimes heavy to bear but being in a group with people like us confirms that we are normal and above all not responsible for the disease. Eventually, everyone will perhaps be able to highlight positive aspects of these trials. Georgie and Jayden also mentioned that they want to help the group get there.
For the coming days, the important thing is to take time for ourselves, have fun, laugh a lot and live!
Back at the camp, we are proud of our first hike. We set a tent, a big dome in which we’ll put some of our luggage in it to make more space in the shelters. The team effort is amazing. Because the dome being so big, many of us are needed to get it up.
Tonight, Serena and Gerald are Charles’ chief assistants. A good hot meal will do the greatest good and help for a good night’s rest.