For the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation, it’s another start. This expedition is the first to be launched after a two-year hiatus from regular activities due to COVID restrictions. The first day will be mainly devoted to travel between Montréal and Girardville, a day during which participants and volunteer guides will have the opportunity to establish a first contact. 

Yesterday, all the participants arrived from the east, from the west and even from the northwest of Canada. After a night at the hotel, everyone boarded the bus this morning at eight o’clock: Andrei, Christopher, Cooper, Eleni, Illyria, Jack, Jeanne, Kara, Keanen, Mathew, Maxime, Miriah, Samuel, and Samyra and the guides accompanying them on their adventure: Catherine, Isabelle, Naïla, Marie-Ève, and Marie-Michelle.

First stop, Trois-Rivières where Louis, the blogger and photographer, joins the team.

It is at this time that Marie-Michelle collects the cell phones. No cell phones and no watches, there is no better way experience the moment.

Almost magically, conversations come alive. The group has just adopted the “WIld-FI” mode.

We hit the road again, along the St-Maurice River, towards La Tuque, where we stop for a short lunch break.

From there, we head for the Lac St-Jean region, we make another short stop there to pick up the equipment requested by the participants. Barrels are added to the contents of the bus; they will keep equipment and clothing dry for the duration of the expedition.

The next and last stop of this long bus journey will be in Girardville.

Catherine and Marie-Michelle take advantage of the remaining time on the bus to review the material distributed.

All participants will be able to take home a fleece sweater and a buff-style headband in the colours of the Foundation.

We also give multicoloured strings to help identify the clothes because what looks more like a pair of black waterproof pants than another pair of black waterproof pants?

Finally, on a site at the end of the afternoon at Aventuraid, the partner providing the guiding service and located on the banks of the Mistassini River which will be our base.

The rooms are assigned, and after a period when everyone can tour the wolf pens, it’s already supper time. The maple chicken and the blueberry pie are unanimously appreciated.

At dusk, first campfire.

The guides who will accompany us join us for this first moment of discussion.

Together, we all discover that the adventure begins earlier than expected and that the group’s ability to adapt is tested.

Indeed, the heavy rains of the last few days have raised the level and flow of the river. And consequently, the places where we could set up camp for a group as large as ours have become too small. And from a safety perspective, the areas, where a 12-boat fleet can be stopped, are also scarcer.

So, we move on to plan B that our facilitators had already thought up and finally, it is not the Mistassibi Nord-Ouest, but rather the Mistassini that we are going to descend.

Tomorrow, on the program, a contact with our environment and a visit to the site that hosts us.


– Louis-Étienne Prévost, Blogger and Photographer for the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation


P.S.: I was going to forget, this evening we heard the first concert of the wolves. AMAZING and so beautiful!