Bonne fête les filles

Special day on this July 25th: it’s not only campers’ Christmas, but also Justine’s birthday, just like Marie-Camille, the Foundation’s new recruit. So, we all got up on the sly and gathered around Justine’s tent and sang “Ma chère Justine, c’est à ton tour” to pull her out of sleep. No need to tell you that she really appreciated it!

Another highlight: blue skies are back! We needed it after 18 hours of practically continuous rain… It is with joy and great pleasure that we start singing some of the greatest Christmas classics while eating our oatmeal with fresh blueberries, picked around our camp.

We reach the river and take advantage of the present moment to let the rays of the sun caress our skins. A few kilometres on the river lead us upstream of the Bear Rapids, which we will obviously have to portage. It is a class-4 rapid, far too dangerous to paddle.

Back on the water, we then arrive to superb unnamed rapids, which we descend with big smiles on our faces. We have such fun that we go back up, portaging this time not only to go down again, but for the mere pleasure of doing it once more. The participants really amaze us by the ease they acquired using the canoeing techniques!

The day continues in the sun and the warmth and then, in the afternoon, with ravenous insects… They suddenly appeared in a meander of the river without warning… They had practically disappeared in the last few days and then there they are again, more voracious than ever! Partly to help us forget their presence, the participants sing loudly a “best of” of their not-so-distant adolescent memories ranging from Les Trois Accords’ “Hawaiian” to Jean Leloup’s “I Lost My Baby” to the Cowboys fringuants’ “En Berne” and the Backstreet Boys’ “Get Down”.

We set up camp on a wide sandy beach a little further down the river. The participants had planned a good swim once the camp ready, but they chose to stay safe under our netted mosquito shelter… The presence of mosquitoes, black flies and other undesirables did not, however, stop us from having supper around the fire, enjoying a surprising and delicious Sheppard’s pie cooked on site using a Dutch oven. Later on in the evening, this same cauldron will allow us to taste a chocolate cake made on the spot, to mark the two birthday girls’ special day. Party hats, balloons and greeting cards will give our camp an unparalleled festive atmosphere … despite the mosquitoes that will shorten our evening!

J-Charles Fortin, Blogger and Photographer for On the Tip of the Toes Foundation

The Noire River Expedition is presented by the Fondation Bon départ de Canadian Tire du Québec