NOTE: Our volunteer blogger joined the group on day 3 of the expedition, so this is herfirst entry on Sunday evening March 12.

The blog will have a slightly different look today since I finally joined the group under a warm sun, almost 72 hours behind on the adventure… bad luck – a very unwelcome bad cold delayed my arrival at the Seigneury.

I sincerely look forward to meeting the participants and the connection that is the heart of the expedition. I am also looking forward to exploring this paradise of forests, lakes and snow, seemingly watched over by Triton. Did you know that he is a sea god according to Greek mythology (unless the name of the facility is in reference to tritons, these cute amphibians from the salamander family).

In any case, back on my feet, now in the middle of nature with lots of beautiful people to meet, I feel the half-salamander-half-woman-of-the-woods goddess waking up inside me and I love it!

Since I was not here on Sunday, I bring you the stories that the others told me about that day. I hope my pen will be up to the task. In any case, I can tell you right away: Wow, how beautiful it is here, we are treated like real gods!

So the day went like this…

BIP-BIIIIPPPP-BIPPPPP-BIPPP; rude awakening – it’s the fire alarm!

Don’t panic, it’s just the bacon that’s burning! (My dear god Triton, but this is serious burning bacon, I implore you to save it!)

The situation was back under control a few minutes before the alarm rang again, arousing those who had managed to “snooze” through the first. This stressful episode has been jokingly renamed: the morning of the “bacon-alarm”. But since pretty much everyone likes bacon, there was still a smile!

After this awakening, a little dry, but greasy at the same time, we had a “luxury trucker” lunch, with fine cheeses and everything! Enough to satisfy our stomachs before setting off, snowshoe-clad into the boreal forest accompanied by Mathieu, our guest survival specialist.

With him, we learned a lot about tracking, but especially about the personality of the animals, about the story behind their tracks. In this way the snow records the passage of a lynx, facing the wind, on the hunt, but also of a fox and a weasel.

As if that were not enough, we also learned how to make fire without fire, in a primitive way! To achieve this, a fire bow or flint was used – no one took a lighter out of their pockets! Some participants showed a fierce determination to succeed; special congratulations to Érika who really gave it her all and finally managed to create a flame!

Lunch was served in a large fisherman’s refuge: grilled smoked-meat sandwich, with pickles, mustard and coleslaw. It seems that Schwartz (famous Montreal smoked meat restaurant) has some serious competition.

In a meditative mood, Mathieu took the opportunity to ask people what makes the flame burn inside them. Interesting question that I later took up with part of the group in the evening, in the living room. Dylan, Nads, Ben, Dillan, Félycia, Chrystopher, Nikki (who called themselves “The domesticated bunch”; it reeks of an “inside-joke”, pardon my anglicism) interrupted their discussion, game of dice and writing time to tell me about the joy that comes from such things as: disconnecting, their family, helping others, books, positive thinking and good food (like the osso buco for supper, yes, you have read correctly!). “It was a bew day” that I am told unanimously; read “beau” with a beautiful English accent as a diminutive of “beautiful”. Let’s say it’s beautiful (or ”bew”) to see a bilingual group jump from one language to another and make efforts to communicate.

Back at the chalet, a good part of the gang stayed to warm their skins in the sun a little longer on the patio while others opted for a last long shower before the epic winter camping that awaits us tomorrow.

The day ended quietly with a free evening where many continued to develop precious ties and exchange odds and ends by the light of the wood stove.

In retrospect, you could say that this day was ‘all fired up’: fire alarm renamed the ”bacon-alarm”, smoked meat at lunch, fires without fire challenge and finally, a conversation on what makes our interior flame burn in front of a fireplace.

I’m dying to know the rest of this burning adventure, but for now, it’s mostly my eyes that are burning with fatigue… Time for bed!


Marie-Hélène, apprentice goddess

Blogger and photographer for the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation