As we told you yesterday, today is a day to get to know each other and the territory where we will live for the next few days. Three main moments marked this day: the discovering wolves, visiting a sled dog kennel, and walking on a sandy beach. A busy day but at a rather slow pace, somewhat like a waltz!
After waking up to the sound of the ukulele and the voices of Marie-Michelle and Catherine, the two facilitators and game masters of this expedition, and a breakfast that seemed to satisfy everyone, it was time to discover the world of wolves.
The group is divided into two by Marie-Michelle and each group leaves with their guides; Gilles and Neal make a pair and Gwenaël make the second one. The objective is to go around the very large enclosures to try to spot the arctic wolves and learn more about them. Tons of questions arise: Where do they come from? Why in such large enclosures? Why does one pack seem less wild than the others? What do you feed them? – answer: moose collected from butchers who sell this meat during the hunt – In what quantity? How many times per week?
The wolves are there, most of them staying under the trees, but some more curious and get a little closer to the fences separating us and finally, we wonder who is watching whom?
All these questions make us hungry and this walk around the enclosures, we go down to the Mistassini River where our Amerindian-inspired lunch awaits us.
To help digestion, we leave for a walk towards the place to observe thirty sled dogs used by Aventuraid during the winter. When we arrive, we walk in front of the puppy pen, and everyone is under the cuteness overload spell.
Right next to it, the pen for retired dogs; after an active career, they deserve their time off … a canine version of the bigenerational home.
After having received strict instructions on how to behave and safety rules from Raphaël, the musher, we enter the dog pen, the ones are still active in winter. And as soon as we approach them, the dogs repeatedly beg for petting and scratching sessions. Everyone, participants, and facilitators have an intensive pet therapy session. It is not very clear who benefits most from petting, those who pet or those being pet.
And finally, it’s the third big moment of the day.
A van trip to the energy sector of the Parc des Grandes Rivières, during which masks and Purell are required, then followed by a short hike to the beach.
– I momentarily interrupt my writing to enjoy another concert from the wolves. I am always impressed as it reminds me of the concept of Wild-FI, this reconnection with nature from which everyone benefits when we stop everything to embrace it. I believe that if nature needed a modem to communicate with us this is the sound it would make. –
After a swim enjoyed by all, our facilitators suggest a moment of silence alone to ease this contact with nature. Nothing esoteric, just a little time to yourself to listen and watch what is surrounding you.
Preview of tomorrow: If today has been filled with activities aimed at establishing contact with our surroundings, tomorrow will be a day when we make connect with our activity for the next few days, canoeing.
– Louis-Étienne Prévost, Blogger and Photographer for the On the Tip of the Toes Foundation