After a transportation day in the direction of St-Aimé-des-lacs, we will take time to get to know each other and to be well prepared for the expedition. Before actually leaving on the expedition, we will have a first introduction day dog sledding. We will finish packing up and then, we will leave for five days on the trails. Once the dogs harnessed and sleds loaded, we will follow the path that will lead us to our first campsite. For five days, we will explore the trails found at the foot of Parc des Hautes Gorges and experience the life of “ mushers” (dog leaders).
We will move in groups with the luggage needed on our sleds, learning to handle our dog teams well and taking care of them. In the evening, we will stay in cabins or wood-heated shelters. Around our camp, we will get the dogs ready for the night and make sure to feed them before having dinner ourselves and spending the evening in the warmth of the stove.
To reach our destination and enjoy a rewarding and positive experience, we will form a small community in which the contribution of each participant will be important. Beyond the distance that we will cover, this expedition is initially intended as an extraordinary group experience.
Members of the expedition
We will be accompanied by a professional medical team – comprised of a physician, a nurse and a social worker – that oversees the health of all participants in the expedition. Seasoned “On the Tip of the Toes” facilitators ensure the smooth functioning of the expedition along with experienced adventure guides who are thoroughly familiar with the territory to be explored. We will also have a blogger who will take photos during the entire trip and write a daily blog.
Noah S. participant, winter 2016
Colette B. participant, winter 2016
Geography and History
A delightful country with a rather eventful geological past, Charlevoix has an ecosystem that perfectly represents the boreal forest. The discontinuous and parcelled relief of the area contributes greatly to the beauty which everyone acknowledges. Mountains, rocky cliffs, plateaus and valleys are based on a more than two-billion year-old bedrock.
The St. Lawrence River, the Saguenay Fjord, the Palisades’ rocky front, the Saguenay-St-Laurent Marine Park, The Grands-Jardins National Park, the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park, and the Charlevoix crater reflect the scale and the natural wealth of our region. The Charlevoix region is one of 357 Biosphere Reserves recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in 90 countries. Charlevoix contains a nearly complete sample of the types of Quebec forest, the taiga, and tundra. The caribou, arctic wildlife species, and the great wolf, all live there which is rare at this latitude.
In the snowy backcountry of Charlevoix, at the foothills of the Hautes-Gorges park, the practice of dog sledding is a real treat. There, Rivière Malbaie slows its course to touch the stones of some of the highest slopes east of the Rockies: the Elie and Jeremie Mountains, and the Érables Mountain.
It created one of the most stunning valleys in Quebec. This wooded, mountainous region, World Biosphere Reserve, is traversed by numerous hilly paths that will delight you and your canine companions. In the evening around the stove, all recount “their exploits” of the day in the cozy atmosphere of the log cabins. *
*Text from the website Descente Malbaie, our partner for this expedition
Travel from Montreal or Quebec city by bus to Charlevoix. Exact time and location to be announced. Get acquainted evening and preparations. Lodging at Chalet le Pic-bois
Preparation day. Dog sled initiation. Night at the same place.
Expedition: 4 to 5 h dogsledding everyday. Lunch on the trail. Everybody participate in camp chores (care for the dogs, etc.). A different camp site almost at each day.
Travel by bus (or plane) to return home. Meeting with parents in the afternoon. Exact time and location to be announced.