GRAND EXPEDITION WINTER 2019 (19-29) – DAY 5 – To Each their Own Summit

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The first night of winter camping was a success! Everyone liked it and the cold didn’t seem to be a problem. It must be said that the tents are well heated and that our logistics team took turns getting up put wood in the stove. We are very lucky to be so well surrounded. Congratulations to the entire team of Sur la Pointe des Pieds!
Waking up in the gentle light on this Wednesday morning created a sort of feverish atmosphere in our camp. It was nice, we felt good. All of us together, happy to be here.

Today will be our biggest day of hiking. We have a premium weather conditions: blue skies, warm sunshine and plenty of snow.

We will start with the Peak Sterling of Saint-Réal’s Monts Vallières. The walk begins slowly, the whole group together with a few gaps, so that everyone can walk at their own pace and stay within their limits. Slowly, the group separates in two. We walk through the forest following the trail covered with moose tracks. The front group is moving further and further away, and there are only four people left at the back. Rustling in the branches on our left draws our attention, and suddenly, we see it. First through the branches and now this beautiful moose comes out of the woods and continues its way. These are the advantages of staying behind.

The journey continues, and we begin the climb. Charles and Isabelle warned us this morning that the trail would be steeper, more difficult than the previous days. That is why they provided us with two alternatives. At some point, we stop to eat, take the group pictures, and then we break up into two groups again. Some are going to the summit, so sustained pace and a lot of energy will be required. The second group will follow the same path, but in a more contemplative mode. Taking the time to stop more often and enjoy the sight. Let us remember that the important thing is not the summit, but the path we have travelled.

For my part, I left with the group going to the top, with a sustained pace. The rhythm is good with the climbs steady. We are opening our own path in the beautiful, powdery snow. The view is breathtaking. The clear skies provide the scenery of the surrounding mountains. We continue, and the summit is within sight. We are now exposed; the snow changes texture, the vegetation becomes more northern, and the wind more present. When we get to the top, it’s euphoria. Jayden, Serena, Audrey, Georgi, Antoine and Catherine are so proud of themselves. That sense of freedom, that anything is possible. They travelled 6.4 km with about 550 m of elevation to the peak of 950 m.

The second group also continued along the path and took very steep slopes. They made their way to the plateau preceding the last climb to the top. The sight was just as magnificent, and their pride was second to none. What an incredible effort everyone has overcome. Adam, Alexandra, Nicholas, Angel and Gerald surpassed themselves with a hike of about 4–5 km and 300 m up.

The way downhill is gentle, at time, slipping on our rear ends. A child’s great delight.

Back at the camp, the two groups joined together and shared their respective adventures with the greatest smiles. It looks like it’s going to be a relaxed evening. We will enjoy the camp, Charles’ good supper. We chat, laugh. The good life! The night will be sweet, and we are already looking forward to finding out what will be tomorrow’s experience.