Expédition traversée des deux Mario

The event started at 6:30 AM, just before sunrise, for the participants in the first edition of the two Mario’s Double Challenge 2019. This first edition will take a corporate twist with the Rio Tinto cohort.

On the Roberval ice village, the arrival of the bus is clearly heard as the tires squeak their way through the extreme cold that Mother Nature is offering. It’s -40 °C with the wind chill factor. The adventure on the ice of Lac-St-Jean turns out to be a northern one and at the limit of comfort. However, the weather forecast is milder for Saturday and Sunday. We’ll see then…

The first step in The challenge is to sit our rear ends in the warm bus for about 1:15 on our way to St-Henri-de-Taillon. Not too complicated so far! From there, all the necessary equipment will be provided to the brave ones for the upcoming trips and to spend the next two nights winter camping, lying directly on the ice of Lac-St-Jean.

Then, it is time to load the sleds, collect the snacks, fill up the water cans and dress properly before the great departure. At the starting line, we find Mario Cantin and Mario Bilodeau, all smiles, faithful founders of this great adventure.

For the first time since the dual challenge was created, Mario Bilodeau will not be able to take part in the challenge. Unfortunately, he broke his collarbone last week. However, he took the stand to say a few words and to express his disappointment for not being able to come along.

Today, it’s 11 km that we have all walked together under the rallying cries of the “Double challenge of the two Mario RIO TINTO” participants, for youth!

It would be a lie to say that it was easy today, but we were lucky. From the time of departure until noon, the weather was relatively calm. Beautiful sun and little wind. After lunch, the wind picked up and we could feel the cold. Memorable fact: that the snow patterns on the lake and the wind gusts interacting with the sun brought a fantastic atmosphere.

By the time we got to the camp, we would almost think that we were in a polar “club med.’ Volunteers are really at it, the outdoor kitchen has been set up, along with six large domed tents in which we will pile up for the night.

It’s time to settle down and relax a little. On the menu tonight: tomato and lentil soup, mushroom risotto and Queen Elizabeth cake for dessert. It was delicious and so pleasant to eat a nice hot dish when the surrounding temperature is around -20 °C. A good time and jokes around the fire before slowly heading towards our respective dome for a rest on the frozen waters of Lac-St-Jean.

It is with a sense of pride and accomplishment that we will close our eyes in our down sleeping bag and get some rest for tomorrow’s biggest day.

Dave Jean, Blogger and Photographer for the

on the Tip of the Toes Foundation.