Fabienne Macé

Without our phones, our sense of time disappeared. We were awakened by Catherine and Marie-Christine singing Country Road to the ukelele. That set the tone for the day: fun and joy galore.

It was our last breakfast within the warmth of the inn. Participants sat together and conversations sparked spontaneously while our eyelids were heavy from sleep.

Gusts of wind swept across the reservoir today. Fortunately, though, beautiful sunshine graced our first 5 kilometres. The islands sheltered us from the wind, but while crossing at a distance, we could see white-crested wavelets. Our rabaskas swayed and our arm muscles flexed in time.

Lunch with a view

When we arrived, lunch was set up on a rocky plateau overlooking the lake. Our sanitary facilities – comprised of toilets and our ingenious solution for a sink – were much appreciated. All worries about getting cold during the break vanished at the sight of the piping hot quinoa-vegetable soup.


The weather took a turn for the worse. We quickly gathered our material and faced the 5 remaining kilometres to camp. While we paddled, alternating at times to allow for rest, the dictionary game was in full swing. First the classics: Animals (can anyone suggest an animal that starts with an N?!), then Food (same, for the letter U!). Then, Thanh suggested another category: Medication! A, B, C, D, E… we went through the entire alphabet within a matter of minutes. Peals of merry laughter punctuated the answers shouted from one rabaska to another. Mockery won 1-0, good going gang!!

A mindful moment

Rock climbers come to Poisson Blanc Reservoir for its multiple routes that can only be reached by boat. The aptly-named Paroi Elephant is quite impressive. We stopped to admire the rock wall for a few minutes. Not a climber in sight today. We kept our two boats close together while we closed our eyes, breathed easy and tuned in to the elements of nature that surrounded us.

Our magical moment

We started off under the bright sun, but the rain in the forecast caught up with us. Hoods had to be pulled over tuques to keep them dry and warm. Thank you, Catherine, for taking care of us as you do!

Gusts of wind drove the rain horizontally. As we gazed at the chalky sky, a rainbow unfurled itself in front of our wide eyes. And to top it off, it was a perfect arc. Wow!! Amazing! Spirited exclamations of admiration were heard, no less than what might be expected at a fireworks display.

A little farther, while the rain became coarser, our guides pointed out the Rocher du Mont-Blanc. Is there a link to the mythical Alpine summit? Well no, not really. In this case, the name is justified by colour alone. Yes, do you see? Seagulls have colonized the small rocky island, coating it with their white excrement. What other names have anglophones and francophones come up with? I’ll leave that to your imagination.

A grandiose camp

We could make Serge out at a distance, making airplane-landing signs on the expanse of beach that was awash with the sun. This would be our spot for the night. Our arms were tired, but everyone was feeling playful. Marie-Michelle had us form a circle. Closer… even closer… and we congratulated one another for the accomplishments of the day. Catherine started a game, chanting “Alibaba and the 40 thieves”. Several participants were confused. If you don’t understand the game immediately, you are not alone.

We warmed our hands on our bowls filled with squash soup, everyone had seconds of the macaroni, and the pouding chômeur was warm from the woodfire. What more can one desire?

Around the campfire, jokes were shared among the bright-eyed participants. By the way, Jeremy opened the High and Low. He was keeping it for… well, I’ll say no more.


Fabienne Macé, photographer and blogger

Translated by Sylvie Lemelin