Where last year I had to walk a full, onerous and exhausting 200 yards to get to Lac St. Louis for cross country skiing, in Tadoussac the trails go right across our property so I have a choice of walking out the front door, or the back door. One way takes me down the private road to O’Neil’s, and into the woods, and the other way takes me down the path to O’Neil’s, and into the woods. And on windy days, which are many, the woods is the best place to be.
The set trails are not long, but that’s just as well as a volunteer does the work, but can only qualify if s/he owns his/her own snowmobile to pull the track-setter. This year that has been done with great regularity even though there hasn’t been nearly as much snow as usual.
The best thing has been the tremendous views from the top of the clay cliffs (and the sand dunes if you carry on off the official ski trails through the settlement and on to snowmobile tracks.) The worst thing has been that the lack of snow and frequent high winds tend to send spruce branches down on to the trail, and clay dust near the cliffs, which makes for stickiness under foot.
At the end of another day of wood work as the house nears completion, there’s nothing like an hour’s ski to clear the sawdust from my lungs, not to mention from between my ears.
Here are some pics.
A few years ago I found that there were also trails up on top of the upper dunes and I understand there are better trails down around Les Bergeronnes but I really haven’t made time this year to check those out. There’s always more to find out about.
I figured everyone was getting sick to death of the snow and ice pictures so I would do a switch up and show you some of the interesting things that have been going on here in Tadoussac. There seems to be never a dull moment and everyone is searching to find ways to amuse themselves and keep the creative juices flowing despite the cold.
Last weekend a small group of people hosted the 5th annual “24h de Création” event at the L’Eau Berge Jeunesse. Beginning Friday evening, artists from all sorts of mediums and backgrounds came together to share ideas and works in progress. The main goal was to provide a forum for sharing and learning but the secondary goal was to raise some small amounts of funds for two local groups. The first group was the L’Assemblée des Cuisines, which is the group that I am involved in, that is working to build the Ferme Hovington projects for sustainable food industry. The 2nd group is a dedicated group of Tadoussiens who are involved in the building and maintaining of a school in Haiti. This year the group returns to the school in mid-April to build and provide the books for the library. They will be working on the water system which has some problems at present. They also provide the salary support so that there can be full time teachers.
The artists were far ranging and there were weavers, painters, people making jewellery, body painting, and lots and lots of music. There is a local jazz ensemble that played Saturday afternoon, a women’s group who are learning and performing “Gumboot ” dancing and a group of people who demonstrated “line dancing” which is very popular here.
There were no shortage of outside activities either and 10 snow packed blocks had been created by volunteers working in blisteringly cold conditions over the two weeks before the event. Local businesses sponsored the blocks and then local individuals and families carved amazing snow sculptures. Luckily the day of the event, when people were carving, was sunny and relatively warm. The hockey rink was going all weekend and there was a great ice bar and fire pit set up for the Friday night.
The whole event was topped off by a dinner and concert by a young woman named Odile Dupont from Baie Comeau. I would call it interpretive jazz/pop but that does not really capture her sublime voice and props to illuminate the songs. She even had an original tune about shopping at Costco that was too cute.
As I am not creative at painting etc I helped with the food as we provided meals/snacks throughout the event. Lots of fun working with the whole group.
To top off a great week, Alan and Christianne arrived Thursday night from Québec and we spent Thursday afternoon and Friday walking on the trails, skiing and last night attended a “Chant’appart” which is a small venue (L”Auberge Merveilleuse), simple supper and musical event. There was a small warm up group called L’Almas and then a brilliant young group from the Saguenay region called Sweetgrass. A five member band whose talents were such that 3 out of 5 sang, and most played more than 1 instrument. I sadly did not think to take my camera to this event but it was excellent. Only in such a venue could someone stop the conversation during the dinner and say “everyone look at the moon” and we turned off the lights and watched the brilliant full moon rise over Pointe Rouge – cannot be beat!!
We walked again early as we always do, took some pictures, and at breakfast said to our friends that it was a good thing that they came when they did. As of today, it looks as if this grand ice pack never happened! The river is clear and both our bay and Ste. Catherine Bay are cleared out by at least half. How amazing. Alan figures with the way the wind is right now that it has probably all gone over to the south shore now but we are not going to be that crazy and go chasing it!!
So here are a few last pictures of the event.
That is surely enough ice for one week!! Enjoy your weekend and stay well and warm where ever you are. Jane
We went down early this am to see where the ice had moved to and so I am posting some pics so you can see as well. The river has opened up but both Tadoussac Bay and Ste. Catherine’s bay are still jammed with ice. The ferries are moving this morning but we noticed there is quite a line up on the Ste Catherine’s side at 0730 so perhaps they had to shut down for a period of time in the night at tide turn as well.
Wow what a spectacular day here in Tadoussac. The pack ice moved in. We have been watching and showing pictures of ice moving in and out but it has never been like it is today. It isn’t just us who thinks this either as everyone – and their mother – from the village was also down walking and taking pictures.
To a person they all said that they had never seen anything like it. One friend said he had spoken to Mr Nicola (84years old) who said that he had seen it only once when he was young. The ice packed in for 4 days and at some point men went across the ice on foot to deliver mail – I simply cannot imagine it.
These first ones are taken from the wharf itself. They were taken right at high tide in mid afternoon.
We were able to walk around the Pointe Islet boardwalk and it was amazing to see it. I am sad that the water colour is not as vivid as it was as the water itself looked green against the ice today.
We walked around to the Pilot House and the GREMM to see how they were faring. Incredible to see no water in the river at all. The ferries are stopped for obvious reasons, and have been since around noon. Yesterday they slowed to a q30 minute schedule for most of the afternoon as it was taking so long to get through, but at least they were still going. Our friends Don Crockford and Brenda MacKenzie from Ottawa came across yesterday just in time for this.
The pictures at the marina are quite striking – just to see how high the ice came up.
We were curious as to how far the ice went up the river. Yesterday we actually saw a ship go up which we were surprised about as when we were in St Rose du Nord a week ago the river looked completely closed. Apparently there is a small ice breaker which stays between the Marguerite and La Baie keeping it open when ships are coming. We went up the L’Anse de Roches and were surprised to see large patches of water but lots of ice as well. The last picture is taken from the road high above L’Anse and you see up the river that there is lots of ice there as well.
So we have had another exciting day. We went out to the Chantmartin for dins tonight – we know how to show friends a good time!!! and the ferry had started to run again as the river had loosened somewhat with the tide turning. The tide had fallen in the bay too but there had been no change in the ice pack here, so it will be interesting to see if it is all gone tomorrow again or, if it is here to stay for a period of time.
Remember my Christmas tree in the woods that was decorated? Well I got this crazy idea that it was so nice to have that little tree gussied up that I would continue the project so “Happy Valentines” it is.
I made some of that homemade playdough that we used to make for the kids – the salt and cornstarch one and made heart ornaments.
Then I hung them on the little tree after they were dried.
Just after I posted the ice pictures I found these splendid ones that Alan had taken today. These were taken on Adele’s Beach. Look carefully at the large rock that sits right where you head down the beach from the lower path. There is actually a large piece of ice sitting on top of it that was probably deposited during this past week of high tide and wind. Shannon was very disappointed again as there was no beach.
OK I am done now. Enough with the ice pictures Even I am getting cold.
I just could not resist. There is so much ice in the river right now and I thought you might like to see it. the first set of pics are from our usual morning walk.
The second set were taken on my way home from Malbaie today where I went to the vet. These were taken from the road so are far away but you can get the idea.
These ones I took on the ferry. Very cool to be going right through it.
Finally in the category of “worst job ever” I took some pictures of the work that continues on the wharf on the Ste. Catherine Baie side of the ferry. This poor guy was trying to use a hot water power hose to melt some of the ice of the mechanisms so they could continue to do some work. I talked to the guys on the ferry crew and we all agreed that there is not enough money to be offered for that job. His whole snow suit was covered with ice. It is -30 with wind chill here today. I came home and had a cup of tea in front of the fire and tried to send him telepathic messages of encouragement.
Alan and I were chatting last night – with a nice glass of wine in front of our fireplace – and I said to him that last winter when we were in the middle of the most hectic winter of our recent lives, I had not really been able to picture what this year in the middle of the winter in the freezing cold would look like.
Now that we are here and settling into a routine of sorts, is this really what I expected? I am not sure. We both agreed that living here has exceeded our expectations on every level. I know that people wonder if we feel isolated – we don’t. It is so blessedly peaceful here in our woods. We are busy in the house with a hundred projects that we have been waiting so many years to get to, and now have time. I have joined a couple of groups – a women’s knitting group, I am going to a yoga class once or twice a week and I have become a member of a very interesting committee looking at ways to improve food stability here in Tadoussac. (more about that another time)
People are incredibly friendly, and now that we have gotten to know people, and they know we have sold our house so that we are really planning to stay, the community is making every effort to include us and help us to integrate.
What we have also seen is how very hard it is for many to continue to live here year round. We are the privileged ones without a doubt. We are retired and will be able to live the rest of our lives comfortably. At a meeting the other night with about 20 people a straw poll was taken. I take myself out as I am retired and out of the 19 remaining only 2 were working part time. All the others were not working this winter and these are young, intelligent, socially conscious people who are trying to find a multitudes of ways to continue to live here in a committed with their families in Tadoussac. Extraordinary work is being done to find any monies for projects and to develop long term strategies. The commitment and the good humour in the face of lots of obstacles is inspiring. People work hard, live hard and play hard and we are glad to be part of it.
And it is bloody cold. Many parts of the country have been struggling with the winter blast this year and our friends here have told us that we picked the best three weeks to be away. The average temperature since our return has been about -23 but with the windchill it drops another 8-10 degrees. What makes the difference, of course, is the relentless wind and we are very grateful that our passion for trees and desire to live in the woods made us keep our house surrounded.
I took some pics along the beach and the marina the other day and have posted them below. We do not yet have the depth of snow that there has been in the last couple of years. At some point while we were away there was quite an ice storm. The school grounds and the front lawn of the hotel Tadoussac keep getting windswept and are literally like a skating rink.
We took a trip up to Chicoutimi this week to do a Costco run. What a spectacular trip. The snow covered cliffs are just as magnificent as when green in the summer. We stopped in at St Rose du Nord and Alan took a few pictures from the wharf at the base of the bay. It is at this point in the river that there is ice all the way across. If you can imagine there were snowmobile tracks on the river. I find it so hard to imagine having the guts to go on that river in a snowmobile knowing what we know of the river. There were a couple of fish huts in the actual bay. Higher up the river at Chicoutimi , the river is completely frozen with the exception of two spots – right at the rapids and under the bridges – but even these two spaces are very small. To look across these expanses of snow and ice it looks like a moonscape. The pics below are from St Rose du Nord.
When we have visited in the winters over the last several years we have been able to walk on the beach sand and marvel at the ice floes and the hunks of ice. This year because of the big ice storm while we were away there is very little beach at all. It is solid ice which simply covers with the high tide and re-emerges again with low tide. Alan decided he needed to explore it more closely so this morning early he went down Turcot’s path – a true masochist at this time of year even if it is the best path in the summer. The dogs were so disappointed as when they got to the bottom they could not run at all as it was only ice and ice as far as you can see all the way to Pointe Rouge.
Friends are coming to visit over the next couple of weeks and we are excited to show them our new guest digs! Keep that in mind – a room is waiting. I have not posted pics yet as we just picked up the last of the doors yesterday and they are not hung yet. Soon…
Our love to all and have a great day where ever you are. Jane and Alan
Hi everyone, I hope you can stand another post about our trip in the sun. Alan and I just returned from road trip and now are here again in Lakewood. It was a spectacular trip of ocean hugging roads and hiking in the forest.
We started North from Lakewood (where Martha is, near Long Beach) on Sunday and went as far as San Simeon which is south of Carmel. Monday morning our first stop was to see the enormous Elephant Seals on the beach head just beyond San Simeon. It is mating and calving season so there were hundreds of gigantic seals on the beach. The males grow to almost 3 tons and the females are only half of that size. There were lots of babies as well. Ugly, loud and pretty aggressive they were amazing to watch.
We carried on up the coast and the views and beaches were spectacular. I keep using that word but not sure what else to use frankly. The color of the water was so exquisitely turquoise and the surf wherever we stopped was up at its best. Apparently now is the time of what they call “king tides” which we are assuming are our highest tides.
The coastal road is a bit on the death defying side as it hugs the coast – which is what we wanted – but it curves and curls in such a way that the speed limits run from 25-40 miles per hour for over 100 miles. What an afternoon. There are no places where you can pass but every 10 miles or so there was a turnout where anyone who wants to go even slower must pull off and let the cars go by. They announce that if there are 5 cars behind you, you need to go to the next turnaround and pull off to let people by.
We then spent two fun days in San Francisco. We stayed in a hotel within a 15 minute walking distance of Fisherman,s Wharf so we spent lots of time crawling over historic ships and through the fishing vessel parts. We ate some great sea food. Took the double decker bus tour throughout the city and rode the trolley and had our hearts stop on the way up and on the way down as well.
When we went out of the city we headed again to the sea coast and then to Muir Woods where there is a spectacular Redwood stand. It is hard to capture fully in a single snapshot as they are so magnificently tall. And again these are not the Sequoia’s that are now on our bucket list, and are farther North. One section is called Cathedral Grove and as you enter they ask you to walk and speak quietly to enhance the spiritual experience. Very lovely.
Finally we hit wine country and that was another epic couple of days. We drove through beautiful agricultural country, farm after farm – fruit trees, kiwis, pistachios and on and on . Then the next day we took a drive through the beautiful vineyards of which there are so many that they can,t possibly be counted. We ended the afternoon with a wine tasting at the Buena Vista vineyard which is the first vineyard in California. It was a great experience. The sommelier was from Romania and very knowledgeable about the wine business. Because we had spent the day in the vineyards we had lots of questions.
The biggest bonus of our trip was that we spent the final two nights with Lal and Ned Mundell. It was wonderful to see them mid way between Tad seasons and not only in Tadoussac. Many of you know that Ned had a very catastrophic fall in early October. While his recovery has been slow we can tell you that he is well on his way to full recovery and has been working again. It was wonderful to see him so well and to spend time with them both at their beautiful farm.
And so we arrived back in Lakewood on Friday and Saturday night all of us headed to Oceanside south of here by 1 1/2 hours. Our nephew Ian lives there and guess what? Granny Anne was down caring for the kids for a week so we got together with her and the two girls, Hannah and Abigail. It was great fun to see them as well.
Now we are getting ready for our trek home. I see by the weather map that there is big snow expected on the eastern seaboard over the next couple of days. We hope that there will still be lots of snow when we get to Tad but would just as gladly not be driving in it when we spend our first few days back. We go to Peterborough for a Christmas celebration with my family on the 31st, then to Renfrew to fetch our pooches – I hope they actually want to come home. If I understand it correctly they have forgotten we even existed and are now sleeping on Susie’s couch!! February 2nd – home in Tadoussac So next post will be full of snow again.