Showing posts with label Quebec. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Quebec. Show all posts

Video: A Surreal Dive into a Frozen Lake

Free diving is always a fascinating activity to me, but it is taken to an entirely new level with this video, which follows Canadian diver Matthew Villegas as he plunges into the icy depths of Morrison Quarry in Quebec with his trusty GoPro camera in hand. The footage that he captures there is nothing short of eerie and surreal as you'll see in the clip below. Just looking at this makes me cold, but it is beautiful.

Video: Winter Climbing in Quebec

I've been fortunate enough to have visited the province of Quebec in Canada twice this year, both times traveling through the Saguenay Lac Saint-Jean region. This is a stunningly beautiful part of the world, as you'll see in this clip which takes us to that place to follow a group of climbers as they push new boundaries for winter climbing in the region. If it looks cold in this clip, it probably was. While I was there last February it was -45ºF/C at times. But, the spectacular landscapes made up for the it.

Directissima_ENG from Louis Rousseau on Vimeo.

Canadian Adventures: Paddling the Saguenay Fjord

As I mentioned in a previous piece about my recent trip to Quebec, Canada, the theme of the visit was "Must Love Water." As such, many of the activities that we took part in involved paddling a boat of some type. That included a stand-up paddleboard, a whitewater raft, and a canoe. But perhaps the best experience of the entire trip saw us loading up on sea kayaks and heading out onto the breathtaking Saguenay Fjord, a place of such natural beauty that it literally had to be seen to be believed.

After spending the better part of the week on waterways of one kind or another in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec I was beginning to think I had seen most of what there wast to experience there. After all, our whitewater run was a thrilling, adrenaline inducing affair, and even our canoe trip mixed in a taste of whitewater to keep things interesting as well. Both of those experiences took place in lovely settings with thick forests lining the shores of the rivers we were on, and scenic settings to pass through. As lovely as those settings were however, they couldn't compare with kayaking on the fjord.

On the day we were scheduled to go kayaking we spent the better part of the morning driving to the Parc National du Fjord-du-Sagueny (the Sagueny Fjord National Park) where we would eventually join our guide from OrganisAction, a local outfitter that organizes kayaking excursions there. The park itself has a lot to offer in addition to paddling. For instance, there are several self-guided hikes to take, each of which offers some great views of the surrounding landscape. But for the truly bold, there is also an impressive Via Ferrata that takes visitors high up onto the rocky cliffs on a trek that is is both beautiful and heart-stopping for entirely different reasons. Unfortunately, we weren't there to make that hike, so after a quick lunch it was off to find our guide and begin our waterborne adventure instead.

As usual with any guided kayaking excursion we had to first go through an orientation on how to paddle most efficiently, the best ways to enter and exit the boat, and how to steer the long sea kayaks that we would use on the fjord. I've had plenty of experience in this department and was more than ready to go, so thankfully it didn't take too long before we were dropping the kayaks into the water and setting out.

It didn't take long to figure out just why this region was declared a national park in Canada. A few paddles away from the dock and the impressive landscape began to take shape. High cliffs rose all around us, while tranquil water ran all the way from our put-in spot out into the middle of the fjord itself. On that day, with the sun shining high overhead and the clear blue water all around us, it was simply a magnificent place to be.

For those who don't know, a fjord is a long, narrow inlet that has typically been carved by a glacier, and has high, towering cliffs all around it. A true fjord is fed by salt water from the ocean, but in the case of the Saguenay Fjord, there is salt water underneath with a current of fresh water, fed from the Saguenay River, on top. This makes it a unique environment where both fresh and salt water fish and mammals can be found. In some parts of the fjord it is possible to spot whales or even Greenland sharks, while a variety of salmon and other fish from the river exist in the same space.

Our group paddled out into this aquatic wonderland with our jaws hanging open. Over the course of our week together we had seen some truly beautiful places, but this one the crowning jewel of the experience for sure. Paddling along the cool, but refreshing water was a relaxing affair, even when we took our boats out into the middle of the fjord itself. From there, we were afforded the best views of the waterway, able to look west towards the mouth of the river and east where the deep blue waters drifted off into the distance. I'm sure on a day where the weather isn't cooperative the fjord could be a harsh place to be, but on this day it was perfect.

One of the highlights of a kayak trip out onto the Saguenay Fjord is spotting the famous Virgin Mary Statue that adorns one of the cliff tops there. While not quite as large and imposing as the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, it is still a memorable sight to behold. The state was placed there by a local trader named Charles Napoleon Robitaille back in 1881. A few years prior to that, Robitaille was traveling across the frozen ice when it gave way beneath him. As he was pulled into the freezing cold water, he prayed to the Virgin Mary to save him, and somehow he found himself alive, out of the fjord, and on solid ice. After that, he vowed to do something to both commemorate the experience and thank the higher powers that he had lived. He made good on his promise and later had the statue installed.

Even from the water below the tall cliffs, the white statue of the Virgin Mary stands out against the lush green trees. The monument was another unique element to a place that was already amazing to look upon, and the story of how it got there only adds to the mystique of the place.

After spending several hours paddling the fjord it was time to head back to the shore, but not before making a detour along the opposite shore to catch a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall that tumbled down the rock face there. As we paddled we could see several such waterfalls in the distance, so it was nice to see one up close too. It was a brief stop over however, and before long we were steaming our way across the open water once again.

While we were out on the water, the tide had obviously come in. The dock that we had used as a put in earlier in the day had been sitting high and dry on the beach, allowing us to wade in a short distance before setting out. Now however, it was floating on the surface of the fjord, and the water had risen up to our waists. That made for a soggier exit, but the water felt good after a warm afternoon.

After dragging our boats back up on shore, it was time to say goodbye to our guide and the fjord. It was certainly a memorable day in the kayaks however, and one that I would love to do again. In fact, our guide mentioned that there are some primitive campsites along the shore of the fjord that stretch for miles. He said that adventurous kayakers like to paddle down the fjord and stay at those campsites as they go. With a good kayak, plenty of supplies and gear, it would be possible to go for days in this remote, and pristine wilderness. That sounds like the kind of trip I would enjoy doing.

If you're in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region in the summer, a visit to the national park is a must-do adventure. Even if you can't get out on the water in a kayak – which I HIGHLY recommend you do – at least go for a hike and take in the surrounding landscape. It is a place that will definitely leave a lasting impression.

Canadian Adventures: Whitewater Rafting on the Métabetchouan River in Quebec

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to travel back to Quebec, Canada for some summer time adventures. If you're a regular reader of The Adventure Blog, you may recall that I had visited the province in February of this year when I not only had an unbelievable encounter with wolves, I also went dogsledding and snowshoeing in the breathtaking Valley of the Phantoms. But during that visit it was extremely cold (-40ºF/C) in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region so I was anxious to return to see the area for some warm weather exploration too. I did not come away disappointed.

The theme of our trip was "Much Love Water" as many of the activities revolved around exploring the region by some kind of watercraft. In fact, on our first morning in Quebec we decided to get things started by stand-up paddleboarding on lovely lake near La Cooperative O' Soleil – a rural destination about an hours drive from our starting location in the town of Chicoutimi.

Most of the folks I was traveling with had paddleboarded before, so after a brief get acquainted session with our SUP gear, we set off down a placid river that fed out into a large lake. The morning was quickly warming up, but a nice breeze coming off the water kept us cool as we spent about an hour or so getting a morning workout. For those who haven't been on a SUP before, it is a good way to not only test your balance, but also work your core.

Unfortunately, our stand-up paddleboarding experience was an all too brief one, and we were forced to come off the water sooner than we would like. But, there was a good reason for that, as we had to grab a quick lunch before launching into our true adventure for the day – whitewater rafting on the Métabetchouan River.

After turning in our SUP boards we headed over to Microbrasserie du Lac Saint-Jean, a local microbrewery where we had a chance to enjoy a tasty lunch and a flight of beers that are brewed right at the establishment. Both the food and the frothy beverages were delicious, surprising us with their rich and complex flavors. If you're in the area, and you're looking for a great place to grab a bite to eat, this is a spot that comes highly recommended.

Once we had our fill, it was off to H20 Expeditions for our whitewater experience. The company has been leading travelers on whitewater excursions for years, and the level of professionalism and experience showed. Not only were the guides personable and knowledgeable, they did everything they could to get us ready for our river adventure in as short of time as possible. That included safety demonstrations, training us on the best way to paddle, and what to do should you be thrown from the raft at some point.

We had signed up for their three-hour rafting trip down the Métabetchouan, which was still running surprisingly fast even late in the summer. The river passes through a hydroelectric dam which controls its flow, and while we certainly weren't visiting during a major release, the water levels were still at good levels and the rapids were plentiful. After donning our wetsuits and pfd's, gathering our rafting paddles, and completing our orientation, we were all eager to get started.

The Métabetchouan rafting tour with H20 Expeditions covers about 7 km (4.3 miles) of distance, passing through some beautiful landscapes along the way. All around you are towering hills and lush forests that help convey the sense of paddling through a remote region, even though you aren't necessarily all that far from town. This particular stretch of the river includes 12 major rapids, and a couple of smaller ones just to keep you on your toes.

Unfortunately, the put-in for the river isn't particularly easy to reach. We hopped a shuttle over to the starting point, only to discover that we had to actually carry the raft about 500 meters down a hill just to reach the river itself. The path was easy to follow, and there were wooden stairs at the steeper sections, but lugging a bulky raft through the forest while wearing a neoprene suit in the middle of summer has a way of getting you warm very quickly. Thankfully, it didn't take us too long to cover the distance, and once you hit the water you cooled off quickly.

It didn't take long to realize why wetsuits are needed, even in August. The Métabetchouan runs cold and stepping into it was quite refreshing following the warm descent while carrying the raft. Once our boat was in the water our guide ran us through a series of drills on how to paddle forward and backwards that helped get everyone on board operating like a team. Once that was out of the way, we were free to begin our descent of the river, which started with a wild rapid right out of the gate.

I was one of the lucky members of the crew who was chosen to sit up at the front of the raft, which is not always an enviable place to be. Anyone who has been in that spot will tell you that the bulk of the big splashes hit that section of the boat, dousing the paddlers who are there. That would be my experience throughout the afternoon as big rapid after big rapid deposited hundreds of gallons of water into the raft. Fortunately, its self-bailing floor whisked it out again quite quickly as we all had a rollicking good time on our aquatic adventure.

The first rapid of the day was actually one of the biggest, and it set the tone for the rest of the trip. By the time we passed through, most of us were already soaked as the cold water washed away all memories of the sweaty hike through the woods that we made on the way to the put-in. And once we had run that bubbling cauldron of whitewater, were able to turn our rafts around, paddle back into the rushing river, and actually surf the rapids for a bit. This had the effect of dumping even more water into the boat, but by then no one cared any longer.

Over the course of the three-hour trip, H20 Expeditions had a few nice surprises planned for us. The first of those was the option to leap out of the raft and body surf the second rapid on the river, a challenge that I eagerly accepted.

Upon rolling off the side of the raft, I was quickly caught up by the rushing river. Quickly I moved into the safest position to proceed down river, which involved going down feet-first while in a seated position. My pfd helped keep me afloat has I – and a number of my companions – bobbed through the water. It was a thrilling way to run the rapids, and a good reminder of just how powerful the forces of nature can be. Had that particular rapid been much stronger, it would have been difficult to fight your way out of it.

At other points of the excursion we would also stop to allow brave members of the team to leap off a high cliff and plunge into the refreshing waters below, and to body surf some other rapids that we passed along the way. Each of those were exhilarating experiences and a lot of fun. Each time I was thankful I was wearing a wetsuit though, as the water remained chilly the entire time we were paddling.

Each of the 12 rapids has its own name – such as The Dungeon, The Sphinx's Eye, the Great Wall, and so on. This helped us to remember them as we passed through, as they all had their own unique characteristics and personalities. Some were fast and wild, inducing an adrenaline rush. Others caused you to have to work harder to avoid rocks which threatened to stall progress or up-end the boat altogether. Some were a bit tamer, while others provided massive waves that would splash the entire raft from stem to stern. They ranged from Class I to Class III in terms of intensity, but they were all a lot of fun and helped make the rafting trip a true highlight of my second visit to Quebec.

After running all 12 of those rapids our raft was deposited out into a wide stretch of river that was positively serene. We spent the last 20 minutes or so leisurely paddling towards our take-out point and enjoying the lovely scenery that surrounded us. It had been a truly epic day out on the water, and one that none of us would soon forget. We were all happy to get out of the raft when we were done, but the excitement of the day remained a topic of conversation for some time to come.

As a travel writer, I occasionally get access to some amazing places and experiences that not everyone else can do. But, I'm happy to say that this is definitely one experience that you can take part in as well. H20 Expeditions operates throughout the summer and heads out on the water several times a day. If you'd like to experience a run down the Métabetchouan River yourself, I would highly recommend joining them. The entire staff was highly professional and the experience was great from beginning to end. You can find out more on the company's website.

For me and my traveling companions this was just the first of several waterborne adventures to come. But, it was a great start to a fun trip that reminded me of just how wild and beautiful Quebec can be. I'll share more from those adventures in future posts that will hopefully give you some idea of what to expect when in this part of Canada, and possibly plan a few adventures for yourself there too.

Canadian Adventures: Snowshoeing in the Valley of Phantoms

It's pretty widely known that Canada is a great outdoor adventure destination. From the amazing national parks of British Columbia, to the mountain biking and kayaking opportunities that Vancouver has to offer. But as I discovered on my recent trip to Quebec, the opportunities for adventure aren't limited to the western part of this expansive country. In fact, just the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region alone has plenty to offer the intrepid traveler.

A few days back, I wrote about my experiences dogsledding and encountering wolves at a very special place in the Saguenay region. And while that was a fantastic day, it was just one of several unforgettable adventures that I was lucky enough to have while there.

Perhaps my favorite day while visiting Quebec was when I had the chance to go snowshoeing in the unbelievably beautiful Valley of the Phantoms. I've been fortunate enough to snowshoe through some great environments in the past, but none of them came close to the Valley of Phantoms. This very special place is covered in a blanket of 5+ meters (16.4 feet) of snow each year, thanks in part to a unique microclimate that creates extra moisture in the air. When temperatures drop, that moisture turns to snow, which falls almost continually throughout the winter. As a result, the snow is deep, powdery, and fresh. It also tends to cling to the trees of the dense forest found in the valley, shrouding them in white. Those trees are referred to as "ghost trees" or "mummy trees" and walking amongst them is something you won't soon forget.

Our day in Valley of the Phantoms began at the visitor center of the Parc national des Monts-Valin, in which this unique landscape is found. Shuttles depart twice in the morning, taking guests into the starting point of the trail that winds through the valley. With so much snow on the ground, it is impossible to drive to the trailhead yourself, but fortunately there are some special vans equipped with treads that are more than capable of navigating the snow-covered roads.

After collecting our gear, securing are permits, and meeting our guides, we were soon off on the 40 minute drive to the start of the trail. Along the way, it became evident what makes the Valley of the Phantoms so special, as the road you take to the start of the hike is surrounded by thick forests which already prominently displayed the ghost trees that the region is famous for.

Before long, we reached the trailhead. Hopping out of the van, we each grabbed a pair of snowshoes and poles, and went to work getting geared up for our trek. That day it was roughly -23ºC/-10ºF without the windchill, so it was important to get bundled in layers. Proper boots and gloves were necessary too, and even then it was cold enough that when you stopped moving, the chills set in pretty quickly.

The trail through the Valley of the Phantoms winds upwards, constantly climbing as you go. While it is a fairly easy ascent, being in good physical condition will certainly make it less of a challenge. Thankfully, the main trail is groomed all winter long, which makes it a comfortable walk. In fact, if you stayed on the trail it would be possible to hike to the top without the use of snowshoes. But wander off piste at all, and you'll be glad you have them. Even with the snowshoes, every member of my group still managed to fall through deep holes int eh snow, sometimes ended up buried to our chests.

Hiking up the trail, the trees provided good shelter from the wind, and brought a sense of solitude to our walk. When walking alone, the place was nearly silent, with just the sound of your snowshoes in breath breaking the silence. Despite the cold, it was a truly memorable and enjoyable day in the outdoors, with breathtaking scenery around just about every bend.

About halfway to the summit, we stopped to take a break in one of the valley's warming huts. On that day, it was crowded in the small hut, but very warm too. We allowed our toes and fingers to thaw a bit while enjoying a tasty lunch. It was a nice respite from the cold temps just outside, but once we had finished our meal, we bundled up to head back outside in the elements.

From the warming hut, it was just 1 km (.6 miles) to the summit, and with recharged batteries we soon topped out on the 984 meter (3228 ft) peak. The winds at the top were much higher than they were in the shelter of the valley itself, which caused temperatures to drop sharply. Still, the cold was far from our minds, because the incredible views that were found there trumped everything else.

We picked a great day to visit the Valley of the Phantoms. Throughout most of the winter, the skies are cloudy and snow falls almost constantly. But when I was there, it was a clear day with bright blue sky, and the sun shining overhead. That translated to breathtaking views from the summit, allowing us to see for miles in all directions. The ghost trees stretched out around us, showing us the boundaries of the microclimate that make them possible, while offering enticing views of the wilderness beyond. In a word, it was spectacular.

After spending quite a bit of time on the summit taking photos, we decided it was time to begin our descent at long last. But, our guide took us off the trail and into the more remote areas of the park. Here, the snow was deep and treacherous, and far different from the nicely groomed trail. It was during this part of our trek that we all discovered how well hidden holes in the snow can be, as everyone of us plummeted into the deep powder, which acted a bit like quicksand, even with snowshoes on our feet.

Those occasional obstacles only added to the fun though, and exploring off piste was a great adventure. If walking on the trail showed us the beauty of the valley, getting into the heart of the forest displayed its wild side. Walking amongst the trees was real joy, although if you do wander away from the hiking route, it would probably be good to do so with a guide. It is easy to get lost in the forest, and there were plenty of times I was happy that someone else was taking the lead.

By late afternoon we arrived back at the main trail and finished our descent back to where we started. It has been a tremendous day in this amazing place, and we were all reluctant to leave it behind, despite the very cold conditions. Thankfully, that evening was spent in a cabin that overlooked a frozen lake, giving us a chance to experience this pristine wilderness after dark too. We took advantage of that opportunity by heading out in the evening to catch a peek at the stars overhead. By then, the temperatures had dropped even further, but we didn't mind at all. We knew a hot fire was waiting for us back inside, and the view was well worth it.

Next up, ice fishing on Lac-Saint-Jean!

Canadian Adventures: Dogsledding and Wolf Encounters in Quebec

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Quebec, Canada to experience some of the winter adventures that the province has to offer. More specifically, I visited the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, which is dominated by numerous lakes and rivers, not the least of which is its namesake body of water, which is a source for endless possibilities for outdoor activities, particularly during the summer. In my case however, I was looking for chances to explore the regions winter offerings, and I didn't come away disappointed.

Flying into Quebec City, I spent my first night in the area enjoying a fantastic meal and wandering through the streets. There is definitely a European vibe to the place, with the vast majority of the inhabitants speaking only French, and obvious inspirations to the local architecture. Coming from the U.S., this makes it feel like you've traveled a lot further than you actually have, which gives Quebec an unexpected allure. It is also why the local tourism board went with the motto " So Europe, So Close."

As much as I enjoyed my visit to Quebec City, my stay was a brief one. The next day I set out with a few other travelers for the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area to begin my explorations. This area is much more rural and rustic, with English-speaking citizens few and far between. That isn't a bad thing at all of course, but if you're expecting a similar experience as you find in other parts of Canada, you may encounter some unexpected bumps along the way. 

We were headed to a remote area of the Saguenay region, but en route we made a couple of stops along the way. The first was in a quaint little town called Robertville, which has made a name for itself locally by creating an ice village on its frozen lake each year. The village includes a walking trail and skating route, as well as a rink to play hockey of course. This is Canada after all. There are also more than 180 small cabins that range from basic escapes from the cold conditions, to elaborate homes away from homes. The locals see the ice village as a way to socialize with friends and family, and over the years it has become quite the popular place with visitors too.

While the Robertville ice village was a nice distraction, our ultimate destination was a place called Adventuraid. There, we would spend the night in small cabins and yurts located in the forest while we waited to meet the site's most interesting inhabitants - three packs of wolves that are kept in very large enclosures that allow them to run free, while still coming in contact with humans on a regular basis.

The following day, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with these creatures when the owner of Advenuraid introduced us to one of his packs. The standard gray wolf and arctic wolf packs remain shy and wild around humans, so we didn't enter either of their enclosures. But one of the packs has been imprinted with humans from an early age, and as a result they are comfortable with visitors. 

Inside the pen, we were given the chance to interact with the wolves, which were very friendly, but still had a wild streak in them. Several of the younger wolves followed us around while we explored the interior of their enclosure, which included dense woods for them to retreat to should they feel the need. It was clear they were just as curious about us as we were them, although some of the older members of the pack remained reserved and at a safe distance. 

The imprinted pack was made up of both gray and arctic variety of wolves, and much of the time they behaved like their canine cousins that we keep at home. They were certainly playful – stealing the hat off one of my companions heads, and refusing to give it back – and highly curious too. They also chased one another around with boundless energy, while still displaying the pack mentality that is well established in the wild, complete with a pecking order and a clearly defined alpha member. 

For me, this was a fantastic opportunity to interact with creatures that I had only seen from afar in the past. I never thought that I'd have the chance to see a wolf this close, let alone pet one. For any animal lover, the experience is deeply moving, and will stay with you long after you've left. But be warned, if you go to Adventuraid to meet the wolves yourself, there are no guarantees that you'll have the same experience I had. If the wolves are shy that day, or aren't feeling particularly accommodating, they may not approach visitors at all. In fact, some never even get to go inside the enclosure, as the safety, health, and well-being of the wolves takes priority. 

If you do go however, staying onsite is the best options. The cabins are located near the pens, so you can observe the wolves in their habitats. I woke up on the morning of my visit, essentially rolled over in bed, and was able to watch them right from the window of the cabin. It was a great way to start the day to say the least. 

After our encounter with the wolves was over, we grabbed a hot meal before launching the second stage of our Adventuraid excursion. The company organizes dogsledding tours which can last for just a few hours or extend to four or five days. Sadly, we didn't have time for the longer style of trip, but we did manage to spend the afternoon exploring the thickly wooded backcountry with sled dogs. 

This was my first time dogsledding, so I was eager to give it a go. We used six-dog teams, and had two people to a sled, a drive and a passenger. After helping the Adventuraid staff collect the individual dogs for each of our teams, we harnessed them in, and were soon off and moving. The dogs were incredibly powerful, and knew the route well, so it was easy to soon find a rhythm, but the initial surge when the dogs first take off is a real kick, and it was fun to see just how much they enjoyed the outing too. 

Steering the sled took a bit of getting use to. The dogs pull it along nicely, but the drive still needs to lean into a turn when making a sharp change in direction. After about 15-20 minutes of mushing I started to get the hang of it quickly, but not before burying my sled in a meter of snow after taking a turn too sharply. It was a harsh lesson to try to get the sled out of the deep powder without losing it altogether as the dogs pulled on it to go. But after a couple of minutes of scrambling, we were back on the trail, and off and running once again. 

Our route took us through the forest and down on to a frozen river, which gave us the opportunity to let the dogs open up a bit. They ran with strength and confidence, while my companion on the sled and I simply enjoyed the ride. Soon, we were back in the woods, and heading for home, but not before navigating plenty more backcountry trails, some of which were narrow enough that the sled could barely pass through. 

My all-too-brief dogsledding adventure was over before I wanted it to be. But, it did provide me with some good experience that I'm sure will come in handy if I ever get the chance to do it again. It was definitely a fun, exhilarating experience, and I know have even more respect for top mushers. 

Late in the day we left Adventuraid behind, but my companions and I continued to talk about our experience there long after we had moved on. It was a place that provided some unique experiences to say the least, and I don't think we'll soon forget them. Both the wolves and the sled dogs were wonderful animals, each unique in their own way. If you're looking for a truly great destination to experience some amazing outdoor adventures, than you should put the place on your radar. You won't come away disappointed in any way. 

Next up, snowshoeing in the Valley of the Phantoms

Off on a Brief Canadian Adventure

I wanted to share a quick updated with Adventure Blog readers for what is to come this week. Tomorrow I leave for Quebec, Canada for a few days of winter fun. My adventure up north will include some dogsledding and snowshoeing, while exploring some of the great outdoor environments that Quebec has to offer. To say I am excited about the trip would be an understatement. 

I'm told that we'll have Internet access at various times while traveling, so if possible I will share some of my experiences as they are happening. It should be an incredibly fun excursion filled with lots of interesting activities and destinations, and I hope to provide some insights into what it is like there during the winter. 

As for the weather, the forecast says it is going to be cold. Like -15ºF/-26ºC cold. The region has also had in excess of 5 meters (16 feet) of snowfall so far this winter. That means it should be well suited for the activities that we have planned. It also means that I should get plenty of chances to test some gear while I'm there, so look for a slew of reviews to follow my return. 

I hope everyone has a great week filled with some adventures of their own. I'll be back before you know it, and sharing stories, news, and info.