We were slowly getting closer to the Canadian border when we started to get a bit nervous. Should we tidy up the van? Is there anything we should, or shouldn’t mention? We have nothing to hide, but our first border crossing had us feeling exciting and a bit uncomfortable. We were going to cross the border in the direction of Quebec, driving “the old Canada road” or highway 201. This highway is a scenic road with a lot of viewpoints. We stopped at some of them to read about the history and the gaze through the provided mounted binoculars.
We reached the border, we were about the only ones there but a truck stopped behind us. We drove up to the window trying to look harmless and clueless to the woman interviewing us. She asked us what was in the van, how long we would stay, if we had guns maze or teasers. The woman took our papers and send us of to park around the corner for two officials to check our van. Everybody was friendly and open about what was going on, they checked all our cabinets and storage for 10 minutes long and then they told us everything was OK. We did have to come in to sign some papers on the confiscation of our little maze bottle. Shortly after we drove into Canada.
The first town we would see was Saint Georges, we walked by the river for a while before parking on a Walmart to spent our first Canadian night. The next day we would drive to Quebec.
Desy looked up what to see in Quebec and it was mostly the old city. We drove the van straight through the old city when we arrived, it felt like we drove through France. We knew we would not be able to park right at the old centre so we found a spot on the yacht harbour. We had a stroke of luck that the parking meters were dead because the rate to park overnight was $55. We would have never payed that kind of money but it was comfortable to have a good excuse not to pay.
The side of the parking that was on the water was full with big rigs, RV’s that are bigger than the apartment we used to live in. We parked our van right in the lane of these RV’s to overlook the harbour with in the distance the old center.
That evening we walked into town. Quebec’s old centre is beautiful, it is surrounded by old defensive walls from where you can see the whole center. Walking down the cobblestone streets there are lots of store’s, churches, and the amazing Chateau Frontenac. This Chateau is really the highlight of the city, amazingly lit at night with on one side the city and the other side a boardwalk by the river. The boardwalk was windy and cold so we moved back down the little streets to river level to get back to the van.
The next day we walked the streets again before leaving Quebec to see the waterfalls that are just a little north of Quebec. In movies and pictures I have seen waterfalls but nothing I have seen in real life comes close to these falls. We could already see the falls from the highway, and a walking bridge suspended right where the clear blue water turned into white rushing water that dropped down. We walked the bridge to cross the falls to the other side of the river where 500 steps would lead us down to the spray generated by the crushing water. This waterfall was a bit of a surprise to us because we just found out about it a day before going.
The next day we arrived to a small little town on our way to a national park. There was a small church with a tower, a parking behind the church had an overlook over the river and this is where we stayed the night. The town was called Portneuf and the next day we learned that this was one of the most beautiful towns in the state of Quebec, we walked the main street in about 5 minutes and sure it was nice but we did not find it all that special. The parking itself was nice, and comfortable with WIFI. This was the best since it was rainy and windy so we spent some time eating popcorn and watching Netflix.
We were excited to get to the National Parc de la Mauricie the next day. Being in the city and in towns always gets a bit boring to us and we are happy to get out in nature again. We parked at a small parking at the edge of the park when the sun already started to set. Before it was totally gone we checked the signs showing the trail routes around the park and we could not wait to get going the next day.
We got ready to go the next day, and we decided which route we would take later on in the hike. Normally you need to pick a route when you start but this trail split up several times in the increasing distances. It started off through the woods passed a lake and led to the river that ran into the lake. When we get to close small rivers I always want to check them out up close. Lots of these rivers are super clear but have a bronze brown glaze to them, also this river had this colour. The calm flowing river curved around big boulders that made the water twirl. In between the smaller boulders on the shoreline we noticed several brown snakes warming up in the sun. This was a first for me, I have never seen wild snakes before in my life, nice!
We passed two different splits in the trail and decided we would do the long way around, which was 11 kilometres. The trail was beautiful, leading away from the river we passed by natural granite walls covered in moss and ferns, in between the green of the plants the granite dripped water that collected in little streams. Paco loves these little streams and needs to drink from all of them. Besides the trail we saw lots of different plants, on species I thought to be a wild orchid but we could not see any flowers at all. About 1.5 kilometre from the end we took a little side road that led to a platform to overlook the valley, on the left side of the trail I finally found what I was looking for, a blooming orchid! I was so happy to be right about a plant, and so happy about spotting a wild orchid.
Back at the van I posted a request on Facebook for places to sleep in Montreal. Soon we had a lot of replies, one of the replies mentioned a VW bus festival about 400 kilometres west. When I checked the website of the festival I saw it was sold out so I wrote an email to the organisers. After setting up the shower to rinse off the hiking sweat the festival organiser replied already that we were more than welcome to the festival. The festival started the day after so we had no choice but to start driving right away. That evening we drove a good bit west and parked at a Walmart, the next day we would drive to the festival, we were excited!
4 comments on “Crossing the Canadian border”Add yours →
My partner, myself and our Dog (Maggie the puggle)
Saw you at the Algonquin Park West gate.
I’d love to follow your travels!
Did you hike any of the trails in Algonquin Park?
yeah we did some trails in the park, what an amazing place!
We would love for you to follow us in any way through this website, facebook or Instagram.
We are the retired couple you meet at Busfusion (Dutch old lady with stroop waffles). We are enjoying your adventures so please keep on posting. We will live vicariously through your travels. Happy trails to you!
We remember you two 🙂 we will keep posting, currently working on a new blog. We love it a lot that you can live through our travels, one more reason to keep going!
Much love, Desy Tijs and Paco.