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Parc du Mont-Sainte-Anne, QB
Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 2:00pm by Lolo
37 miles and 1 hour from our last stop - 1 night stay
After a very satisfying lunch in Baie St. Paul we continued on to our planned destination for the night: the Parc du Mont-Sainte-Anne. We had decided to add this park to our itinerary after a father and son that we met on the Isle-aux-Coudres, who came from Mont-Sainte-Anne, told us that it had miles and miles of trails for mountain biking and running. Plus it wasn’t too far off our route to the Parc National du Mont-Tremblant where we had camping reservations for the weekend.
I had mentioned in the previous stop that there is a different sort of feeling that one gets when the half way, or now heading towards home, point of a trip is reached, but I think none of us felt it as hard as Andrew, who was scheduled to take the GREs a few days after our return home. It was time to really kick into gear on the studying, and I must say he really did. However, being confined together in such close quarters, we had to find a way for him to do this without driving the rest of us crazy. Going through his little box of the 500 most commonly used words on the GRE and using them on us whenever appropriate, and oftentimes when not even remotely appropriate, definitely improved our vocabulary, but began to get on our nerves. Then there were the timed practice tests where we all had to be quiet so he could concentrate. This was not going to work. Tommy was ready to choke him.
When we got to the campground in Mont-Sainte-Anne, he was banished to a picnic table on a nearby vacant campsite, where he could take his practice tests undisturbed, and we could speak above a whisper. I was quite proud of him; this was vacation after all, and he was working awfully hard. Hopefully his efforts would pay off.
Herb and I decided to take our bikes to explore the campground and try to figure out the mountain biking trails. It was really a very nice campground with spacious, wooded, sites. A short distance from our site there was a small lake for swimming and a bit further on we came across a feature that I had never seen in a campground before—an animal farm, complete with goats and sheep. The mountain biking trails that led from the campground were a little more confusing than we had anticipated, and we weren’t sure exactly where we were going. At one point we came out of the woods onto a big playground that I could not picture being allowed to exist in the U.S. It was actually very cool. Besides trampolines, old fashioned see-saws, and a device you could hang on and swing madly around a pole, there was an entire obstacle course with fences to climb, tunnels to go through, rope bridges to cross, etc. Rather than injuring myself right way, I decided to come back later with the boys—they hate missing an opportunity to see me do something foolish.
Part of our objective for this bike ride was to find a good trail for the boys to go on a long run, but the ones we went on were confusing and not particularly great for running. Having nothing better to report back to them, I suggested they run along the road back out to Route 360, where the map showed a trail that ran alongside the highway. While they did that, Herb and I went out for a run too and headed in the same direction that they went. However, shortly after leaving the campground, we noticed a sign for the Le circuit Jean-Larose trail that led off to the right into the woods. It traced a lovely stream through a peaceful forest for most of its 7.5 km before ending at the parking lot at the base of Mont-Sainte-Anne. I only wish I had known about this trail before the boys went out on their run. It would have been so much nicer running along this wooded stream than along a boring road. They did, however, get to run this trail early the next morning before we left for Mont-Tremblant.
After the boys got back to the campground, and confirmed that my suggested run was indeed boring, I asked them to come with me to the “extreme” playground that I found. We went through the obstacle course together, swung around on the crazy swing, and generally had a lot of laughs, most of them at my expense.
Winter activities in the park include downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, dog-sledding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. It was named by Ski Canada as the best spring skiing destination in the east.
In summer and fall, the mountain and its surrounding area turns into a mountain biker’s paradise, and even served as the host of the 2010 Mountain Bike and Trail World Championships. Besides the hard core trails down the mountain itself, there are miles and miles of much milder trails for all levels of expertise.
Parc du Mont-Sainte-Anne is located just 40 minutes northeast of Quebec City. To get to the park, exit off of Route 138 onto Route 360 east near the town of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupré.
There is a 166-site campground within the park, just 7 km east of the alpine ski area. The campground has a large lake for swimming, mountain bike trails, a playground, and even an animal farm.
Parc du Mont-Sainte-Anne location map in "high definition"