Hiking Québec: Le Draveur Sud – Parc National de la Jacques Cartier
Summer evenings are my favorite. Every so often, I’m able to pick up Mathieu a little earlier from work and we head straight to Jacques Cartier for an evening hike. We rarely see more than a handful of other people, the weather is cooler and it’s the best time to see wildlife. Since we have been off exploring other parks and camping almost every weekend, we’ve not had time to do all of the trails in Jacques Cartier. So we decided we would go on Friday evenings when possible, and hike until it starts getting dark. We did the Draveur Sud in this way, split between 2 different Friday evenings. The trail is quite easy, as it is relatively flat. It runs parallel to the Jacques Cartier river almost the entire time, and there are many opportunities to admire the view.
The second evening hiking this trail we got incredibly lucky and spotted a beaver. I think he was going to cross the trail, but we startled him (and he startled us!) and he did an about-face back into the bushes. We got a good look at his wide, flat tail, and then saw him scurry down the riverbank into the water. His head bobbed around for a few seconds and then with a huge slap of his tail on the surface of the water, he was gone in a splash. Unfortunately, it all happened so fast that I didn’t get any photos. But our luck continued and soon after our beaver encounter we noticed a porcupine on the opposite bank of the river. Since he was so far, we were able to observe him strolling along the beach for a good 10 minutes.
Once we’d finished the hike, we decided to just drive a little farther up into the park to see if we could find anything else. As it was really starting to get dark at this point, we figured there had to be other animals about. We scanned the river for moose, not really believing we’d see anything. After only about 3 or 4 kilometers, I almost thought I was hallucinating because there in the water was a moose! STOP! We got out and walked down to the bank to see that there were actually 2 moose coming right towards us. Unfortunately, a car came whizzing by in the other direction and scared them off further down the river. They definitely knew where they wanted to go, however, because a moment later they came up the bank a little further down. We were able to see them cross the road one at a time, on their long, spindly legs, not too concerned with our presence, thankfully.