Canoe camping in Parc national de la Mauricie
We have FINALLY gone canoe camping, and loved it! If you’ve spoken with either of us at all this summer, you’ll know that we had become a bit obsessed with this activity. After several potential camping trips were cancelled for various reasons, we narrowed our sights on a weekend in mid-September. The week leading up to our trip, we checked the weather forecast frequently, and each day our hopes dwindled further. A very rainy weekend was likely to cancel our plans yet again. But then on Friday afternoon, the weather took a turn for the better and the trip was back on! We scrambled at the very last minute to get everything all packed up, and made it by early afternoon to La Mauricie. During the summer, since the sites are first come, first served, we would have needed to arrive right when the park opens to get a spot. One point in favor of autumn camping! The drive took us about 2 hours from Québec. Once we got our rental canoe loaded up, we paddled about an hour or so to get to our campsite (#15) on the northern section of Lac Wapizagonke. The wind really picked up about 5 minutes into the trip. And then just for good measure, it also started raining. So it was not exactly the relaxing paddle we had hoped for, and we were pretty tired once we got to our site. Thankfully the weather cleared up after that, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the water. We saw a few other canoes pass by, but it seemed like we were the only people camping for miles around. I found the experience of being so alone out in the wilderness to be a completely liberating and exhilarating sensation. This being September in Québec, the experience was also a bit chilly! The sun kept us quite comfortable, but the moon did not. After our dinner of rehydrated beef stroganoff (flavor reminiscent of vomit) and beef chili (edible), we settled into our sleeping bags for a restless and cold night. Despite our best efforts to dress warmly and remain completely inside our down-filled, mummy sleeping bags, 39°F (4°C) is a big jump down from the balmy summer temperatures we’d been enjoying. But enduring all of that did not dampen our enthusiasm for canoe camping. We had the best time and can’t wait until summer returns so we can get out on the water once again.