Mont Tremblant's Autumn Splendour

Trip Start Oct 2000
Trip End Nov 2000

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Friday, December 1, 2000

I returned to Canada, four years after my first trip, hoping to catch the autumn colours and the famed red maple leaves. Lucky me was more than handsomely rewarded this time round...

At the enthusiastic behest of the folks at the Montréal youth hostel, who had "promised" mountains of flaming ruby, my companion and I were lured into taking an excursion out to Mont Tremblant - the popular ski resort in the Laurentians, which is the wilderness expanse of Quebec province. The mountain also happens to be the highest peak in eastern Canada at 3,175 feet, while the Park, or parc du Mont-Tremblant, is Quebec's largest protected area with almost 1,000 square miles of sprawling territory.

Montréalers are really a lucky lot. Barely half an hour out of the city, rolling hills interspersed with lakes came into view. While not exactly fiery crimson, the forest was a myriad of pretty colours, as if tantalizing visitors like us with sneak previews of what was to come. With a welcoming appetizer like that, nobody could complain about the many local stops along the way as we rumbled on contentedly in the bus for almost three hours.

The "National Geographic" prelude came to an abrupt end when we were dropped at the youth hostel. The cosy little place is conveniently located at the Mont Tremblant Village, about three miles west of the mountain itself.

Inspired by the alluring scenery thus far, we hurriedly dumped our luggage and excitedly ventured out to explore in the remaining hours of daylight. Nothing like the splendid autumnal colours, couched in warm sunset rays, to uplift the spirits. Oh, our hearts were singing as we took a really long walk to the centre of the village, making detour after detour into inviting side paths and discovering quaint cottages, pretty signage and mysterious blue lakes (or lacs in French). My friend was clicking away endlessly on her camera like a possessed woman, whilst I, was dreamily making plans about early retirement and migration...

Miraculously, we did reach the centre before dark. Part of the road was undergoing paving works but it would take a lot more to dampen our happy state. The village was quite a self-contained place, with its own market, post office, eateries and other amenities, despite the rural feel.

We were just in time to witness the lovely sunset at Lac Mercier. And we sauntered on along the bank of the lake, quite forgetting ourselves in the surreal surroundings until the last vestiges of dusk faded away. After all, we hail from a country which is invariably green all year round. It helped too that I have a natural inclination and affinity towards warm palettes, for we seemed to have stumbled into a William Turner painting...

After a night of lyrical dreams (where I could have sworn that I was spouting French poems), I was rudely awakened by my early bird of a companion who set the alarm at 7 am, sigh. But this was going to be a great day ahead...

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