28 October, 2006

Urban Hiking

Before starting the story of our next adventure I have to tell you about my baby. I saw her couple of years ago. Was it a love at the first sight? Most probably. I remember looking at these pictures

and being amazed by her wonderful frame and her elegant beauty.

I dreamed about the baby for a year, holding it every time I was in the store, imagining our adventures together……. But all this time I was waiting for some sort of sign, saying that “it’s time to get it!” The sign did not come, and I was ready to day-dream for another winter, when one day I went to “Atmosphere” to get my new sexy shoes. With the shoe-box under my arm we (Eric and me) went to the tent department. The end-of-the-season sale was on and all the tents were 20% off (on top of already the lowest price for the baby in Montreal!!!). However no babies were seen in the store - just a picture in the catalog. Eric took a chance to ask a sale-girl if they still carry this model of the tent…… and…… it turned out that the last baby is waiting for my in the Angrignon mall!!!! If that wasn’t a sign, then what was it?

Now I am a happy owner of the wonderful “Hubba” tent (which is referred to as “baby” from now on) by MSR. It’s a 1-person 3-season most beautiful tent there is!!! And our next adventure is the first adventure of my little baby.

Urban Hiking.

For the Labor Day week-end we decided to go hiking. Instead of driving to the park, getting a camp-ground and hike during the day we took the train to Dorion in hope of squatting down somewhere next to the river. The train stopped in the nice area full of pretty houses:

We made our way to the nearest depanneur, bought a map of the area, and started the adventure. We decided to walk along the coast line which would be up (North) on the Chemin Des Chenaux, following the coast of the Vaudreuil Bay. With water on one side and nice houses on the other (I am a sucker for pretty old houses and can’t help but peek in the windows once in a while) the walk was super cool for a Saturday afternoon. Walking and talking for couple of hours we started to think about the place to rest. Sure we can ask one of the house owners to stay in their backyard (or rather front yard with the water view) but that would be a bit too urban for our liking so we kept walking until we got to …… the highway! The magnificent 40 was crossing our path.
Sleeping under the highway has some advantages (no rain) but also has a disadvantage of noise and some possible guests so we decided to keep this option as a last resort and continue walking along the highway to the end of the little peninsula. The Tourtes Island looked somewhat promising, but we did not have any equipment for crossing the water. After walking for half-an-hour we realized that the only place where we could stay on the Southern part of the highway would be a huge hotel (Palace the Vaudreuil, if I am not mistaken). We entertained the idea of pitching our tents on top of the king-size bed in one of the suites and finally decided to cross the highway and check out the Northern side.

After more walking along the highway we found a very interesting spot next to the water. A couple that was fishing there told us that half of the grass patch belongs to Hydro Quebec (could it be that they are getting some gas there???) but as long as we don’t try to climb the fence or set anything on fire we should be good. The spot looked pretty nice: grass, flat surface, woods right next to it, water right in front, the magnificent 40 close enough to remind us that we are not in the wilderness ;) who can ask for more? We took off the bags and started setting up the camp.
I opened my bag and carefully took out my baby. It would be the first time I would pitch it, the first time I would be sleeping inside it (I don’t count the week of sleeping inside it in my room – yeah yeah I pitched the tent in my bedroom and slept inside it with the door zipped! Crazy? Don’t think so. So I’ll let the pictures show the excitement and the sanctity of the moment:

The baby was out, pitched, guyed, and ready for the night. Now it was time for ….. cooking! I found a spot closer to the water and worked on the classical Pasta with Red Sauce.

After supper I realized that I was very tired so I got into the tent and started the usual routine:

No, I am not praying – I am hanging the lantern to warm up the place.

Eric was quite unhappy about the 2 tents camping scenario….

Day two was the day of adventure. We carefully studied the map and picked Cadieux Island as the final destination. Good old Chemin Des Chenaux should eventually lead us to the little bridge that would bring us to the island. We drank the coffee, ate the porridge, packed up the tents, and hit the road.
After an hour of walking we’ve noticed that the houses around us were changing; instead of the older ones we were surrounded by newly build boxes that all looked the same. Each new street looked exactly like the previous one: grey asphalt, grayish houses with new cars in the drive-ways, carefully trimmed grass lawns with no trees…… it was the new part of the town that was not fully developed, yet. The real adventure started when the streets that according to the map were parallel started to intersect in reality! Could it be that we’ve reached that wonderful place in the infinity where all the parallel lines meet??? The answer was far less exciting - it turned out that the map was rather old and the part of the city was rather new and this whole region was only projected on the map.

Eric was ready to abandon the idea of visiting the island but I was full of adventurousness and after yet another careful look at the map we found the detour that would lead us to the island. Unfortunately this detour involved walking along the 40 in the industrial area. Nevertheless after couple of hours of walking we stepped on the little bridge and crossed to the island.

Cadieux Island is narrow and long. It seems like originally there was nothing but a forest on it. Today it has one main road with houses on each side of it and the “free” places are full of trees. I fell in love with the place right away despite the fact that most of the houses are humongous and have up to 5 cars (BMW, Audi, and other shi-shi-poo-poo models) on their driveways. The island still carries the feeling of wilderness and calmness.
The main road led us to the tip of the island, which was blocked by the fence. On the right side of it there was an empty space possibly the remains of an old federal/municipal building. It had a dock with the flag pole, small abandoned cabin, and the leftovers of the base of the building. Tall grass grew all over and the place and looked just perfect for an overnight squatting.

That day was the first real testing of my baby. I had to set up the tent in very windy conditions. The baby passed the test with distinction. But the wind was testing not only my tent’s strength but my cooking abilities. I had to find the spot where all the dehydrated ingredients would not be blown away in the river. Here is the result and the picture of a wonderful “Tousqui” (tout ce qu’il rest) soup we had for the supper.

Despite the emptiness and abandonees of the place it did not have any spooky or scary feel to it. Soon we’ve realized that we are surrounded by others…… mostly slugs. The tall grass was there preferred habitat and everything left on the ground for longer than an hour became their play-ground.
Apart from leaches we had some daddy-long-legs and caterpillars.

Our last day started with the breakfast on the dock. The wind died off over the night, the water was calm, and although the sky was grey the sun was trying to burn its way through the clouds. Eric was enjoying the view from the doc and I was busy snapping the auto portraits.

Then I saw the POLE! I have recently read in the newspaper about the new exercise technique that combines useful (exercising) with fun (pole-dancing). It seems to be the latest hype among the stars in the Hollywood. Even in Canada we have some courses and females or rather their boyfriends/husbands are very happy with the results.
I like dancing, I am in need for exercises, and the pole is right there…. What am I waiting for?

After the pole-dancing and more goofing around it was time to pack and go.

Back on the road of the Cadieux island I was peeking at the houses and taking the pictures of pretty mail-boxes.

We made our way to Dorion and still had several hours before the train. I decided to be a real tourist and take pictures of all the cool stuff, like these wonderful duckies in the window of the boutique (you can see us in the reflection – hey!!!!)

The analogue thermometer on the corner of the street – we have only digital ones in Montreal

And the cool “statue” (?) of the bird

Sight-seeing made us hungry so it was time for lunch. We had a choice between: rotisserie, pizzeria, Tim Hortons, bar, and Asian Restaurant (alas, nothing vegan). Asian place, our first choice, was closed so we went to “the best pizza in town” place. I have to give them credit their pizza was very good and cheeeeeeeeeesy.

Eric had a poutine with 2 slices of pizza. He felt guilty for eating so much and fell into deep thoughts about not only his eating habits and purpose of this trip, but the meaning of his life in general. Meanwhile I was taking some pictures of him.

But hey, I want some serious pictures of myself too. I can’t show my parents only the pole-dancing, right? So I posed:

And posed (I am trying really hard not to burst with laughter)

And posed some more:

Our train was leaving in an hour so we made our way to the station. The darkness was falling over the city, lights were turning on in the houses, and streets were getting empty. The first urban hiking experience was really cool ….who knows we might do it again – time to think of the dew destination.


  1. real nice pics... hope u had fun!

    will keep viting ur blog for descriptions of more adventures...

    keep the pics clicking


  2. ... and fun we had ;)

    Thanks for the comment! There are at least 2 more adventures coming up (not to mention all the cooking stuff).

    Have fun!

  3. Wow, qui aurait pensé qu'il était possible de s'évader comme ça à deux pas de Montréal. Superbe histoire. :)


  4. Oh wow, what a nice story! Very heart warming, interesting and funny! Yea, as Daniel said, you don't have to go very far for an adventure!...


  5. Thank you all for commenting. It is very surprising, indeed, how much interesting stuff one can find just a train ride away from Montreal.