There is a Canadian National Park that is just minutes from downtown Quebec City, and it is called "Parc de la Chute Montmorency". The top photo of this collage shows the cable cars that go to the elegant dining facility at the top of the falls. The lower left photo shows the Montmorency Falls, which are 272 feet high (100 feet higher than Niagara), with the pedestrian bridge showing in front of the falls. It is part of the historic site that encircles the park, along with an interpretation center and restaurant. In addition, the falls are lit up on some occasions at night, which makes them even more spectacular to look at. The large white "polar bear" likeness on the lower right photo, is in the Interpretive Center, and serves as a useful visual aid, whenever school children come for a visit.
Just 30 minutes, by car, north of Quebec City is the "Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier" (top photo). As you may recall from your history books, Jacques Cartier was an early explorer in Canada. The Jacques Cartier National Park is a vast mountainous plateau, measuring 258 square miles with deep gorges, at the bottom of which are rivers whose steady flow is interrupted by the occasional rapids. One of the mountain ranges is called the Laurentian Mountains, and offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. In the lower left photo a park ranger is using the large map in the Visitor's Center to explain to our group the geography that lies within the park. She explained that we were in a glacial valley with the Jacques Cartier River running through it. In some places that river is calm, and in other places, it is turbulent.
Because river activities are so popular, and because the park is so close to a major urban center, they keep a huge inventory of both kayaks (upper right photo) and canoes (lower photos) on hand. The park also provides shuttle service for river runners, as evidenced by their van in the upper left photo. But the park does not shut down in the winter! You can explore the snowy wilderness as you go backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking. The main website for all of Canada's parks (including Montmorency shown in the first photo collage) is www.sepaq.com The specific website to check on activities at Jacque Cartier Park is www.sepaq.com/jacquescartier and you can click on which language you want the site to appear in.
Besides traditional tent camping and cabins, the park also offers "yurt" camping. The advantages of yurt camping is that they are fully equipped with cooking utensils, beds, cook stove, table, and chairs. The park ranger in the lower left photo showed our group what they looked like on the inside. In addition, each yurt campsite is equipped with a picnic table, outdoor grill, and wooden porch. A centrally-located bathhouse provides showers and toilets for a group of about four yurts. The pretty blond in the upper left photo, ponting to the French sign for the yurts, is a new friend I made on the trip. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her speak in perfect English, even though she grew up in Germany. What I found fascinating about her story, is that she grew up in East Germany, during the time when it was still under Communist rule. She lived through the experience of seeing the Berlin wall come down. She could tell me about her life before the wall came down, and after the wall came down. She was so kind and congenial and helpful, not only to me, but to each person in our group, that she made quite an impression on me. Romans 8:35 says "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?.......No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." This beautiful German lady, is indeed, more than a conqueror! Meeting people like her when one travels, and getting to see the majesty of God's creation in a place like Jacques Cartier National Park, makes me even more of a believer in the quote by St. Augustine that says "Not to travel, is like reading only one page of a book". So get out there and enjoy some more miles of smiles!! Tricia