Falling under the spell of hiking

Ten challenges to take up

Walking in the forest is the most beautiful activity in the world! It's accessible, it's inexpensive, it's good for your health and, above all, it's the best way to enjoy the benefits of nature.

To inspire you to discover (or rediscover) this activity that we think is absolutely great, here are ten challenges to be taken up in nature in the weeks ahead. After facing them all, we bet that you'll be just like us, completely crazy about hiking!

Paul Dussault | © Sépaq

1. Walking in the rain

The weather forecast is calling for a few grey days? So much the better! Because there are advantages to planning a nature outing when the sky is grey: the forest is calmer and the trails are less busy. However, walking in the forest is always pleasant, rain or shine. When it rains, the experience is simply different, because nature reveals itself anew. The important thing is to be dressed accordingly. After all, a little rain never hurt anyone!

2. Picnicking in the forest

It’s a well known fact that everything tastes better in nature. For your next day in the forest, prepare a nice gourmet picnic and enjoy it halfway through your trek. But please, even if it's practical, forget about the commercially available egg sandwiches and chewy bars! Instead, let yourself be inspired by our team's original ideas.

In our lunch boxes

"To replace the traditional sandwich, I love pasta salads! At the same time, I take the opportunity to toss in my leftover vegetables and herbs, and I often add canned tuna as protein. But I always carry a sweet treat, such as chocolate." - Ariane, marketing consultant

"When hiking, I'm a fan of the Parisian lunch box: fresh bread baguette, dry sausages, fine cheeses, sardines. Always delicious and satisfying! " - Lucas, collaborator

" I've got the sweet and salty formula down pat! I like to bring a variety of snacks instead of a lunch. Homemade chewy bars, sesame sticks, salted peanuts, yogurt-coated raisins, jujubes. Sometimes I even dare to carry an iced coffee in my water bottle!" - Alex, social media consultant

3. Reaching a peak

One of the pleasures of hiking is reaching a peak. The view from the top of the trail is such a satisfying reward! Put reaching a peak that you want to conquer on your autumn to-do list, even if it seems difficult. With a little practice and a few exercises done at home, you'll be able to get there. Okay let's go!

Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Jeanne Rondeau-Ducharme | © Sépaq
Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq

4. Initiating a friend

Unbelievable, but true: some people have never set foot in a national park in their lives. Do you know anybody of the sort? This autumn make a pledge to introduce at least one of them to the pleasures of walking in the woods in a national park near you. For best results, choose an accessible trail and make sure you have fuel on hand for your outing, thanks to the hiking snack ideas suggested by nutritionist Geneviève O'Gleman. 

5. Going as a family

Hiking is a kid-friendly activity  and that's great because not only do they love it, but they also have free access to all the national parks in Quebec! So next time, why not take up the challenge of going as a family?

6. Trying out a new trail

It's true that we're comfortable in our good old slippers... but when we take the trouble to try something new, we sometimes make such beautiful discoveries! Next time you visit the national park nearest you, why not try a new trail?

7. Linking two trails in a row

It is often common practice to follow a single trail when visiting a national park. Next time you feel like a little challenge, why not try two in a row? This may allow you to discover shorter routes while enjoying a longer outing. 

Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq

8. Trying trail running

If you're used to hiking, you should try trail running! This activity allows you to discover the trails from a different perspective, with an added challenge. To plan your first outing, read the advice of Marline Côté, executive director of Trail Harricana UTHC. Marline is a trail running enthusiast, and she offers expert advice for getting started.

9. Looking after nature

Want to take one more step to look after nature? This challenge is just for you! All you have to do is keep your eyes peeled and bring along a bag (it's even better if it's reusable).

The principle is simple: we let our favorite trail guide our steps and we inspect the area to make sure that previous hikers have not forgotten anything. Apple cores, banana peels, water bottles, candy wrappers – we pick up everything!

Let's keep in mind that our actions, when repeated millions of times, have an impact on the environment. If we all do this together, we can make a huge difference!

Alma Kismic | © Sépaq
Alma Kismic | © Sépaq

10. Buying your annual card and making it pay

This autumn, instead of buying your day pass, why not take the opportunity to purchase an annual card, which will provide access to all of Quebec's national parks for the next 12 months, in addition to a free night's camping and a wide range of discounts for you to enjoy!

The challenge here is not to get the annual card, but rather to make it pay off by promising us that this year you'll go out and play as often as possible.

Here’s a little checklist for a perfect experience:

  • Have in hand your daily right of access or annual national parks card, purchased online via our virtual ticketing service.
  • Check the weather forecast before setting off and bring clothing and footwear suitable for the conditions and weather.
  • Download the Avenza Maps application and the plan of the sector you intend to visit. Click here for all the information you may need.
  • Mother Nature provides so many benefits. How lucky we are to be able to enjoy them! To take care of her in return, here are some simple habits to adopt in the great outdoors:
    • Although it’s tempting to cozy up to the animals, make sure you watch them from a distance and do not feed them, as their welfare depends on your abstaining in this regard.
    • To preserve the flora so it can regenerate, stay on the trails. In any case, these pathways are often laid out so as to offer the most beautiful views!
    • Last but not least, make sure you pick up all your rubbish. A granola bar wrapper will blow away in the blink of an eye...
  • Above all, have fun and soak up the beauty and fresh air!

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