Yamaska and its well-hidden charm
In collaboration with Julie Audet, wildlife photographer.
It was at the very beginning of October. The temperature was still quite variable and the fall colours were starting to slowly sprinkle the landscape hither and yon. My objective was to explore and discover a new territory, to strike out where I had never been before.
Before arriving on site, it’s difficult to imagine that Parc national de la Yamaska, located in the Appalachian Lowlands, offers such a vast array of different biotopes. Surrounded by rural land, the park nevertheless welcomes its outdoor enthusiasts to a very mature forest area. Roaming through the territory, you'll even have the chance to see majestic sugar maples which, in some cases, offer exceptional sites that are home to a number of animal species.
In figures, Parc national de la Yamaska covers 13 km2, which you're no doubt thinking isn't huge. That’s true, but looked at from a different perspective, it also features a 22.5 km perimeter which can be covered on foot or by bike as well as a 4.64 km2 stretch of water navigable by kayak, pedal boat, stand-up paddleboard, and rabaska canoe. In short, hours of fun and discovery await you!
My top five experiences at the park
The banks of Réservoir Choinière at sunrise
As a wildlife photographer, I usually get up at the crack of dawn to head to wildlife watching sites. This is a unique moment in the day when nature is more active and when encounters are more likely to happen. The morning when I was lucky enough to have this opportunity, in addition to being treated to my favorite kind of misty atmosphere, I was able to check out a number of very interesting bird species, including Canada Geese, Kingfishers, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, as well as various duck and shorebird species. Staying overnight at an on-site campground or cabin makes this activity even more accessible.
Hiking down forest trails in the rain
During my time at the park, there was a full day of rain. Was I disappointed? No way, since it didn't stop me from going out. A rainy day can still be very interesting when you’re properly dressed. I was quite surprised to see how many people knew how to make the best of this soggy circumstance. In the rain, the weather is darker and the light less good for photography; however, the forest cover over the trail blocks some of the rain, which means that the hike remains pleasant. In my case, it's even during this period that I encountered the most interesting critters, notably raccoons.
Exploring in macro mode
Setting out in macro mode means taking the time to observe the details that make up the environment. And fall is one of the most interesting periods to do so, since the change of seasons brings with it an ever-unfolding host of small details. Lingering to observe nature at all levels even enabled me to discover the park’s emblematic amphibian, the dusky salamander. I consider myself lucky to have had this privilege, because it's an endangered species. I’ve got such a soft spot for this amphibian, barely bigger than an earthworm!
A hike around the park is 19 km long. Despite the fact that the trail is considered easy, it can be a real challenge, since it remains long and steady, depending, of course, on your pace. It’s still a great way to discover the park and its periphery, since you’ll pass through various ecosystems along your merry way.
The park’s friendly vibe
Services are all located in one place, which makes activity planning a breeze. In addition to public areas, large facilities are on offer, perfect to accommodate a good many people. And what’s even better is that our employees are park enthusiasts and know how to share the love!
Taking the time to discover a new place is a great way to connect directly with nature, a challenge that I particularly like! While awaiting my next challenge, I invite you to read more about Parc national de la Yamaska.
About Julie Audet
Julie likes to share her extraordinary passion for nature and wildlife through photos and words. The unique perception of nature that she captures in her camera’s eye is both extremely personal and imbued with great sensitivity. From biology to photography, her work reveals deep values, at the origin of a very current objective: raising awareness about respect for nature.