Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Mont-Orford Park:

Up Close in Natural Splendour

by Nancy Snipper

 I arrived at Mont Orford with an adventuresome Meetup group – a friendly crowd of hiking and water enthusiasts intent on enjoying a full day of hiking and swimming. There are eight hiking trails two of which I would explore this day, but not without heading out in the canoe on elegant Lac Stukley with its 6.3 kilometres of surface – silky waters that glistened in the sun.

Canoe and kayak rentals are right at the reception area of the lake where a sandy beach also has pedaloes to take you further into the undulating clear waters. My canoe partner, John and I were immediately greeted with helpful staff personnel (Nicolas and William) who handed us two paddles – each with a different length (I’m shorter than John) and along with these two paddles – life jackets that looked spanking new.
Inspiring vistas greeted the eye. Orford’s queenly mountain has its own minion of smaller hills – all stunningly cloaked in lush greenery that chain around the lake.
We seemed to enter another world and as we glided along our canoe feeling as sturdy as Orford Mountain itself. 
We spied in the distance three rocks, but one was definitely shaped like a bird. We paddled closer and closer, and then realized the smallest "rock" was actually a sleeping loon! We got within a few feet of it. It did not move. I thought maybe it was injured, so I let out a gentle “whawha” loon call, and to my astonishment, it immediately responded with its iconic two-syllable haunting call – one of its four beautiful vocalities. 

Had we frightened it? Not at all. In fact, it remained happy to float there without moving. It shifted its head position, so I knew it was a loon in fine health. Canoeing further, our little loon lingered for a long time in this favourite spot of hers, but I thought it strange it was alone.
Once John and I returned to the reception area with our canoe, William told me that Lac Fraser in fact
has two loon couples that nest there.

For more information visit: www.sepaq.com/Mont-Orford-Park or call 1 (800) 665-6527

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