Mmk. Food is in my stomach. We continue. Here are two important pieces of background information, one involving winter hiking, and the other about Quebec trails…
* * *
Now, at the risk of making you nervous, I am going to say that, in the winter, snowshoeing across the top of streams is far easier than struggling along the snow-covered side of the ravine next to it.
People, including my mother, have expressed fear about streams. Please for the love of all noodles, if you are afraid of something… Plan for it. Things are getting warmer. Tripping and falling into the shallow streams that I cross is a concern of mine. Therefore I carry a change of pants and extra socks.
Falling through the ice wholesale on a river you’d ford in the summer was another concern of mine, back when the rivers were frozen but it was still being warm(er)*. One of many concerns, walking miles across the forests, alone. Cold is cold is cold. Things will break. Have alternate routes if you must. (I did.)
It is good to plan for your own stupidity, and make sure your plans are simple and easy to follow because you might be hypothermic or unlucky, and when you’re alone in the woods in the winter it’s on you. Plan for your worries, and if it feels wrong, don’t do it.
*I hear this is called “spring”.
…Hmm look I’m writing as if I listen.
Now, about trails.
The Quebec IAT is maybe unique for the way it is structured; and the way the trail has been built. The entire entity (410 miles-ish), stretching across the Gaspe Peninsula, shelters and all, was built in about two years. This is an incredible feat, especially if you consider that our own long-distance hiking trails have taken decades to reach their current glorious selves.
The money/resources for this vast expenditure was all provided by the Quebec government. As with any government-associated organization, this section of trail operates under a very specific structure… The IAT Quebec regulates its long distance trail in a similar way to national parks in the US.
You provide the Quebec IAT/SIA with a general itinerary, so they know the areas where you are. In addition, you must use their designated trail accommodations every night. You pay for staying in each one, and (to prevent over-crowding) unless there’s an emergency you cannot remain in a shelter for more than one night. They also consider the trail closed in the winter, although they are currently working on packages for 1-5 day winter trips, which you’ll probably see this coming August.
The only people who’ve travelled the IAT-QC in the winter did it unauthorized. I wanted to winter hike the trail, but not under the table; so I had a conversation last November with the folks who run it to see if it would be possible. This is where some miscommunication happened, which would have been fine if we’d had the chance to discuss it.
Unfortunately, going into Quebec in this spring, I didn’t bother to send them a trail itinerary, so no further dialogue occurred. I sent a informal email to someone on the board, telling her I was hitting Quebec in a few days, and I’d keep her generally updated, to let her know if I managed to make it up to her area. That’s it.
This was not enough.
DUM dum dum……
Part three, coming soon after I go outside into this glorious sunshine and maybe figure out where I’ll be for Easter weekend. Hope you’re warm, stay well. Go outside!