50 Revelers at the Christmas Party

The Beaver Tails Christmas Party was a great success! It was held Sat Dec 9 @ 6 pm at Comme Chez Soi, a Belgian restaurant in the Pointe Claire village.

As we entered and reached the top of the stairs, we were greeted by our party organizers, Gwen and Richard. They gave us each a place card with our name and main course selection that we could then use to mark our seat at one of the tables.

We had the entire place to ourselves, so we had lots of room to mingle before dinner and between the courses. Several people visited the bar, where their drink selection included a fine choice of Belgian beers. We sat down at 7 pm to begin enjoying the first of our four courses.

The food, drink and conversation flowed over the next few hours. During the dessert, yours truly got up to say a few words. Besides thanking our hosts and running down some of the upcoming events in the calendar, I reminded everyone that we will need a new president next year in order to keep the club going.

Al Lawson, the club’s founder and president for the first 18 years, also got up to speak. As has been a tradition for many years at any large social occasion, regardless of the time of year, there was a spontaneous singing of Happy Birthday to Al. This happens a few times a year in spite of the fact, or perhaps because of it, Al has never divulged the actual day and year of his birth. Al explained how this tradition began 40 years ago during the first weekend trip of the brand new ski club. He then capped off his story by finally sharing with us his birthday. Last month on the 12th, Al became a nonagenarian. There were some gasps, followed by a sustained round of applause

After dessert, the dance music started and there were a lot of impressive moves to be seen on the dance floor. This included our indefatigable club founder Al, who was surrounded by several of our female members.

The party began winding down at 11 pm, as many people called it a night. But among the last to leave, at 11:40 pm, was Al. He may be looking to start a new club for people who have enough energy to keep up with him!

A big thank you to Gwen and Richard for organizing a splendid Christmas shindig.

13 Happy Hikers at Mont St Bruno

A baker’s dozen of Beaver Tail hikers were at Mont St Bruno on Nov 26 for what turned out to be a beautiful day of hiking. A few cms of snow fell overnight, covering the ground and clinging to the trees. ​

​It was below freezing so the snow was not going anywhere. But the sun had come out and we had many spectacular views of the sun coming through the snow-covered trees and reflecting on the lakes.

It was a perfect setting for Mont St Bruno’s open ho​use day. In addition to there being free admission to the park, there were vendors set up outside displaying a variety of gear for winter activities, such as skis, clothing and fat bikes.

We set out at 10:15 am on a clockwise route around the park. We followed ski trail 1 to the point behind the alpine ski centre at Lac Seigneurial where it meets ski trail 3. Along the way, we paused for the first of two sightings of small groups of dear. We then took trail 3 north to the hut near Lac des Bouleaux. We took trail 1 around Lac des Bouleaux, and then continued on trail 1 south past the smaller Lac à la Tortue.

We then took trail 7 west to get back to Lac Seigneurial. We walked on the service road that goes along the shore of the lake, passing some of the fine-looking homes that were built before the park was created in 1985 and were allowed to stay. We stopped in at the cozy “Salon du thé Le Vieux-Moulin”, situated in an old stone building. Two of our group opted to stay behind for tea while the rest of us continued back to the Centre de découverte, whence we started.

We covered 9.5 km in 2 hr 20 min. It was a great day in a snowy setting and a good opportunity to acclimatize ourselves for the impending winter!

Ron’s Random Rambling

Well I guess it must have been the effects of the Super Moon that caused a throng of club members to gather at Cap St Jacques to meditate on the moons super powers. It was also probably the same lunar powers which persuaded the group to walk, albeit reluctantly at first, clockwise around the trails. The group set off with Ron “I know the way” M leading the charge, going clockwise. A win for the super mooners.
What a delight seeing the trail from a different perspective, avoiding maple syrup lines, sneaking past a few barriers, strolling along the beach, even climbing a ladder or two. Try doing that with skis on. True to his word Ron M did not get us lost, but to be honest half the group had no idea where we were and therefore unable to draw any conclusions about RM’s navigation skills. Nearing the end of the walk we came across Brian A, who having arrived late missed out on the lunar activity and was left wandering around on his own. Next time get there on time Brian.

So we had a nice December walk, sadly the super moon was a little hidden by the cloud cover that evening.

A perfect Fall day at Mont St Hilaire

The weather forecast for our Mont St Hilaire hike promised ideal late Fall conditions: sunny, cool and crisp; with a hint of snow on the ground and ice-rimmed lakes and ponds to skirt. Mother Nature delivered, and 15 of us showed up for the day’s outing. Upon arrival at the Pavillon d’Acceuil a few enthusiastic hikers indicated they would like to do the Rocky loop, that was fine with me as that was my preference as well. Everyone seemed happy, so we set off toward Lac Hertel and the beginning of the trail system proper.

The main trail heading up to Lac Hertel is a wide, smooth boulevard; and the rest of the trail system, although more rugged, is exceptionally well maintained and well marked. Along with the spacious, airy and well appointed Pavillon d’Acceuil, with its friendly and helpful staff, this is one gourmet destination. Definitely worth the seven bucks price of admission.

We took the long way up, Rocky 2 (Rouge), and the more direct route down, Rocky 1 (Bleu). With some invigorating uphill sections, and quad-stressing downhills, we all felt we were earning our afternoon naps and/or beers. At the apex of the loop is the Rocky lookout, with its excellent views north and west. Here we rested briefly, chatted and ate our sandwiches, but in the cool air the chills soon began to descend upon us and we felt compelled to journey on. Rocky 1 is mostly downhill, but with one more steep promontory to climb we warmed up quickly enough.

At the bottom of the hill, where various other trails fan out offering additional hiking opportunities for the eager and hearty, two of our number, both eager and hearty, parted company with the rest of us and headed in the direction of the Pain de Sucre trail and lookout.

We remaining 13 took the boulevard back down to the Pavillon, where some members checked there hiking apps to see where we had been, and others checked there Tim Horton’s apps to see where we were going. Total hike distance about 10k and 375 metres of climbing. A good time was had by all.

Great turnout at the Annual Opening Meeting

It was a great turnout at the annual Opening Meeting last Fri Nov 3. We had 50 people who stopped by to register as members and listen to the 45-minute presentation. But they also came to talk and snack and drink with other returning and new members.

This was the third year running we held the Opening Meeting at the Beaconsfield Yacht Club (BYC). It’s a really nice venue for our meeting. We brought our own snacks, water and coffee, which is all well and good, but the BYC makes things even better by providing a staffed bar with a selection of beers on tap.

People started drifting in 15 minutes before the official start time of 7 pm. The room was soon buzzing with conversation as people circulated between the registration desk, the lamination desk, the snack table and the bar. The presentation began at 7:30 pm and provided a rundown of the club and the upcoming season. Among the highlights:

  • Christmas Party on Sat Dec 9 at Comme Chez Soi (Gwen & Richard)
  • Ski and Pot Luck on Sat Jan 6 (Monique I)
  • Tremblant Weekend Jan 19-21 (Peter C)
  • Ski Clinic on Sat Jan 27 (Glenn K)
  • Montagne Coupée Weekend Feb 16-18 (to be confirmed – Gwen & Richard)
  • Closing Party on Sat Mar 24 (to be confirmed – Cheryl W)

I also announced that this year will be my 18th and last as President of the BTNSC. We need someone to step forward and ensure the ongoing viability of the club.

After the presentation was done at 8:20 pm, many people stayed around to continue chatting. The last of us were there until 9 pm.

The meeting was a great success thanks to: Rick for the snacks, Linda and Keith for the presentation graphics and the slide show of photos from last season, Richard for the card lamination, Bruce and Christine for the registration desk, and Sara Grynspan for facilitating the rental of the BYC clubhouse.

We are all set for the ski season. All we need now is snow!


The tortoise and the hare, Rigaud

July in October encouraged a good group of walkers out to Rigaud on Sunday. After a brief discussion about going clockwise or anti-clockwise around L’escapade it was decided to go our usual way, clockwise. So, the Pres led the charge down the trail setting a good pace, the hares, whilst a few of us started at a more moderate pace, the tortoises, allowing our heart rate to rise more steadily and knowing that there was a 14 kms walk ahead. Soon the group became spread out and it very much looked like the hares had missed the turn. What to do, a shout was ignored but we knew if the hares kept their cool they would get back on track not much further on. So, the split occurred, the tortoises keeping to the correct track and the hares doing whatever hares do.

Reaching the point where we should have seen the hares getting back on track, we saw no one. They must be ahead being the obvious conclusion, so we carried on to P2. No one, even though this was the first toilet stop. It was clear now that the hares were lost, must have been hopping mad about that. Then the phone rang. Never, never, pack your phone at the bottom of your back pack and inside several different plastic bags, the chances of reaching before it stops ringing are nil. Assuming we had won a cruise Linda H called the number back and found that the hares had become a little disorientated and embarked on a harebrained scheme to back track to the correct trail. No point in waiting for them they could be all day.

We carried on, dodging several ATV’s who were also out enjoying the day, soon meeting up with Ken B who was walking a Ken B variant which allowed him a little flexibility on the distance he had to walk, clever guy. Pleasant walking through the woods followed, saying “hi “to the many walkers out on the trail until we reached P4 at Chemin St George. Here was Ken B’s vehicle from which he produced a box of Halloween candies, “Yeh”.

Still hareless, we set off on the return half of the walk, Ken B staying with us for a short while then he returned to P4, we on the other hand followed the wooded trail until the steep climb up to the lookout is reached. The view was not as good as usual, hazy in the distance, still a lovely place to stop after the climb.

Where are those hares, given our legs were a little sore the four of us decided to go on, it is after all still one hour walk from the viewpoint to our cars, along a rolling trail. Many walkers just walk to the viewpoint then back to the car park, a nice stroll of about 8kms.

Back at the cars we were pleased with our first long walk of the season. About 20 minutes later the first of the hares appeared after enjoying the views from the lookout themselves, then somewhat later the remainder finished their walk.

So the moral of the Tortoise and the Hare is; it doesn’t matter what speed you walk but it is a good idea to know where you are going. Secondly, just get out and enjoy the Fall.

Guess What? A Great Hike at Oka!

There was a light rain falling as I drove to Oka, but it had mostly stopped by the time I arrived at 9:45 am. I knew from experience that this bit of rain would be enough to keep most others away. I was fully expecting to hike alone, but one other member did show up, undaunted by the prospect of a small amount of dampness. 
The scene at Oka was quite the contrast from our last several visits, which always took place on the crowded Thanksgiving weekend. There were only five cars in the parking lot and two of them were ours. It was unseasonably warm at 15 C. As we traversed the parking lot to start the hike, a bit of light rain began falling again. But as soon as we entered the woods, the overhead canopy of branches shielded us completely. About 30 minutes into the hike, the rain stopped altogether. At times, there was a magical mist hanging in the air. 
The hiking conditions were very pleasant. The wide, well-maintained trails were free of mud. And with so few people on the trails, it was delightfully quiet. At the summit with the three chapels, the mist had lifted and we had an unhindered view of the surrounding region. Once again, the peacefulness of the hike was impressed upon us. Instead of the crowds of people we usually see at the summit, we had the place to ourselves. Indeed, we descended the remaining 2 km along the Calvaire trail without seeing another person until we returned to the parking lot. 
We covered 8.2 km in 2h 15m. It was 18 C at the end. It was a marvellously pleasant morning to hike at Oka.

SOS at Cap St Jacques

SOS (Sunny October Sunday), 12 walkers and 1 runner responded to this call as well as runners and walkers for a Heart and Stroke event taking place at CSJ that morning. Not only that but our group must have had decades of experience in walking and skiing at CSJ so the odds on getting lost were extremely high especially as parts of the Rabbit are closed in summer and Fall, and we did not have ski tracks to follow.

So off we set, happily walking to the farm where we were greeted by tents, food and music, sadly not for us. It was after the farm that the trails are closed, however we could bring into bear our combined CSJ experience and spend several minutes discussing which way to go, needless to say we could not agree on which direction only we should head for the beach.

So the beach was reached, no takers for swimming, then off to see the turtles. No turtles in sight, only those behind the barrier! Now homeward bound we were lucky enough to find the way back to the chalet, only back tracking on one occasion.

Of course there were a few formalities to end the walk:

  1. Visit the washrooms
  2. Thank the walk leader, whoever that was
  3. Discuss who had the correct measured distance on their Smart phone, smart watch, gps or piece of string.

A good day with enjoyable company.  Keith Rhodes

Gai Luron — Party Perfect Conditions for Six BTers

Dave Inglis’s report

What would happen if the Beaver Tail end-of-season party was held at a ski centre promising excellent conditions for the last ski of the season?  I assume everyone would attend, no?  Such was the case at the club’s Sunday destination, Gai Luron.  With the thick blanket of new fresh snow we received Friday and given the unpredictable snow conditions this season, either excellent or poor, one had to act fast (read: get out and ski!) for best conditions.  I conclude those Beaver Tail members who did not get out for the last ski at Gai Luron were too busy at home pushing the vacuum.  For the six members who skied: Tom, Mickey, Sharon, Jessica, Luc and myself, the day was indeed party-perfect!

The trail conditions at Gai Luron never disappoint because their grooming is excellent.  The grooming tractor was out at 6:00 am and completed all trails in two hours, well in Continue reading “Gai Luron — Party Perfect Conditions for Six BTers”

Mont St Bruno — 16 Enjoy A Ski Outing Fit For Shakespeare

In William Shakespeare’s 1592 play Richard III, it begins with Richard standing on the Mount St. Bruno ski trails saying, “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious ski conditions by the sun of St. Bruno / And all the clouds that lour’d upon the trails / In the deep snows of the ocean buried.” It was written as a tragedy but in reference to this ski season, a comedy would be more appropriate. This ski season has been either comic (amazing) or tragic (lousy). What began as a promising season in December (snow!) yielded to the January thaw (rain… grumble, grumble), a mid-February snow blessed us then more rain and the recent 40 cm snow we received last week… yo-yo ski conditions? Indeed.
The last decent club Sunday outing was at Oka, February 18th, possibly the last ski for most members as confessed, myself included, at Sunday’s destination to Mount St. Bruno. With the 40 cm snowfall last Tuesday, I skied at CSJ on Thursday and Friday to “awake” my dormant ski muscles for Mount St. Bruno. The ski centre did not disappoint for the 16 Beaver Tailers in attendance.

The club has not skied Mount St. Bruno in two years namely due to the poor conditions last year and with all 27 km of their ski trails open Sunday with new snow, the choice Continue reading “Mont St Bruno — 16 Enjoy A Ski Outing Fit For Shakespeare”