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.