20. Hike on Mont Saint-Hilaire

One of the things I really love about Montreal is location.  There are some many cool places and things to do and see in just a few hour-drive distance. After spending a week in a concrete jungle of Seattle and Bellevue and seeing mountains in a distance, when I came back home my biggest desire was to climb on a top of a mountain and peacefully sit and enjoy a scenery. So I’ve chosen the closest mountain to Montreal, the Mont Saint-Hilaire.

I went there on Monday 12 October, which was a holiday in Canada due to Canadian Thanksgiving day. I’d like to learn more about  this holiday and how to celebrate it. I know that it is a family holiday and all family members are supposed to gather together. But I did not know that they can gather not only at home, but also outdoors! The weather was perfect for October, +22 and sunny, so it seems like half of Montreal headed out of town. I spent over half an hour in a traffic jam on a final approach to the mountain.

The navigation plotted a route through rural Quebec and country roads.  In my opinion it is better for short weekend trip then boring highways
The navigation plotted a route through rural Quebec and country roads. In my opinion it is better for short weekend trip then boring highways

The mountain has several trails, ranging from short and relatively easy, to long and rocky for advanced public.

Trail maps. Taken from official website (click to visit)
Trail maps. Taken from official website (click to visit)
All trails are clearly indicated
All trails are clearly indicated

I’ve chosen yellow path which seemed not too short and had 2 viewpoints in the end. First it took me to the Hertel Lake. The area offers really postcard-like scenery, a lake with mountains covered with forest in a back.

Man, it was crowded...
Man, it was crowded…

Then path follows uphill for over 2 km through forest and rocky terrain, ending on a top of huge rock offering splendid view on corn fields and fruit gardens all around, and Montreal on horizon. Amazing place.

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Jpeg

As usual, squirrels are everywhere. Big and small.
As usual, squirrels are everywhere. Big and small.

I only wish there were less people to make it possible to just sit calmly and enjoy it. Children screaming and constant loud selfie excitement ruined the calmness of mountaintop. But it is for everyone, it is supposed to be shared equally by everyone. For calmness I need to find more remote location. It would be foolish to expect a mountain so close to a city to be deserted on a holiday and nice day like it was.

Mountain top.
Mountain top.

But what really impressed me in  a positive way, is a lifestyle of Canadians. They really go outdoors and enjoy it. I have seen whole families doing a holiday hike, moms, dads, children, grandpas and grandmas. Or parents with a horde of children, seemed like not only their owns, some young couples doing a hike with small kids in a backpack-like seat that parents carry on their backs. I have even seen some glamorous ladies. I like this lifestyle…

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Nature is amazing
Nature is amazing

And a little photo bonus in the end.

Aerial view from the top of Mont Saint Hilaire
Aerial view from the top of Mont Saint Hilaire
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