Epic(ish) Snow Journey

Late last week, I felt the urge to venture. It came on suddenly and remained until the end of the weekend, making clear to me that it wouldn’t be gone until it was satisfied. Ignoring such an urge is both difficult and unwise, and so I took up my backpack and camera, donned my winter boots, winter coat, winter gloves, and my newly knitted woolen hat, and departed for the LaChine Canal. My destination: the old port.

Those who read my kite photography post might recognize this park.

The first stop on my journey was this small park by the canal. In the winter, the cross-country skiers use it as an access to the canal, which results in long, monotonous, parallel tracks throughout the park. This park is a great place for kite-flying, whether or not your kite string happens to have a home-made remote controlled camera attached to it.

Crossing the bridge on the other side of the park, I came across this odd shape in the ice. Evidently there was a skating rink of some kind here. Either that or an alien mothership landed here (notice the red and green markers,) but decided to take to the skies again when they realized that the ice wasn’t thick enough. That seems more likely.

Unlike the aliens, these two snow-shoers thought the ice was plenty thick, and decided to press on, despite the sign on the other side of the canal (not pictured – stop looking for it) stating the contrary. (Remember this, you’ll get a demonstration of how “not thick” the ice is in a few pictures. Don’t worry: I didn’t fall in.)

A while down the path, unable to hold out any longer, I tagged a snow bank. Fortunately the fuzz weren’t around to catch me – snow graffiti like this is a real public nuisance and a bear to clean up.

At least they're honest...

Having reached the bridge across from the Atwater market, I stopped to read the local signage. I found it confusing that the regulators of the park should request that dogs be leashed unless defecating, but having no dogs – defecating or otherwise – I decided the content of the signs was of no importance to me. I thought about turning to take the Lionel-Groulx metro back home, but I hadn’t yet had enough: I needed to walk some more. Noting the danger posed by the indefinite, and likely perpetual, construction being affected on the current path, I proceeded with caution.

I actually haven't the fogiest idea what this thing was. It looked like the top of a fire hydrant, but the snow was obviously nowhere near deep enough for that.

At some point along my journey I looked down to discover this orange thing peeping out from the snow. I couldn’t quite figure out what it was, but it looked like a very thick-shelled, bright orange mine. Since my leg hadn’t been blown off when I kicked the snow off it, I figured it wasn’t a mine and moved on.

This is one of my favourite pictures I took on my hike. It’s also a prime example of why walking on the canal before it has frozen over properly is a horrible idea. I suspect that there was some reason for this water to remain unfrozen other than the temperature, but it’s still not a good idea.

Ducks: assemble!

Finally, the real reason for my trek into the wilderness: to assemble my army of ducks. I found them loitering in a pond on the other side of a lock on the canal. After a short while, however, they realized that I wasn’t going to feed them, and my army of mercenary fowl moved on to more interesting tasks. (Note the stream of ducks pouring in from the upper left. This started as soon as I approached the lock. At first I thought that maybe I was the duck messiah, until someone walked to the other side and they did the same thing.)

Literally "Road blocked," and in exactly the same phrasing used to indicate that a road is closed for construction.

Deciding that it was time to head home, I turned to the left and began walking (one of the virtues of navigating in Montreal is that finding a bus is usually as simple as turning to face up the hill if you’re at the bottom, down if you’re at the top, and walking straight until you hit Sherbrooke street.) On my way I discovered this road which, despite the name, was decidedly unblocked, as a car was leaving it when I walked by. Curious indeed.

Though I decided not to go all the way to the old port, it was quite a nice walk. Before I moved to Montreal, I realized that I really like long walks. Fortunately, there are enough paths and sidewalks in Montreal that you could, quite literally, walk all day without covering all of them. I’m planning to start a little earlier next time and make it all the way to the old port – it’s beautiful in the summer and magical in the winter. I hope you enjoyed this little photographic tour of my hike.

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2 thoughts on “Epic(ish) Snow Journey

  1. That’s some great story-telling right there! I really enjoyed the narrative, and the pictures were well taken/chosen. How long did this walk take? Have you taken it before in other conditions (see: when there is no snow on the ground)? If so, was the most recent one longer?

    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it! I didn’t really keep track of the time, but I’d say it took one and a half to two hours. I’ve walked this way before, but not for this distance, so I couldn’t really say whether it took more time; if I had to guess I’d say it was nearly the same. The snow makes it more difficult though, especially since they don’t shovel the path!

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