Hut to Hut at Mont Megantic Page #2  
     
 
  With our snowshoes on our packs we headed out to the next hut on the groomed trails. The day was a fair bit warmer than the day before and the sky was a range of startling blues. The trail to the next hut was mostly down hill and the skiing was exhilarating. The forest's white blanket shimmered and sparkled as we whizzed passed and all too soon we found ourselves at our next destination.  
 
     
 
The traditional, wide, wooden snowshoes faired well in the deep fluffy snow on the mountain.
  The Andromeda hut was unexpectedly crowded when we got there. Several groups had stopped in to have a lunch break. Everybody was very friendly and animated. Conversations were easily started on almost any topic, particularly when it involved the outdoors. As lunch time passed the crowds thinned and we began to sort out our equipment in preparation for our stay. After we had everything organized we decide to try a little snowshoeing on the summit trail beside the cabin.

This is not a designated snowshoe trail so the snow was deep and the going was slow. One of our party had traditional snow shoes and the extra buoyancy they provide served him well, and he assisted everyone by taking the lead.

 
     
 
The trail was magical and we were really enjoying ourselves when we came to an impasse in the form of a stream crossing. We had been following the stream up the mountain and we had seen several areas of open water a few feet wide and several feet deep. At this point the debate raged about the safety of crossing. Everything was finally decided for us when our probing found no bridge or log crossing along the bank. We reluctantly turned around which proved to be the prudent thing, as unbeknown to us, the trail crossed and re-crossed the steam several times on the way to the summit.  
The some 3 feet of snow on the picnic table at the cabin Andromeda reveals the amount of snow on the mountain
 
     
  As we made our way back down the mountain, we put together our reckless plans for the party tonight. We still had the bulk of our wine and this was our last night out so we wanted the evening to be a celebration. As we finished our supper we began to watch all our planning unravel. One after another, the "party' animals" began to curl up in their sleeping bags after muttering some shallow excuse. The last of the revelers held out until 8:30 in the evening, about six hours short of his boisterous predictions. What a sorry lot we made!  
     
 
The cabin named after the constellation Andromeda is extremely picturesque
  Everyone was a little sad the next morning at the prospect of leaving, but the anticipation of the great skiing on the trail out kept our spirits high. Just as our first visitor of the day arrived we headed out onto the tracks. The conditions were perfect and we climbed back to the first hut without problem. We stopped in for a snack, some pleasant conversation and a little last minute planning for the anticipated downhill on the way to the park entrance.
 
     
 
We reached the park office far too quickly for our liking. The downhill had just the right combinations of turns and dips to keep us grinning the whole way. Nobody took a tumble, even though we were pushing our limits on most of the sections.

Before we headed back to the "real world" we had a quick lunch giving us the opportunity to sort out the high points of the trip. After throwing out one idea after another, we realized there was little to separate them, every aspect of the weekend had been exhilarating. We left with a commitment to return next year with our skis, our snowshoes and our smiles.

 
From Montreal take highway 10 (the eastern townships autoroute) passed Sherbrooke where it turns into the 112. Just before East Angus turn onto the 253 going south. Follow the 253 until you reach the junction of the 212 and head east. Stay on the 212 to Notre Dame des Bois then follow the signs to the the park.

Book the huts well in advance to avoid disappointment. The park will also rent the prospectors tents for overnight stays. The tents are smaller and may prove to be colder (they do have wood stoves but are less protected from the elements). In addition, the one we visited nearest the entrance, got a lot of traffic during the day. Of course, staying in a prospector tent will bring you even closer to nature and our great Canadian heritage.

 
     
 
If you’re new to backcountry skiing and carrying a pack, the park can help out by transporting your equipment for a fee. For more information contact the park at 819-888-2941   For more information:

Map with Directions to the Park
Mont Megantic Provincial Park
Quebec Link
Eastern Township Link
Quebec Parks Link
Huts Link

 
       
 
All wilderness adventures have an element of risk. If you're not prepared and/or your skill levels don't match the adventure the endeavor becomes dangerous. This is particularly true in the wintertime where simple mistakes in judgement, a missing skill or even a simple injury can prove fatal. Ensure that you are prepared for any eventuality before you set out and make sure your itinerary is known. Remember, you are your own responsibility.
 
     
 
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