Day One – Mont Condor
The first day we entered the park from Val David at the Chalet d’accueil Anne-Piché.
We paid $7 each to snowshoe in the park and we purchased a trail map for $2.
For our first day, we chose to follow trails D, E, C and B which took us up to the top of Mont Condor and back to the chalet in a 4.4 km loop.
We aimed to complete this in 3-½ hours allowing plenty of time to enjoy the trail, views and find geocaches.
The first two geocaches on trail D were not winter friendly, but we decided to look for them anyway however the there was a big no entry sign barring the way to the first cache and the second was buried under feet of snow.
The next geocache, “Les Hommes” was found by Fariba (see found log). It was hidden near to a group of large boulders which have been given mens names (hence: Les Hommes). We took a domino from the cache container and we left a jumping bean.
Further along the trail, we stopped at another geocache, “Le Mur” which again Fariba found (see found log). This one was near a granite cliff. This cache contained a travel bug, a bracelet with 2 red and one white beads. This travel bug has already travelled 2,145km before arriving here in Parc Dufresne. It originated in Florida, and visited New York before arriving in Quebec. We exchanged the travel bug for two purple crystals which Aidan had given to Fariba as a gift at the Ontario science center earlier this year.
The path then climbed up the south face of Mont Condor’s west peak and passed close to a frozen waterfall which was very beautiful, we took nice pictures there, then the trail climbed up to the summit plateau of Mont Condor. There was a nice lookout on the South-West edge of the plateau with washrooms nearby, where we stopped to enjoy a toblerone bar and watch small birds at the bird feeder, and take pictures of the view.
The path then loops over the plateau to the North-East edge of the summit where there is another view point. As we looped back around, we found a small microcache called “Mont Condor Ouest“, which I found this time (see found log) and in which we placed a tiny love heart which had decorated the table at the L’Eau à la bouche restaurant for our valentine dinner the night before.
There were wood-peckers in the trees on the summit plateau, although I was not successful to record them on video.
The trail then descends on the North-West face of Mont Condor’s west peak, and on the way down we encountered a regular sized geocache, which I was very happy about because I had Cecil the monkey travel bug and he was too big for the small sized geocaches we had so far encountered.
Unfortunately we could not find the geocache 😥 It had the winter friendly attribute but the area the GPSr kept pointing at was full of snow. Oh well…
The trail then completed the descent down from the mountain, and I realized once we got back that we walked right past a geocache – “Les Dames” (oops!) Anyway we did enjoy snowshoeing through those boulders on our way back to the chalet! There was another regular sized geocache off on a different trail which didn’t have the winter friendly attribute, but I was still looking for a home for Cecil so while Fariba waited at the trailhead, I went off in search of “L’Antenne“. The search did not however bear fruit. The cache was nowhere to be found, possibly snow covered.
Day Two – The Gélinotte trail
The second day we entered the park from Val Morin at the Chalet Far Hills.
It was tough to choose a trail, we wanted to find some geocaches but we also wanted to complete the trail before dusk and wanted to set a leisurely pace.
We decided to follow the Gélinotte and Grand Pic trail as far as the split and then make a choice whether to continue to the lookout over Lac Raymond on the south face of Mont McMaster, or to follow a larger loop by taking the Grand Pic trail as far as Mont Far Hills and then take the Héron trail north to intercept the GV trail then follow the GV trail back to the Centre de ski Far Hills.
The trail started out well! I quickly realized we were going to intercept another geocache, “Volkswagen Turbo“, and this one was marked as a regular sized cache, so my hopes were high that it would have enough room to leave Cecil the monkey. We arrived at the geocache location and I spent about 5 minutes searching in vain, then Fariba called out that she had found it (see found log)! And it *was* big enough (just!) to accomodate Cecil (see dropped it log) – once we took the ernie carrot toy car as a trade item.
The trail then ascended the Northern face of the northern peak of Mont McMaster, passing a frozen waterfall. About ¾ of the way up, we encountered the trail split for Grand Pic, so we followed that to see what it was like. We looked at the terrain, then we looked at our watches, and we realized that if we took that trail, we would have to set a fast pace in order to get back by dusk and we would be doing a lot of climbing and descending, so we decided to backtrack and head down the Gélinotte trail toward Lac Raymond instead.
The trail continued south to the larger southerly peak of Mont McMaster, and right up on the summit plateau we encountered the next geocache, a micro this time, “La renversante” :-). We were quite surprised by the small number of finds recorded in the log book! The cache hiding spot appeared to be quite precarious, but I couldn’t see a better spot and it’s obviously survived there for 2 years, so we replaced it in the same spot. I added a ‘geocaching.com’ sticker to the inside of the cache (see found log).
From the summit, the trail descended slowly on the south face of Mont McMaster to a great viewpoint looking out over Lac Raymond. We stopped here for a good long break. Off trail here there was the final cache of the trip, “OPusTerra – 7500ieme“, which was a pretty easy find but I was glad to be wearing snow shoes, the snow was not packed and pretty deep near the cache (see found log).
That pretty much wrapped it up, the hike back to the chalet was back along the same trail.
The Dufresne Regional Park is a beautiful, well maintained park full of interpretive trails, with great cross country ski and snowshoe trails full of geocaches, and we will certainly return some time in the future