Just picture this: a wind, a steady wind pushes against the bike as you attempt to fight against the forces of nature and peddle yourself up the hill. Sunshine beams into your eyes as it continues its endless cycle to illuminate the world. Summer’s charm has yet dissolved and its entity is full of promise and excitement. Matter takes over mind and guides the bike down the dirt road you know leads to victorious glory.
The bike stand meets your foot as your hair cascades out of your helmet. In, out, in, out, the air fills your lungs and overwhelms you with hints of pine, maple, and morning dew. You are surrounded by over 30 species of towering greens and you spot the sign with “Belvedere 900 M” inscribed on it. Quickly, yet carefully, you start the uphill hike. Within ten minutes, a burning sensation fills your legs and beads of sweat begin to decorate your brow. Lactic acid takes over your muscles as you continue your sprint towards relief. Your feet beat down on the hard packed dirt, creating a rhythm, a running song.
Down the tunnel of forest darkness is a small sliver of light. We made it. I can see it, can’t you? We’ve reached my goal. We’ve arrived at the Belvedere in less than ten minutes. The top of the trail. The hawk’s eye of St-Alexis-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada.
From the top of the Belvedere, I saw my sojourn in St-Ax, as the locals call it, fly before my eyes. My legs began to flex in recognition of the horse stables, I held my breath as I saw the cliff where we jumped into the lake, I prepared my ears for the explosion of dynamite at the granite shop, my balance began to sway recalling the wired bridge, and calmness overcame me and my senses. Wow. One wooden platform, a three hundred and sixty degree view and memories I’ll cherish forever.
All I wish I could’ve done a week ago is wipe the frown from my face when my mother announced we’d “only” be traveling to what I presumed was the middle of nowhere, St-Alexis-des-Monts, Quebec, Canada.
Now enough with my experiences, how can you come to St-Alexis-des-Monts and create your own memories? Let me tell you…
Language: First things first, the official language in Quebec is French, so unless you speak the language, I strongly recommend obtaining a translator or face the confusion resulting from the foreign language. But do not fear, many of the citizens have an English base from their time in school and should be able to understand you. Thankfully, my mother has a friend who lives in St-Alexis-des-Monts who became our translator during our stay.
Lodging: Now that we’ve tackled the language barrier, there is the matter of staying somewhere. For those who don’t have the opportunity to stay at a friend’s house, there is the option of staying in one of the renowned resorts. The three largest resorts include La Pourvoirie du Lac Blanc, l’Auberge du Lac a l’Eau Claire, and Auberge du Lac Sacacomie all of which offer fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, camping, swimming, snowshoeing in the winter, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and dog slaying. There are also multiple smaller cabins such as La Chaumiere des Tourelles, le gite de la St-Lawrence, Au Petit Sacacomie, Sur la Grance Rue, Serenita Spa/Auberge, Le Chalet du Chef, Chalet en Mauricie, and Motel Le Saint-Alexis.
Food: And then, of course, there’s the matter of feeding oneself with food- arguably the essential to teenage life. The must-taste food in Quebec I found out was Poutine, a mixture of French fries loaded with curd cheese and smothered in special gravy. For a fast food version of this Quebecois treat, I suggest going to the local fast food joint, The Potato King also known as Le Roi de la Patate. Or, if you are craving a more upper-class dining style there is the Microbrasserie la Nouvelle France which happens to be a brewery. I can’t say anything about their homebrew beer, but according to the adults, it is worth a try. Personally, I recommend their homemade fries with chicken wings, delicious! Lastly, for those of us like me, who prefer a friendly, grandma’s kitchen kind of restaurant, there’s the Resto des Monts who serve my favorite poutine blend! According to locals, every single restaurant in Quebec will serve poutine with a varying taste, only problem is, one serving of poutine is equal to daily calorie intake recommendations!
Activities: Lastly, there are many activities to try in St-Alexis. If you do not know where to start, visit the information kiosk adjacent to the church. The St-Alexis Catholic Church was founded in 1871 and has been kept in its historical shape ever since. Every day at noon and at 6 pm the bells will ring keeping track of time wherever you happen to be in town. From the kiosk, they may give you a calendar of events for the Trout Festival, the largest even in town every year. They may direct you to Les Ecuries du Nord to go horseback riding. The owner of the stable is a young man with 15 horses and a very kind spirit. His trails take you to uninhabited areas and he gauges the speed of the horses on the experience of the riders making it tons of fun for beginners and experts. You can also rent boating equipment to go fishing, kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boating from Locations St-Alex.
What your vacation becomes entirely depends on you! Now book your ticket to Quebec or Montreal airport and come immerse yourself in the Quebecois culture in St-Alexis-des-Monts, QC, CA. You won’t regret it!
Link to St-Alexis-des-Monts’ website:
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