LANAUDIÈRE, Sentier du Cap de la Fée, CAP AUX MERVEILLES
By Anne Pélouas, Magasine Géo plein air, January 2015
There are some small corners of Québec where one goes and returns every winter without ever exhausting one’s ’natural’ resources. The same occurs in the Saint-Donat region, Lanaudière. The latest flamboyant discovery is: le sentier du Cap de la Fée, which overlooks superb Lac Archambault in exaltation. It’s a beautiful weekend morning with the thermometer showing – 25 ° C and a blue sky: the perfect duo to warm up by taking a steep hike. North of the lake, the trail loop starts gently to the right on the flat lands, and then makes a small climb into the forest leading, on the south side, to Lac Coutu and the Le Grand Duc shelter – a total of 2.4 kms from the start of the trek. From there on, the fun is over: we ‘attack’ the western face of the hill with a sustained climb of 1.7 km. Zigzagging between the trees, the track leads to a plateau that serves as summit, rising to an altitude of 625 m. It wanders through a sparser area with trees disguised as large snowmen. It’s time to appreciate the southwest country-side, especially from the lookout where the view is extremely clear over Lac Archambault. The 2 km descent, steep into a sugar bush, then onto a wide trail, will be fast and effective… to keep warm.
While we’re at it, why not … cardio-skis? We swapped the snowshoes for cross-country skis in the Parc des Pionniers (17, chemin Hector-Bilodeau) where we can do some cardio exercise on the unforgettable La Donatienne 7 km track. Or again, we can test the skating track that extends 1 km into the forest.
MARKERS – The intermediate Cap de la Fée trail is 6.4 km. You should allow for two-and-a-half to three hours navigating the circuit. However, you can download maps from the Saint-Donat outdoors web site: www.clubpleinairsaint-donat.org. For more info and free hard-copy maps, contact the tourist information office: (819) 424-2833, 1-888-783-6628 or visit: www.saint-donat.ca. Getting there: from Montréal, take Highway 15 North, exit 89; then take route 329 in the direction of Saint-Donat and drive for about 35 km. Just before Lac Archambault, turn left onto Chemin Régimbald. Continue for some 10 kms, and then park on the right, between civic numbers 1700 and 1712.
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