I wanted to visit the Monts-Valin National Park for a while before I finally had the chance. When I saw the weather conditions with temperatures below -30°C, with a lot of snow thanks to a snowstorm on the previous day (which is great for the famed “Vallée des Fantômes”, which means “Valley of Ghosts”), I thought it was the perfect moment to go camping there.
Looking at the map, I figured out the path to the Vallée des Fantômes. A perfectly doable 30km loop from my camp. I called to reserve my camping spot and mention the trip I envisioned. As always when speaking to Sépaq staff, they told me it was an impossible trip and that it would be preferable to use the shuttle or complete it in a few days instead. As usual I didn’t take them too seriously (all jokes aside, I totally understand why they warn me: better to warn people who don’t know what they are getting into, than end up with severe accidents).
So here there I was at the park, setting up my tent early in the morning. It was the winter solstice, so I know my day was going to be short.
The hike went well. Crazy wind gusts, freezing cold temperature, the sun is hidden behind the clouds (then again, that’s Quebec winter weather half of the time) and I had to open the trail for a good bit. But you still have to appreciate what you get, and that’s why I always tell myself I’d rather have that than wake up with a scorpion in my shoes (that’s a whole other story though).
I made it to the top of Pic Dubuc (Vallée des Fantômes), and the clouds had grown pink as the night was settling in, making for a great view despite the weather. I went back down to warm up in the shelter and eat a quick meal in order to get back on the trail quickly, as I had 13.5km of hiking in the dark separating me from my tent.
Once I got to my tent, I went full “must not lose my warmth” mode. I added layers of clothing, slid in my sleeping bag and made myself another dinner (which is super important in the winter, calories help you stay warm during cold winter nights), before going to sleep. I slept like a baby in the warmth of my sleeping bag.
I’ll leave you to the video of the story, and you might even find a silly little trick to thaw food that froze during your winter hikes .
For now, I will be leaving the cold of this adventure behind as I am headed out for a great hiking journey in Portugal. And of course, everything will be documented in another film .