The Aventure-Quad Quebec club is located in the heart of the Capitale Nationale. Although it only offers winter trails, the club is active all year round and organizes several summer rides, some of them in “weekend” type. On July 17 and 18, I joined a group of 24 people on 14 machines for a superb ride that took us to the Nemiskau outfitter in the upper Mauricie region. After almost two years without being able to ride in a group, it is with great pleasure that I got back in touch with the essentials of quad biking: new encounters, sharing experiences, socializing and good group meals.
The excellent organization was underlined by several participants. Our guides and chaperones were very well equipped, very well informed and had thought of those little details that make all the difference in the eyes of the participant. As soon as we arrived at the starting point in Ste-Thècle, Éric, our guide and group leader, Julie and Jonathan made everyone feel at ease. Some of us got to know each other and for others it was a happy reunion. Some of them were doing their first two-day hike and received help and advice from the more experienced ones on how to stow their luggage or what to wear.
Afterwards, a safety briefing is done with the whole group and the method we will use during the trips is explained: the rake.
This method will be particularly appreciated during our weekend in order to distance ourselves a little and thus avoid swallowing too much dust. Here is how it works:
– The guide is always at the front of the group
– At each intersection, the guide stops and waits for the quad that is following him to position it in the direction of the road to follow.
– This quad stays at the intersection and all the others pass it
– The rake is the quad at the end of the pack. He always stays at the back and when he arrives at the stationary quad, he signals him to get back on the road ahead.
The rake is usually a club volunteer who will be able to help a quad that has broken down or is injured. The poor guy is guaranteed to be riding in the dirt most of the time because he is the only one who is constantly catching up with the others. Thank you Julie and Jonathan for watching over us the whole ride! This way, there was no need to stay close to the quad in front of us for fear of missing a turn and losing the group. Those who used this method for the first time said they were delighted to have learned it.
It is with a beautiful weather that we leave Ste-Thècle around 8:30 am with the objective to reach La Tuque for lunch. The trails being mostly forest roads in this part of the trip and the group riding at a good pace, it’s without difficulty that we reach this goal.
After refueling our machines and stomachs, we set off again for our destination: the Nemiskau outfitter. It is 27 degrees and the sun is very present. Our speed decreases as the road becomes more rocky and less wide where there are still some large puddles from the rains of the last few days. I decide to use some of these water holes to refresh myself even if I’m not among the first quads to go through them. Result: several mud baths and a very dirty appearance at the arrival, but with a big smile on my face!
The main site of the outfitter is beautiful and has several buildings around Pal Lake including the main lodge and a few cabins. Our group is a little out of the way and occupies two pavilions overlooking the lake and its facilities. After shaking off as much dust as possible from my equipment and clothes, I dare to enter our spacious room where I leave the luggage to quickly take a look at the surroundings.
On our level, a spa corner and a terrace with a beautiful view on the lake allows me to see the docks, the beach and the water games which are very inviting by such a heat. Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards are also available to guests and several members of our group go down to the lake for a dip and some fun in the water before showering. We then met up in the dining room of the lodge for a delicious all-you-can-eat fondue meal. It was a bit of a special atmosphere, people looked really happy and had so much to say that the evening went by in a flash.
The return journey
The next day, after a good breakfast, we headed back to La Tuque where we had lunch near a river. In the morning, despite the distance we leave between the quads, it is impossible not to ride in the dust that seems to be suspended in the air due to the absence of wind. Since the temperature is even hotter than the day before, by popular demand, our guide suggests an afternoon stop where it will be possible to swim and cool off a bit.
When we arrived at Lake Mékinac, I was quite surprised to see so many quads, jeeps and motorcycles that had the same idea as us. There were easily thirty vehicles parked and several boats on the lake. What a joy to take off your boots and pull up your pants for a little foot soak on the beach. I splashed myself generously with water to refresh me while others enjoyed a good swim, then we resumed our journey after a 30-minute break.
The last portion of the hike was done smoothly, always in the dust and the heat and we find our trailers around 4:00 pm. The group is very satisfied and we underline it several times by thanking the organizers and the collaborators. Some already reserve their place at the next excursion of the club. Superb organization, very beautiful outfitter, I already look forward to ride again with you!