Chantal tells us her story of a winter ride she participated in with the organisation Aventure Quad Quebec.
Planning a group ride in winter is always a bit risky because the weather can thwart the best plans. All it takes is one good snowfall and strong winds to turn the trails that pass through the fields into real ATV traps that are not always possible to avoid. This is especially true when the ride is planned over two days and meals and lodging are included in the group’s package, but that’s part of the adventure!
On Saturday morning, about 20 participants divided into 13 machines met in St-Marc-des-Carrières at 7:30 a.m. to be ready to leave for the ride at 8 a.m. On site, it was snowing a little and the temperature was -15 degrees. Everyone is on time and we are busy preparing our machines. Unfortunately for one of the participants, the adventure ended for him from this moment because in spite of several efforts, his VTT did not start. I can easily imagine his disappointment because personally, I was really looking forward to this ride, my only one of the winter over two days.
Before the departure, our guide Eric gives us a briefing on the trip which will be about 200 km per day, with a break in the morning and one in the afternoon. We ride in rotation with the “Rateau” method and our guide Alain will close the route. We leave at 8:10 am towards St-Tite where a restaurant awaits us for lunch. The small snow falling and the sun trying to pierce the cloud cover make the scenery magical. The trees are full of the snow that fell on the last Thursday and the trails are freshly surfaced, it’s so beautiful!
Once in St-Tite, we had a quick dinner for a group of our size as a special menu had been prepared for us. The restaurant quickly fills up with snowmobilers who also enjoy the excellent trail conditions. When we left, the parking lot was full of off-road vehicles.
On the way to Louiseville for the evening, two vehicles got stuck, fortunately without any consequences. We passed by the La Gabelle dam. I had heard about it on newsgroups and it was the first time I crossed it. The arrival was done at sunset while the sky was clearing.
In a few places in the fields, the trails were a little rough with the wind blowing the snow and the driving was more difficult. However, it was absolutely magical to ride in conditions where the ATV in front of us seemed to melt into the snow it was lifting. As the sun set over the horizon, I couldn’t help but stop to take a few pictures and fill my eyes with this postcard image.
We arrive around 5 pm at “La porte de la Mauricie” where we will spend the night. At supper time, the wind blows really hard and I tell myself that the conditions might be difficult the next day in the fields. Surprise, the participant whose ATV had not started in the morning came to join us for dinner. We teased him about his bad luck and he took it all in stride.
The next morning, the temperature was an excellent -25 degrees and the sun was shining. A friend’s ATV doesn’t start and I use my booster cables for the first time, not without throwing a few jokes at him in the process. Fate rewarded me for my teasing because shortly after the start I realize that my heated visor is not working anymore. At -23 degrees, it fogs up and I tell Eric that I have to take a short break to fix it. I discover that during the power boost, one of the wires connected to the battery was cut. I fix it quickly, under the attentive eye of the men, impressed to see a lady stripping a wire with her teeth to put it back under the battery terminal.
As expected, the wind has done its work in the fields and I observe Eric opening the trail, sometimes breaking through the snow like a bulldozer. In order to avoid getting stuck repeatedly, he skilfully avoids the most difficult spots and we move forward smoothly. We are a bit early for dinner. In the forest, the wind is not strong enough to dislodge the snow from the branches and it is still in this enchanting scenery that we ride with a smile on our faces.
A quick lunch near Grand-Mère and we are back in St-Marc-des-Carrières around 4 pm on Sunday.
A very nice winter ride, thanks again to Aventure Quad, Eric and Alain for letting us experience this beautiful weekend! Thanks to the clubs we visited for your beautiful trails: Adepte du quad Portneuf, Mékinac and Mauricie. I will certainly see you soon!