Parc National Des Mont-Valin

49℉ at 4:30 and a light rain, high of 65℉

Thursday, September 1, 2016

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Our first view of the Saguenay in this area

It was raining lightly in the morning, but the forecast said it would pass, so we headed to Mont-Valin. The entry road is steep and rough, so we were happy we didn’t bring the Airstream. Then it turns to a dirt and gravel road leading to a very nice visitor’s center. I don’t know how they do it, but again there was a super and patient young lady to tell us where to go and what kind of hike we might like. There were clouds and fog covering the mountains, but we were sure it would burn off. She told us there was a covered hut where we could eat lunch or escape the rain. She said a gravel road leads to the hike and follows a stream the whole way. I bought a fishing license just in case. We only had a day here, which really isn’t fair to a national park, but Labor Day is coming and we wanted to get on the south side of the Saguenay for the long weekend. Two cars went up this mountain, gravel road along a beautiful stream, but I was quite happy to have the Nissan. It’s nice to put it in 4-wheel drive on the steep, corrugated sections. 

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The stream, Bras du Canots, is a gorgeous stream, and could be a great trout stream, but it was running at a torrid pace. We parked and took a fairly easy hike to Pic-de-la-Hutte, although it was a pretty steep uphill climb to the top, and it started to rain. By the time we got to the top, there was a wood walkway and an overlook with a picnic table. Socked in with rain and fog, we couldn’t see a thing. We walked back down a bit to the “Hutte”. Our timing was excellent as it started to rain hard. Our friends in the campground would later tell us that this park is incredible in the winter. People come to ski, cross-country ski and snowshoe. This beautiful hut, with no doubt another great view, has tables and a wood stove, places to hang and dry wet clothing. The porch has metal grates so you can scrape the snow off your feet. I guess these mountains get a lot of snow and are very pretty when everything is covered. I think there are tracked vehicles to take you to trailheads, and there are cabins to rent. 

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We had our lunch while we imagined being here in the 1800’s in winter. As the rain let up, we headed back down, stopping at one semi-quiet pool to fish. Not taking the time to put on waders, I was surprised the water was not freezing. The water must come off the top of the lake, where the water is warmer. So many of our “tailwater streams” take water off the bottom of a lake, so the water is very cold. It’s hard to imagine this stream ever running slow enough to fish, but if it would be a beauty if it did. 

Arriving back at the visitor’s center, I looked at the Riviere Valin that wanders through the valley. On a nicer day, this would be wonderful to float……and fish! We drove west along the valley, gravel road, crossing another beautiful river as we exited the park, and it’s another beauty. There was a gorgeous pool below the bridge, and Martha suggested I fish it. I quickly added up the time in my mind to get geared up, get down there, maybe change flies a few times and hopefully get into some action. The nice girl at the Visitor’s Center said below the two bridges was my best chance. I decided not to burn Martha’s generosity today. She had already been patient enough.

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