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Sports Trends | Canyoning, Via Ferrata

11 July 2016 by Strøm Spa Nordique

Do you want to have the best time of your life this summer? To experience just that, you have to plan activities that are out of the ordinary. And we just happen to have found two for all of you thrill seekers!
By Frédérique Sauvée

Do you want to have the best time of your life this summer? To experience just that, you have to plan activities that are out of the ordinary. And we just happen to have found two for all of you thrill seekers!

The first one is canyoning! What is canyoning? It is a hybrid aquatic activity combining rappelling and going down natural water slides. Equipped with a wetsuit, a climbing helmet and harness belted at the waist, you first climb up a waterfall to then have a blast sliding it back down. All supervised by professional guides. If this concept doesn’t make too much sense to you yet, here is the program in detail: at the beginning, you walk in the stream bed to familiarize yourself with the water and to get used swimming in shallow water. Then you face the first obstacles like small waterfalls and natural water slides that you go down by jumping or gliding. It’s really fun! But the adrenaline seriously kicks in when you stand on the brink of that first big waterfall that is over 10 meters high.

The guides secure you with ropes and the rappelling begins. The bedrock is slippery and you sometimes have to cling on to the plants that grow on the cliffs. During hot summer days, the drops from the cascading water refresh your face. Gradually you descend to the pool formed at the base of the fall. The waterfall is powerful and the noise boisterous and you swim through the swirls of water towards the shore. Wow! What an experience! The tour ends with beautiful dives into deep and natural pools. There are quite a few professional companies that offer this activity in Quebec. “Eskamer Aventure” is one of them; their tour brings you to the Beaulieu canyon, in the heart of the Chic-Chocs Mountains (www.eskamer.ca). Another one is “Griffon Aventure” located near Gaspé (aubergegaspe.com), and Canyoning-Québec is the one to use if you want to go down the Jean-Larose Waterfalls near Mont-Sainte-Anne or the waterfalls of the “Vallée Bras du Nord” (canyoning-quebec.com).

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For those whose prefer the firm land to the element of water, there is another thrilling and adrenaline inducing activity to discover in Quebec: the Via Ferrata. Widespread in the Italian, Swiss and French Alps, the Via Ferrata is a climbing route providing access to places normally reserved to rock climbers and mountaineers. At times vertical and other times horizontal, hiking a Via Ferrata involves climbing metal ladders attached to cliffs or crossing suspension bridges. It’s a nice way to climb higher and reach scenic lookouts that are inaccessible through the regular hiking trails. Similarly to climbing, one is equipped with a helmet, a harness and gloves to protect the hands since they are used at all times. Since there is no need for technical experience in climbing or rappelling this is an activity for the general public. Just move at your own pace along the mountain wall and do not forget to turn around to admire the striking scenery nature offers you from these vantage points.

In recent years the Via Ferratas have spread like wildfires in Quebec. Some of the most beautiful ones are in the “Vallée Bras du Nord“ as well as in several national parks such as the “parc national de Mont Tremblant”, the “parc national des Grands-Jardins” and the “parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay” and its breathtaking view of the “baie Éternité”. Several difficulty levels and route lengths are available; there are perfect ones for beginners and for the more reckless adventurer. This is an excellent activity to enjoy with family or friends, and to find out who the real sissies are! www.viaferrataquebec.com

 

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