A fun snowshoeing adventure through Mount Royal Park in Montreal that almost ended at the hospital.
Here's our adventure... Ana and I both arrived at the Mount Royal Park around 3:30pm. The park features cross-country ski trails and snowshoeing trails. We started our hike near the main pavilion, in which you can change, lock your personal belongings or even rent skates, snowshoes or equipment.
Mount Royal seen from the top of Place Ville-Marie.
From here the starting points of the various trails are all marked. For our hike, it was the purple snowshoe signals that we needed to follow. This trail is a loop of around 3km in length so regardless of where you begin, you will eventually end back at your starting point. Just a few minutes after we began the signals used to guide yourself along the trail started becoming hard to follow as they were spaced much too far apart to be able to spot. Backtracking after having gone in the wrong direction, we quickly got ourselves back on track.
At several points, the snowshoe trail runs parallel to the cross country ski trails and in a few instances actually crosses them. Heading deeper into the forest the trail rises and descends, giving with each step an excitement of discovery, to see what we will see next during our trek.
Two trees twisted together, that made a creaking sound as the wind made them sway back and forth.
The trail turns and then heads down the side of the mountain. Eventually, the purple signals disappear and are replaced with blue signals in the trees. Continuing on, the trail leads us to a point where a fallen tree blocks the intended path. At the time I took the picture, the caption was going to read "Where we were supposed to go...". A simple course correction around the obstacle and we are able to press on.
Heading down more and more, we cross another cross-country ski trail and start seeing the lights of the downtown skyline coming into view. The Mount Royal park is really stunning, and it is amazing to have such a location situated right in the middle of the bustling city. We took a short break to spot famous downtown landmarks such as Place Ville-Marie and its roof-top search light.
Back on the trail, we are lead further and further down the mountain, and both Ana and I start getting concerned that we are heading away from where we intended to be. For me, questions such as the change from Purple to Blue signals also lead me to wonder if we had stumbled onto another trail that would end elsewhere. One thing was for sure, night was quickly setting in.
Ever adventurous we continued on, despite wondering if we should turn around and retrace our path back to the start. A few minutes later we ended up at the Montreal General Hospital. Things were not looking promising to say the least as the signals seemed to be leading us straight for the emergency department. Since we were well hydrated and dressed warmly, we decided that we weren't ready to declare and emergency and continued on.
Eventually, the trail started heading back into the forest, just in time as snow started to fall and the wind was increasing in strength.
Climbing up the mountain once again we then saw lights in the distance. It was the pavilion from the start and the skating rink.
A few minutes later we arrived, our hike and adventure having come to an end.
The trail was quite enjoyable, the views from the mountain were stunning. Both Ana and I having a big love for Montreal, got to experience the city in a new way. The park itself is also quite easy to access, as several STM bus routes pass along its borders. There is also a large skating rink near the pavilion that is nicely setup and arranged. We had been wanting to experience the park for a while and finally got our wish.
While our experience was great and lots of fun, I do have to say that the signals could have been made to be less far apart in the critical areas where a change of direction was required so that second guessing the direction you were heading wasn't a frequent occurrence. In the end, we did start our hike shortly before sundown so the poor lighting as a result and unfamiliarity of the park definitely helped complicate our adventure.