Saturday, September 15, 2007
Abitibi-Témiscamingue is both the great white north and the wild west of Quebec, immortalized in Raoul Duguay's kicking "La Bitt à Tibi" among other places. It's full of trees and lakes and moose and bears and gold mines, mostly. Used to be part of the Northwest Territories until it was annexed to Quebec.
Laura had been pining for Abitibi since she read about it in "Mon Beau Far-Ouest" and so at the end of July we rented a car and made the trek up.
-Val d'or, mining town extraordinaire. We stayed at a bed and breakfast and saw Debbie Woo from high school, who is now a surgeon and stationed all the way up there.
-Refuge Pageau, where we saw bears, lynx, owls, moose, wolves, foxes, deer and raccoons.
-The cool and clear water of Amos, reputed to be the cleanest in all Quebec. And it comes right out of the tap for free. Our first taste of it was alongside succulent poutine and guédilles at the local Valentine.
We spent two days at the Parc national d'Aiguebelle, east of Amos. The highlight was taking a canoe trip and watching a mink fish off an island for half an hour. This was an intense mink. It caught a fish bigger than its head, I kid you not. Mink swim with their heads out of the water and their butts splash a little when they dive, but they catch fish like gangbusters. They're also the most prized fur-bearing animal in Canada (don't wear fur).
On the way out of Abitibi we had breakfast in Rouyn-Noranda, Canada's national copper capital, and drove around the city a bit. After an 11-hour day of mostly driving, we made it back to sunny Montreal as the sun was setting, with only time enough to be sad that we'd be both leaving it a week later.
Abitibi is great, Montreal is great, Amos is very cool, we saw two bears in the wild. Admit that that's pretty awesome, no? Awesome enough that I went over my 300-word limit. Cut me some slack, I'm out of practice. A Québec song for you all today. Enjoy.
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