snap: how I spent my summer vacation, Gaspesie edition

August 11, 2012

La Passerelle aux saumons is a bridge over the river that skirts the Camping de la Riviere, the homebase from which I spent a week hiking in the Chic Choc mountains in the Gaspesie, about 10 hours northeast of Montreal.

La Passerelle aux saumons, or down below where we ended each day, is not where I spent my entire vacation. That photo album (excruciatingly tasteful excerpts of which are on my @dduguay page on Instagram and you can ooh and aah here), that how-I-spent-my-vacation photo album would, I suspect, bore the hiking socks right off you. I have lots of flower photos, and gaffer tape on the ankle photos (ward off those blisters!), hikers cooling their near-blistered stinkin’ hot dogs in the creek that magically presents itself at the end of every hike photos … I have all those photos and most of them I am content to leave on my iPhone.

But this photo is the vacation in a nutshell. There’s an empty chair somewhere in there between my friend and hiking mentor, Pierre Obendrauf, on the left, and his fiance, Tania Friedrich, on the right. They not only hauled me with them on this trip and indefatiguably aided my goal to speak as much French as possible (the rest of the group was 99 per cent francophone and I am pleased to say I Frenched my way through about 75 per cent of the week). Not only all that, but they fed me, kept me in beer and wine, fussed over my tent and tarp and looked away  in that moment, at the fancy dinner we had at the fancy Gite Mont Albert on the last day, when it struck me this was the first vacation I had taken since Shaun’s passing that was not solely dedicated to getting away by myself so I could think about Shaun. Ah.

So that’s how I spent my vacation, in the seat between two great, generous, fun friends, soaking our feet and drinking river-cooled beer, and (mostly) getting way far out of my own head and into the splendor of nature. May you find such a seat as often as you can.

Aw, maudlin, I know, but you’re the one who dropped by.

Now get out there, the summer’s not over yet.



  1. That looks like heaven.

    • Really was. Thanks for reading

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