Places Unexplored

Like many we had travel plans this year. I was finally going to visit Texas to take in the history, listen to great music and indulge in some good old BBQ. It was meant to be our couples getaway. A time to recharge. In April, I had an autism conference to attend which meant I was going to spend two nights sleeping starfish style in a king sized bed. For me the annual Saha family vacation to Virginia Beach was missed most. This would have been our 14th trip, the whole fam jam. A missed opportunity to create more memories for our children. Now that they are focused on school, work and partners we don’t know what the annual vacation will look like going forward. Instead of focusing on what we missed we gave thanks every day for the sun filled sky and enjoyed an incredible summer reading books poolside. As the weather cools I already miss those days. The silver lining is that we got to visit places closer to home that up until now have been unexplored. This past weekend my mister and I finally had a chance to get away for a night. We decided on spending the day in Coaticook, slept in Orford and dined in Magog. It was splendid and let me share with you what we did.

We wanted to be in the great outdoors so we made our way to Mt-Pinnacle for a hike. I am embarrassed to admit I had never heard of this place before. To be truthful the only reason I know about Coaticook is because of the ice cream factory. My mother in law, Nicole always has Coaticook ice cream on hand, in the freezer. You can buy this delicious Quebec made product in any grocery store. Remember to support local. All kidding aside, the other thing I knew about Coaticook was that it has a gorge and I had never inquired beyond. From the South Shore of Montreal, you are looking at a 2-hour drive to get to Mt Pinnacle. Before starting our hike, we thought lunch first. I had absolutely no idea how long it would take to get to the peak so in order to avoid getting hangry, I insisted we eat first. Lucky for us, the park we chose, bordering Lac Lyster had an amazing view of Mt Pinnacle’s rock face. I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this beauty. Mt Pinnacle had already impressed me and I hadn’t even reached her peak.

The hubby insisted we wear our hiking boots. I thought to myself this means serious business. Later on I would thank him for it. At the start of the trail we decide, unbeknown to us, to take the path less travelled. I wondered why we hadn’t crossed anyone on such a gorgeous day. Then we got to the rocky part and I was crawling upward, grabbing the rocks in front of me. I was grateful that there were trees hiding the view while I climbed otherwise I know vertigo would have set in. The hike was uneventful until this small portion and I was grateful it didn’t last much longer or I might not have reached the summit. It has happened to me before that I couldn’t climb the last 200 meters or so because of dizziness. We made it to the top in less than 30 minutes and that includes stops to snap a few pics. The view did not disappoint. From the peak you can see Lac Lyster below and the mountains of Vermont.

Afterwards we head over to explore the gorge. I know there is a suspended bridge but I had no idea it's at the beginning of the trail leading down to the gorge. As we walk the path towards the bridge I don’t over think it. I am at the age now that if I don’t want to do something – I ain’t doing it. I have nothing to prove. If I am afraid then my husband can’t even sway me at this point (haha - no pun intended). There is a huge part of me that wants to do it. I know that even if I manage to get across I won’t be conquering a fear but rather pushing through one. The bridge is well constructed but it doesn’t take away the fact that it is 165 feet above the gorge. HOLY CRAP that is high. Did you know suspended bridges sway – I mean move?

Not a good feeling for someone who is legit afraid of heights. Last year, when in New York, I couldn’t make the walk over the Brooklyn bridge and I felt embarrassed but I was truly overwhelmed by the experience. I know part of it was the insane amount of people attempting to do the same thing. Talk about sensory overload. Back to the bridge in Coaticook - standing with one arm wrapped around my hubby and the other with a death grip on the railing of the bridge I slide one foot in front of the other. At times I close my eyes and take control of my breathing. I would open my eyes and creep a few steps forward. There was a family of four in back of us but I was already psychologically prepared to not care about the judgement of others. I keep saying to myself “do one thing a day that scares you”. I wanted that for myself as strange as it sounds but I also wanted it for my hubby. After all, this was just the beginning of the trail. Not that it mattered but if had turned around we would have been $32 dollars poorer and nothing to show for it. I needed to be in total control of the situation if I was going to get across. At times I took only one step forward then stood still for a few seconds to then take 5 quick steps. When we were ¼ of the way across I still hadn’t committed to going all the way. I breathed, I stopped and I stepped. Repeat. When we got halfway I knew I needed this to be over so I said to Kunal okay let’s go but you need to know I have to close my eyes. He held onto my arm and with eyes closed we quick stepped it over. The more steps I took the more I bent at the knees. By the last ¼ of the crossing it looked as though I was crouching not walking. It wasn’t pretty. My crossing are what good TikTok videos are made of. BUT I DID IT! Despite my intense fear of heights I made it over that suspended bridge. I was super duper proud of myself! The gorge below was lovely and I am so incredibly happy I got to experience it up close.

The day was done and it was time to head to the hotel. We stayed in Orford because the Hovey Manor was already filled to capacity and the Ripplecove inn – hmmm too expensive. We stayed at Espace 4 Saisons where all rooms are suites with a kitchen area, living room and huge balcony. We had stayed there once before and loved it. The most important thing to note is the comfy beds, best described as heavenly – like sleeping in a cloud – fluffy. We showered drove 10 minutes down the street into Magog. I had managed to make a reservation at the last minute at Tavern 1855. The cocktails were perfectly mixed and the food mighty tasty. It was the first time Kunal and I had a sit down meal in a restaurant since February. It was delightful.

The next morning, we headed to

a local eatery (L’amie D’Orford) for a breakfast burrito. They sell homemade jam and caramel sauce to take home. Trust me both are a must! I always like to bring a little something home for my kiddies. Before heading home, we had to make a stop at Chez Dora bakery, in Eastman, to buy doughnuts. I have to be totally honest the doughnuts were pretty but not as tasty as I had hoped. That was our 24-hour getaway in the Eastern Townships -to a places previously unexplored (except the hotel and breakfast spot). If you follow me, you already know I truly believe that we have a beautiful province with lots of amazing gems to explore. Do you have any places you want to share? We are booking another getaway soon and would love some suggestions.

© 2018 Audrey Burt

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