Back to the Canada adventures recaps! If you missed the first recap, check that out first:
I know, Canada is sooo ugly, right?!
As I mentioned in my first post, I was in Canada on a press trip on behalf of the Outaouais and Quebec tourism bureaus. A big thank you to them for having me and covering the trip expenses!
On day 2, our adventures started with paddle boating at Eco-Odyssée!
Eco-Odyssée is a water maze that is made up of over 60 intersections spread out over more than 6 km. Each paddle boating team of 2 is given an adventure challenge to complete as they make their way through the maze. Fun!
When we arrived, we split up into pairs and received our adventure guide, a compass, a walkie-talkie, and a laminated handout with our challenge.
Then we got ready to paddle!
Julie and I teamed up and had a blast paddling around and completing the challenge, chatting away, and enjoying the scenery.
The way the challenges work is that each team gets a different route to take, and during the paddling, you look out for clues (replica animals) and other installations that direct you through the maze. It was a fun way to learn more about the marsh environment and ecosystem. This would be great as a family activity with kids!
I also got to work on my compass skills.
I’m happy to report that we made it back without getting lost!
After our paddle boating adventure, our group headed to lunch. On the way, we stopped to enjoy some beautiful scenery. Quebec was SO beautiful at this time of year – loved those changing leaves.
For lunch, we went to a lovely vegetarian restaurant called Café Soup’Herbe – what a cute name!
I loved this place – so homey!
For lunch, I enjoyed the veggie burger & a big side salad. Both were delicious!
After fueling up, we headed to nearby Gatineau Park for a hike.
Isn’t this place stunning?
The park is 361 square kilometers – HUGE! We only saw a fraction of it – good reason to come back.
Here are some fun facts about Gatineau Park. The park boasts:
- 165 km of hiking trails (90 km of which are also used by mountain bikers)
- 254 campsites
- 230 bird, 50 mammal, and 1,000 different plant species
- 50 types of trees
- Canoe & kayak rentals
- Winter sports galore
In the late fall/early winter, the roads in the park are closed to traffic and before the snow hits, bikers get them all to themselves. Once the snow hits, lots of cross country skiing happens. This area is definitely an outdoor lover’s paradise!
After the park, we took another quick detour to enjoy a scenic overlook. Julie and I decided this should probably be our Christmas card. Lol. Nerds.
And then it was off to our evening destination: Nordik Spa-Nature, which is North America’s largest spa. We were lucky enough to stay in the Lodge, which is the only accommodation available on site at the day spa right now (they’re building a hotel which will be open soon).
The Lodge was really cozy – it had a pretty big dining room, nice kitchen, and 5 bedrooms – 3 rooms downstairs, and a loft upstairs with two little alcoves with beds in them.
Here’s my little alcove. It was like a slumber party!
After getting settled in, the ladies and I changed into our swimsuits and threw on robes…
…and spent the rest of the evening enjoying the spa!
There were no electronics allowed in the spa areas, which was lovely and meant that we were all able to really disconnect and hang out. It also means I didn’t get any photos, so the next couple photos in this post are courtesy of Nordik!
The property was absolutely gorgeous – what you see in the photo above is only about half of it. Everywhere you looked there were hot pools, cool pools, and little sauna huts offering all sorts of different experiences – some steam, some dry, some with infusions of lovely smelling essential oils. It was wonderful. We were instructed to do hot, cold, relax: about 10 to 15 minutes of something hot (a hot tub or sauna), then a quick refresher in a cold pool for a minute or two, and then some relaxation either in lawn chairs in front of the fireplaces or in one of the normal temperature warm pools.
In addition to enjoying the saunas and pools, we also got the opportunity to try out the Kalla treatment, in which you relax in an Epsom salt pool. It’s similar to being in the Dead Sea because you float perfectly and feel completely weightless; everyone is instructed to lie down on their backs, close their eyes, and just float. It was so relaxing.
One of the other fun things about the spa is that they have a fine dining room where everyone dines in their robes! We all had dinner there (the food was delicious) and it was such a treat to eat all cozy in our robes. I really want to bring Matt back to this place! The rates are really reasonable for a day visit, too.
I’ll be back tomorrow to share day 3 of our Canadian adventures: stay tuned!
Have you ever experienced anything like the Kalla treatment?
Are you a sauna fan? I first got into saunas when I was teaching English in Prague – I splurged on a fancy gym and in the locker room they had a wonderful dry heat sauna. I used to go in it almost every day after working out… it was such a treat on those cold winter European days (and after wrangling classes of kids all day)!