Abitibi in winter is cold (pretty much like everywhere else in Quebec, you know! #PasFretteAuQC). And most importantly, with this cold weather and the magnificent landscapes over there, come unusual moments of adventures and pampering in Abitibi, like no other region could offer us.
That is what came out of this winter trip to Abitibi, where I had the chance to visit a few corners of this vast region where they jokingly say that there are so many lakes that there is one per family (there are more than 22,000 lakes in Abitibi).
Abitibi in winter it’s: snowmobile, a big national park to hike, wild animals to observe, rustic cottages to sleep in and a ton of outdoor activities (fat bike, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice climbing and so much more).
But even more than that, Abitibi offers a ton of unusual activities during winter.
Here, I share with you my touristic winter experience in Abitibi-Temiscamingue through 4 ideas of unusual activities.
SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
Yes! It’s not only in the Great North that we can observe the northern lights. If all the right conditions are met (clear sky, polar winds, solar activity, favourable time of the year), it is possible to observe northern lights in Abitibi. Favourable times to see them are during the months of September, October, February and March.
The “SPACE WEATHER PREDICTION CENTER” website can indicate you in real-time the possibilities to observe northern lights in Abitibi, and also everywhere in Quebec.
PETTING A PORCUPINE, FEEDING A CARIBOU OR BEFRIENDING A DOE
The Refuge Pageau is really a must if you are in Abitibi, whether it is with family, with friends or as a couple (or even alone). What an amazing place! It is located in Amos, in the middle of nowhere, but the site is filled with love for nature and humanity towards these animals, which are offered a second chance. All of this is shared with us, humans, to educate us about wild animals.
The main goal of the Refuge Pageau is to welcome wild animals in need to rescue, rehabilitate and release them. When the release is impossible, the Refuge Pageau provides long-term shelter to these animals.
This is how everyone can meet these animals. You could pet Chewbacca the porcupine and shake paws with him, give food and talk to Marcel the moose or even fraternize with Charlotte the friendly doe.
HOK SKIING AT SÉPAQ’S PARC NATIONAL D’AIGUEBELLE
It was under the theme “not cold in Quebec” ? (#pasfretteauqc) (but still with temperatures around -30 degrees Celsius ?) that we went hok skiing at Sépaq’s Parc national d’Aiguebelle! I already hear you saying, “what on earth is hok skiing?!”
It’s a new, unusual activity that is a mix between cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! For me, the first half-hour of hok skiing was quite funny because I kept falling down. I was doing a bit as if I was alpine skiing, but since your feet only hold on the skis with the toe tips (a bit like cross-country skiing, but without the boot to stabilize your foot), I fell quite a few times. ?
But not so long after, I got the hang of it, and it was easy to use in unbeaten trails. And what about the landscapes that we could see during this ski hok hike in Parc National d’Aiguebelle? Cold or not: this will remain as one of my best memories of this trip to Abitibi.
SLEEPING WITH THE WOLVES
It is surrounded by the wolves of the Refuge Pageau, which you can hear howling in the distance, that I was able to spend a night in a small and simple cottage that fits in so well with the #slowlife vibe that I’m loving right now.
Brand new at the Refuge Pageau, the site now offers a wonderful 4-season wooden camp, which includes all the basic amenities (electricity, hot water, shower, wood stove for heating, cooking equipment, etc.).
I encourage you to book a weekend in that magnificent rustic wooden cabin. What an amazing immersive experience it was to sleep there, in the forest, so far from the big city, with only beautiful snow, the immensity of the sky and the stars, and the wolves a few hundred metres away.
For even more information and ideas of activities to do in Abitibi-Témiscamingue: it’s here!
** This post was sponsored by Abitibi. However, all opinions are ours and are 100% authentic as a way to inspire each and every one in our day-to-day lives. The Sparks and Bloom sisters swear by this!
This post was translated from French to English by:
Hi! I’m Judith, lab technician in research for almost eight years now and second-year student in translation. I discovered the joys of travelling in my late twenties, and I now enjoy exploring bustling cities as much as the great outdoors. True animal lover, I appreciate the simple things in life and see no problem in eating sushi with a side of poutine! #dontjudgeme ?