Hiking the Trans Canada Trail: A New Kind of Trail Magic

Hello, dear readers!

I’m back with another update on my journey along the Trans Canada Trail, the longest network of multi-use recreational trails in the world. In my previous post, I should’ve told you about my arrival in Quebec City, the capital of Quebec province and one of the oldest cities in North America. I spent a few days exploring this beautiful and historic city, admiring its architecture, culture, and cuisine.

But as much as I loved Quebec City, I was eager to continue my hike and see more of the natural wonders that Canada has to offer. So I packed my backpack and headed east along the St. Lawrence River, following the trail that would take me to Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, a protected area that is home to more than 180 bird species, 700 plant species and some 30 mammal species. It is also a very important place for the greater snow goose, which gathers here by the tens of thousands during migration.

As I walked along the trail, I enjoyed the views of the river, the coastal marshes, the plains and the mountains. The trail was well-marked and easy to follow, and I met some other hikers and cyclists along the way. Everyone was friendly and helpful, and some even offered me water or snacks. I felt a sense of camaraderie and community with these fellow trail users.

But nothing prepared me for the amazing hospitality that I received when I reached the edge of Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area. As I was setting up my tent in a non-designated camping spot, two women came to visit me.

They introduced themselves as Marie and Marie-Claude, and they told me that they lived nearby and they wanted to warn me about not keeping food in my tent. They said that there was a little bear that might be curious and try to get into my tent if it smelled food. I advised them that I use a bear bag, a special bag that can be hung from a tree branch and keep the food away from the ground and the bear’s reach. One of them also offered to pack my tent and I could sleep in the garage, which I gratefully declined as I was about to sleep. I knew I was going to see bears eventually. My mind was prepared and I was not nervous, because I followed simple rules about not to attract unwanted visitors.

But that was not all. Marie told me that she had to leave early for work the next morning, but she would leave some coffee for me on the stairs of her balcony. She said I was welcome to help myself and enjoy the view. Marie Claude said that on my way to the village area, I would pass by her house, and she would leave a sandwich for me on her porch. She said I could also use her bathroom, wash my clothes and take a shower if I wanted. She even invited me to stay one night at her place if I needed a break from camping.

I was speechless. I thanked them profusely for their kindness and generosity. They smiled and said it was their pleasure. They said they liked to help hikers and make them feel at home. They said it was part of the trail magic, the unexpected acts of kindness that happen on the trail.

The next morning, I woke up to find a steaming cup of coffee waiting for me on Marie’s balcony. I sipped it slowly and admired the sunrise over the field. It was a beautiful sight. I felt warm and happy.

Soon, I arrived at Marie Claude’s house. She was not there, but only her son, which was his birthday. They left a note for me on her lunch box, along with a delicious patisserie wrapped in foil, vegetable juice, Perrier water, chocolate and apples.  I felt like I had won the lottery. I washed my clothes, took a shower and felt refreshed. I decided to take Marie Claude up on her offer and stay one night at her place. I thanked her for everything. She said she was glad to hear from me and that she would be back in the evening.

That night, Marie Claude and her son welcomed me like an old friend. They cooked a wonderful dinner for me and we chatted for hours. They told me stories about their lives, their travels, their hobbies and their dreams. They asked me questions about my hike, my motivations, my challenges and my joys. They showed genuine interest and curiosity in me and my journey.

I felt like I had found a new family. I felt like I had entered a new phase of trail magic, one that was not only about material things, but also about human connections, friendships and love.

I don’t know if it’s the area, something in the water or being the Canadian way, but it does feel like paradise.

In conclusion, hiking the Trans Canada Trail has been an amazing experience for me. I have seen some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world, and I have learned a lot about Canada’s history, culture and nature. But more importantly, I have met some of the most wonderful and generous people in the world, who have shown me what trail magic really means. They have made me feel at home, even when I was far away from mine. They have inspired me to be more kind, more grateful and even more adventurous.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure and that you will follow me on my next one. If you are interested in hiking the Trans Canada Trail yourself, you can find more information on their official website. You can also check out some of the other blogs and resources that I have used to plan my hike. And if you ever encounter trail magic on your way, don’t forget to share it with others and spread the joy.

Thank you for reading and happy trails! 😊

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Comments 6

  • John Sewell : Sep 23rd

    Good morning and I must say after following two separate female hikers all season I feel I sense a complete difference in the writing transition from gals to guys. I enjoyed the expressed interest in wildlife. Canada is a complete surprise and new experience while walking the trails.

    • Dave Gunther : Sep 24th

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write me John. I agree that there is a difference between how gals and guys write about their hiking experiences, but I think both perspectives are valuable and interesting. I do think they are more resilient than us. They are strong and powerful.

  • Thorin : Oct 8th

    Great to hear about your experiences in Canada. Your emotions come through your writing. Thank you.

    • Dave Gunther : Oct 11th

      Oh!!! 🥰🥰🥰 one thousand thank you.

  • David Guzman : Nov 1st

    Awesome adventure


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