Finally, I had the opportunity to discover the second part of the Parc National d’Opémican! Last year, I was among the firsts to explore the Kipawa River Area with the ready-to-camp sites on the cliffside, the small trails, the Grande-Chute, the incredible sceneries of Lake Timiskaming and the Kipawa River for wich it is renowned. On June 22nd, I was finally able to discover the Pointe Opémican area.
Photo : Mathieu Dupuis
Quite often, we try to organize outing with friends and find out that it is difficult to get people together, especially during the vacations. Who knows why it was quite different this time.
Wednesday, 9 : 30 a.m. : I booked my campground for Saturday morning. 11 : 00 a.m. : I spoke with my friend Luigi and invited him to come to test out his RV. 2 : 00 p.m. : He reserved a campsite for two days. By then, I had no choice but to add another day to my stay. We had everything planned out to celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. 2 : 31 p.m. : Luigi invited the rest of his family. 4 : 30 p.m. : Friends from Quebec City confirmed that they will be joining us. We are now a group of 10 to 12 people! In the evening, I talked to a friend who also decides to come with her boyfriend. I am sure things would not have worked out so well if I had tried to plan ahead!
Things went so fast… The result : it seemed the week would never end and the wait was unbearable.
At noon, on Saturday, I went to buy steaks for dinner. We loaded the car, opened up the sunroof and hit the road towards the Témiscamingue region.
As soon as we arrived at Parc National d’Opémican, I was amazed by the layout of the welcoming infrastrutures. Not only is the visitor center stunning and blending well into the environment, but its location is breathtaking. “This park’s beauty is beyond some of the great Canadian parks I’ve had the occasion to visit” I told myself.
The dock has been restored to give us an even better view of Lake Timiskaming.
I didn’t take pictures of the visitor center since the grass had just been sown (it’s brand new). It’s a good thing since no picture will ever be equal to the feeling you have when you arrive. You will therefore, have the surprise to discover it just like me.
The building, in the foothills of a mountain, is surrounded by rocks and trees which create a stunning background. Further down, a small gravel path leads visitors to a rest area on the beach in the middle of a natural harbour. Then an interpretive trail will take you to the site that once was occupied by a log drive camp and a shipyard.
Several remains are still standing and the historic buildings dating from 1883 have been preserved. In fact, one of them is open to visitors. I had the opportunity to take the tour. Thanks to the forge’s interactive installation, you will be submerged in the atmosphere of a workshop from the days when iron was handcrafted. You can see rails that were used to carry heavy loads on the ceiling and a huge metal threading machine. In the workshop, visibly marked by time, you will hear testimonies from people who worked there. Really impressive!
Interactive Exhibition at the Forge
In fact, the entire archaeological, cultural and historical heritage of the park is exceptional! There are still remains of a glorious past from the days when the area was a travelling route for the First Nations, and from the colonization era that followed.
I am looking forward to visiting the park again to discover the rest of the exhibitions in the other buildings. I think that my father – who worked on forests – must see this!
But until then, it’s time to set up our tent! We are camping enthusiasts and that’s the main reason we came here. I couldn’t wait to see the campsites. If they are like the ones in the Kipawa area, they are going to be amazing! From the moment we arrived and even when we were on the road, I couldn’t stop bombarding my girlfriend with my comments : “Have you seen those trees? There, look, there is the hardwood forest, and there, the boreal forest. Have you seen the white pines? and the red pines?”.
The trees are stunning!
Once on site, I felt that I had chosen THE perfect spot once again… Well, it would have been hard to screw up since all the sites nearby, even with a few differences, are outstanding! The trees are huge, if not too tall! The sites are spacious and very well laid out. The forest cover has been preserved and we have privacy. You know what the craziest part was? We were the first to be camping here. What an honor!
Since it was almost time for dinner, we settled in before joining our friends on the other side (no one wants to pitch a tent in the dark or inflate a mattress after a few drinks). 😉
Our site (#42) was perfect!
About fifteen minutes later, we joined our friends. There was no doubt that Luigi’s site will be THE meeting point throughout the weekend, and that’s completely fine. Without wasting any time, I lit up the campfire thinking about the embers for cooking my flanks steak!
Photos : Hugo Lacroix
We all ate steaks. Then, in the evening, we celebrated Quebec’s National Day with great pleasure and without any fuss. I have got what I needed : a drink, a campfire, a quiet spot in nature, my girlfriend, old friends, new friends, and a lot of funny anecdotes.
We were not even close to going to bed and, already, I could say “mission accomplished” : I have baptized a brand new national park!
It’s now your turn. When will you be unwinding in the Parc national d’Opémican?! 😉
To see and to do in 2020 (details)
In the Kipawa area :
- The ready-to-camp sites ;
- The Grande-Chute, really worth the visit ;
- The Inuchuk trail, fun and incredible views of Lake Timiskaming.
A few more photos
Pollen from the trees has covered the Estacade trail with a soft carpet all over the forest.
We saw a snapping turtle in the park… Keep your fingers away!
Find the error. 😉