blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Good start

Some of the steps
On the first day of the New Year my sister climbed a mountain in Wales (dusted with hoar frost), 886 m, and I climbed Mount Royal in Montreal (thoroughly covered in snow), 233 m. My walk with Chris and three of our friends was less rural than hers, and the views from the top less wild, but there were moments when, looking around, I could have sworn I was far from a city, and the air up there was fresh in every sense. The wind chill in Montreal today was a cheek-numbing -20º, but the south side of the mountain sheltered us from the wind and the exertion warmed us up considerably. The sky was deep blue and the sunshine dazzling.

Mt. Yamaska, from the lookout
Montrealers do know how to enjoy themselves. People wearing broad smiles, scarves and furry hats were pushing themselves up and down the hill on skis or snowshoes and children were rolling about on the slopes on all kinds of sledges; below the path we followed we could also see skaters on a frozen pond. We had to trudge up >400 steps and some upward sloping paths to reach the "chalet" by the Kondiaronk Belvedere––well worth the effort for the splendid views of the city and the Monteregian Hills on the horizon––the chalet being a large hall built in the style of a hunting lodge decorated with massive fireplace, heraldic shields, maps of La Nouvelle France, and rows of stone squirrels, its construction a means of employment for manual labourers during the 1930s Depression. Small children were running around in the big, bright indoor space and we adults were fascinated by the romantic-historic paintings hung near the ceiling, revealing how Canada saw itself in those days (as John commented).
John and I (well wrapped) at the lookout, photo by Chris

Interestingly, a large proportion of the people up there today were Chinese.

We followed the Olmsted trail for a couple of kilometres round the circumference of the hilltop, to the Cross of Mount Royal, past the more modern erections (the transmitter tower and candelabra tower) that share the summit with it. I preferred looking at the snow and ice laden trees. Returning to the chalet with Chris and John we found that Carol and Don had arrived there too. Time for a hot chocolate from the drinks dispenser before we set off along the serpentine trail to the McGill University campus, thus avoiding some of the slippery steps on our way down.

Gory scene in the chalet (battle of Long Sault)

The extensive floor space in the chalet

Downtown Montreal! John and Chris on the Olmsted trail.

Carol and Chris going downhill

Chris, Carol, Don and John walking down the mountain
More about Montreal in my next post.

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