Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.

Eastern Canada: Canyon Ste-Anne

by Kathy 2. October 2012 20:32

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<< Isle-aux-Coudres | Quebec City >>


Canyon Sainte-Anne

One of the great things about traveling is trying new experiences and stretching our comfort zones.

That zone was definitely stretched at Canyon Sainte-Anne, where we stopped on our way from Isle-aux-Coudres to Quebec City.

Canyon Sainte-Anne is a narrow gorge with steep walls and a waterfall that plunges 243 feet.

Three suspension bridges cross the river. The first is located at the top of the waterfall:

Walking trails on both sides of the canyon lead to various platforms where visitors can get different perspectives of the falls.

But we weren’t here today just to look at the pretty views. We were here for some adventure! We had signed up for a via ferrata experience in which we would be navigating through two portions of the canyon wearing a safety harness and clipping ourselves onto a steel cable.

Sebastian and Genevieve, all suited up and ready for action:

The first part of our route took us through an area called “Les Marmites” near the upper falls. First, we had to cross the flowing water on a single wire, referred to as a Nepalese aerial bridge. It had upper wires that we could grasp and also clip onto with one of the lanyards attached to our safety harnesses.

The rope was a bit intimidating (at least, to me!). However, the two lines above allowed us to move across facing forward. Following our guide, Sebastian was the first to step out onto the line. He took the “one foot straight in front of the other” approach:

I felt more secure placing each foot at an angle, with my toes out like a penguin:

Once across, we prepared to climb down a series of rocks. Our safety harness had two lanyards with carabiner clips. These clips would be attached to a metal cable, which would catch us if we slipped and fell. Here is Genevieve with a hand on both clips:

As we moved, both clips slid along the cable until we reached a metal ring embedded in the rock. Then we would unclip the first carabiner and attach it to the length of cable that extended past the metal ring; after repeating the process with the second clip, we continued on our way. Here is Sebastian, in the background, unclipping his second carabiner:

The metal rings also made good handholds amidst the slippery rocks:

We dropped into a wide crevice and then carefully traversed the side of the rock face:

Genevieve and Sebastian, descending some more:

Me, climbing up:

Our finishing point on this first route provided a nice view of the bridge over the upper falls:

To reach the second via ferrata route, we walked across two more suspension bridges, one in the middle of the falls, and one at the base.

We would be climbing along an area called "the Gorge," which was accessed by another single wire bridge that was longer and freakier than the first. The configuration of the upper wires required us to walk sideways, instead of facing forward, which wasn’t as stable, and the river was surging and frothing beneath us.

The kids seemed excited, without any of the fear that I was squishing down inside myself. Genevieve stepped confidently out onto the wire, after our guide:

When she was half-way across, Sebastian joined her:

I am not one for heights, but I took some deep breaths, clipped myself securely onto the wire, and made my way across one carefully placed step at a time.  I had to break through some moments of paralysis as the wire began swaying when the next person in line began her journey across.  Deep breaths, step, slide, step, slide.  My mantra was "Just keep going.  Just keep going." 

After we all reached the ledge on the other side, we started a sideways crawl along the rock face:

Sometimes I really had to stretch here and there before finding the right toe or finger hold.  From my expression below, you can tell that I was taking this rather seriously!

I was thinking how on earth was Sebastian managing to reach from spot to spot when his legs were so much shorter than mine.  Ben told me later that Sebastian was like a little spider, scrambling all over the rock face with relative ease.

The grand finale of our experience was a zip line on which we stopped in the middle and dangled 160 feet in the air.

Ben did his fancy upside-down maneuver:

We all agreed that this had been an incredible experience—fun, exhilarating, and empowering.


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<< Isle-aux-Coudres | Quebec City >>

Comments (3) -

10/3/2012 10:23:04 AM #


A-d-d to Bucqet Leest .... done.   :^)

RandyB United States | Reply

10/6/2012 8:55:03 AM #


You and Susan will love it, Randy!  And you'll have to post photos. Smile

Kathy United States | Reply

10/9/2012 3:31:14 AM #


why werent you canyoning there ?

jan-andre Germany | Reply

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