Two of my friends and I were in the mood for a summer weekend getaway: nothing complicated, as long as it got us out of our routine! We decided to stay in our region (the Eastern Townships, so much to explore) and try hiking and camping at the summit of Mont SUTTON.
I may be spoiling the punch, but I'll tell you anyway: we loved it and recommend it 100%! It just goes to show that you don't have to go far from home to have a great adventure.
Here are our impressions and tips on this simple and accessible expedition!
From the Mont SUTTON website, you can reserve a campsite at the summit of the ski mountain. All the sites are numbered, so yours will be reserved. No unpleasant surprises!
As we'd never tried this experience before, we weren't sure which location to choose (our last-minute booking also chose for us haha). However, once we got there, we saw that the sites are all well spaced out from each other. So you get privacy and a great experience no matter where you are.
You'll have a picnic table and a place to pitch your tent, and share a communal fire pit with a few sites. Logs are already on the summit!
Once at the summit, you'll have access to dry toilets and canteens of drinking water to fill your water bottles!
We decided to sleep only one night. Our preparation was therefore a little simpler, although in camping, whether you're going for 1 or 5 days, the equipment is often the same!
We had a tent for the three girls, our sleeping mats and individual sleeping bags. We each had sports clothes for the hike and warmer layers for the evening. We had a canteen with all our cooking and eating equipment, as well as our burner, and of course we had made ourselves a nice, simple and efficient grocery list for our supper and lunch (the mushroom and pancetta risotto has become one of our classics!).
Don't forget your headlamp: always a good thing to have on a summer's evening!
We wanted the full camping experience, which meant carrying our own food and gear. However, you should know that at the summit of Mont SUTTON there's a little "convenience store" open until 11pm! Yes, yes: 11pm! You can buy vacuum-packed meat, snacks and even a small bottle of wine. If you're doing this with kids, or for a longer stay, it can be a great option for not carrying too much stuff.
Of course, if something unexpected comes up, it's also so practical!
If you're familiar with Mont SUTTON, you can easily get to the campsites via the ski trails. On our side, however, we were in the mood for a wooded hike! So we parked at the Parc d'environnement naturel de Sutton, or PENS to its friends, at the Alt. 520 reception site. You can pay for your access right here (cash or online in advance) and, of course, leave your car for the night.
We then chose to hike up Spruce Lake. This is a fairly accessible hike if you're used to trail walking. You'll be on a wooded trail all the way up, but the best part will certainly be the little break at Spruce Lake! You'll inevitably come across this lake on your way up, and you'll also find a shelter where you can take a break, eat a snack... And don't be shy about taking a dip in the lake!
The swim break will certainly refresh you, and you'll be ready to tackle the last kilometer of ascent, which is a little more steep and demanding than the rest of the hike.
The trail is a one-way street! Still, it's nice because you won't run into people going the wrong way. For the return trip the next day, we took the same trail. At a certain point, a fork in the trail will direct you back to the host site, so you don't have to go up Spruce Lake again.
I'm repeating myself, but frankly it was a great experience! Our desire to get away from it all was greatly satisfied, and our sense of adventure was definitely achieved. On our side, one night and one hike are enough, but it's possible to enjoy it for longer. In my opinion, this activity is also accessible to children who have already hiked! In short, I'd definitely do it again. Maybe this autumn, in the heart of color...