La Coquille
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


                                                         www.safaricondo.com

 

           information bulletin for  Safari Condo Owners vol. 5 num. 2, October 2003


 


An excursion to the rockies

 by Denise and Gilles Boisvert

 

Since we have been, for the past fifteen years, ardent lovers of the American mountains, the Adirondacks and the White Mountains, Denise and I have always cherished the dream of conquering the Rockies. In April 2002, we purchased a rugged Safari Condo, the ideal companion to challenge the high peaks of the Canadian West and to venture on the narrow secondary roads leading the treasures of the back-country.

 

On July 12th, we were welcomed by the breathtaking panoramas of Alberta, well known for its famous national parks of Jasper and Banff. Immense glaciers, lakes (such as lake Louise and Moraine), sensational waterfalls, canyons, prairies full of flowers and numerous wild animals (such as the wapitis) will surely charm all the tourists.

 

The magic happens in Calgary, at the top of the revolving restaurant. What a view! The Rockies, with their eternal snow, stretch out into the horizon as far as the eye can see. The panorama is sublime, and this breathtaking view only heightens our desire to see the glaciers up close. All along the road the glaciers reflect the sunlight all around.

 

At the campground of Lake Louise, the rule is simple, but strict: keep the top of your Safari closed at night. Beware of the bears that lurk through their kingdom! The enormous amount of warnings to travelers about the dangers of encountering a bear excites the imagination of the tourist. The following morning the Rockies are calling to us under a glorious sun. Absolutely thrilled, we put on our hiking boots and our back packs. As we depart, we meet some sympathetic campers, one of whom, a sixty year old man, asks: “But how do you reach such high summits?” The question amused us. The answer is simple: any person in good physical condition can climb mountains, and the passion is born as one’s eyes fall on the view that can be seen from the top. Each day, the turquoise waters of Lake Louise hypnotize 15,000 visitors. What an attraction! We take a lovely path which circles the lake. Many happy lovers float idly in little boats on the water. But the mountain is pulling us like a magnet. We cannot wait to see this eternal snow close up, as the path unfolds under our step like a snake. Surprise! We encounter horses mounted by some tourists. After an hour and half of easy walking a tea house, whose story would regale many, is standing amongst the trees. Several hikers are there, exchanging stories in good humour, while eating a light meal. At our feet, a small lake is gathering the crystal water of the glaciers. Mount Little Behive (2,210 m) rises before us. The thirty-minute climb which lies ahead is nevertheless the hardest part of the excursion. However, our efforts are well rewarded by the view of Lake Louise. Twenty minutes of pure joy as we stand amongst the glaciers and we gaze on the snowy peaks. The return is as interesting. Our eyes have to take in all the coloured traditional landscapes of the Rockies. Our enthusiasm is overwhelming. Close to Lake Louise we observe some amateur and professional rock climbers ascend a wall of rock: an exciting sport, which is growing in popularity. However, we prefer to conquer mountains and touch the clouds. Close to the Chateau Lake Louise we unwind and stretch our soar muscles, which is a necessary step if we do not want to walk like ducks the following morning. Some curious by-standers look at our telescopic poles, which provide a precious aid in our hiking. We strongly recommend these, by the way. Back at the Lake Louise campground we were enchanted by our first excursion. “It’s magical!”, said Denise. A wonderful feeling of interior peace settles within us. Feeling the mountain still living under our feet and in our muscles, we laugh heartily and toast to the Rockies. Mount Fairview (2,744 m) represents our next exciting challenge.

 

The next morning, the splendid Fairview stands before us.  Left of Lake Louise wild flowers dance in the wind. What a sight! The path we borrow follows a sea of green trees. After fifteen minutes of easy walking, we start stretching our muscles to better climb the steep slope ahead of us. During the ascent we often gaze gleefully at the valley stretching below, bathed in the soft sunlight. An hour and a half later we emerge out of the forest. Before us stands an enormous amount of rocks and glacier deposits. We happily pursue our climb. The steep slope, however, slows down our previously enthusiastic rhythm. After an hour and half of strenuous effort, we reach the summit. With our heads in the clouds, we stand amongst the glaciers and the rocky cliffs. Lake Louise is minuscule in this awe-inspiring panorama. We gaze upon the infinity of the view stretching all around us. With our feet firmly planted on the rocky ground of the mountain we look upon the rich forest, the small blue lakes, the snowy peaks, and the sharp cliffs where ice resides for most of the year. Thirty minutes of pure ecstasy.

 

What a fantastic world! This represents an ideal meditating spot for an Asian woman concentrating on her book. All her being seems to absorb the gigantic and mysterious force of the Rockies, while she baths for while in the divine sunlight. Then she disappears in the dark entrance of a perilous path, appreciated by many wild animals. We remain there- amazed. Upon our return, we had the pleasure of chatting with a hiking group from Montréal. This five-hour breathtaking expedition will forever be engraved in our minds. The following day, we accompanied a group of hikers in the Valley of the six glaciers; three very fulfilling and interesting hours. Our guide, a young woman mandated by Parks Canada, explains to us, with enthusiasm and humour, the fauna, the flora and the glacier formations. Suddenly, an explosion shakes the earth all around. “An avalanche!”, scream the children. Our amazed looks all stare at this gigantic arm of snow detaching itself from the glacier. Our excursion with our brilliant guide ends at another tea house.

 

A humid path takes us to the eternal snow. Many flowers, nourished by the pure water of the glaciers, shine with all their colours. We then walk, thanks to a good sense of balance, across a narrow ridge of eroded rocks to reach a white accumulation where we eat lunch. There we can observe the awesome force of the glacier, gripping onto the rocks underneath. What a sight!

 

To live a different type of adventure, why not take a walk on a glacier? A snow coach takes us at the centre of the Columbia, where we spend an amazing twenty minutes. It truly was a formidable excursion. Careful! A deep crevice covered with snow could swallow you whole! Thus it is more prudent to follow the advice of your guide.

 

In the Glacier Park, in British-Columbia, Thierry, our guide from the federal parks, takes us to the neck of Balu. On a magnificent sinuous path, following a ravine, some curious groundhog spy on us along our six-hour journey. Thierry brings our attention upon the signs of the recent passage of bears looking for food. We examine the lacerated tree trunks, where thousands of insects reside; the ground, full of bulbs, savagely disturbed. “Here, on the trunk, the bear appears to have scratched its bottom!”, said Thierry, laughing. At the neck of Balu, still snowy in august, we can admire the famous glaciers close up; an unforgettable spectacle. To our right, a sign forbidding access to the lynx territory to the tourists, sends a quick shiver down our backs. While we are coming back down, tourists from Edmonton share with us their most exciting adventures.

 

We then travel to Waterton, on soft Lougheed highway, which nevertheless holds many pleasing surprises. A quick tip however: be alert and be prepared to stop quickly. Here cows, or even mountain goats play on the asphalt or graze by the side of the road. We were never hoping for this…

 

Waterton is a picturesque village that has some magnificent campgrounds, where dears and their young wander freely. To encounter bears, in the morning or at sunset, the secondary road which leads to Red Rock Canyon is a good place to go, since it is in a region rich in wild fruits and berries. Circulation is closely monitored to protect the bears and their offspring which cross the public road. In this region, we can observe wild animals that are used to the presence of humans, so Denise can get some amazing pictures, such as a cub crossing the road. With our binoculars we can follow a grizzly in the mountains. Upon our return, in a field we see buffalos in an opening in the forest. Farther up the road, a frail coyote runs in the prairie as a tourists captures some fascinating and unexpected images.

 

Waterton also offers tourists exceptional hiking excursions. During the thirty minutes of navigation, the captain’s humoristic discourse informs the curious minds on different bear legends. We get off on an island. A one-day excursion full of emotions takes the hiker to a small lake hiding up in the mountain. However to reach it one must hike up steep and rocky paths, hold on to a metal wire to avoid falling in a ravine, climb up an iron ladder, crawl in a tunnel and pass right next to powerful waterfalls. After all this, the tiny lake welcomes the tired hiker in its little mountain paradise. There, in this enchanting surrounding, a young man promises to Eve, his fiancée, to marry her. What a touching scene.

 

The Rockies are full of wondrous paths that will please any type of hiker. The trails of the Johnson canyon, the Sunshine Meadows, of lake Peyto and of mount Edith Cavell will surely all fascinate you. After a long, stimulating walk you will be able to relax near the sulphuric waters of Banff while gazing upon the glaciers, higher up.

 

We hope that we gave you a little taste of the mountain, and of the passion that pushes us to always aim for a higher summit; the passion that pushes us towards more excitement. Nature walks do not tire you out; on the contrary they replenish you and give a refreshing energy to both body and mind. The mountain and its treasures will charm you, we are certain. Good excursion to all Condists!

 

Thank you! Thank you!

By Michèle Nadeau

 

It is a well-known fact that without any volunteers nothing would be possible in this world. This fundamental truth also very much applies to our annual reunions. I would like to thank in my name and in Daniel’s everyone who made this year’s event possible. I shall not name anyone, but I am sure they will all recognize themselves.

Therefore I wish to give a big thank you to:

-          Everyone who participated in this summer’s reunion. You are an amazing group!

-          The volunteers at the welcome desk for the Condists and their Condos.

-          Those in charge of the art exposition.

-          The person in charge of the “Condists at work” portion of the exposition.

-          All the artists who participated.

-          A special thank you to Mme Nicole Cliche and Mme Mariette Perreault for delaying another exhibition in order to be with us.

-          All those who presented conferences.

-          A special thank you to Stéphane and Denise for their enormous effort and work.

-          Those in charge of the technical aspect of these conferences.

-          The guides for the bike tour of St-Joseph.

-          Those who put the site together, and then put it apart afterwards.

-          The employees of Safari Condo who worked to provide service and maintenance that weekend.

-          All our generous suppliers.

-          A big thank you to AssurExperts Lessard

-          Another great thank you to Agrinove for the milk we distributed Saturday morning.

-          Our young milkmen.

-          A very special thank you to Daniel for his condo-showers.

-          Our friend Jean-Claude for the fantastic dinner he prepared.

-          The tourist office of Ste-Marie.

-          The municipal campground of St-Joseph.

-          The volunteers of the Condo-Boutique.

-          The Roses Drummond.

Last but not least I wish to thank whoever was responsible for the weather! We were lucky enough to have one of the best weekends of the summer!!

 

Daniel’s Tips: Preparing your vehicle for winter

 by Daniel Nadeau

 

Autumn is already well on its way and the weather is becoming increasingly cold; therefore the time to prepare your vehicle for winter has arrived. This preparation has two important parts: the electricity and the plumbing.

 

Electricity: The detectors that are placed in your vehicle ( the propane detector and the carbon monoxide detector) are there to assure your safety when your vehicle is in camping mode. However, if you do not use your vehicle for winter camping, you should take out the 3 A fuse that protects them. Your detectors can drain your batteries within a month and a half if your vehicle is stored for the winter. Even if you do use your vehicle as an automobile we suggest that you take out the fuse just to be safe. You all know it: there is no second chance for a dead battery in winter. And if your batteries freeze you will have to buy new ones when the new season comes around because they will not be covered by the warranty of the company or by the one offered by Safari Condo. You should see the inscription “detecteur” inside the cover of your fuse box to indicate which fuse you should take out. But you will be truly sure you have the right one once you see the lights on the detectors turn off. (This does not apply to your smoke detector that works on a 9 V battery. This battery should be changed every spring.)

 

If you store your vehicle, aside from the fuse for the detectors you will have to make sure that everything is turned off, that the switch on your inverter is at off and you will have to unplug your GM battery because the memory on your radio, the alarm system, and the keyless entry system will eventually drain your GM battery and it will then inevitably freeze.

Plumbing: See your owner’s manual to the “Winterization” section. You should use nothing less than Plumbing Anti-freeze good for at least -50. Do not recuperate it come spring since if there was a little water left in the plumbing it will loose its efficiency for the next winter.

If after having read your owner’s manual you still have some questions you can reach me directly at my office.

 

Important Security Notice

 

The Awnings: Some of the screws that hold the awning support to the vehicle can rupture with time and due to the vibrations. You should check that your awning is securely and solidly fastened regularly. If you notice that it moves in an abnormal way you should take it off immediately and only put it back again once you have had the awning support and its screws checked or repaired. The vehicles that have a greater risk are the 20 feet long since their awning is heavier and the vehicles where the awning was installed between 1998 and 2001. However we recommend that everyone check the solidity of their awning regularly. If you are coming to our shop to service your vehicle remind us to check for you.

 

Sprays: Do you keep different kinds of spray cans like WD-40, bug repellent or hair spray inside your vehicle? One of our clients who works in an aluminium industry has received information of how dangerous these can be in an environment where the heat can rise radically. The accident mentioned occurred in a mini-van where the spray can actually went through the back seat due to the force of the explosion. The temperature outside was of 38°C and the information on the container said to keep below 60°C. Thus, you should always find a secure place in your vehicle to put your spray cans or your tool box!

 

Good Winter Camping!

 

A Trip to Cap Jaseux

 by Michèle Nadeau

 

The river is immense, and the cliffs reach deep under the smooth and dark surface of the water. Our kayaks glide silently, creating wrinkles on the polished surface of the Saguenay. Our guides had told us before we set out on the water that we had the perfect weather for our group of beginners. Mother nature truly seems to be on our side.

 

The adventure had begun three months earlier during our annual reunion. Our friend and client, Michel Martineau, had cordially invited us to come and enjoy ourselves at the Parc Aventure of Cap Jaseux. Located about 15 minutes from Chicoutimi on the North shore of the Saguenay, this park offers a wide variety of activities for everyone: archery, hiking, acrobatic trampoline, Zodiac cruises, kayaking, and even high aerial adventures with d’arbre en arbre. An new 26 site camping can welcome vehicles of any size. Deciding to take Michel up on his invitation, Daniel and I set out to Cap Jaseux at the end of the summer, without knowing how many of our clients would answer the call of the wild. We were in fact 10 Safari Condos gathered in one section of the campground, where we carefully set up leaving some space between the campers to respect the privacy of everyone. The showers and the bathrooms are close, the water is across from our site: everything is running smoothly. Smiles, hand shakes, hugs and kisses opens this reunion of nature lovers. While some of us could were veteran hikers and kayakers, the great majority of the groups were only Sunday walkers and had seen a kayak up close only on the roof of a car. Since Michel is the owner of Parcours Aventure, the kayaking school of Cap Jaseux, he kindly took on the role of organiser for the weekend. The Saturday is divided between archery and hiking. At night, we all gather around a camp fire under the stars.

 

On Sunday, at 9:30 sharp we are all gathered on the beach and we are carefully listening to the instructions given by our kayak guides and teachers, since this will be, for most of us, our first kayaking experience. Our guide, with his sandy coloured hair, his sharp eyes and his precise motions, our guide is the incarnation of the expert kayaker. He and two of his colleagues will be looking over us for the duration of the excursion. Back to shore after three exciting hours on the water our group is thrilled and ready for tomorrow’s challenge: d’arbre en arbre.

Remember what summer camp hiking trails were like as a child? D’arbre en arbre ” is something like that, but for grownups. Five daring circuits, the first one exclusively for children, add up to 73 intriguing suspended  bridges. First and foremost - security -: and no compromise. All participants wore a hip harness and were attached by a snap link to two lines leading to a steel cable running the whole circuit. Because of this system, everyone felt secure at all times, even when reaching heights of 10 metres above the ground. A third line and pulley attached to the harness is used for Tyrolean traverses : a method of crossing a gap between two points, by sliding along a rope suspended from either end of the gap. Going “from tree to tree ” is not a competition : on the contrary, we all work together, cheering on and commending all individual efforts. Some, like me, will be satisfied after two circuits, while others go on to the ultimate challenge, a 150-meter rope bridge with a top speed of 25  km.p.h. Thrills for sure!

 

When we left Cap Jaseux we were absolutely exhausted, but we were excited like kids. We would like to thank Michel, Véro, Laurence and Budy for their patience and their kindness.

 

Safari Condo Needs Volunteers

 

To participate to this experience you need to fit these three requirements:

-          You were thinking of purchasing a dinning tent one of these days.

-          You were thinking of spending at least a month south this winter.

-          You own a vehicle with an awning.

 

We are currently designing a dinning tent adapted specially for our vehicles. Contrary to a screen put directly on the awning, which takes a certain amount of time to take off every time you wish to leave with your vehicle, (here we do not need the awning itself as much as the fixtures) this one will be self-supporting, and will therefore be left at the camping, allowing you to protect everything that you put in it. Upon your return to the campground you will simply park your vehicle alongside the tent and fix it to your camper once again. Our goal is for the tent to attach to the vehicle in 2 minutes and to detach it in 1 minute. Here we are not talking about pitching the tent itself but only fixing it to the camper. We have used a dinning tent Woodland a model from the company Woods. It measurements are 144’’ long X 144’’ wide X 100’’ high. It weighs 22 pounds and will form, once stored, a roll of 34’’ long by 12’’ in diameter. A dinning tent that is attached directly to the vehicle is an incredible addition of space and will render a screen in the sliding door unnecessary. It becomes an additional room of the vehicle.

 

If you would like to participate in our experiments, we will sell the modified dinning tent to our clients the price we paid the original dinning tent. We are looking for 2 Safari Condos series S, 2 Safari Condos series M or L with a standard roof and 2 Safari Condos series M or L with an electric solid roof. In the future the dinning tent once modified should sell between $800 and $895. The goal of this experiment is to test our product and we certainly consider that there are no better people to do it than you! We would like to test our product during the winter in order to be ready to sell it in the spring. If there are some of our participants that do not like the concept and rather have a standard dinning tent there will be no problem: we will change their modified tent for the original standard one from the company. If you are interested please do not wait! Call Daniel at his office at our toll free number: 1-877-806-3666

 

Photo Contest

 

You already know it, there is no need to be a photography wizard to participate in out photography contest. You pictures can be surprising, touching, funny, inspiring. Inspire us to leave and go set foot on the very spot where the moment was captured.

All you need to do is to send me your works of arts to the following address for November 1st 2003:

 

Safari Condo

A/s Concours de Photos

821, du Parc

St-Frédéric

G0N 1P0

 

You have to write your name on the back of each photo as well as the place where it was taken.

 

For those who take digital pictures here is my e-mail:

 

[email protected], write in subject: Concours Photos

 

You cans still admire the past winners on our internet site at safaricondo.com, under Coin des condistes, and then click on Concours photo.

 

Michèle

 

In our next issue, look for the article of Fernande Longpré and of Claude Fredette on their trip to Newfoundland and Labrador. We have not published it in this issue, due to a lack of space.

 

Furthermore, do not forget to tell us if you change address, your e-mail address and your holiday experiences.

 

Lastly if some of you would be interested in joining our Havre d’un Soir, let us know since an updated version will soon be published…

 

 First Coquille in English!

 

The whole Safari Condo team is proud to present the first Coquille in English. This newsletter has started already 4 years ago and can only exist thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and the participation of our clients. This newsletter will be sent to you 3 to 4 times a year and contains travel accounts from clients, Daniel’s tips, and other practical information. If you have an e-mail address please let us know so that we can send it to you via e-mail, the newsletter is also available on the internet site of Safari Condo. Furthermore, if you have stories to share do not hesitate to send them to us and we will gladly include them in one of our editions. Remember that this newsletter exists for you and with your collaboration.

 

Hope to hear from you soon

                                               Michèle Nadeau