By Gabrielle Gagné.
You've got the urge to try winter camping, but just thinking about it brings up a thousand and one fears? The Portneuf regional park offers a great alternative between a tent and a refuge: ready-to-camp. Available in winter in the "Les Portes de l'Enfer" sector, the ready-to-camp is a great option either to relax as a couple for a weekend, or to make it a family activity. Indeed, each accommodation is equipped with both a
double bed as well as a double futon. A wood stove will heat
suitably the home; on the other hand, it may be necessary to sacrifice a few bits of sleep to feed the fire during the night and to make sure that it does not die from lack of fuel. It is therefore still necessary to provide a good sleeping, warm blankets and warm clothes. For our part, the fire management was so effective that we slept part of the night out of our sleeping bags because we were so hot.
The ready-to-camp is located at the start of the cross-country ski trails, which is both an advantage and a disadvantage: after a nice afternoon skiing, you've already reached the tent to prepare dinner. On the other hand, you may be woken up in the morning by skiers passing by. A small drawback in my opinion. Ultimately, this can serve as a wake-up call to start the day and do a bit of snowshoeing before leaving. Another advantage: the reception chalet is about 60 meters away to go to the bathroom or
look for drinking water. So you can really feel that you are stepping out of the comfortable luxury chalet, but without being too afraid of spending an unpleasant night, especially due to lack of experience. It's still a long way from a real winter campsite, but in the end, the fun remains the same.
We fell in love with the snowshoe trails that run along the icy cliffs of the St-Anne river. I also have a soft spot for the barbecue available to campers at each location: a winter barbecue tastes like heaven! It's also the first place I go that provides not only the logs for the night, but also kindling, newspaper, matches and even a hatchet. Everything can only go well.
Last argument to convince you: the low cost of the activities. For daily access, the Gorges de la Rivière St-Anne sector costs $ 8.70 per vehicle. For cross-country skiing, it's $ 5.22. As for the ready-to-camp, it is $ 90 for one night.