875 metre Montagne Noire lies in the Saint-Donat region of the Laurentians. A 13km round-trip hike would take you via a pleasant (but wet on our outing) trail from the parking lot to the crash site of the Liberator Harry B-24 bomber, and a small symbolic cemetery for the 20 people who lost their lives in the crash. We took the trail up, past picturesque Lac Lézard, to the crash site where we ate lunch before continuing to the summit. This is where things took a turn for the, not necessarily worse, but adventurous.
Everytime I set out on a hike, I think to myself that there is a 1% chance that I end up spending the night outside, against my will, unable to make it to my destination. Around 3/4 of the way through this hike, the percentage was up to 50%. Instead of taking the wet trail back down the way we came up, we decided to pick up an old hiking trail, then aimed for an old snowshoe ‘trail’ and found nothing but bush on a 4-hour whack down the mountain. Now a vetran bushwhacker this proved of little concern. Problematic however, were the three streams we had to cross on the way back to civilisation; the first of which was manageable, the second of which was deep and scary (see photo below), and the third was insurmountable (simply too deep and fast moving to ford). 45 minutes of walking through a marsh to avoid this third stream put us back at the car well after dark, cold, wet and dirty, but happy to arrive in time for the kitchen’s last call at the Restaurant del Popolo in Saint-Agathe!