Hiking in the Land of the Lynx

The Canada Lynx is a beautiful nocturnal predator that feeds predominantly on snowshoe hares, and we had the pleasure this summer of hiking within its territory in Parc national des Monts-Valin.

The Lynx is one of five research priorities in Parc Monts-Valin, with other priorities including research on its changing forest, its glacial history, and Indigenous presence in the region. View some video footage of a Lynx in the park here.

Parc Monts-Valin has an interesting geographic history, having once been as tall as the Himalayas. The species within the park are unique too, with a large glacier in the region having once carried uncommon tree species and deposited them along what are now the hillsides of Mount Valin, where they still grow (PDF research paper here).

There is a handful of at-risk bird, plant, mammals, and fish species within the park, but what impressed me was the sheer abundance of life. There are some 450-plant species in the park, 130 bird species, and a range of mammals.

Kelsey and I arrived at the park nearing dusk, going for a quick rowboat paddle before escaping from vicious no-see-ums that left us littered in bites for nearly a week.

Like most Sépaq parks, Parc Monts-Valin has a range of activities for all ages with campgrounds clustered to reduce human impacts on the conservation territory.

The following morning, Kelsey and I went for a nice hike along one of the mountain’s many trails. This is one of the taller ranges in the region, offering some nice hiking and views.

I’d recommend Monts-Valin and would go back, despite the insect attack! It has a rugged terrain and starts to hint at northern boreal climates. The small chance of a Lynx sighting is tempting enough.

Matthew Brett is an environmental advocate and outdoors enthusiast. Sign up to his newsletter and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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