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Jun 06

Water Fetching, Gaspe Style

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With the intention of being back by lunch, we had left our hut with one full bottle of water a piece.
It was late March, somewhere in the western Monts Chic Chocs on Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula, not too long after sunrise. After skiing a beautiful run through a spacious spruce-fir forest into the depths of a nearby ravine, a relatively harmless mix of light snow, ice pellets and sleet gave way to the kind of snow skier’s dream of – and the first accumulating snowfall we had seen in days. Several inches of snow piled up as we climbed for another run, and in the span of just a few hours, our world had been transformed into a backcountry skier’s paradise. Although little snow was accumulating down in the ravine, a healthy 6-8″ had fallen up high.

Not too long after lunch time, with our hut no where in sight, we munched on the last of our morning “snack” – cheese and crackers, carrots and chocolate. And by 4pm, after more than eight hours of climbing and skiing, we were out of water…and thirsty. With 2000′ of climbing before us, we scouted for an access to one of the creeks flowing beneath the deep, late-winter snowpack before discovering an open inlet to a nearby pond…

With just a touch of caution, Brennan crawled his way to the water’s edge, kindly refilling our bottles. Not trusting the water source, we waited patiently for our purification tablets to do their job before quenching our growing thirst. It’s incredible how sweet water can be! Still, as we were also running low on calories, it was one heck of a climb back to the hut, but dinner that night – Thai rice noodles with a coconut-based vegetable curry – had never tasted so good.

-Brian

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