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 Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
First off: What the hell was I thinking :shock: ?

...Phew, now that I got that off my chest, here's the backstory. Round Top (Sommet Rond in French) has been on my to-do list for quite some time. The main reason: It has a high topographic prominence, and you know how I am with prominent mountains :mrgreen: . The mountain is only 3,176 ft high, but it has a prominence of 2,336 ft, making it the 7th most prominent mountain in all of Québec. (It's also one of 9 peaks in QC with a prominence of over 2,000 ft.) Keep in mind that our neighbor to the north is MASSIVE- it's the largest Canadian province by area (595,391 sq. mi), almost three times bigger than Texas. The other main reason was so that I could practice speaking French. I want to be fluent in French, and since I can't just up and go to France, QC is the next best option. A secondary reason why I wanted to hike it is because of the "top-down" view of the Green Mountains to the south. To top it all off, it was within day-trip range. I just couldn't resist :oops: .

So yes, I did in fact do a daytrip to Canada :| . To make it more crazy, the hike was only 4.2 miles roundtrip :oops:

Anyway, I left my house around 6 AM and hit the road. Unlike my slightly longer Maine 4K daytrips, this was mostly highway driving, and I basically didn't stop for anything, so the drive was actually rather quick. Got to the Canadian border station at Highwater, QC in less than three hours. I had a 1/2 hour delay at the border crossing (vehicle search), so I didn't get to the trailhead until 10 AM. Oh well, I shrugged it off. I geared up, locked up, and headed to the info station, where I bought my day pass and a trail map. This was also where I had my first successful full French conversation :D :mrgreen: ! A critical step toward becoming bilingual :D ! Once all was said and done, I hit the trail shortly before 10:30 AM.

The Round Top Trail from the base to the ridge was one of the most switchback-y trails I've ever hiked- it was full of 'em, and it was never steep. I used snowshoes for this section; the whole park has 84 km of trails that look like a snowshoeing heaven for the locals. Not practical for someone like me, though. Maybe if I lived in a border town :? . The trail was very well signed, but the distances didn't seem consistent. Oh well, whatever.

I soon came to the ridgecrest, where the Round Top Trail coincided with the Sentier de l' Estrie, a long-distance hiking trail from the Canadian border to the summit of Mt. Orford near Sherbrooke. This was by far my favorite part of the trail, and it was surprisingly (and pleasantly) rugged! Strongly reminded me of the Whites, particularly the Osseo Trail and the Flume Gorge areas.

Image
A rugged, cliffy part of the Sentier de l'Estrie, with a staircase below

From the junction to the first major lookout, the trail was quite steep and rugged, with wooden staircases and cables aiding the ascent. The massive cliff overhangs were a nice touch, too. Off came the snowshoes and on came the microspikes, which were still insufficient in a few spots. Eventually, I got to the lookout, which would normally have a great view, but was blocked by low clouds :x .

Image
Viewpoint (and finder) below summit

There was also a view guide which pointed out peaks like Mt. Washington, Mt. Orford, and Mt. Owl's Head. From here, I went to the true summit (which I wasn't initially fully aware I was standing on). Still obscured views. I sat here for a little while and then continued on the Sentier de l'Estrie a little bit to make sure I was on the top. I then called it done :) .

I wanted to do more hiking, but considering my late start, the delay at Canadian customs, and the delay I would have at U.S. customs, I headed back down the way I came. Before heading down for real, I checked out another view, this time over the Canadian Greens:

Image
Said CGM view

The hike down was exciting at first due to some killer buttsliding on the steep part of the Sentier de l'Estrie, but was uneventful once on the switchbacks. Got back to the car shortly before 1:30 PM. Hit the road not long after, and once through customs, got home around 5 PM.

Another long drive for a short hike, but hey, hike your own hike, right? Also got to practice speaking French, which I try to do whenever I can, wherever I am. At least I finally nabbed this one. Can rest easy. Not in a hurry to go back to Canada though. I still want to go to Montreal with some friends, but the people I want to go with are all away for college right now :( . Maybe this summer. Roundtrip distance was a whopping 4.2 miles with 1,500 ft. of elevation gain :wink: .

Here's the video recap, if you're interested:
https://youtu.be/FNX1CA81sBA

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Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:56 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
Looks like a good little hike actually. 3 1/2 hours seems more than reasonable for a day hike to me. I would have waited for nicer weather myeself, but you seem to enjoy driving far away and hiking in the clouds, so good for you. Did the trail go near the ski resort? I've seen pictures of a hike here with a little lake that looked pretty nice in summer. May have to check this one out eventually.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:11 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
Granite Guy wrote:
Looks like a good little hike actually. 3 1/2 hours seems more than reasonable for a day hike to me.


It's a relatively easy drive, and the trail network is so big that you can make your hike as long or short as you want.

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I would have waited for nicer weather myeself, but you seem to enjoy driving far away and hiking in the clouds, so good for you.


Hey now... I've had good days before! Like when I had bright sunshine on Katahdin my first time hiking it :D :wink:

Quote:
Did the trail go near the ski resort? I've seen pictures of a hike here with a little lake that looked pretty nice in summer. May have to check this one out eventually.


There's actually a few lakes on this mountain. If you're ambitious enough, you can loop 'em and the summit together in one big hike!

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Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:21 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
marche à suivre Spencer. Bien pour vous.

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Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:54 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
GREAT! Je parle un peu, mais je ne comprende pas si les personnes parle trop vite! Et je connair les mots mauvais that my father told me when we were kids (too bad he didn't practice with us when we were really little, we could have been trilingual, as he spoke Spanish as well).

We went over night to New Brunswick several years ago (had been to Baxter and Prema had never been out of the country before). Easy to cross into Canada, but a little more difficult to come back. They wanted to know our purpose for the overnight. I invited them to check out our filthy camping equipment, but they declined and then welcomes us back home.

Since I'm slow, it's not unusual for me to drive a long way to walk a few miles! Looks like a nice place!


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:04 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
Kathy wrote:
marche à suivre Spencer. Bien pour vous.


Merci beaucoup, Kathy. Sommet Rond a été comme ci comme ça, mais la randonnée serait vraiment bonne à un belle jour.

Beckie and Prema wrote:
Je parle un peu, mais je ne comprende pas si les personnes parle trop vite!


C'est la même chose pour moi. Les Québecois parle le français trop vite, et quelquefois il est assez difficile pour moi de les comprendre :(

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Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:17 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
My Father couldn't understand his own cousins, he learned French from the Haitians when he was a cruise director. But I digress.... Back to the topic at hand. Looked like a nice place worth the drive.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:32 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
Looks like a pretty cool hike. 3.5 hours isnt bad. Grilled at the border? Every time I've gone up there they have just asked me what I was coming for and got a "welcome to Canada!". Coming back to the US is where I got grilled. I'd like to do some sort of hike up there. I'd just like to stay for more than a day. Seeing he kilometers buzz down faster than miles must be interesting.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:44 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
Seeing the gas prices is fun, too, because of the metric system.


Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:46 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
thegibba: Opposite scenario this time around. For me, it was actually slightly easier to get into the US than to get into Canada. The Canadian guards were all tense and kept making me nervous by constantly saying, "Don't be nervous!" and "Why are you nervous?" Whereas the US guards were more relaxed and soft-spoken. I even talked hiking with one of them for a little while while I was filling out some paperwork :) .

And yea, the fact that the mileages are in kilometres (which wind down faster than miles) makes the driving go by a bit quicker 8) .

Beckie & Prema: I've never bought gas in Canada, so I didn't get a good enough look at the prices. I did catch a glimpse of a very low number (90 some-odd cents), and then it hit me- the price is per litre...

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Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:16 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
I'm from Quebec and didn't even know about this, thanks for sharing and great report! Too bad for the border, maybe it was a less visited one. I find they like to spend more time with you. I got questioned 20 minutes last time I went to Maine even with a Nexus card, but it was 2AM, and I've never spent more then 5 minutes at the Champlain border. Being dressed as a hiker seems to trigger less doubt.

I looked at the website and the Sentier de L'Estrie is 156km. Added to my todo list :)


Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:06 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
What happened at the border search? Why did they searchave ur car? What kinds of questions did they ask?


Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:56 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
What happened at the border search? Why did they searchave ur car? What kinds of questions did they ask?


Sat Feb 20, 2016 3:00 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
hiking lady wrote:
What happened at the border search? Why did they searchave ur car? What kinds of questions did they ask?


It is standard procedure, both by the Canadians when going into Canada, and the Americans when coming back. No crazy questions, just the typical stuff (any firearms, alcohol, buy anything at duty free stations, that kind of thing.) 8)


Sat Feb 20, 2016 6:54 pm
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 Re: Round Top, QC- 2/7/2016
I find if you show up with a van full of guys and tell them you're headed for Montreal for a bachelors party there's no more questions asked. On the return they do want to know if you are bringing back anything you shouldn't, but the van smells like a bunch of drunks and they don't waste time with that either! :D


Sat Feb 20, 2016 8:00 pm
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