We were supposed to leave after work on Thursday night, but a last-minute booking nixed our free night - and between the late sleeper and the last-minute packer, we were finally on the road Friday at 2. Neal and I were smart and hopped into the car that had air conditioning and leg room, and left a few others to fend for themselves with the open windows and overexcited Labradors in the much smaller car. At least I didn't end up with dog drool in my hair!
Saint-Faustin is about 2 hours north of Montreal - just short of the big resort town of Mont Tremblant. We rented the same chalet we did two years ago - this little lopsided thing that smells of mildew and too many greasy meals, with old dirty curtains and musty pillows (we brought our own). But it's secluded and quiet and they don't mind if you bring along dogs (although try playing badminton with two Labs who keep running away with the shuttlecock!).
So we picked our rooms, made up the beds, drove to the nearset grocery store (which was huge and absolutely packed with out-of-town campers - no where else in Quebec could you be in the middle of the country and hear so much English). We made it almost all the way back to the chalet when Debby and I looked at each other and realized we'd forgotten, of all things, to pick up the beer. So back we went, with a stop at Canadian Tire for a cord of wood - as the sign on the property clearly told us we weren't allowed to cut down the limp trees on the lawn, although it looked like other people had taken their chances.
Neal made tartiflette for supper - an embarassing quantity of potatoes and cheese, but very good. I tried to counter it with a green salad, but half ended up in the trash. And David made his famous punch - a ridiculously expensive concoction that tastes like candy and is reputed to go down easy (although Leanne disagreed with that all over the front porch on Saturday night). It was so nice, just sitting outside around the fire, roasting marshmallows until you just can't eat a single one more (then just burning them to bits for the fun of it).
The next day we went out to Lac-Carré - square lake. It wasn't very square and someone dubbed it Lake Mercury for its strange red colour. We sat for hours in the water with make-shift "fish catchers" - bits of clear tupperware and water bottles - to try and nab us a minnow. I caught about 15 teeny, tiny, see-through things - and Leanne's growing frustration was finally abated when she captured a nice, big minnow and a tadpole, to boot. After showing off our prize catches to a clearly unimpressed 9-month-old on the beach, we set them all back in the questionable water to meet their own fates.
There's nothing quite like three full days of eating, drinking, swimming, feeding fires, sitting around, chasing after runaway shuttlecocks, trying to remember how to play volleyball, distracting your sister so she won't spill the beans about some embarassing story or other, plotting future practical jokes, and just enjoying the company of the people you love best in the world. It may be a two-bit chalet in a hick town, but it's as good as travelling to me.
Neal and I and Jazz's tail in the background.
Neal and I at the "beach".
Tartiflette! Before we were stuffed silly.