Now that it's pretty much summer, I felt it would be appropriate to finally put these photos up from last fall.
My friend Olivier who lives in Washington D.C. got a few days off work and drove home to visit his family in Magog, Quebec, for Canadian Thanksgiving. Along the way, he picked me up from Montreal.
Upon hiking into the forest, we came upon a French family with small children, pointing at a tree. They had spotted a porcupine.
I've never come across a porcupine in person before, but from this experience, I can tell you that they are very slow-moving, and relatively easy to photograph because of this. You just have to make sure to get them to face the camera.
We spent the rest of the day bouldering in the area, then packed up and headed to explore Magog.
We did a quick walk-through of Magog, then headed in for the night.
To be honest, I don't think I would ever visit Magog or Sherbrooke on my own if not for Olivier.
Both are charming little towns great for raising families, and if you'd like slower pace of life. What really struck me though, was meeting and being welcomed in by Olivier's family, and listening to their stories of living on a farm, being in the country and harvesting maple syrup (they own a few acres of sugar bushes). We ate turkey with all the trimmings, and I listened to the struggles of living on a farm from Olivier's brother and sister-in-law. This is stuff people pay for when they go on cabane a sucre tours, but here I was, getting to experience all of this just because I was a friend.
I think the most endearing thing to me was how Olivier's brother explained to his young children (under five) where the turkey came from. It was one of the turkeys on the farm and the children noticed the day before that one of the turkeys had gone missing. The children were the cutest things in the world when they played and it broke my heart that Olivier was working away in another city while his niece and nephew were growing up.
I should explain how I first met Olivier. We met when I couchsurfed in his home in Washington D.C. with another friend in the summer.
Many people are averse to welcoming strangers into their home and also staying in a stranger's house, but by being open, I got to experience this weekend in Magog and Sherbrooke; and also gained a new friend.
The next day, we woke up early to go canoeing, a popular outdoor Canadian pastime.
We spotted more wild life including a crane, which we followed around the lake while I took photos.
The weekend ended and Olivier had to go back to work in Washington. He offered to host me again in Washington D.C., and because I can't seem to turn down road trip offers, I went along for the 9 hour drive.
This brief trip gave me sunshine and the opportunity to finish browsing museums I didn't have enough time for the first time around.