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Paddle Tales: Kayaking the Jacques Cartier River, Québec City


My name's Ken Whiting. I'm a world champion white water paddler. And I've led trips and taught kayaking around the world. As an athlete and explorer, my life long passion has been to challenge myself, meet interesting new people, discover beautiful places, and share these experiences with others. This is the story of these adventures. This is Paddle Tales.

Hello again everyone! This is the seventh episode of Paddle Tales A series that goes to some of the most incredible places in the world. And goes on cool paddling adventures along the way. Now, before we get started, please subscribe to PaddleTV if you haven't already. And you'll get notified when the next Paddle Tales adventure goes live.

Now, Quebec really is unlike any other city in North America. Set on the banks of the St Lawrence River, the Old Town is in fact a UNESCO World Heritage site. Whose cobblestone streets and historic buildings sometimes make it feel more like Europe than Canada. What makes the area even cooler, is how much there is to do close by. Which is why in this episode of Paddle Tales we are visiting Quebec City.

Only 30 minutes outside of Quebec City, in the Laurentian Mountains, you'll find one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the world, in Jacques Cartier National Park. It's one of those special places that's surprisingly close to civilization, but feels like you're in the middle of nowhere. Since the middle of nowhere is one of my favorite place to be, I'm pretty excited about the adventure ahead. To show me around the park, I'm meeting up with Cath Simard, a local photographer who has spent countless hours hiking and shooting in the park. But this will be her first trip through the park by kayak. And so as we pour over maps to come up with a plan I can tell that she is looking forward to this as much as I am.

[Ken] This is your backyard isn't it?

[Cath] Exactly and I'm amazed by its beauty, honestly like, every time I come here I feel lucky to live here and to have that, you know, only 30 minutes from Quebec.

[Ken] Yeah, it's amazing you know sometimes it takes traveling around the world,

[Cath] Yeah

[Ken] I mean you've been to so many countries, seen incredible places.
[Cath] It takes that to realize that, you know, you can have as much beauty in your own backyard.

[Ken] You know its funny, when I saw the weather report and it was calling for rain, and I was thinking at first, awwwww, you know, it would have been awesome to see this place with bluebird skies. I mean, it doesn't matter.

[Cath] No.

[Ken] This is really cool seeing the clouds low.

[Cath] Yeah, and all the mist hanging, so beautiful, its very calming. I prefer this.

[Ken] Yeah.

[Cath] This is more peaceful. Also, when its raining, there is ,usually there is far less people.

[Ken] Yeah, it's the middle of summer, it's the middle of July.

[Cath] And there's noone!

[Ken] We're 30 minutes from Quebec City,

[Cath] Yeah

[Ken] in one of the most gorgeous National Park in the world, and, we've got the river to ourselves.

[Cath] Yeah, exactly.

[Ken] Wow. There's nothin much to avoid, the water's just funneling right down to the big black tongue, so keep your boat straight, paddle, stay in the middle,

[Cath] I'll do my best, perfect.

[Ken] And smile.

[Cath] I will!

[Ken] So what what was the whole idea behind @mydetoxtravel, which is your Instagram page.

[Cath] So at first it was really about, detoxifying from the old life I had, which was more related to fashion, so when I was working in the fashion industry as a model and fashion stylist. So, I started my Instagram page with that name, but eventually I got more into photography and into landscape photography. But I decided to keep that because, I think, we're always kind of detoxifying. In a way that we're evolving. So that's, that's where that name comes from,
[Ken] I like it.

[Cath] And this is why I really wanted to keep it. But also inspire people to kind of like, not to be afraid, to end things they don't like or they don't feel that they belong, that they're at the right place. You have to just really go with your heart, and follow your instincts. And just go with it.

[Ken] I like that, detox travel. I could easily have spend a week exploring Jacques Cartier National Park. But I've also been looking forward to checking out Quebec City itself. And what better time to do it than when I've got a personal tour guide. It's hard to believe that where we are now, in Old Quebec, is only 30 minutes from where we were. The transition is definitely a bit of a shock to the system. But it's a welcome one. It is absolutely beautiful here. And the energy of the city is amazing. Know what I love even more than all the bars, pubs, restaurants they have here?

[Cath] No, what?

[Ken] Ice cream and gelato shops.

[Cath] Mmmmmm

[Ken] They're everywhere!

[Cath] You really have a sweet tooth eh?

[Ken] Oh I do!

[Cath] Oh! Ohhhhhh! Moly! Merci!

[Ken] Oh my god, holy crap.

[Cath] Wow! Beautiful!

[Ken] Where do you think we should head next?

[Cath] I think Baie de Beauport would be pretty nice. It's very close and we can go standup paddling

[Ken] Ahhhh!

[Cath] It's beautiful!

[Ken] That sounds good to me!

[Cath] Ummmm Hmmm

[Ken] Although I've only scratched the surface of what the area has to offer. I can say unequivocally, that Quebec City has lived up to the hype. The city is so rich with history and so full of great energy. And then, only a stone's throw away, you have Jacques Cartier National Park. Which is, hands down, one of the most beautiful places that I've ever been. It's been an incredible adventure! I've made wonderful new friends. And I can't wait to come back.

Well that brings this episode of Paddle Tales to an end. I hope you enjoyed it. And if you did, please, hit the thumbs up button. Subscribe to PaddleTV, if you haven't already, leave a comment down below, and stay tuned for a sneak peek at next week's Paddle Tales adventure. Next time on Paddle Tales, I'm heading to Quebec's Saguenay, lac, St. Jean, region. Home of the Saguenay Fjord National Park. And one of the most dramatic landscapes in North America. Our adventures will take us sea kayaking along side towering rock faces. Sailing through the heart of the fjord, and white water kayaking down one of the many world-class rivers around lac St. Jean. The Saguenay, lac St. Jean region, is a one-of-a-kind natural playground. And you won't wanna miss it.

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