The Village Grande Nature Chic-Chocs and the greater Cap-Chat region hosted the 2023 Summer Jamboree on June 23, 24 and 25. As everyone knows, the Jamboree is a traditional gathering of quad enthusiasts. For the first time, FQCQ staff were responsible for the logistical and administrative organization of the event. The Quad Haute-Gaspésie club supported the FQCQ in setting up the event in the field. Needless to say, their help was essential to the success of the event.
As we climb the last hill of the gravel road and arrive at the site, the first thing we see is the magnificent Chic-Chocs mountain range, which forms a wall from left to right before our eyes. Then we notice the inn on the left, an old schoolhouse typical of the 50s and a picturesque white-shingled church on the right.
This is the inviting setting for this year’s Jamboree. The Village Grande Nature Chic-Chocs is an extraordinary site that lends itself perfectly to both motorized and non-motorized outdoor activities, including of course quad biking. The central territory provides access to many points of interest and, although crossed by federated trails, it is criss-crossed by numerous paths and trails that will delight your desire to ride on rustic trails. What’s more, as we border the Matane wildlife reserve, one of the most populous areas for moose, you’re likely to come across the king of the forest as you round a bend.
Day 1: Skill and fun activities
Three different activities were on offer. The first was a timed obstacle course which, according to its designer, was of a fairly high level of difficulty. It was obvious that the rider had to hurry, while being careful not to go over the handles or tip over the side. Steep ascents and descents, traffic in a bed of branches and logs, a tight slalom that gave the auto-quads a hard time, field crossings with transverse ditches – everything was in place to showcase exceptional drivers. And some of them showed us their extraordinary talent.
The second activity was a fifteen-kilometer skill ride, also timed, where the participant had to strive to arrive as close as possible to the benchmark time when all speed rules were respected.
Finally, the last activity was the popular Poker Run. Popular because it attracted the most participants. Poker Runs are an integral part of ATV culture: wherever one is organized, participants flock to it. Starting with an instruction sheet containing clues describing five points on the terrain, the participant heads off to receive a playing card. The five cards collected form a poker hand, and whoever has the best hand wins the activity.
Day 2: Hiking
Three hikes were offered to festival-goers: the coastal hike to the historic La Martre lighthouse, the mountain hike to the Matane reserve at l’Étang à la Truite, and a technical hike on the rough trails around Village Grande Nature. The first two, which averaged 150 km, should have revealed some stunning scenery. Alas, the thick smog caused by forest fires in northern Quebec blocked the horizon.
The hike on the Matane reserve took us up into the Chic-Chocs mountains, where we discovered the panorama of the high mountains from many angles as we climbed, descended and curved. The group stopped for a bite to eat at the Sépaq facilities at Étang à la Truite.
The hike from the coast to the La Martre lighthouse was also a moderate 140 km in length. With the river as a backdrop and the wall of the Chic-Chocs mountains on the other, hikers made their way to the La Martre lighthouse. The lighthouse is a historic site, and it was possible to visit it.
The hike was described as technical, but nothing dangerous. No critical passages, but greater contact with the elements that make up the wild forest. Narrow trails, with a rolling surface of muddy organic soil leaving tree roots bare in places, or large rocks half-buried in the ground and long pools of deep water. It’s a different experience from wide, gravelled trails!
St. John’s Day parade on mountain bikes
After a banquet served in the little wooden church of Saint-Octave, participants were invited to join in the Saint-Jean ATV parade. The convoy of 42 ATVs adorned with a symbolic LED torch converged on the village of Cap-Chat to take part in the local St. John’s Day festivities. The bonfire was cancelled due to SOPFEU’s ban on open fires. Quite logically, the mayor made this decision, saying that it would be inappropriate to prohibit citizens from having bonfires and to burn the village’s big brazier. What will remain is the performance of a group of chansonniers under the big top.
One of the goals of the FQCQ organizing committee with this parade was to demonstrate to the population and elected officials the contribution to the community that federated quad activity represents. The parade’s arrival on the site of the Saint-Jean festivities did not go unnoticed by the citizens present.
The organizing committee was very pleased with the event, and received many positive comments from participants. The FQCQ is already planning the next edition, to be held in Jonquière in 2024. We look forward to seeing you there!