The boys and I decided to escape the city yesterday and headed for the Gatineaus. As we went from four-lane highway to two-lane highway to dirt road, I could feel myself sinking into vacation mode.
We went a bit further afield than usual and went to Lac la Pêche. It’s about 15 km down the road from Lac Philippe, but it’s a pretty drive that goes by quickly. While I like Lac Philippe a lot, my first experience at la Pêche was great and it is now at the top of my list of favourite beaches in the area.
After stopping briefly in Chelsea for picnic supplies, we arrived at la Pêche around 10:00 am and decided to rent a canoe. It was the first time the boys had been in a canoe, and I was filled with fatherly pride with the thought that I would be introducing them to a uniquely Canadian experience. The boys happily picked out a shiny red canoe, put on their life jackets, and hopped in.
Five minutes later, it was a different story.
Notice anything different? Yup, the boys are nowhere to be found. No, I didn’t throw them overboard, although I was sorely tempted. 10 feet from the dock, they started screaming in fear – “It’s too deep!” (actual depth: 18 inches). “I don’t like the weeds!”. “We’re going to tip!” After 10 minutes of this, I had enough and dropped them off on shore. My first attempt at molding them into nature adventurers had failed miserably.
Fortunately, the rest of the day went really well. The beach is long and narrow, with beautiful soft sand. There weren’t a lot of people, so each family had its own picnic table and about 30 feet of beach to themselves. The water is clean and clear with a gradual drop-off that is perfect for young kids.
The lake is also filled with fish (as one might expect with a name like la Pêche). We were continually surrounded by around 20 sunfish who followed us everywhere, and we spent the better part of 90 minutes trying in vain to catch them.
We also built a sand castle. Actually, it was more just a pile of wet sand with a ditch around it. Further down the beach, other families had constructed monumental fortresses, complete with functioning drawbridges and catapults. Nice to see that my lack of handyman skills extends beyond the home to include beach activities.
Camping is also available, although you have to canoe to the sites. While I’m sure it’s lovely, it will probably be a few years before I can convince the boys to sit quietly for the 10-minute paddle across the lake.
I can’t recommend Lac la Pêche enough for those looking for a quiet retreat in a pristine setting. It’s an easy daytrip that you can make even better by stopping for wraps or pies at the Chelsea Bakery, ice cream at La Cigale, or gourmet takeout at Les Fougeres.