Growing up I wasn’t what you would call an outdoorsy girl. Even though I grew up much of my life on a ranch with farm animals and the whole shebang, I always preferred the cool breeze of the air conditioner over the steaming Texas summers.
Somewhere along the way though, I have grown to love nature. The absolute beauty of this world in its purest form. There is truly nothing more humbling.
My mom still can’t believe it. Every time I post a picture of me on a hike or riding a horse, she calls me out. “You hate being outside.” “You don’t like animals.” And so on. While I am still not itching to move to the country or adopt any four legged creatures, I have changed somehow.
When you stand in front of the fjords in Norway or an untouched lake in the Canadian wilderness, something is wrong if it doesn’t affect you. The Hôtel Sacacomie is one of those special places in this world that touches something deep inside of you, and somehow, despite the unbelievers, changes who you are.
What to Know About Hotel Sacacomie
The Hotel Sacacomie is located between Montreal and Québec City in the Canadian province of Quebec. Overlooking Lake Sacacomie, the property is rustic log cabin meets luxurious resort. Most rooms have balconies with stunning views of the lake and surrounding wilderness- giving you the feeling that while you are indeed in a hotel, it has been built to seamlessly integrate with nature.
The rooms at Hotel Sacacomie are simple, if you want something cushy and extravagant this isn’t the place for you. There wasn’t anything really in the way of in-room amenities except a bathrobe, coffee maker and hair dryer. I was, however, staying in the standard room- the suites may offer a little more pizzazz. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. There are so many activities going on, your room will be reserved for sleeping alone.
The lobby is exactly what I imagined of a Canadian wilderness lodge. Dead animals, antlers, and furs adorn the walls, a big fireplace acts as the focal point of the room. It feels open, friendly, and relaxed. The bar and restaurant are in the same main area, and are honestly awesome. The food is locally sourced and absolutely terrific all-around, the menu offers plentiful choices for meat eaters and vegetarians alike.
There is also a Nordic spa on-site which I would love, love, love to re-visit in winter. The outdoor hot tub has panoramic views over the lake and there is a post-sauna ice bath with an awesome waterfall. Entry is not included with the room price, but is very reasonable at $40 (£22) for full-day access.
The hotel is fantastic, and just hearing about all of the winter activities they do makes me want to take my family over and spend the holidays bundled up for Canadian Christmas adventures. (Think ice skating, snowmobiling, and dog sledding.) Word on the street is that Santa visits every year for gift giving… I love that man.
Getting Quirky- The Search for Beavers & Bears
Let’s be real for a second. Hotels are boring after a day if that is all there is to do. I don’t know about you, but being stuck indoors for a week in the middle-of-nowhere is not my idea of a good time. I think this is where Hôtel Sacacomie really shined for me, taking it from just another escape to nature resort to a place that becomes embedded in your memories.
The first day we met with a guide who wore plaid, a bear tooth necklace (he may or may not have wrestled those out of a bear’s mouth himself), and gave you the impression that he may have grown up in a shack in the woods living off the land. He had a thick French Canadian accent, and a feathered cap that I have no doubts he has worn for the last forty years. We were off to find beavers, which luck would have it, were also his friends…
It was a surreal adventure, watching this Canadian wild man wave a branch of leaves up-and-down calling for his beaver friends to come say hello- by name. They were feeling shy that day, but it didn’t matter. The experience of listening to this man talk about his love of the beaver, and then watching him in full theatrics trying to get them over to us, was one of my favorite moments in all the time I have spent in Canada.
The next day he took us out to find a bear. As you do. I was incredibly excited to see a bear in the wilderness but didn’t expect a sighting after the whole beaver incident. After hours of sitting still, without making a sound, a mama black bear walked by and stopped for a snack. She hung out for a couple minutes and then went on her way. Take a look at my video- quality isn’t great but a bear you shall see.
Fishing for Lunch and Tomahawk Throwing
I went fishing as a kid in Colorado, I hated it. I get antzy so easily and fishing is a patient sport. There is also the live worm wriggling as you stick a barbed wire through their body and dealing with a jumping, flapping fish that bleeds everywhere as you try to release your hook from deep inside its throat. Yeah, not my idea of an awesome afternoon.
Admittedly, I had fun. While I still hated the worm and the fish- sitting on a boat on a lake as still as glass, miles from civilization, was somehow peaceful. I also caught the most fish on my boat. We grilled them up on a fire after we were done and had just about the freshest lunch you could have.
After fishing we headed toward the tomahawk field. Walking past tepees, we were instructed on the form one must take when flailing an axe through the air to a faraway target. All I could think was these people must be insane to not only give me a tomahawk, but have me throw it when I was surrounded by innocent bystanders. I wasn’t good, in fact, I looked ridiculous. Here is proof of my awesome tomahawk throwing abilities, in gif. Enjoy.
My time in the wilderness of Quebec was not as I had expected. It was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined, and things got weird (in the best way possible) everytime I stepped outside. I had a lot of firsts at Hôtel Sacacomie- my first search for a beaver with a Canadian wild man, my first bear sighting, the first fishing expedition I actually enjoyed, and my first maple whisky cocktail (ask for the Sortilege).
Yes, through the years I have grown to love nature. Maybe the appreciation comes with age, or maybe I have finally opened my eyes to this glorious world I live in. Either way, it has become a part of who I am. Hôtel Sacacomie wasn’t something magical in itself, but it makes an ideal place to rest your head and fill your belly as you soak in the landscape and wonder how you went your entire life without seeing such a beautiful place.
————————————————————————————————————————————————Disclaimer: My trip to Québec, Canada was part of a press trip organized by KLM UK, AirFrance, and Tourisme Québec. A big thanks to all involved that made this trip possible. All content, thoughts and opinions on The Fly Away American are always my own.