Backpacking in Eastern Townships: A Perfect 3-Day Itinerary with Nature, Culture, and Delicious Eats (Part 2)

This is the second part of a story about my backpacking adventure to the Eastern Townships in late May 2023. In the previous article, I talk...

This is the second part of a story about my backpacking adventure to the Eastern Townships in late May 2023. In the previous article, I talked about some logistical challenges to travel without a car in Canada as well as my experience in the town of Sherbrooke. In this article, I'll cover the rest of my trip including the town of Magog, Mont-Orford National Park, and some places between them.
The first part of the story is covered here - Part 1

After I checked out from my Airbnb, I made my way to Magog. The catch was I had a solid 38 km (that's about 23 miles) ahead of me. Technically, it's not an impossible distance, but this journey was supposed to be all about having fun and enjoying myself, not pushing my body's limits. So, I thought, why not hop on a bus? Actually, scratch that, three buses. This was my way of going as far west as I could towards Magog without turning it into a physical endurance test. For those who might be interested, I took buses 9, 4, and 17. Now, if it happened to be a regular workday, I could have caught bus 52 and shaved off an extra 5 km (around 3 miles). But honestly, I was already able to cut down my walking distance by almost half, so I was content.
After paying farewell to bus 17, where I was the last passenger onboard, I started strolling my way to Deauville, along a busy road. There, I was going to merge with the Montagnarde trail, which is a section of the Trans Canada Trail, leading me right through the woods to Magog. Now, that hike on that day was kind of boring, because the Montagnarde trail is more for bikers and occasional pup-walkers. But hey, at least the pesky black flies and mosquitos weren't throwing a party, so no real complaints from me.
Magog greeted me with its gorgeous spring weather and loads of those crab apple trees showing off their full bloom game. Once I got to my hostel which, by the way, is remarkable on its own as it used to be a monk dormitory, and the hostel crew totally kept that vibe – I could finally wander the town without lugging my backpack around. Total freedom vibes!
Magog, this sweet little town is nestled by the beautiful Lake Memphremagog. Its main street is a delightful blend of eateries and boutiques that cater to various tastes. The restaurants offer a diverse culinary experience, ranging from cozy cafes with freshly baked goods to upscale bistros serving locally sourced cuisine.
With all those choices, I decided to keep it real and roll with a classic Lebanese shawarma joint. And yeah, food was good and they're really old-school – debit cards and cash are the only way to pay there.
You have to check out the shops along the main street – they've got all kinds of cool stuff like handmade crafts, trendy fashion spots, and those shops that sell unique goodies. And let me tell you, with the gorgeous scenery around, it's the perfect spot to find on some seriously tasty food and take your sweet time shopping around.
So, the good thing about not doing any prep before a trip is that you stumble upon some unexpected gems. And guess what? That's exactly what happened to me. I found out that the Magog public library is set up in this old cathedral. How cool is that?
Another unexpected delight came in the form of the Orford Express, which was patiently awaiting the impending summer season. This train promises an exceptional fusion of luxury travel, culinary excellence, and captivating scenery. Meticulously restored vintage cars conjure the grandeur of bygone eras, featuring plush seating and expansive windows that allow passengers to immerse themselves in the captivating vistas of the Eastern Townships.
One of the activities I particularly enjoyed was leisurely strolling past the captivating mansions that dot Magog. These architectural treasures are rich in historical heritage, each telling a unique tale that reflects the ambitions and achievements of its former owners. 
Ranging from the elegance of the Victorian era to the charm of colonial design, these residences showcase an array of architectural styles that captivate those with appreciation for historic beauty.
The next morning, and I was all set to make my way over to Parc National du Mont-Orford, where I had my backcountry campsite locked in. Whenever I'm out camping, I make sure to pack a book or a magazine so I can kick off a campfire reading session. Unfortunately, my fresh National Geographic got lost somewhere during my flights that week. Bummer, right? So, I decided to borrow a book from my hostel. There were only two English books I was able to find, and one was about a lady who killed the wife of the main character by getting hitched to him. Uh, no thanks. Another one was "God Speaks to His Children" which is what I took with me. And if you're curious, I managed to knock back around a third of it while hiding from those pesky black flies in my tent.
The hike to the park was a breeze and pretty enjoyable. The sights were mind-blowing, especially with Mount Orford totally taking over the view. As I was making my way across a highway, I spotted this old lady giving me a wave. So, naturally, I went over to her. Turns out, she was super sweet and offered me a lift to the park's entrance. I thought, "Why not?" She mentioned I reminded her of her sons who are into backpacking too. She even asked if I had any food with me. I did, of course. So nice of her.
Parc National du Mont-Orford is a pristine haven of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. Conveniently nestled in the heart of the Eastern Townships, this park is a true gem awaiting exploration. I briefly visited this park two years ago and was craving to see and experience more.
The park offers diverse landscapes, from lush forests and serene lakes to towering peaks that offer panoramic vistas. There is an array of trails suited for various levels, leading to breathtaking lookouts. 
Lake Stukely is ideal for swimming, kayaking, and paddling amidst the tranquil surroundings.
I hit the jackpot by being at the visitor's centre right when a surprise rain shower decided to crash the party. I got to see the rain dance without turning into a soaked and soggy mess. Talk about perfect timing!
I spent a couple of hours in the evening, just chilling by the campfire and prepping for what promised to be a seriously chilly night. The temps were barely hanging above freezing – brrr!
In the morning, I ate a simple yet satisfying breakfast with oatmeal and yogurt, packed my camping gear, and headed out to the Les CrĂȘtes trail, an iconic experience that challenges you to conquer the rolling hills and majestic peaks of Mount Orford. 
This remarkable trail offers not only a physical exercise but also a unique opportunity to witness the diverse plant life that changes as you gain altitude. My journey began by taking the natural stone staircase, known as the Escalier du Nord, which led me to the awe-inspiring Pic de la Roche-Fendue. From this vantage point, I was treated to a panoramic view of the gorgeous Lake Stukely below.
As I continued along the ridge, the landscape unfolded before me, characterized by expansive open terrain. My journey led me to Pic de l’Ours, where a breathtaking 360-degree vista of the entire region awaited.
I could press on to reach Mount Orford itself, but I’ve already been there two years ago and I also wanted to catch a 3 pm bus to get back to Montreal. 

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