After our hiking weekend in the Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm region in Lanaudière, my sister-in-law Mireille and I decided to make a stop on our way back for a final hike. We opted to climb to the top of Mont Kaaikop in the municipality of Sainte-Lucie-des-Laurentides.
The name “Kaaikop” comes from the Algonquin language and means “rocky, high and steep site”. The name should have given us a little idea of what to expect. But as we had reached the summits of Mont Ouareau, of Montagne Noire and of Cap de la Fée without too much difficulty, for us it was only a matter of adding one more summit to our list of conquered mountains.
Not that we thought it was going to be easy, but we definitely thought it was going to be easier.
You can access the Mont Kaaikop trailhead via L’Interval outdoor base, a solidarity cooperative that manages the trails. We paid our access fee ($8) and set off on Trail 7, the one that was to take us to the top of Mont Kaaikop.
It was raining lightly, but under the tall trees we barely felt the rain. The trail was a bit muddy in places, but the first few metres didn’t seem too difficult. In fact, we had set ourselves the goal of doing the six-kilometre hike in under two hours and at that point it seemed easily achievable.
Then the trail got a little steeper …
The trail began to climb steadily giving us little opportunity to catch our breath. You had to navigate through the rocky rocks and the sometimes slippery roots. This hike would have been a challenge under normal circumstances, but since our legs were a bit sore already after our hikes of the previous days, let’s say the climb started to be a bit strenuous.
Especially when we got to the sign saying we only hiked a quarter of the way.
The next kilometre was difficult. The trail continued to climb quite steeply. At one point, ropes along the trail helped us climb from boulder to boulder. I admit that I was starting to get a little discouraged, especially when I thought about the fact that we would have to come down the same way.
We passed the sign indicating the halfway point, then the one that marked three quarters of the way. Each of these moments felt like a little accomplishment.
Then the view between the trees began to clear a bit, and we were able to take the measure of our elevation gain. Mont Kaaikop, 838 metres high, is the third highest peak in the Laurentians. The gloomy weather did not allow us to fully appreciate the view (it seems that on a clear day you can see all the way to Montreal), but it was still possible to see the surrounding mountains around us.
I had read that the last few metres before getting to the summit were the hardest, but after the hellish first kilometres, they actually seemed pretty easy.
And then, we finally got to the top.
Sometimes the most difficult hikes are the ones that leave us the biggest impression. With the gloomy sky, the view was not as impressive as those offered by Mont Ouareau and Montagne Noire. But I think standing on top of Mont Kaaikop was my favorite part of my hiking weekend. The personal accomplishment that made me the proudest.
In addition, for the first time of our weekend, we were completely alone on the summit. We didn’t meet many hikers on the trail.
Trail 7 continues past the summit and descends on the other side of the mountain to make a long 12-kilometre loop. In fact, from this path, it is also possible to join the Sentier National and continue your hike towards Mont Ouareau. But we had accomplish our goal (to reach the summit of Mont Kaaikop), so we came back down using the same way.
The descent was not easy because we had to constantly watch each of our steps and be careful not to slip. But gradually we got back down and when we finally got to our car, we realized that our 5.9km hike had taken us exactly two hours. That too was a small accomplishment!
The L’Interval outdoor base includes a system of trails totaling more than 40 kilometres, in addition to having campsites, an inn and small lodges. It seems like a beautiful and quiet place, and we promised ourselves that we would come back one day and stay there for a few days.
PS – Apparently, there is a lot of pressure to make this area available for logging. So do your part to protect this beautiful nature by not forgetting to pay the entrance fees for the site!
Altitude : 838m
Ascension : 363m
Trail (return) : 5.9km
Access : L’Interval