Review: Kanatha-Aki Nature Center, Val Des Lacs

I came across the Kanatha-Aki Nature Center because CJ and I wanted to go dog sledding, and not only did the scenery look breathtaking, but the activities offered at the Nature Center seemed extremely unique and fun. “Kanatha-Aki” is an Amerindian philosophy, meaning, “guardian of the boundless earth” in Algonquin. After spending time at the Nature Center, it is clear that the people who work there embody this message of care and respect for nature and wildlife.  

The Kanatha-Aki Nature Center offers a wide array of winter and summer activities, such as dog sledding, fishing expeditions, zip-lining, horseback riding, and more. CJ and I chose the Nature Center’s 3-hour package that includes dog sledding and a bison encounter. Once we pulled into the area, we were greeted by the sound and sight of dozens of howling dogs! They were itching to get on the trails and run around. 

We were assigned a guide named Charlie, who was THE kindest and friendliest person. CJ and I were both taught how to operate the sled, and we had the option of sitting in the sled or standing behind the sled and mushing the dogs with Charlie. This means you get to participate as much or as little as you’d like! I am the photographer of the two of us, so I sat in the sled under a warm blanket and popped my camera out every now and again to capture the beauty of the Laurentian Mountains. CJ absolutely loved taking control and steering the dogs with our guide, so he stood behind the sled the entire time. Also note if CJ was ever tired, he could cuddle into the sled with me (but he couldn’t get enough!) 

After one hour of trailing with the dogs, we stopped at the bison sanctuary, the first Athabascae wood bison reserve in Quebec. We learned how respectful and smart bison are, with one notable fact being that they wake up every morning and watch the sunrise together before they begin their day. After listening to the owner of the Kanatha-Aki Nature Center teach us about these beautiful creatures (thanks to Charlie who was gracious enough to translate for us), we headed to a little cabin for hot chocolate and toast with maple syrup. It was exactly what I needed to warm up a bit! 

After our quick snack, we were off again for more trekking with the dogs. We had a pack of seven dogs with us, the fastest in the front and the strongest in the back. It was amazing to see how much they love to lay down in the snow or eat the snow, as they truly do love the cold. If it is warm, they get a bit sluggish, so we were very lucky that it was about -4 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit when we were there. Looking around at the snow-covered trees, the clean white snow, and the beautiful sweet dogs in front of us, I know that this will be a memory CJ and I will have for the rest of our lives.  

Pricing:

The Kanatha-Aki Nature Center offers many different packages that are specific to the duration of your activity, which activity you choose, and who is in your party. Please see the website for details. 

How to get there:

From Montreal, you can rent a car and it will be an hour and a half drive until you reach your destination. 

Website:

https://www.kanatha-aki.com/laurentides-quebec/en/index.php