Nature, sports and outdoor activities

The Marsh on a Paddleboard: An Exceptional Day!

Published on Jun 19, 2020

Five minutes from downtown Magog, the marais de la Rivière-aux-Cerises, an extremely rich natural habitat from an ecological stance, has, up until now, been able to resist the invasion of humankind. These wetlands are not just the lungs of Lake Memphremagog and the habitat for a great variety of wildlife, they’re also a dream playground for paddleboarding, often referred to as SUP, an acronym for stand-up paddleboard.

I never tire of this place, although it’s my third visit to these waters, without counting the few times I came to walk on the solid ground paths that run through this exceptional territory. Throughout the seasons, the marshland colours change dramatically. Each visit offers a totally new perspective.

Connecting With Nature While Disconnecting

On this early summer morning, I’m in luck. The temperature is hovering just a little above 20 degrees Celsius. A light wind is blowing over the marsh. The water is pristine, thanks to recent rainfalls. I’m here with a film crew and Isabelle, head writer for Tourism Eastern Townships. Our flotilla starts out from the dock at La Vie de plein air, a kayak and paddleboard (among others) rental service located on the shores of the Rivière-aux-Cerises. With our first strokes in the water, I drift off into another world, far from cars, work and my phone alerts, which I forgot even existed! Although we’re on the river, the current is barely noticeable.

After passing underneath Route 112, we enter the marsh, which is basically a space where the Rivière aux Cerises widens. Standing above the water, we can admire a splendid view overlooking the river meanders, dominated in the horizon by the Mount Orford massif. Here, animals come in legions. In the aquatic weeds, I spot, besides the many fish of all sizes, several turtles in different areas. Great herons are keeping watch, taking advantage of this abundant catch.

Rare and Precious Moments

We continue our outing as we weave our way down the river which now flows by some forestlands. An honour guard of vegetation welcomes us while protecting us from the sun. The decor changes with each stroke of our paddles, or almost. When we arrive at a beach, we stop awhile to enjoy life. I take a short nap as I lay on my board, cradled by the gentle current. On the way back, the sun is at its zenith. It’s time to jump in the water from my floating dock. Hmmm! The water is just fresh enough. I don’t want to leave!

When we return to La Vie de plein air, I give back my board and ask myself why I don’t go on outings like this more often. Then, I take back my cellphone to check my e-mails and I immediately find the answer to my question. This is why we must enjoy these moments to the fullest. They’re rare, which is why they’re so precious.

Simon Diotte

Freelance journalist and editor in chief of the magazine Oxygène, Simon Diotte is passionate about nature and outdoor activities. His favourite sports include: Canoeing, kayaking, hiking and cross-country skiing. Although he enjoys sports challenges, he also loves spending quality family time in nature with his two daughters.
Géo Plein Air

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