Revisiting my childhood at Arbraska Laflèche
The last time I set foot at Arbraska Laflèche was on a school trip when I was 12 or 13 years old. Back on the site after all these years, I’m very excited at the prospect of trying new experiences that will certainly gladden my childish heart, with a few jolts of adrenalin thrown in, together with my friend Chloé.
A breathtaking activity
We start the day by meeting our guide, Boco. After chatting with him for just a few minutes, we realize our first activity is going to rock. His enthusiasm is simply contagious when he announces the first activity: the ziptour, a course of eight giant zip lines that run from platform to platform in the treetops.
In short, a perfect experience for thrill-seekers who want to enjoy a great view at the same time.
Dressed in our helmets and harnesses, we’re ready to start our ascent up the mountain to the first zip line. After getting some safety advice from Boco and trying out a little practice zip line on the way up, Chloe and I are now pros. Let the course begin!
The first zip line goes like a charm, but we haven’t seen anything yet. When we reach the second platform, we see the second zip line: at 750 feet, it’s the second longest on the ziptour. Boco tells us that this is the point where a lot of people bail. The next platform is so far away that you can barely make it out. I take off. WHOA!!! In almost 30 seconds in the air, I admire the beauty of the landscape and touch a few leaves along the way. I feel like a real 21st-century Tarzan.
And so the fun continues for an hour and a half, making animal noises and revelling in the moment!
Turning into an explorer
After soaring through the air, it’s time to return to firm ground. Equipped with helmets and headlamps, we head for the Laflèche cave! Still accompanied by our guide Boco, a true cave expert, we review the map of the tunnels to identify the different passages we’ll take during our underground tour.
At the entrance to the cave, in the Time Tunnel, we can already feel the temperature change. Friendly advice: bring a sweater. The constant average temperature inside the cave is about 4 degrees Celsius.
Once inside, Boco tells us about the important (and fascinating!) events in the history of the cave, which is over 20,000 years old. We then take a metal staircase that leads us several metres up to the Gallery of Dreams. At this point Boco invites us to sit down. Are you afraid of the dark? 1, 2, 3 … we turn off our headlamps. If you think you’ve experienced total darkness in your life, think again! Only the cave can give you such an experience. Our eyes try to adapt, but it’s simply impossible to find a light reference, because … there just isn’t one.
With headlamps back on, it’s time to scramble and crawl through the tunnels. Good thing I’m not claustrophobic—in fact, it turns out I’m a bit of a contortionist: I’m able to squeeze through the most unlikely passages. A special thank you to my helmet, which prevents me from hitting my head several times, with my 6-foot height. After a solid hour of spelunking, we finally see daylight at the natural entrance to the cave.
What a wonderful day!
What more can I say about Arbraska Laflèche? Younger kids will be amazed, and older visitors are sure to revisit their childhood!