Saguenay, Québec: Snowmobiling with Évasion Sport

by Rachel Staggs
( May 15th, 2015 )

saguenay snowmobile and gear

When planning your winter in Québec, I encourage you to explore snowmobile riding in the Saguenay Lac-Saint-John region. There are over 2,000 miles of trails.

We stayed at Chalets et Spa Lac Saint-Jean in Chambord. The buildings are perfectly designed for families or groups of people, but also quite private. My room had a full kitchen, a full bath (in which I soaked in Epsom salt after the ride), patio, and dining areas both inside and out on the patio.

A sauna and hot tub are also available on the property for those who desire the Nordic spa experience. I was too cold to partake. I just couldn’t imagine being in a bathing suit in -17 F for even a second! My Texas roots run ten generations deep, so I’m not sure my body could handle it without more acclimation.

saguenay chalets et spa lac saint jean

This was the view from my room and just through the trees lies Lac Saint-Jean. We rode snowmobiles out onto the frozen lake!

saguenay lac saint jean

I was sore from holding on tight, but it was exhilarating. We sped through gorgeous aspen trees and sunny, snowy paths during our 2 hour ride.

I’d love to go again at my own pace. I was with a group and knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my Canadian counterparts, so I rode on the back of our guide’s snowmobile. Denis, from Évasion Sport, had my life in his hands. We got up to speeds of 50 miles per hour in negative zero temeratures! He was a total professional and I felt looked after.

Denis let me take one for a spin on my own after our trail ride. It was so much fun and I was a natural.

saguenay snowmobile

Fair warning: I had a migraine the next day and my medication did not work the way it usually does. I did a bit of googling and it seems sudden changes in temperature can affect the serotonin levels in the brain and cause some people to develop migraines.

May your journey be your muse,

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Some or all of this experience was sponsored which may include travel and other costs. All opinions are my own.


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Saguenay, Québec: The Little White House

by Rachel Staggs
( April 22nd, 2015 )

little white house saguenay

While driving from Monts-Valin National Park to La Baie in Québec, Canada we passed The Little White House.

It is now a museum after surviving a flood that wiped out all of the surrounding homes in the biggest flood of Canada’s 20th century.

After weeks of steady precipitation, the Chicoutimi district received 11 inches of rain in just a few hours on July 19, 1996.

More than 8 feet of water passed through areas of Chicoutimi and La Baie, completely leveling the Basin neighborhood. Over 16,000 people had to be evacuated and 488 homes were swept away.

The survival of The Little White House became a landmark of local steadfastness for Saguenay’s residents.

You can visit it today and explore the interior while listing to an audio guide that describes the tragic events.

When I travel, I take note of stories like these. It’s a reminder that everything we have is fleeting.

May your journey be your muse,


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Essential Items For Surviving Music Festivals

by Rachel Staggs
( April 7th, 2015 )

Rachel Staggs Austin Psych Fest 2010

I’ve been to countless music festivals in my life and I’ve also performed during many. (That’s me in the photo performing at Austin Psych Fest in 2010. Photo by Teal.)

There are a few items that have made my festival experiences as an audience member a bit easier.

I wear a small backpack or hip pouch (aka fanny pack) to carry my essentials.

1. You’ll want to drink as much water as possible.

Check the rules for the particular fest you are attending to see if they allow you to bring in empty containers for water or camel packs. Camel packs are not cute (yet), so I go for a BPA-free bottle.

2. Sanitizing wipes.

You never know when these might come in handy, just be sure you don’t use them on your body.

3. Intimate wipes.

These are the ones you can use on your body. I started using them when I first began touring. If you are feeling sweaty and sticky, these can be quite refreshing.

4. Hand sanitizer.

I prefer Jao Brand Hand Refresher for daily use, but I use Thieves when I’m at a festival. You don’t want to get sick and there are germs everywhere. Thieves is strong and contains essential oils, but it won’t dry out your hands like Purell.

5. Tissue.

Most of the time a port-o-potty is your only option at a festival. Bring tissue just in case the toilet paper has run out, which happens far too often.

6. A small flashlight.

When the sun goes down, you want to have the option of choosing the cleanest port-o-potty possible. At least I do! I bring a small flashlight so I can see while inside the port-o-potty. I find a place to hang the flashlight and keep it turned on while I’m in there to help me avoid as much yuck as possible. There is usually a screw or something similar, where the door is attached, that I find to hang it on.

 7. Earplugs.

I definitely damaged my ears in my younger years by not wearing ear plugs. You don’t have to wear them all day, just when you want to get up close for your favorite bands. They’re also helpful when you somehow end up in front of the speakers, trying to get closer to the stage. Trust me on this.

8. Breath mints.

You never know who you are going to run into or meet at a music festival. Hopefully you have fed yourself in addition to drinking plenty of water, so your breath may be suffering by the end of the day. If I have room, I’ll also throw floss into my bag.


May your journey be your muse,

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