Tree-Top Adventures in an Eastern Township of Quebec
Standing atop Mount Sutton, we overlook the magnificent scenery of pine and maple tree forests, the vast Sutton valley below, and the impressive Appalachian mountain range in the distance. What we are mostly here for, however,
is the tree-top adventure course of d’Arbre en Arbre, in Quebec’s Eastern Townships close to the U.S. (Vermont) border. So here we are, ready to fly high, although safely attached to a lifeline.
“Not to worry” says seasoned instructor Janna Hubacek, quickly picking up on some trepidation palpable among the participants while she shows us the impressive-looking tools and climbing gear that we will use
for zipping, walking, and jumping from one tree top to the next. “You will first practice on a trial platform, and only start the real adventure once you have mastered all the techniques and are familiar with the rules. And even then, a
trained guide will be supervising you at all times.” Her reassuring words calm us, as we step with each leg into a harness, attached to a ledger line with a buckle in the end. First, the buckle will be hooked into loops along the ladders
and platforms, so that we can safely climb up and move around the trees. Then it will be attached to a pulley that clicks into the ziplines between the trees and along structures such as bridges, beams, nets, and logs.
Swinging from Tree to Tree
Soon we swing on ropes like real Janes and Tarzans, balance over wobbly suspended bridges and swaying logs, and climb like monkeys through huge nets hanging between the trees. And how exhilarating it is! When we have
finished the first course and our feet touch the ground again, we are so excited, that continuing with the next level just seems the only option. So, further up we go, now in trees up to eight meters high, from where we can enjoy superb panoramas
once in a while, and with exercises even more challenging.
Not all participants are necessarily athletes, and also ages differ considerably. Because of the graded difficulty level, however, participation in these aerial activities is accessible to practically anyone: at each level,
one can decide to continue or stop, according to one’s own comfort level. Also, there are no rules about speed, so people can proceed at their own pace. To the more intrepid, the full moon adventures that are scheduled for the months of
July, August, and September, give the whole experience an extra dimension.
Local owners Michel Dallaire and Steve Breton, originally foresters by trade, decided to start this aerial adventure site after their own adrenaline had soared sky-high during a visit to a similar location elsewhere in Canada
a few years ago. In the outskirts of their hometown Sutton, a quaint heritage and ecotourism town where French and English live harmoniously together, they began operating in 2005 under the umbrella of d’Arbre en Arbre, whose tight safety
and quality control ensures the highest standards of their products and structures. Trees are continuously assessed for their health, structures are maintained on a daily basis, there is a strict routine care of safety equipment, and they make
sure that instructors and guides are qualified through rigorous training sessions, which also include aerial rescue and first aid. Another important trademark of d’Arbre en Arbre is its environment-conscious approach. The structures are
built around trees in such a way that the trees are not affected and have enough space to keep growing and expanding. Also, the amount of trees that had to be removed to construct the site was kept to an absolute minimum. To preserve the natural
habitat, participants are asked to stay on a narrow path and not to wonder around in the forest when they need to walk from one aerial adventure to the next.
A visit to the Sutton region would not be complete without exploring the many other attractions this picturesque area has to offer. First of all, the majestic mountain range with a nearly 80-kilometer-long network of protected
trails as well as the peaceful rural setting of the valley lend themselves beautifully to all kinds of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, fishing, golfing, kayaking, horse riding, and camping. Secondly, a wine route winding through
neighboring Loyalist villages will bring you to vineyards and wineries where locally produced wine can be sampled and purchased, including southern Quebec’s famous ice-wine. As Sutton has worked hard to develop ecotourism, there are many
specialty stores in the area selling local products, which are also consistently used by the various enticing restaurants and cozy lodgings in and around town. And last but not least, the presence of several art galleries and the famous yearly
Arts Tour in July clearly reflect the true quality of the many local artists and artisans who remain inspired by Sutton’s natural beauty, architectural heritage, and legendary community spirit.
For More Info
D’ Arbre en Arbre: Advance registration recommended.
Sutton Tourist Office: Also ask about their special combination
HOW TO GET THERE:
By Car: From the U.S., by Interstates 87, 89, or 91 via border crossings Highwater or Richford; from Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City, by Highway 10, then Route 139 at Exit 68.
By Air: to Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Dorval) Airport, then by car or bus (info: Connex, tel. 877-348-5599 or 450-348-5599).
WHERE TO STAY:
Le Domaine Tomali-Maniatyn offers an indoor pool.
B&B Gite Vert Le Mont.
Chalets and condos for rent: Auberge Schweitzer, tel. 450-538-2129, Domaine Avalon, tel. 450-538-0817; or, Hebergement Sutton, tel. 450-538-2646.
WHERE TO EAT:
A la Fontaine, 30 Principale South, tel. 450-538-3045.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND SUTTON:
Hiking: info at Sutton Tourist Office (above) or www.parcsutton.com.
Cycling on The Route Verte
Golf: Les Rochers Bleus, 550 Rte. 139 North, tel. 800-361-2468 or 450-538-2324, www.lesrochersbleus.com.
Fishing: Hiking, Hunting, and Fishing Club, 28-C Principale, tel. 450-538-0027.
Horse riding: Equitation Lombart, 375 Boul. Pierre-Laporte, Bromont, tel. 450-534-2084.
Canoeing and kayaking: Canoe and Co., 1121 Ch. Burnett, Glen Sutton, tel. 450-538-4052.
Wine tasting along the wine route: info at www.brome-missisquoi.ca or www.laroutedesvins.ca.
Locations offering regional produce such as ice cider, www.vindeglace.com) honey (Miel Millette, 61 Principale, Frelighsburg, tel. 450-298-5297), pick-your-own strawberries/ raspberries (Royaume de la fraise et de la
framboise, 155 Ch. Ridge, Stanbridge East, tel. 450-248-3091).
Meet with local artists and artisans in their homes and studios during the Tour des Arts (studios also open year-round, by appointment): info at Sutton Tourist Office.
Art galleries such as the Arts Sutton Gallery.
Fall Jazz and Blues festivals: info at Sutton Tourist Office.
Heritage circuits along Sutton’s history, architecture, and pioneering sites: info at Sutton Tourist Office.
The Orford Express Tourist Train, operating between Bromont and Sherbrooke.