This is an epic adventure, 11 women canoeing for 40 days in the wilds of Canada

1 week ago

This trip through remotest Quebec has only been open to teenage girls for 20 years. Our slightly older writer joins one group

Muskeg is a delight unknown to many and it’s not easy to identify. Step in it and it creates a farting noise, then engulfs your leg. If you’re lucky you will only sink up to your ankle, but often much more of you goes in. It consumes shoes, it rips off socks and sometimes you need help to get out. It’s a dark tar-like substance, probably with a lot of beaver poo in it.

I don’t know what the exact botanical definition is, but essentially muskeg is a floating peat bog. It’s sphagnum moss and a lot of decaying vegetation. It’s a large thing of mud that’s stinky and out here in the taiga of northern Quebec. I’m surrounded by it. The coniferous forests of this subarctic region are crisscrossed with thousands of lakes, rivers and bogs, and the spongy ground often conceals sinkholes, which makes walking arduous and a little dangerous.

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