My first trip to Newfoundland was a bit of an obscure one, being plunked at the start of the Trans-Labrador Highway. The main centre is Labrador City. It is a mining town, employing many from the surroundings including neighboring towns just across the border in Quebec.

To get a lay of the land, I hiked up Smokey Mountain. It’s a good vantage point, overlooking the nearby towns and mines.

Smokey Mountain, overlooking the nearby mining activity
Hiking around Quartz Lake near Labrador City
Exploring the ruins on Smokey Mountain
Hiking to Crystal Falls near Labrador City
Views from Smokey Mountain

Labrador is geographically and economically tied closely with Quebec. The only place to drive from Labrador is Quebec. Everywhere else involves boating or flying – including access to the rest of the province (Newfoundland Island). It made sense to hop over the border and check out the remote north-east of Quebec.

The Quebec-Labrador border and start of the rugged 543km Trans-Labrador highway.

The first town across the border in Quebec is Fermont and it has a very unique history. In the 1970s, a 5-story wall was erected as a windbreak along the north side of the town to dampen the ferocious winter winds that plague the city.

It’s not just any wall though. There are hundreds of people who live inside and it is possible to stay in the wall all winter if need be. The wall has a school, police station, rec centre, ice rink, health clinic, shopping centre and much more.

Hiking around the Mont Severson area near Fermont

After climbing up Mont Daviault south of town, I set out to find even greater nearby vantage points. I ended up hiking a 20km loop in the Mont Severson area and was also pleasantly surprised by the scenic mix of taiga and tundra landscapes.

Hiking up Mont-Daviault overlooking the town of Fermont
Hiking Mining Mountain near Fermont