Jérémie BélairBorn in Montréal and raised on the South Shore, Jérémie is always on the lookout for his next adventure. He got his first taste of the great outdoors in his youth when successive vacations with his family brought him in the Canadian and American West: National Parks of Banff, Glaciers, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Kings Canyon (sequoias), and the deserts of Death Valley and Anza-Borrego in California, and Saguaro Park in Arizona. He was introduced to water activities in the Gaspé region, at the Base de Plein Air de Bellefeuille. But it is at Minogami that his passion for expeditions was born.

It is on the Matawin River that Jérémie had his first canoe experience, navigating on a river for the first time. A short week long expedition, it represented a strong challenge nevertheless for an inexperienced 13 year old. He returns with a new background, a new passion he feels not having fully satisfied. He encounters a new challenge the following year, a canoe expedition of 24 days on the Matawin-Vermillion. It was during this journey that Jérémie really becomes aware of what drives him to expeditions. First, there is the group spirit that emerges from spending every moment of everyday together. A bond is formed with the youths, of the kind that one can rarely find elsewhere. Then, there is the feeling of total freedom from embarking on an expedition. All urban stress disappears, giving way to a sense of calm when the only constraint is choosing the direction in which to go every day.

His passion for expeditions led him to further adventures. He rides the Ashuapmushuan river the year following his journey on the Vermilion River-Matawin, for a period of 23 days. Then, two years later he navigates the Broadback river for a more challenging 32-day canoe expedition in northern Québec, and encounters cold and rainy weather for the first time. Jérémie has also tackled expeditions of another kind. Indeed, during the year between the Ashuapmushuan and Broadback journeys, he embarked with a few friends in a more groundbased adventure. He left Montreal on bicycle and crossed two provinces to make it to Halifax, Nova Scotia: a more urban challenge, but just as exciting. Jérémie also completed another cycling trip, this time along a loop from Montréal to Niagara Falls and back, crossing the border to return via New York State and the Adirondacks. This journey was an eventful one indeed, including a wet encounter with a skunk, a padlock sawed on a train in motion, and significant falls by two members of the expedition.

The Blue Gold Paths is a unique opportunity for Jérémie, one of those that occurs once in a lifetime. He is aware of the incredible opportunity this journey provides as he embarks, aged only 19, on an epic that will mark him forever. A friend once told him that one must live his dreams rather than dream his life, and Jérémie has every intention to abide by these wise words.

Leave a Reply