Heading for Grand-Jardins National Parc

63℉ at 6:00 to a high of 75℉

Monday, August 22, 2016

It rained hard all night, which brought the stream up considerably. They need rain here, so it is good. It is also quite nice that it came at night again and that it waited until the weekend was over. All those campers had a beautiful weekend. Now our section of the campground is pretty cleared out. 

Martha put the left-over tomatoes, peppers and onions into a scrumptious omelet.  Then we packed up and headed for Parc National des Grands-Jardins. We got an email from Fred, again inviting us to visit in La Malbaie. Hopefully we can do that after a few days in Grand-Jardins. We set off south on 73 and picked up 40 east just north of Quebec. It turned into 440 and then something else, maybe 381. It was stop and go with frequent stoplights. Then there were little towns. By noon we were looking for our turn north. Pulling into a town at the bottom of a huge hill, I told Martha to look out for a place to eat, jokingly pointing out the McDonalds. We both spotted a cute, little restaurant next to the McDonalds and pulled in. Traffic was heavy and I quickly had to decide whether to go through McDonalds or a dead-end parking lot, so I went through McDonalds. Chris Friend had recently posted about getting stuck in a McDonalds and having to remove a rail so he could get by. Very fortunately, there was enough room and a nice gentleman let us go past on the other side. It is always an adventure parking while you are pulling a trailer. We found room about a block away and walked back to a great little place called Chain son Pain Restaurant. 

They make breads, which were on display on the left as we walked in, and there was a line for that. In front of us was a line for lunch. Of  course it is all in French, but the young girl was patient, polite and helpful. Martha got soup and a chicken sandwich. I love a meat pie, so I chose that, which came with a salad. I also ordered a double expresso. When was I going to see that possibility again? I also got a square of blueberry-filled  strudel. I don’t know what you would call it, but I have gotten them in Charlottesville at a bakery off McIntire Road.  

It was crowded and the only place to sit was next to a lady eating a salad of cabbage, blueberries and peaches, so we sat down, saying the usual Bonjour. Sometimes God sends an angel to show you the way, and I’m sure this was one. Her name is either Lillian or Ellilian. She had just been to a big Buddhist meeting in Vermont and was driving back, saying she always stops here for lunch. Then she told us of a great place for seafood, where she always stops for dinner. Martha, who loves to dine out, quickly wrote it down. From Montreal, she spends her summers somewhere past Saguenay. Not being familiar with the towns or places, I couldn’t really tell where it was. She said we would love Grands-Jardins. And then she was on her way.

Driving up the mountains toward Grands-Jardins, the roads are very steep and the truck struggled in second gear. I watched the transmission heat up on one hill, but we finally made it. Two huge outcroppings of rock appeared before us. Half Dome has nothing over one of these. We waited in line at the Visitor’s Center as two ladies were working hard checking people in, giving information and answering the phone. One was Martha and the other Martine. Finally Martine was available and she couldn’t have been nicer. She actually got excited when I asked for a fishing license, showing me where to fish and what sections I would have the best luck. “What is the limit” Martha asked. She said 15! 15 Brook trout! Then she showed me where the cleaning station was and how to fill out the back of the permit for numbers of fish caught, kept and weighed, and where to put it. 

I asked Martha to come with me, as the stream is across the park, but she said she would be fine here and would take a hike somewhere. We set up in a great site with electric hookup and we were able to fill the water tank from a spigot. There was a sign stapled to the picnic table saying “You are in black bear country!” and telling you to clean up your food, not to leave any scraps and to move everything inside at night. Then we took a beautiful, little hike right from our campground. Martha didn’t get too far ahead this time, and let me go in front after a huge Blue Heron got up in front of us. These birds are so skittish, it is difficult to get a good picture. There were Moose droppings along the trail, or were they Forrest Caribou, which reside here?

It was quite cool and the wind was blowing pretty hard, so we decided against a fire and had dinner inside. Looking out the windows, all we could see was forrest all around us, although we are in the middle of a campground. There is a great shower house close by, I was excited about the chance to go fishing tomorrow, and keep some Brook trout!




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