Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Parc National Forillon’ category

Hike Mont-Saint-Alban Loop

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40℉ at 5:00 with a high of 66

Sunday, October 2, 2016

We decided to hike the Mont-Saint-Alban Loop, a 7,8K, 3.5-hour hike to the lookout tower, over the other side and back. It’s a pretty steep hike from Cap-B0n-Ami, but the views are spectacular. You get several viewing areas along the way where we marveled at the clear water. It would be great to snorkel or dive here. It was Sunday, and another perfect day so there were lots o people on the trail, but not so many on the loop. On the tower, we had a nice conversation with a couple from Fernie, BC, who had been traveling for 7.5 weeks.

 For a while we hiked along the IAT. At one point I looked up and was sure there was a small bear walking the trail toward us, maybe only a hundred yards away. We whistled and yelled and it soon turned off the trail. Walking on, we quickly saw it was a very big porcupine. I don’t know how big these things get, but I can’t imagine they get much bigger.

Arriving back at the parking lot, we were pretty proud of ourselves. That was two days of hiking and parts of my body were talking to me. We felt fortunate to avoid injuries, but tomorrow is a travel day, so we can rest our legs.

After lunch we drove to Gaspè and poked around town. We will be coming through tomorrow, but it’s a lot easier to stop without the trailer. By the time we got back to camp and showered, we were pretty tired. Martha cooked the rest of the mussels. We had a salad and the smoked Cod along with some wine. It was a good day!

Hike to Cap Gaspè

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41℉ at 5:00 am and high of 69℉

Saturday, October 1, 2016

We moved from Camping des Appalache to Parc National Forillon. We stopped for groceries, and then went to a pêcherie (fish store) close to the docks. So hard to choose what to buy, we settled on a bag of mussels, a Halibut steak, a bit of smoked Cod and Cod fillets. Lobster are out of season, but they had some in the tanks at $15/lb. 

Setting up our new camp, I laid a fire while Martha fixed a picnic lunch. Then we drove over the mountain to the south side of the point. There are picnic tables at the parking lot, so we had lunch there, marveling at the incredible view. Information signs told us fishermen came from the Channel Islands to live and fish here. They were comfortable here as it is on the same parallel with their former home. They fished for Cod, salting and smoking them to ship back to England. 

Walking a gravel road to the tip of Forillon is about 4K out and 4K back. We saw several people running it! It was hard enough for us to walk it. You could walk down the steep slopes to walk the edge of the water, but we decided the walk back up was too steep. There was one spot down there where a young couple sat on a bench watching two seals playing – a spectacular spot.

It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky and just a gentle breeze. Thinking that cold wind would be blowing, we put on layers, but quickly came out of them. This is surely one of the prettiest places I have ever seen, so pure, so clean. White sea birds flying against the deep blue sea with crystal clear waters. Ducks swam near the coast. Seals played all along our walk, and we finally saw three whales on our return walk. Pictures can hardly capture the immense beauty of this big bay or this land. It is surely one of the best national parks I have seen.

Driving to Gaspè

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30℉ at 6:00 with a high of 72

We packed up and headed out to Gaspè by 9:30. Martha had read about a few things she wanted to see along the way. We have no cell service here, and I can’t connect to Sepaq’s (the parks) WIFI, so we aren’t sure where we will camp, or how long it takes to get there. We would just have to figure it out on the way. 

This is a beautiful highway to drive, right along the St. Lawrence, which is now the Bay of St. Lawrence. You can no longer see the other side. Pretty little villages are in every cove, each with its picnic area and walkways. It was a beautiful day with clear blue sky and ocean. We were amazed with some of the tiny houses sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean, usually with two Adirondack chairs and a fireplace strategically positioned. Fishing, tourism and logging are the main jobs.

The last hour and a half of the four-hour drive was up and down steep mountains, then back down, always with big curves and a village at the bottom. It’s a bit stressful wondering how the truck will hold up, watching all the gauges and praying for the brakes to continue working. By the time we stopped for gas near the end of the trip, I talked to a nice dump truck driver while we both filled our tanks. He commented that Virginia is a long way away. I said it must be tough driving these difficult hill and curves, and he smiled, saying it is tough, but from here south and all around the other side, it is flat. Yippee!

We camped at Camping des Appalaches, checking in with the nice couple who own it, but they close tomorrow for the season. Fred told us things would start closing now. They told us of a good restaurant, Cafe L’Anse Griffon and two places to buy seafood. They also told us where to go in the park and the must-do hikes. 

After lunch and a quickly reading emails, we learned my sister had a fall and Laura spent a long day at the hospital with her while they ran all the tests. Apparently she is fine, but it is probably part of the disease process. So sad!

We drove to Forillon National Park, which is a Canadian National Park, not a Quebec National Park. I don’t know how they do it, but another very nice lady told us all about the park. We were happy there were available campsites, so we will move tomorrow. We drove through the campground and it is absolutely beautiful. There were two areas, one with electric and one without services. Almost everyone was in the serviced area, but the unserviced area is really pretty, with big, grassy areas. We passed a spot where a tent was set up and a roaring fire going with two chairs in front of it. They had the whole campground to themselves with a great view of the bay. Driving down toward the tip of the Gaspè Penninsula in the park, there is an incredible viewing area where the International Appalachian Trail comes to an end, the mountains meeting the sea in dramatic fashion. We were both excited about exploring the park. On the way back to camp we stopped at the Cafe L’Anse Griffon for a great dinner of grilled cod. It was a good day, but felt a bit guilty with the day Laura and Gayle had.