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Posts Tagged ‘Gaspé’

After visiting Reford Gardens, we left the south shore of the St. Lawrence and drove inland along Highway 299. Within minutes, we were driving through mountains. The road oscillated up and down as we passed through gorgeous rugged terrain, crisscrossed with rivers.

Soon we reached the boundary of Parc National de la Gaspésie, which embrasses the Chic-Chocs and McGerrigle Mountains. Among them, Mont Jacques Cartier is the second highest peak in Québec, but it’s off the main road. The park features a 150-kilometre network of trails that form part of the International Appalachian Trail, but we didn’t take time to do any hiking. Instead, we settled for a visit to the Discovery and Visitors Centre, which is located across from Mount Albert.

The observation platform outside the visitor centre offers a good view of the mountain. It has an unusual plateau at its peak, and to the right you can see a patch of white snow, sighted on June 27th.

We returned to our car and followed the road in a wide arc that finally brought us out, many mountains later, at the town of Gaspé, on the coast. We had some lunch in town, and then headed over to nearby Forillon National Park. Forillon also offers some pretty spectacular hiking. We didn’t have a great deal of time, but decided to do one of the shorter but more challenging trails that leads to an observation platform high up on the cliff top.

The trails at Forillon are also part of the International Appalachian Trail. The IAT follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Crow Head in Newfoundland/Labrador, a 1900 mile journey.

After leaving the parking lot, the trail begins to climb almost immediately. Here and there, you can see your goal looming above you.

While you stop to take a breather, you can enjoy the scenery.

Then it’s back to climbing. We walked and walked and climbed and climbed.

Finally, we neared the top edge of the cliff, where the trail leveled off. What remained was a more level hike across to the observation tower. Here’s the view from the top of the trail. See the parking lot, waaaaaaay down there?

Then we felt a few drops of rain. While we were hiking, we hadn’t noticed the clouds moving in. Should we continue our hike? Should we head back down? A loud clap of thunder decided us. We headed back. Quickly. But we were not fast enough. Although there was no more thunder or lightening, the sky opened up and rain poured down. By the time we got back to the parking lot, we were drenched to the skin. Fortunately, we had a whole suitcase of dry clothes with us! We were able to change in the visitor’s centre and climb back into the car, relatively dry. By the time we left the park, the storm had passed and the sun was shining again.

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On our recent trip, we didn’t dedicate any time to birdwatching, per se, but everywhere we stopped, there were birds to be seen. On the evening we were in Rimouski, we enjoyed the view of the St. Lawrence river provided by observation platforms. The tide was going out and there were lots of Great Blue Herons strolling along the shore where the water was receding, fishing and feeding.

That evening, we ate supper at St. Hubert’s, a restaurant chain that specializes in chicken. I noticed that the nearby church featured a rooster on its steeple. Coincidence?

The next evening, we had a picnic supper seated on the rocks by the St. Lawrence shore at Cap Chat.

Later, we walked along the beach. This Savannah Sparrow kept an eye on us.

On our way to Percé, we stopped in the town of Gaspé and enjoyed our coffee from Tim’s down by the water.

While we were relaxing by the water, we watched the loons.

The town of Percé is famous for its Northern Gannet colony on Bonaventure Island. We didn’t take the boat tour out to see them, but spotted this Cliff Swallow nest while walking up to a lookout point.

This Herring Gull was keeping an eye on activity form a town rooftop.

This pair of cormorants were fishing just offshore.

We also saw this moose in downtown Percé.

When we stopped in a picnic area near New Richmond, this Bobolink was singing in the treetops.

Who wouldn’t sing, with a view like this?

American Robins are ubiquitous. This one was spotted in the New Brunswick Botanical Garden at Edmundston.

These young mallards were ornamenting a garden pond. (Correction! Black Ducks. See comments. Thanks, Birdgirl!)

This Tree Swallow sat so still that I was uncertain whether he was real or a decorative figure. He was real. The next day, we headed home via Quebec City. Below is a scene from the New Brunswick Botanical Gardens.

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