Quebec Road Trip Day 7
We awoke on Day 7 to our old nemesis: rain. Thankfully it was supposed to clear later in the day so we decided to spend the morning stretching our legs on some shorter hikes and save the park's most popular hike for the afternoon.
We started with the easy 30 min loop to a waterfalls (La Chute Trail). Then we drove to Penouille which was surprisingly gorgeous. I'm beginning to think that everything is exceptionally and surprisingly gorgeous because I have heard of none of these places before and therefore have no expectations. Food for thought. We walked down from the closed Visitor Centre to the beach which was littered with magnificent, white, mangled Drift wood of every shape and size. I'm a sucker for driftwood. I can't help but be reminded of my cousin Ted who hunts for driftwood on Georgian Bay's North Channel to make furniture and picture frames with. He always seem to find the pieces that strikingly resemble some animal or another. 'Darling, you just find a piece that speaks to you' I can hear him saying in my head. It's a conversation starter, for sure.
After our foray on the beach and a half million pictures of driftwood, we hiked La Taiga trail, which was, again, surprisingly awesome. The unique trail through a boreal forest led us to a observation blind for bird watching with views of the marsh. It felt so secluded that after we heard some weird noises (that were likely birds), I convinced myself that it was actually a pack of hungry wolves plotting plotting an attack. Like that poor girl in Nova Scotia a couple years ago. I irrationally (and perhaps a tad frantically) made Jon find a stick for protection. It was that kind of thick, fairy-tale forest (think Beauty and the Beast). There were even massive paw prints along the path. German Shepherd. Maybe. Wolf. Most likely. Imagine my surprise then, when the trail ended at a kids play ground another visitor centre. I figured it unlikely that a jungle gym of such intricacy would be built in such a proximity to a wolf den and felt a little dumb. The visitor centre was clearly closed though (abandoned after a wolf attack?). Ok, probably not. Probably mid-week September hours. But still. It goes to show you how rustic and raw the forest felt (or maybe just how active of an imagination I have). We backtracked along the same path and it was much more enjoyable since I felt the forest less likely to be harbouring any blood thirsty wolves. I even let J leave the protection stick at the side of the trail... Just in case someone else needed it.
We stopped the rocky beach of Grande Grave for a picnic of that delightful cheese and bread that we had picked up the day before in Trois Pistoles. And there we met a friend: a porcupine! Our existence was of no consequence to Spike the Porcupine he just continued on his way foraging for his lunch as we ate ours. It turned out that this would be our first of many porcupine sightings at Forillion! They were everywhere and they were not shy!
As the clouds considered parting ways to allow room for the sun we set out on Forillon' most popular hike L'anse-aux-Amerindiens' which leads by either old gravel road or path to the very tip of the Gaspe Peninnsula, Cap Gaspe and, if you want to go just a little further, Land's End.
We opted taking the old gravel road on the way out and returning via the path. It was a beautiful, relatively easy hike on both the road and the path staying mainly level until the end. We passed a couple seals, pebble beaches, deep coves, porcupines and thickly treed hills. At the stark, windy Cap Gaspe there is a traditional red and white lighthouse and a couple of the park's signature red Muskoka chairs so you know you've made it to one of the park's most beautiful spots.
We continued further down the path downhill alongside the cliff to the lookout at Land's End in the hopes of glimpsing more marine mammals. Again, Quebec came through with whales and seals! How can one get sick of seeing whales and seals? Its hard to imagine a better way to spend an afternoon.
On our hike back on the path the sun finally made its way through the clouds illuminating the coves and trees and rocks making the vistas even more impressive, if possible.
Being September, the only campsite that was open was Camping-des-Rosiers. There was a loop with services and one without (this is how it should be done, ahem Saguenay Fjord National Park take note). We chose Site 85 in loop B (unserviced) after careful hands-on research. We had a magical view of both the water AND the cliffs from this site. Talk about breakfast with a view!
Another plus for Camping-des-Rosiers was its beach access. A 3 min stroll from our site brought us down to the pebble beach with more great views of the cliffs and bay. We went down just before sunset and found a couple of curious seals playing just offshore. The abundance of sea life on this trip has been mind-blowing. Its almost like: Oh hey, look, another seal. Almost. Its hard to imagine that we drove here. From our house. What will we do tomorrow?