Three weeks ago I went on a trip with a good friend to the Gaspe Penninsula. It was somewhat of a last minute decision to leave in September and squeezed in between some of my activities with King’s Kids. In the end it was short, but sweet.I guess I will have to go back sometime to visit what I couldn’t fully enjoy this time around
Since I have come to Quebec, I wanted to visit the area because I heard how beautiful it was – and for some reason, I had the impression that the fall colours were more pronounced in that region. Which by the way, wasn’t exactly the case. At the point of Gaspé, the leaves were either yellow or green, and if they were not on the trees, they were on the ground because the wind was so strong it blew everything off. From one day to the next. Paff. But the ocean makes up for the lack of colourful leaves.
We started off early on a Saturday morning, driving from Montréal all the way up through Rivière-du-Loup and Rimouski, before turning southwards at Sainte-Flavie and heading into the interior. There we visited some friends living near Amqui, saw the beautiful view they will have from their house on the Lake Matapedia and headed on our way to the Baie-des-Chaleurs. Spectacular rivers and signs that they would have fall colours inland. Then ocean sighting and first night camping in Nouvelle. It was pretty luxurious camping in our little two-man tent with full cell phone service so I could chat with my Mom and we could look at photos on my friends laptop. I was very glad our friends in Amqui had convinced us to borrow another sleeping bag, which meant we were nice and toasty warm to boot.
The next day we drove up the coast towards Percé, making stops along the way to take pictures and visit little shops. We stayed overnight with friends of friends in their pink and yellow home with a huge garden and chickens! Got to say we benefited from fresh vegetables, fresh eggs and some good conversations We ended up staying two nights at their place, using our “middle day” to visit the region around Percé, Gaspé and the Parc Forillon. In Gaspé we stopped at the tourist information centre where we were given so many ideas that we didn’t really have time to do it everything suggested. Our goal was to get a pictures of the Percé rock in the morning and in the evening, as well as to take a dip in the ocean(!) Which we somewhat suceeded haha. Of course, beach season was already over and we didn’t last that long in the water Definitely the region around Gaspé and the Parc Forillon was one of my favourite places. I would love to come back in a slighter warmer time of year to really enjoy one of the white sandy beaches and to hike all the way to the farthest point in the Park.
Because we decided that we wanted to go hiking in the Chic Choc mountains, we couldn’t stay longer in the area around Percé. The next day we drove to the north side of the penninsula into “Haute Gaspesie”. The highway hugs the rock cliffs on the edge of the water and winds around bay to bay and village to village. It felt like the perfect place to film a car ad Definitely another one of my favourite parts of our trip. We drove until the village of Saint-Maxime-du-Mont-Louis where we stopped into a local restaurant for a seafood dinner. Seafood for me being fresh fish haha…not into “exotic” dishes myself. We drove to the next village in the hopes of camping in the municipal campground, but as we arrived it was very closed. With the exception of construction workers camping at the site and the male washrooms being unlocked. Which led us to decide to return to Saint Maxine to camp for the night. We arrived just in the nick of time – just before the camp site manager closed the office for the night – and set up the tent right next to the washroom/laundry room building because it was so windy. I can say that the stars were spectacular at 3 am, and I am sure it is a popular location in the summer. I can also say we were the only tent in the campground that night
We left bright and early the next morning to drive into the national park for our hike up Mount Jacques-Cartier. It’s the highest mountain of the Chic-Chocs, and one has to take a shuttle bus to the trailhead. On the ride to the trail, we listened to a announcement explaining about how we were to visit an area where Caribou are protected…first time in my memory that I was asked to let an animal “have the right of way”. But we didn’t see any caribou. Only blues skies, sunshine, and many little lakes. In fact, the only animals we really saw during our trip were some porcupines along the side of the road in Parc Forillon. I guess, we’ll take what we can get. The Chic-Chocs were a beautiful place, nonetheless.
Our last night was spent camping in Cap-Chat in another campground by the sea. We bought marshmallows for the occasion and had a fire, complete with a gourmet camping meal of pasta with mushroom sauce, smoked mackerel and “roasted” veggies. I say roasted because everything was cooked over an msr stove, which can get quite warm. This time we were not the only tenters at the campground and were able to introduce a french couple living in Guadaloupe to marshmallows, as well as hand them a bunch of our brochures.
The last day on the road we still stopped in a few places along the way to take pictures with lighthouses and near Matane we wanted to have some of their famous shrimp. Unfortunately, the lady at the tourist office sent us searching for a restaurant that was closed for the season, so we settled for another restaurant in Ste-Flavie that served shrimp but they were not fresh fresh. I mean, compared to the frozen shrimp one can buy at Super C in Lanaudière, they were fresh. But likely they were cooked from frozen because there wasn’t enough demand at this time of year. Still tasty though. And our final pleasure of the trip was stopping at Ali-Baba’s ice cream store to buy a good-sized tub of raspberry sorbet. mmm. Then we were most definitely full
All in all, a great trip with good food, amazing scenery and a lovely tripmate. One more travel goal is checked off my list, kind of. It might be moved to the places to return to list instead
À la prochaine!