Hopefully a less boring post than yesterday!
Beautiful sunny day today.
As expected (?), our breakfast was delivered in a takeaway box at almost exactly 9 a.m. It consisted of a bacon, egg and cheese muffin, two hash browns and what the North Americans call an English muffin – a sort of cake. The former muffin wasn’t half bad, actually, and we secreted the cakes in the car as a travelling snack. It’s still a weird experience – no idea why they do it this way, but hey….
Next stop was the tourist office, a five minute walk away. The gent there was most helpful, and as a result of information he imparted, we decided in the first instance to visit the Parc Haute Gaspésien, a half-hour drive up the road, as it promised mountains, lakes, waterfalls and scenery.
Took us a while to find the equivalent of the visitor centre, but equipped with a suitable map and some detailed instructions from a helpful young lady, we set off to find the walk to, firstly, the Lac aux Américains. The car park for the start of the walk was around 2 km down the road.
On the way was a very short detour to the Sainte Anne Falls.
Initially missed the turning for the car park for this walk, but fairly soon realised our mistake and turned back. It made us appreciate that this park is huge. Lots of driving on gravel roads, reminding us of previous trips to Australia and South Africa.
Got there eventually, to be asked by a ranger for our park ticket. We hadn’t been told about this at the visitor centre, so basically we had to part with $20, which at least allowed us entry into other parts of the park for today.
The walk to this lake was longish and quite challenging, as it was a warm day and the path was very steep in places. Pleasant enough through woodland and hilly scenery.
When we got to the lake, it was pretty enough, but not particularly special.
Back we went to the car and drove another 5 km or so along very dusty and gravelly roads to try the walk up to Mont Ernest- LaForce (820 metres above sea level).
This was an even tougher proposition. A very steep and rocky climb in places, but some nice scenery on the way.
We finally made it to the observation deck on top of this hill and enjoyed a 360 degree view of the mountains around. They’re not particularly tall – 1100 metres is about the tallest in the area – but a worthwhile result after a challenging climb.
All of a sudden, a ranger on the observation deck started addressing us all in French, with a very detailed explanation of how these mountains came about. My French wasn’t good enough to understand all he was saying, but, once again, Wikipedia comes to the rescue: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chic-Choc_Mountains
By way of explanation, we are in the Gaspé peninsula of Québec, not far now from New Brunswick (Canada) and Maine (USA), both of which are associated with the Appalacian mountain chain heading south from here, more of which we will see on our future travels.
I recorded this walk on my Garmin watch.
On the way up, we took the southern loop as you see it here and the northern loop on the way down. The bluer the colour, the slower, which shows how much slower we were going downhill than uphill. I have to say there were certain steep and rocky parts of the descent which were purgatory for both of us. The joint deterioration – hips and knees – is getting worse.
Anyway, we made it back to the car, and drove back to Sainte Anne des Monts to have a closer look at the village. I was interested in booking a restaurant recommended by the tourist office on the St. Lawrence shore, whilst Jean was interested in an art gallery similarly recommended.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was fully booked, but Jean got to visit her art gallery. I stayed in the car, as I’m afraid this stuff just bores me rigid.
Back to our motel, where we resolved to eat dinner early, as we were expecting big crowds for a small restaurant on a Saturday night. Actually, no. Got seated more or less immediately and, to start with, it was very quiet. It did get much busier later, so we got our timing right on this occasion.
We both had the lamb shank, which was absolutely delicious. Meat falling off the bone and al dente vegetables. Brilliant, and not something you might expect from the outside appearance of this place.
To cap it all, we managed to get some washing done! In the free hotel launderette! These things are important, you know….
Another piece of advice that the gent in the tourist office gave us was to stick to the northern coastline of the Gaspé peninsula all the way round to Percé, our next stop, as it’s supposed to be a spectacular drive. It will probably take about an hour longer than the Google Maps suggested route, but the plan for tomorrow is to give that a try after a quick look around the village. Weather not looking so good, though….
Please see tomorrow’s post for our progress.