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  • Niki Harry

Canada Road Trip - Eastern Quebec

We were going to my god-daughter’s wedding in Halifax and instead of flying, we decided to drive and do some sightseeing along the way. Since John has never been to PEI or Cape Breton, we thought it would be a great idea to expand this trip and visit all the eastern provinces. The only one we did not go to is Newfoundland. But that will be a separate trip when we can do the entire island and not rush through it.

Our first stop was old Quebec city. I can never tire of this beautiful historic city that has such a European flare to it. Château Frontenac offers beautiful views from many directions.

The Dufferin Terrace (or the wooden boardwalk) stretches along offering beautiful views of the St Lawrence River and the city’s lower town. It’s a very popular tourist spot with many activities going on.

The famous picturesque street and the Petit-Champlain district where quaint shops and charming restaurants are lined along narrow streets. It was here that Samuel de Champlain chose this as his home when he first arrived in 1608.

​We continued our drive along the coast (Hwy 132 ) along the St Lawrence River to Rimouski and to Gaspe. We came upon this very cool art gallery… in the water! These life-like stone characters (over 100 of them) are situated in the river and as the tides rise and recede, they are completely covered and then uncovered. They are called “The Great Gathering” and were sculptured by artist Marcel Gagnon. I found it very intriguing.

We spent a couple of days in PARC NATIONAL DE LA GASPÉSIE and stayed at HOTEL GITE DU MONT-ALBERT. We decided on a hike up to Mont Albert. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves into! Beautiful views and we lucked in with beautiful weather but the hike was steeper and LONGER then we expected!

The hike started right from the hotel but then started to climb immediately. The trail was beautiful but very rocky and steep. It was like this until we reached the summit – which was 5.8 kms later.

The views were beautiful from up top. Peaceful. Quiet. Fresh. The smell of pine was so intense.. intoxicating. Its amazing how one doesn’t notice in our daily lives until you find yourself in a place like this.

​We were dreading the thought of hiking back down almost 6 kms on such steep trails, especially along the rocks. It is so hard on the knees. Then a couple of hikers told us to take the long way around, that it would be much easier and not as steep. So we decided to follow suit. It started off great. Beautiful views along the plains and a small lake up top.

But then we got an even worse surprise during the hike down… Totally ridiculous. It was very steep and we had to scramble along even larger rocks – ALL THE WAY DOWN. ALL 11.5 KMS OF IT!! Yes, almost 12 kms just to return to the hotel. So much for trusting what people say!

We followed the river all the way down, through the forest and through the valley. It seemed endless.

Most of the trail looked like this. You really had to watch your footing. Last thing we needed was a broken foot at the start of our vacation.

​We even had a couple of river crossings. We had to take our boots & socks off & had to wade through barefoot.

​And finally, after 8 1/2 hours from leaving the hotel, we emerged back through the straight path and to our hotel. I wondered how I would walk the next day! But even though it was a killer hike, I was so glad we did it. It was so worth the beautiful views & the serenity of the park.

The stay in this park was not long enough. I would definitely go back some time and spend more time to hike the numerous other trails available.

We then continued our drive along the shore towards Gaspe and stopped at any points of interest along the way. This is La Martre lighthouse, built in the late 1800’s, just outside of Gaspesie park.

Cap Derosiers Lighthouse at the tip, near Gaspe.

We then went for another long hike in Forillon Park. Beautiful ocean views and we lucked in with beautiful weather once more. This trail is used by bears. Go figure, we didn’t see any except for a lot of bear poo.

This area is the best whale viewing location. You can literally see them from the shore. There is one in the distance here. As we were hiking along to the tip, we saw many in the distance heading that way. But by the time I got to the tip, they had all moved further away! I was so bummed. But we did see many seals playing along the shoreline and sunning their faces out of the water.

​We continued to Perce rock and Bonaventure island. What a cool sight. Reminded me so much of kicker rock in the Galapagos.

We took a boat trip which took us all around Perce rock and then over the BONAVENTURE ISLAND so we could hike and see the thousands of birds nesting there. There are 293 species of birds found on the island.

These are very similar to the blue footed boobies in Galapagos. These are called the Northern Gannet. They behave exactly the same and were unafraid of humans. They were currently nesting and we sat and watched them for at least an hour as they cared for their babies or were courting each other. So amazing to watch life in nature.


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