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The Gaspésie in Fall 2019

Forillon National Park

A month ago, I was on vacation in The Gaspésie, a piece of Quebec.

It was a relatively short vacation – essentially 10 days away from Berlin, including travel time. I flew to Montreal, rented a car, and then drove around The Gaspésie, the peninsula that forms the area south of the Saint Laurence River.

Generally speaking, I think that I played the trip almost perfectly. It wasn’t 100% perfect and there are a few things that I would change if I were re-do the trip.

What I would change: Although my choice of hotel in Gaspé was fine – the room was clean, well maintained, and the staff nice. However, normally I pick hotels so that I am within walking distance of restaurants I want to eat at, thus giving me the option to drink wine or beer with my food.

Unfortunately, the highlight of the restaurant scene in Gaspé is Tim Hortons. I ate two meals in “Adams Restaurant” – which were two too many. My first meal was a fish special where some of the flesh was so hard that I couldn’t tell if it was flesh or bone. The only reason I returned for a second visit was because I was desperate to eat something Sunday evening.

Thus, I would probably not use Gaspé as my base again, should I return.

Miguasha National Park

So the “low-lights” among my five major stops were Miguasha National Park and Parc national du Bic. Miguasha National Park was interesting, but given that I’m not a huge fossil person, the park wasn’t really sticky for me. I did enjoy seeing the UNESCO World Heritage site, but I was there for only an hour. Bic was my last stop, where I hiked for 2-3 hours: the scenery was OK, but compared to what I’d seen before, it just didn’t inspire me as much.

As far as the highlights of my trip – it’s impossible to pick one. Easily, the three best stops were Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park, Forillon National Park, and Gaspesie National Park.

Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park

Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park

It was a picture of Percé Rock that actually drove my decision to visit The Gaspésie – it’s a magnificent rock in the ocean, with an intriguing opening. I took the long boat ride from Percé out to Île-Bonaventure-et-du-Rocher-Percé National Park, circumnavigating the island en route – it was brilliant. The only downside was that everybody arrives on the island at the same time, so there was significant bunching along the trail, but since I took the “long way” back, I was alone on the trail about an hour after landing on the island. Seeing the Northern Gannets on top of the cliff was amazing.

Forillon National Park

Forillon National Park

I devoted more than a day to Forillon National Park – with my main goal being a hike to Land’s End. With an early start, I was essentially alone on the trail while hiking out. Coming back, I met a dozen or so people. I took the long way out, which had a lot of elevation changes, and the easy way back – which still had some impressive elevation changes. I hiked the next morning in Forillon, seeing a waterfall and taking an amble through one of the more remote parts of the park, all before heading off to my next stop.

Gaspesie National Park

I also thoroughly enjoyed my time at Gaspesie National Park – my two nights at Gîte du Mont-Albert were not enough. With a full day of hiking, I didn’t scratch the surface of what Gaspesie National Park has to offer. The fall colors were amazing – even if I did get to experience my first snowstorm of the season while hiking. Along the way I even got to see two moose.

Gaspesie National Park

After ten days in Quebec, I left feeling refreshed – and like I need to return.

Gaspesie National Park

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