The past two weeks I’ve been enjoying vacation and haven’t taken the time to write. I thought the empty nest would lessen the end of August rush to get everyone ready for school. But a mid-August vacation, coupled with another apartment move has left me little time.
We were able to enjoy a four-day getaway to the beautiful Gaspé peninsula. My husband and daughters have visited this beautiful landscape in winter, skiing and snowmobiling. It was my first trip, and I was not disappointed. After an early morning departure, we crossed into Quebec around noon, and stopped in Carleton-sur-mer for a nice lunch overlooking the bay. We could have spent more time browsing the markets, but we only had so many hours of daylight to enjoy the rest of the coast.
The Pit Caribou microbrewery in L’Anse-À-Beaufils was on my husband’s wish list. The brewery is situated on the water with a patio to enjoy a cold one, nice on a warm summer day. There is a pub bearing the brewery name in nearby Percé, but if you’re just looking to buy or sample beer, I recommend a stop. There is also a restaurant and gallery on the opposite side of the harbour for those non-beer drinkers.
In the town of Gaspé, we found a quaint little cafe and restaurant, perfect for a quick but relaxing supper. If you check out Ashlyn’s Instagram on our blog page, you will see we found a secret little drawer full of notes. A pleasant surprise while waiting for food.
We arrived at our motel at 9pm, ready for sleep. Motel Du Haut Phare is situated on the edge of the Forillon National Park, and although not fancy, was clean and welcoming. The morning breakfast was continental style, and filled with many traditional Gaspésian recipes. The innkeeper was happy to welcome us to her dining room, and her excitement made our day.
Our first morning hike was Mont-Saint-Alban, departing from Cap-Bon-Ami. The parking lot was starting to fill up when we arrived, but the hike up was not busy. The hike to the look-out tower and back is 3.6kms, and takes about two hours. It is a steep climb, and my almost fifty year old knees were feeling it! There were a number of spots to stop and take a break from the climb. From the tower, the views are phenomenal, and despite some fog, we were able to get a glimpse of the Cap-Gaspe. On our way down we saw people with walking poles, which would be a good idea if your knees aren’t in prime shape. The trail is rated as moderate, but requires a fair bit of stamina to climb.
From Cap-Bon-Ami we drove to L’Anse-aux-Amérindiens for the next hike, Les Graves. This leg of the trail is about 8km round trip. We took the road to Cap-Gaspé, the tip of the peninsula, with a lighthouse. As this was a saturday, it’s no surprise the trail was fairly busy. Many people relaxed here with picnic lunches. We returned to the trailhead via the trail through the woods and meadows along the water’s edge. It is an easy to moderate trail and is quite scenic. We kept our gaze out on the water for whales, but the water was choppy and we only saw a seal and many birds. We also saw a partridge, which my husband referred to as a “ditch chicken”. The translation to French was lost for a couple of hikers who heard the comment and thought we must be confused. The return trip on this trail takes 2-3 hours, depending on how much time you spend at the lighthouse.
After two trails, we were ready for a late lunch! We were heading to Parc Gaspésie, so we patiently drove until we found a great spot in Griffon. After another few hours on the road, we made it to Parc Gaspésie for our next adventure…….another post.