Forillon National Park was well worth the drive!
Even though we went to bed late the night we arrived, we still stirred with the birds and got up at a decent time the next day. I prepared a lunch for the road and we loaded up our bikes.
We parked at L’Anse-aux-Amérindiens and geared up to pedal to Cap-Gaspé. The trail was a well-maintained doublewide groomed path with rolling hills for about 4 km. The last 200 m had a steep incline but there was a bike rack just before it so we could park the bikes and hike it. We grabbed a snack for the walk up. The kids were now accustomed to our bike and hikes, so we gave them their snacks and off we went.
I was impressed with the kids because we’d had a late night so I was expecting more whining and complaining. Instead they put one foot in front of the other until we reached the top of Cap-Gaspé to the lighthouse. There, we also found another set of red ‘Share-the-Chair’!
Bike and hike success!!
We were enjoying the view when we saw another small sign pointing us to Land’s End. Obviously we couldn’t stop without seeing the end of the world. So we hiked it too. We saw seals and a porcupine and an outstanding view before making our way back to the lighthouse then to our bikes to pedal back.
Once loaded into the van, there were so many places to stop along the coast for a picnic so we did just that. We stopped at one of the beaches. It was quite busy, with cars parked along the road for a distance but as luck would have it, another vehicle left just as we toured the parking lot and we were able to park the van so that we had access to the back from the beach. I was itching to try my paddleboard in the water even though it was a little rough. I wanted to see how it handled in bigger water. The kids busied themselves beachcombing and collecting rocks and Matt helped me get the board out and ready. We spent a few hours there and I tried the paddleboard, nearly getting tossed a few times, but managing to stay dry.
I honestly didn’t think the day could get any better.
It was nearing the dinner hour and we debated whether to have dinner on that beach or not. Instead, we decided to drive to another part of the park. We drove to Cap-Bon Ami and prepared a delicious dinner with yet another gorgeous view of the ocean bordered by protruding land and cliffs. As we were eating, we could see the Observation deck at the top of Mont-Saint-Alban. The sun was starting to set and Matt and I were saying how great it would be to see it from the Observation deck above. When the kids were done eating, they asked for desert to which we replied that desert was served on the Observation tower tonight.
They replied, “We have to go up there for desert?”
At that moment, a stranger was walking by and he looked at Matt and I and said, “Dessert up there? You’re going up there with your kids? Tonight? Will you make it? I wanted to go up there but I saw the trail and turned around.” He chuckled at us.
But we didn’t waver. We were going to at least make an attempt.
I knew we were really asking for it. We’d already done a lot today and the kids had to be tired. But they wanted dessert.
We made sure to pack dessert with our headlamps and off we went. The first kilometer was a very steep incline. There was no one else on the trail and the kids kept climbing. The sun was getting lower and lower on the horizon. We eventually found some more red chairs and the kids were thrilled. It was clear we weren’t making it to the Observation tower for sunset but we pushed on even though the sun went down.
Although the sun had already set when we reached the top of the Observation deck, there was still enough light to see the view. It was breathtaking.
After checking out the 360 degree view, we came down a deck level to have our chocolate bar and gear up with headlamps for the hike down. The kids were a little nervous to be hiking in the dark, but we all had so much fun. We stopped at the red chairs again on the way down. We eventually made it back to the parking lot and that night hike became one of our favorite things on this road trip. It was another late night, but well worth it.
The next day, we were hitting the road again. I got up early and started to get us ready to mobilize. Today, we didn’t have a plan, just ideas. We would hit a few of the smaller trails in the park then drive the north shore of the Gaspésie to a ferry and cross the St. Lawrence. Once we loaded up, we hit the Prélude-à-Forillon Interpretive Trail and La Chute (Waterfall) Trail. More eye candy and more red chairs! Everyone was happy.
It was certainly clear: Forillon National Park was something of a gem and well worth the drive!