May 23 2011, 05:21 PM
Joined: 30-September 10
From: Plainfield, Vermont
Member No.: 50720
I am going to tour around the Gaspe peninsula this summer towing a 28ft fifth wheel. Are there any grades, turns or low clearances that would be a problem?
Jun 12 2011, 09:46 AM
Joined: 27-December 05
From: Granby, Québec, Canada
Member No.: 5036
Finally the second installment. It took me a while, I had to give priority to some urgent family matter. We start with Forillon National Park:
Besides hiking there are historical and cultural activities, just go to the information centers and let the staff there help you.
The hike to the end of the peninsula includes almost always the sighting of whales, last time I was there we were able to see two Blue Whales, but I have to admit at a distance of about a mile even a these giants are not that an impressive sight. You should try to do this as a guided walk, they are rarely offered in English, but you might try it in French. If the group is not too big the naturalists could give you some explanations in English between the stops. If you don't get enough from then, just go the rest on your own, remember there is no extra charge, the activities are included in the daily entrance fees. This hike constitutes the last stretch of the International Appalachian Trail that connects with the American Appalachian Trail in Maine and then goes down all the way to Georgia.
If you feel up to it I also suggest the Mont Saint-Alban hike, it brings you over the mountains to the other side of the park, it goes up to 255 meters above sea level with a beautiful view (weather permitting).
Do not miss to drive out to the Cap-Bon-Ami camping and go down to the beach there. Most of the time there are park interpreters there to show and explain the fauna & flora.
Another place you might want to see, maybe just in passing, is the Fort Peninsula area. The Bay of Gaspé is one of the very few coastal areas of Canada not near a major port that had coastal artillery installed during WW2. It was prepared as a safe area for the British Royal Navy in case Britain had to surrender. All vessels that could escape were to report there. You also find info on the secret battle with the U-boats in the gulf of St. Lawrence during WW2.
Forillion is also a good place for whale watching, almost as good as the spot near Tadoussac that I mentioned in the first installment, where you would leave from the marina of Rivière-du-Loup:
Between Forillon and the town of Gaspé, on the south shore of the bay about a quarter mile east of the bridge at the head of the bay is the museum of the Micmac Indian Nation. When we were there they had very tasty Indian food.
In town the museum has very little to offer in English. Outside there are some sculptures and a reproduction of the cross that was erected here by Jacques Cartier in 1534 to claim the land for France.
About 19 miles east of the town there is a campground that is part of a holiday complex with cottages, hotel, fancy restaurant and golf club. Only water and electric, but great views over the bay to Forillon. It is on the site of one of the coastal batteries and you can visit the remains.
PS: Don't worry about the 30 amps only in most of the parks, it is highly unlikely you will need a lot of A/C with the cool nights of the area.
Another option for camping in the area is Camping Tête d'Indien:
The Percé townsite is the tourist hotspot of the area, and the boat tour of Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island is a must. The boat leaves you at the island and there are several hiking trails and a few buildings where you can get info on life in the old times. Do not miss the hike to the huge Gannet colony. Just make sure you have time enough on the island, and be careful, the boat people are not always honest. We got suckered in once, they told us that the last boat of the day lets you get off on the island to visit, but only when we were out on the water did they say that the stop was too short to go to the bird colony. The island is a beautiful spot, and I remember fondly a day many years ago, our kids were pre-teens, when we had brought our lunch. We were sitting at a picnic table, watching Percé Rock, the boats going to and from the island, the townsite with the mountains in the back and three Minke whales feeding in the bay. It doesn't get any better than this. If you want to camp in town, Camping Baie de Percé is your best choice. It's not fancy, but you are only a 200 yard stroll from the quay to the island tours and the town attractions. It normally is quiet at night. It is better to reserve, especially in July.
The camping Du Phare is not as rustic, but a little closely packed in, it offers a splendid view of the Rock. It is a bit far to walk to the centre of the action, but doable.
If you know what to look for you can find semi-precious stones on the beach at Anse-à-Beaufils, just out of Percé. There are several stores in the area where you can learn about them or buy some.
Another option for camping is 30 miles from Percé, at Pabos Mills:
The next major town is Bonaventure, not even close to Bonaventure Island! ;-) You find an Acadian museum there, remember the Acadians are the cousins of the Cajuns from Louisiana. There is not much English in the museum, but maybe they have a booklet with explanations.
There is a good municipal campground in town:
About 12 miles from Bonaventure town, in New Richmond, you find the Gaspesian British Heritage Village.
Another place where you might want to stay is Carleton-sur-Mer, about 20 miles from New Richmond. The campground is on a sandbar and you have a good view of the town and the mountains as well as of New Brunswick, some 10 miles over Chaleur Bay.
For VtLee the area offers good hiking, on Mont Saint-Joseph, 555 meters (1820 feet), or Mont Carleton, 613 meters (2011 feet). You can hike up from the town or drive up on the mountain where you'll find parking areas next to the different trails. Get maps and explanations from the tourist office in town.
The next place is on the list of World Heritage sites of UNESCO, the Miguasha Museum of Natural History. Here fossils were found of the transition from sea life to land life, 380 million years ago. You can go with a guided group to the cliff site and might be able to pick at the rocks yourself, the guides will show you how. If you do find a worthwhile fossil it will belong to the park though!
The last place of interest is the Battle of the Ristigouche National Historic Site. The last battle between France and England over the possession of North America was fought here in 1760. For Land Yacht, if you are entering Québec via the interprovincial bridge from Cambellton, New Brunswick to Pointe-à-la-Croix, QC, you will have to turn left when you get to highway 132. The site is about 1 mile west from the intersection.
As a general rule, you'll find lots of local tourist offices and it's worth a visit to get local info. Also, along the road there are plenty of rest areas, most of them with water views and toilet facilities.
Bonus section for Land Yacht:
As you are coming in from New Brunswick, I suppose you'll follow more or less the coast line. I put some campgrounds that I know of here and some possibly interesting places to visit. There are more campings listed in rvparksreview, some of them by me, so just check them out. My wife and I went to the area last summer. You can find photos here:
I have not been to this campground recently, but the facilities should be ok and the situation with the Gulf of St. Lawrence on one side and the estuary of a small river on the other it is beautifully situated.
Another link I have for this place doesn't seem to work today, although it did last week:
Nearby you'll find the New Brunswick Aquarium & Marine centre:
This area of NB is called the Acadian Peninsula, the major town is Caraquet with an ok campground.
You definitively should not miss the Village Historique Acadien, an open air museum with lots of activities going on all the time. You walk a lot, but for the way back to the entrance you can hop on a horse-drawn carriage.
Welcome to Canada!
PS: We'll be going through the Acadian Peninsula this summer, possibly the end of July, on a trip to PEI. Who knows we might meet!