Forillon's Spectacular Vistas

This morning, as yesterday's cold front pushed out to sea, bright, chilly sunshine bathed the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula and strong northwesterly winds raked the region, generating whitecaps across Gaspe Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Taking advantage of the cool, sunny weather, we opted for hikes to two of Forillon National Park's most popular overlooks.  The first was a 4 mile loop hike across Mont Saint Alban, 283 meters, which rises at the base of the Park's narrow eastern peninsula.  From an observation tower atop the peak, visitors enjoy a spectacular panorama of the Park and adjacent landscapes.  To the north is the rocky coast of Cape des Rosiers with its attractive lighthouse while, to the northwest, the Appalachian Chain curves along the coast of Gaspe Bay.  The rugged cliffs of Cape Gaspe loom to the ESE and the jagged coast and islands near Perce rise above the mouth of the Bay to the south.  Of course, one also enjoys a broad vista of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, plied by ships, whales and seabirds; unfortunately, no whales were observed in the turbulent waters today.

Our second hike, along the final two miles of the International Appalachian Trail, took us out to Cape Gaspe and its lighthouse.  From that lofty overlook, at the easternmost portion of the Gaspe Peninsula, visitors enjoy broad vistas of both the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Gaspe Bay.  During the warmer months, squadrons of northern gannets sail above the cliffs, on their way to and from their roost on Bonaventure Island; harbour and grey seals feed in the surf below and whale watching is a popular seasonal activity at the Cape.  On our return hike we encountered a half dozen porcupines, fattening up on berries before a long winter grips the Park; in two days at Forillon National Park, I saw more porcupines than I have at any other nature preserve in North America.