Parc National du Bic

Leaving Quebec City this morning, we headed east on Route 20 through a landscape of dairy farms and hay fields, broken by riverine woodlands and wetlands.  An hour into our trip, we began to encounter domes of early Paleozoic limestone, rising above the St. Lawrence Valley and poking above the estuary waters as islands of barren rock.

Further east, we entered Parc National du Bic, which stretches along the south shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary.  Trails lead down to the tidal flats where harbour and grey seals bask on the rocks and where a variety of sea birds feed in the shallows. along the shore or out on the deeper waters; among today's sightings were northern gannets, common eiders, great and double-crested cormorants, a red-necked grebe, great blue herons, semi-palmated plovers and a host of gulls.  After perusing the scenic bays, we opted for a hike up Pic Champlain which rises to an elevation of 346 meters and provides a spectacular view of the St. Lawrence Seaway, from the Parc National du Bic to the Laurentian Mountains, north of the estuary.

Following a night in Mantane (in a hotel overlooking the vast Fleuve Saint Laurent), we'll head inland tomorrow for a two day exploration of the Gaspe Peninsula's rugged backbone, the northernmost segment of North America's Appalachian Range (and the corridor for the International Appalachian Trail).  More on that saga in the coming days.