Tuesday, September 16, 2014

West from Perce

Following our tour of Bonaventure Island, we headed west on Route 132, hugging the north shore of Chaleur Bay.We soon crossed the lowlands of the Gaspe Peninsula with its sandy beaches and summer resorts, devoid of the mountain landscapes that characterize most of southern Quebec.  Once we reached New Richmond, however, the mountains reappeared, angling in from the northeast and enveloping the west end of the Bay.

At Matapedia, we turned inland, climbing northwest through the beautiful Matapedia River Gorge that slices through the arcing Appalachian ridges.  After a night in Amqui, we continued north and then westward, headed for the scenic canyon of the Rimouski River, a protected landscape of towering cliffs, rich northern forests, cascades, whitewater rapids and an impressive suspension bridge that offers hikers unique views into the canyon.

From there our day got less interesting.  Attempting a short-cut to another National Park, we became hopelessly lost in a network of graveled logging roads.  Fortunately, a French-speaking road crew managed to provide us with vague directions and a hand drawn map; within another hour, we were back on a paved surface but far from our original destination (and we didn't even see a moose!).  On the positive side, we opted to spend the night along the spectacular south shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary; tomorrow we'll return to Montreal, completing our fascinating circuit through southern Quebec.