Monday, 26 August 2013

Goodbye PEI

On a beautiful and sunny day we said goodbye to Wayne and his wonderful cottage in Rollo Bay.  He had been a most wonderful host and the cottage so lovely that it was hard to leave!  We had originally intended to stop in for a visit with family in Halifax, but this did not work out as our relatives were ill.  So, instead we packed up the car and started on our way home.  Our new plan-to make our way through the United States with a stop to see Mount Washington-weather permitting.

As we drove on we bemoaned the fact that we were stuck in the car on such a beautiful day.  Along the road and on a whim we diverted our path to allow for an overnight visit to Old Orchard Beach in Maine where we could take advantage of the stellar weather.

This was a wonderful choice as it allowed us to visit the spectacular beach.  we were able to stay in an authentic cape cod style home right on the beach where we had wonderful views.  New England Clam chowder was on the menu as well as an exploration of the densely populated area! 

Friday, 23 August 2013

Another Great Day in PEI

What a wonderful time we have been having here in PEI...even when it is overcast and rainy we still enjoy ourselves. 

Today we spent our time relaxing (we are becoming experts at that) and taking a small exploratory trip to the east end of the island where a lighthouse and further views awaited us.

On our way back we stopped at Basin Head, a lovely beach with an incredible tidal current rushing out through a gut toward the ocean.  Kids jump from a bridge over the gut and float out...sometimes a bit too far, thus a lifeguard is on duty.  The sandy beach is phenomenal stretching out seemingly forever!

We rounded our day off with an attempt at boating in a most tippy kayak!  The results of Paul's attempt convinced me to simply watch from the shore!

We finished our day under beautiful sunny skies and gorgeous views....

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Tranquill Times

We have had two wonderful days of rest and relaxation in PEI at our friend Wayne's wonderful cottage which is not far from Souris PEI.  It is situated in a beautiful bay with wonderful views and access to an incredible beach.

Access to the beach is via a fast moving channel with a wicked current that changes with the tide.  It proved to be great fun to jump into the channel and to float with the current until we touched bottom in the shallower area.

Once on the other side we were on the beach where we had a view of the cottage and access to a huge beach which gave us an opportunity to fly our kites.

The weather has been incredible and our host is very hospitable.  We have truly had an opportunity to rest and recuperate from several days in the car.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Arrival in PEI

We made our decision early in the morning and decided to press on to PEI as we had not had a lot of luck finding activities in New Brunswick due to weather and other considerations.  Thus began a long day of driving.  We did not stop until we reached PEI itself taking the bridge to get onto the island.   This was a remarkable sight...going an unbelievable distance between the mainland and PEI!

 We made our way directly to lunch at a wharf-side restaurant where Paul had a clam chowder he raved about.  The area was very scenic and we spent some time watching the fishing boats come in and settle into their berths.

We meandered our way along the tourist way, making stops at interesting boutiques which are scattered along the way.  One spot we stopped was the Great Canadian Soap Company where we bought some environmentally friendly soup made from goats milk.  The goats greeted us on the way in...

Along our way we also saw some interesting birds, including one hawk which hovered directly in front of us and thoughtfully posed for a picture...

After eight hours of driving...our longest day in the car yet...we arrived at Wayne's wonderful cottage.  He gave us admittance although we were a full day early!  This, being most appreciated, gave us both a destination and a safe harbour to shoot for.  In all honesty, we are a bit tired of the driving and a rest will be most appreciated. 

We arrived at dusk and were greeted by our host and a beautiful view of red headlands and a tree in the front yard which could inspire the group of seven to something marvelous!!


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Northern New Brunswick

(August 19) We were greeted in the morning by a light drizzle and an overcast sky so we decided to carry on.  We continued on our way alongside the Mirimishi River to the bridge into New Brunswick at Campleton.  As we crossed the river we bid the Gaspé adieu and ended a trip we had both long wanted to take…a tour of the Peninsula. 

We found that the New Brunswick coast is very different from our Gaspé experience.  This was surprising as it was just on the opposite side of the same water body we had thoroughly explored the day before. This was in part because the road travels further inland so we saw more forested areas and less picturesque maritime views.  We travelled along the Acadian trail and made our way past huge peat moss areas and soon realized that we were in a very “swampy” part of the country. 
 We arrived at our destination Kouchoubuguac National Park and explored the area.  It is a lovely park with beautiful beaches and again many swampy areas.  We should not have been surprised then to find, many, many, mosquitos! 

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the scenery and were excited to see Herons fishing in the salty backwaters behind the beach. 

We had made reservations at a spot with cottages to rent, so we arrived to find a lovely spot, with a comfortable and spacious house and we decided to stay put for the evening as the mosquitos were threatening to carry us away!  (A quick dip in the outdoor pool, during which we could see the sunset, and we were convinced).
 After extensive domestic negotiations, we decided that we had best move on.  The mosquitos being the size of bombers and the threatening rain making a return visit to the beach unpalatable.  This has thrown our admittedly very loose plans into a not sure what is in store for the next few days.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The South Shore of the Gaspé

Our night was not all that restful as the temperature fell quickly once the sun was set.  Fortunately we had sufficient blankets to keep us warm but our sleep was interrupted during the night by the unexpected cold temperatures.  The temperature rose immediately once the sun was up and we spent some time exploring the beach near our site and took advantage of the strong winds to fly our new kite...

The view was spectacular and we could see the very end of the Peninsula where the Gulf meets the Atlantic! 
After we struck camp, we went on to a short hike in the park to visit a beautiful waterfall...
We spent some time cooling off in the increasingly hot day and then we bid the park adieu and made our way to the South side of the Peninsula.  The scenery here proved to be very different...beautiful and very large bays with stunning vistas.
Next, we made our way to the famous Percé Rock, which was another lovely sight.  The rock itself being far larger than I had thought...

Once again we watched the Gannets in their spectacular dives and marveled at how they became so aerodynamic and then plunged into the water, only to appear again in moments floating on the waves ready to take to the air again.  Apparently there is one of the largest colonies of this bird in North America at this location.
We decided to press on, with hopes of getting far enough along the shore that we could get to New Brunswick the following day.  We stopped finally in Carleton-Sur-Mer where we found a hotel and had a lovely supper while watching another spectacular sunset.

Trip to Forillon

(August 17)  Our plans to visit the Provincial park in the centre of the Peninsula were scuttled when we found that the high peaks were completely hidden behind large and low lying clouds.  We made our way instead toward the Forillon National Park, at the extreme Eastern end of the Gaspé.  It was a longer trip than we had expected but we pressed on with a couple of stops on the way.

The route winds its way beside the sea shore affording incredible maritime views.  In some cases the sea laps up right alongside the road itself!

We stopped at a picturesque lookout and explored the area a bit...

Along our route we found a really lovely kite shop.  It is hard to find kite shops which specialize in the type of kites we like (stunt kites) and so this was an unexpected find!  Paul also had an excellent Lobster roll from a most unlikely little take out and we sat and watched the Heron`s in the water as we had our picnic.

As we got ever closer to the National Park, we stopped one last time at Flame Point the location of Marconi`s first radio station and a well known lighthouse.  We took the tour and learned about Marconi and the history of the light station and the radio station.  We were amazed to see many Gannets diving from great heights into the ocean like little missiles and we spent many minutes watching them from the height of the light house.  We were lucky to have great weather and could see for many miles.

The light itself was made of beautiful and very heavy glass with many facets.  It is no longer in operation but was stunning nevertheless.

 After another long day in the car we finally made it to our destination Forillon Park.  We made the surprising decision to camp there for the night and so we took our borrowed tent and blow up bed and made camp for the night.

Friday, 16 August 2013

A Trip Along The South Shore

(Friday, August 16) We greeted the day with a spirit of adventure and planned to make our way to the Gaspé by noon.  We started to make our way East along the South Shore of the St. Lawrence, and discovered that the area is very interesting.  There were beautiful vistas and many artisans along the way.  It was a surprise to us and we chose to stop a couple of times en route. 

Firstly we made a visit to Trois Pistols.  This is a very nice town where a well-known language school is located.  Katie (our oldest daughter) attended this school some years ago and had told us about the charm of the village, so we stopped to explore.  We found that in the city centre there was a gorgeous and very large church there which was open for visits.  It was surprisingly beautiful. 

we noted that there are sculptures and art everywhere...even in the courtyard of the church!!

We spent some time exploring the area and drove through town enjoying the architecture and the views.  Then we made our second stop, on the shore of the river where the tide was out.  We had our picnic lunch at the water's edge and enjoyed the sights.

We finally made it to the Gaspé late in the afternoon, too late to start enjoying the area as we had planned.  Instead we meandered our way toward Ste-Anne-Des-Monts.  We found a hotel and enjoyed a great seafood supper right on the wharf.  A beautiful sunset broke through the cloudy sky and we enjoyed the vista. 

Tomorrow we are on our way to Quebec's "Park National de la Gaspésie" which is inland and hope to have a good view from the highest point on the Peninsula....if the weather cooperates!!