Travel

Gaspesie National Park: Hiking Le Mont-Ernest-Laforce

On our final morning in Gaspesie National Park we decided to hike Mont-Ernest-Laforce, an intermediate level 4,5 km trail.  We left early and arrived as the sun was lighting the treetops.  The weather and light were phenomenal - warm and golden.  Given the early hour, we only saw two other parties on the trail, although there were many people starting the hike as we arrived back at the parking lot. 

The trail wound its way through a forest and upwards above the trees to open and bare hilltops with stunning views. It was windy up top but we barely noticed, our attention on the 360 degree views.  When breakfast began to beckon, we started back down the trail, pausing to watch a mama moose and her baby before heading back to the cabin, packing up and driving east to the tip of the Gaspe peninsula.

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 I spy moose.

I spy moose.

Eastern Canada road trip - Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

So, it's been a while...

Summer showed up and it's been non-stop for months. It's been hard to find the time to edit and post but I'm sure everything will settle down eventually. 

Back to our east coast trip and a beautiful evening hike in the Tablelands. The landscape here is otherworldly. It would seem more at home in the desert landscapes of the American southwest than in Newfoundland.  To hike in the Tablelands is to walk on the mantle of the earth, which is normally far below the earth's crust. Peridotite was forced to the surface during a plate collision several hundred million years ago. The rusty colour indicates high levels of iron.  Highly toxic minerals and a lack of nutrients results in little plant growth - thus the barren landscape.

Our hike was the perfect end to a stressful day.  It was a warm evening and we had the trail to ourselves. Three girls in a vast, quiet landscape.

Peggy's Cove and Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, Nova Scotia

When flipping through Nova Scotia travel magazines or browsing their tourism website you are sure to come across an image or two of the Peggy's Cove lighthouse.  This picturesque landmark is iconic and instantly recognizable.  In the summer months, the rocks and village are crowded with tourists but in the winter it is quiet and peaceful. The sun shone bright as we explored the area and catnapped in a warm, secluded and wind-free batch of rocks.

About a kilometre down the road from Peggy's Cove is the Swissair Flight 111 memorial, which was erected in memory of the 229 people who died when the flight crashed into the ocean 8km from shore. The three notches on the stone monument represent the flight numbers.  Another stone monument was placed in memory of all the volunteers who worked tirelessly after the disaster during the recovery effort.

Exploring a Nova Scotia beach

Nova Scotia's greatest treasures includes the numerous beaches that dot the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.  The vast shorelines provide a quiet and peaceful place for long walks, exploration and treasure hunting. In summer the beaches are rarely crowded and in winter you'll likely have the beach all to yourself.  There's no better way to get away from it all!

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Gaff Point at Hirtle's Beach, Nova Scotia

The south shore of Nova Scotia is a fantastic place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts - even in the winter months.  There are so many different places to visit and spend time outdoors - beaches, hiking trails, historic sites and parks.

One of our favourite places is Hirtle's Beach, which is also the start and end point of the Gaff Point Trail, a seven kilometre trail that meanders along the beach and through forests along Hartling Bay.

Hiking in the winter is always an adventure. You never know what the trail conditions will throw at you.  Our hike began along the rocky shoreline, accompanied by sunshine and the sound of crashing waves. Once in the forest, many sections were covered in deep snow, some of it firm and easy to walk on but in areas where the sunshine had warmed the surface, it was wet and soft and easy to sink in thigh deep.  I'm certain I fell through and down more times on that hike than in the rest of my years combined. The snow, at least, was a soft cushion.

The views, as you can see below, were spectacular.  Old man's beard hung from the trees in the forest and and a thick carpet of red covered the ground in exposed areas.  Icicles dripped from rock faces and ribbons of shale stood exposed to the elements, evidence of the prehistoric.

No hike at Gaff Point would be complete without a pastry and hot drink from LaHave Bakery on the way home.

Photo credit: Lillian

Photo credit: Lillian

Photo credit: Lillian

Photo credit: Lillian

Photo credit: Lillian