Our last days in Quebec were spent at Forillon National Park, where we enjoyed views along the Atlantic and hiked the Les Graves trail out to the Cap Gaspe lighthouse. We were joined by a friendly porcupine and an inquisitive moose. We absolutely positively did not hear bears in the brush. We missed seeing the coastal drive west along the St. Lawrence river in daytime but we did end the trip with one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen in my life.
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.
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!
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.
I'm sure you've heard the saying 'if you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes' applied to many different places. It's certainly true in Nova Scotia. The weather on our walk at Rissers Beach Provincial Park in Nova Scotia seemed to change from moment to moment - snowy, cloudy, white out, sunshine, more snow. It was great fun!
It's hard to believe that it has been almost two years since the little house on the Atlantic was packed up and the keys handed over to the new owners. I have a feeling this post is going to make my parents and siblings all a bit sad - so many memories of times spent together at this enchanting place, exploring, relaxing and getting away from the busyness of life. Not to mention the delicious combination of salty air, crashing waves and screaming seabirds. There's a lot to miss!
Our last walk along the shoreline of the property wasn't very long, perhaps a handful of kilometres, but we took our time and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery and sparkling sunshine.
Christmas 2016 was as different from the previous Christmas as it was possible to be...white, overcast and chilly as compared to green, sunny and warm in 2015. It was a Christmas to match a tough year, a day spent huddled on the bathroom floor, miserably clutching a bucket, while listening to the sounds of laughter and joy from the rest of the house. All I can say is I'm so happy it's 2017!
The big move south in 2016, starting a new job and the general hustle and bustle of the holiday season resulted in no new posts over the last few months. The goal for the new year is to get back on track, editing photos and posting regularly.
The first post of the year is a throwback to Christmas Day 2015 - a sunny and warm winter day, a day perfect for a hike around the new property. Enjoy!
P.S. I find it amusing that we all seem to walk like little ducklings in a row!