East Coastal Drive, Day 23, Cap-des-Rosiers, Gaspésie National Park, Gaspé, Fort Peninsula and Marconi

There was a very easy trail leading from the Visitor’s Centre in Forillion National Park. The lighthouse was 2 Km away but thought that was too long a distance. I decided on the Du Blanc trail to the observation tower. The lighthouse was on Cap-des-Rosiers. Archeological evidence suggests that indigenous people came to the area 8,000 years ago because of the wild roses that grew in the area.

Everyone started out with gusto, although I did bring the stroller along. The Visitor Centre in the background. That is how far Greta and Raisin did.

The day was overcast so not worried about the pugs getting hot. It was a cool morning because we were in the mountains. A small harbour protected by the rock wall.

When we got to the trail, Greta and Raisin went into the stroller. Not only does it give them a rest, but is saves us time because we can walk at a quicker pace.

Around 1800, Irish and French Canadian families settled in the area. The municipality of Cap-des-Rosiers was founded in 1895.

The marshland in the park is a major ecosystem that is protected. Even though it is close to the sea, this area is fed by two springs. Birds like the common yellowthroat, the northern spring pepper frog and even the occasional moose rely on the marsh.

I love the smell of poplar trees and the were about 4 groves along the trail. You can see the lighthouse in the distance.

We made it to the observation tower. Nimble Eve bounced to the top. Others stayed behind.

I did a pano shot with the camera starting from the lighthouse and going to the mountain behind us. Of course it does not do it justice to the sight of being there. Tried to catch the sun behind the cloud before it was covered.

Cap-des-Rosiers and the lighthouse looked interesting but, rather than walking there, we went back to the car and drove. We were packed up and headed that way anyway.

The area was neat and trimmed. However, I had to pay $3 to get in. I didn’t mind because there were some good photo angles. The woman said the lighthouse was closed. I told her I wasn’t going to carry 2 pugs up there anyway.

According to the info board, In 1632, Champlain gave it its name because of the many wild roses that grew on the cliffs. This was one of the most dangerous areas for ships in the 19th century. The mouth to the St. Lawrence River is on the south shore, erratic currents and no light to guide ships. And so a first class lighthouse was built.

To add to its value, the lighthouse keeper spotted the first German u-boat in Canadian waters, September, 1942. Just after being spotted, two fishing boats were torpedoed. One torpedo hit the shore and exploded, while villagers watched.

I noticed quite a few people coming into the parking lot but nobody wanted to pay the 3 dollars. We had the place to ourselves. Now, onward to the town of Gaspe to see if we can find breakfast.

The Cafe des Artistes were open at 7 am. It was a remarkable decorative place. I ordered take out – grilled brie cheese with walnuts on toasted multigrain bread. It also came with a fruit salad. How French can you get. Along with a large latte.

There was a little picnic table area across the street. Eve and Raisin loved the melon – Greta sniffed and said Nah. She held out for a bit of Brie.

Even the washroom was what you would expect.

We were heading to Gaspésie National Park to camp overnight. It was about an hour drive so we had time to stop. I also went along the shoreline route rather than straight across. On the way we stopped at Fort Peninsula.

It was known as the Battle of the St. Lawrence. Once u-boats were discovered, Fort Peninsula was built. It was an underground fort. I left the pugs in the car and went exploring. It is one, long tunnel that you travel through

The Army, Navy and Air Force brought in 2,000 troops into the area. That is how serious they took this. Fort Peninsula was a battery of guns with shells buried in vaults in the earth.

This is what it looked like from the tunnel looking up. At one point, there was little light coming in, got quite dark and spooky.

In 1942, u-boats sunk 20 boats. However, they left in 1943. Fort Peninsula never had to fire its guns. But they were ready. This is how it looked above the tunnel.

I had chosen a restaurant called CaptainErie. I like the name plus he was open at noon. I got there just as it opened but the place soon filled up. It had a good view of the water and harbour. After lunch I was going to take a photo of the pugs on the table with the boats behind. A local came up, elderly fella with a straw boater hat and offered to take a pic. I think he changed the setting accidentally because it came out much smaller. Still, a nice offer.

One of the advantages to driving the secondary roads is you go slower and are able to catch interesting things. I saw a big sign for a historical site so turned into the gravel road. There was another car ahead of me so I felt I’m not going to be the only one.

I had to go to the gift shop and ask the guy – What exactly is this place?” He showed me a placemat with the photo you see above. He explained that the lighthouse was special built in 1880 along with the dwelling. The building on the bottom left was used by Marconi to setup a telegraph office and Atlantic Canada’s first radio station in 1904.

There was a whole tour to purchase – both lighthouse and telegraph office. I didn’t want to leave the pugs in the car. And I wasn’t’ going to carry them down there. Still, it was an interesting place to find.

We got setup At Gaspésie National Park. It is in the Saint Anne River Basin. Getting to the campsite was going down, down, down the mountain range. It has the second highest peak in Quebec (and the highest peak in the Appalachian Range – Mont Jacques-Cartier. The mountain has the only population of caribou south of the St. Lawrence.

We had not planned on taking any trails. I was hoping to use the Visitor Centre’s Wifi to write up a blog. But, no dogs were allowed in the centre. There was a deck that also had a no dogs sign. I went out there anyway and a supervisor came out to scold me in French. There were too many mosquitos and I didn’t have bug spray so we went back to the tent.

On the way we stopped and looked at the Saint Anne River.

That was a lot going on today. Made a fire, got sleepy, and all snuggled into the tent. During the night I heard the patter of raindrops.