A Hike in Gaspe National Park

Just a few miles south of Cap Chat is Quebec’s Gaspé National Park. The park is full of rugged beauty and two mountain ranges, the Chic-Choc and the McGerrigle (both excellent names that seem to promise high adventure, if you’ll pardon the pun).

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We decided to take the hike to Lac-aux-Amercains. This is certainly one of the easiest hikes in the park, and so very appealing to Judy and I. To get to the trail head, we had to drive along what felt like many miles of dirt roads. It’s a fairly isolated spot, and we met only a handful of other hikers along the path.

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For the first part of the hike, we took note of the wildflowers and other flora. They are quite distinct from the plants growing along the seashore.

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I think this is Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea).

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Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) is all over the place. The red berries are actually drupes, but are quite attractive in a drupey way.

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Here’s a closer look. Some of the foliage has turned a nice autumnal purple.

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There are many asters along the trail, but I wouldn’t venture a guess as to the exact species.

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Not sure about these black fruits, either.

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The woods are full of mosses and ferns. I really don’t know one moss from another, but there is obviously a diversity of species.

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It would have been useful to have Allen from New Hampshire Garden Solutions along on this hike. The man knows his mosses, among other things.

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A small but verdant fern pokes out from the mosses.

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We are getting closer to the lake.

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All kinds of interesting driftwood can be found on the margins of the water.

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And here we are at Lac-aux-Americains. Clouds cast moving shadows over water, forest, and mountain.

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The water seems remarkably clear, the ripples glimmering whenever the sun shone.

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This is a long narrow lake at the bottom of what is called (according to the park brochure) a “glacial cirque” – a steep valley suggesting an amphitheater and caused by glacial erosion.

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The highest points on the surrounding mountains are jagged and austere.

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But down at the water’s edge the flora is abundant and luxurious.

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We spent a good long time on the shore of the lake, taking it all in, enjoying the views and the quiet. Eventually we headed back down the trail.

Now I know I said that this post was going to be about a couple of the sights in Cap Chat, but I changed my mind, OK? Those will be in the next post.

In the meantime, do you have a particular hiking trail that is your favorite?

 

51 Comments on “A Hike in Gaspe National Park

  1. What a beautiful place to hike! Thank you for letting me share it vicariously : )

  2. I don’t have a place to hike that is anything as beautiful as this place. I love the mosses here. There seems to be so many more mosses and lichens in the north. At least they seem so unusual because they aren’t found around here. This post really makes me want to take a vacation.

  3. Your photos were stunning here Jason! My goodness! Those shots of the moss and the long shots of the landscape are breath taking!!!! I am back to blogging so I will be around more regularly again! Happy week! Nicole

  4. The flora along your hiking trail looks very similar to what grows in my neck of the woods. (I’ve never succeeded in pinning down the identity of those asters, although they grow all over my property.) I think your “black” fruits my actually be the navy blue of bluebead lilies (Clintonia borealis).

  5. That looks like a hike I would enjoy – so quiet and pretty surroundings. I love walking near water and looking at the plants as I go along too. Lovely photos.

      • Very similar landscape until you get into the heart of the alps where they are a lot higher with snowy peaks all year. And lots of clear blue lakes too. 🙂

  6. Beautiful…makes me want to head right there and enjoy the trails myself! I would agree with jean about the blue/black berries…..Clintonia Borealis, Blue Bead Lily. One of our favorite natives here in Maine and at the nursery.

    • I’ll have to look up the flower and foliage for that Blue Bead Lily. Sounds interesting, though I have a feeling it wants a more acid soil than we have here.

  7. What a lovely park. I think it is great when there are trails for beginners to experienced hikers or whatever the mood strikes. Looks like there is much to see there for year-round interest. The mountains are very striking. I love places that have the mountains and water and everything in between. I guess I’m a have your cake and eat it too kinda gal.

  8. What a gorgeous place! You are making me want to travel to Canada. Love all the beautiful mosses.

  9. What wonderful scenery you found for your hike, it must have been so wonderful walking in such a beautiful place with blue sky and sunshine.

  10. What a beauty of a hike! Wow! Right now, our favorite walk is on the trails behind the town’s high school.

  11. Thanks for the blog mention. That plant does look like pearly everlasting and I think the black fruits might be the berries of the blue bead lily (Clintonia borealis.)
    I see a lot of peat mosses in that first photo of mosses but I’m not sure what the second one is.
    I love those purple leaves on the bunchberry. I’ve never seen them get that color here but I wish they would.
    This is a beautiful place. I think I would have spent the whole week there.

  12. Gosh….how beautiful! I am utterly happy amongst mountains so this post is a huge treat for me, I just loved the pictures, I swear I could smell the mountin air!!! The flora and fauna are wonderful too and how lovely to end at the lake. Lovely picture of Judy, the mountain air certainly agrees with her!xxx

  13. What marvelous scenery! I was interested in the Bunchberry. I once saw this for sale in a catalogue and thought to buy it until I realized it was more suited to a cooler climate than mine. It really is quite lovely.

    Also, thanks for your comment on my recent post. You asked if I was reading old or new garden books. Both! As well as gardening magazines. I have a small library of garden books, and many are old friends to me. Best wishes! Deb

  14. If you had Allen with you to identify the mosses, you might still be there. 🙂 Beautiful shots. I have to admit that during the winter months my hikes usually involve a treadmill or a box store and neither are remotely as interesting as your hike.

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