Sunday, August 8, 2010

Into the interior of Quebec

Low tide on the St. Lawrence Estuary.

Swinging bridge over the Petit-Saguenay River.

House built on a small island in a remote mountain lake in Grande Jardins National Park.

Snake number two. If you want to find snakes just hike with Bill!

The lichen that grows here is the main food of the caribou. It is light and fluffy looking and really looks like snow on the ground. I have never seen anything like it in the Rocky mountains or even in the artic in Alaska.

We said goodbye to the Gaspe Peninsula and crossed over the St. Lawrence River and headed up the north shore. We stopped for three nights at the Grande Jardins National Park. Although not far from the sea, the park was situated at about 2,000 feet above sea level, which at this latitude is equivalent to the top of Mt. Mitchel in North Carolina (6,000 feet). It got down to 40 degrees at night and was around 70 degrees in the daytime. The whole area was formed by the impact of a meteor several million years ago. It is estimated that a meteor of 2 kilometers in diameter caused the fifty kilometer diameter crater that defines the region today. We hiked numerous trails and of course I saw my second "rare" Canadian snake - there is only one species of snake in Canada.
Today we are in Petit-Sauganay camped along a famous salmon river. Hiking along the river, yes, I had a third snake slither across my path.
As we rounded the Gaspe Peninsula, we found fewer and fewer English speakers. Now on the north shore it seems that it is rare to encounter anyone who is comfortable with English. Even the park personnel who everywhere seem to be bilingual would only speak French with me. I love Canadian French. The accent is more natural for an American. I am amazed at how well my French has come back - not having spoken it in years.

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