This morning we woke up in Grande Vallee around 6am. It looked like a promising day! Although there were some clouds, it was really hot and sunny. I was really glad we called it a day early because I felt fully rested and mentally ready to hit the road! We left the town at 8am and started tackling some more hills!
There were definitely significantly smaller hills today than yesterday, but in true Quebec fashion, they were still steep! The weather turned a bit overcast for the most part of the day, and it was a bit chilly, but nice for cycling hills!
We went full on with only one break to fill our water bottles, all the way to Forillion National Park. Our initial plan was to cycle through all the way to Gaspe, but the national park was supposed to be (one of) the nicest place on the peninsula. We made the effort all the way out, it would be a shame not to stay and really enjoy the nicest part! So, we decided to camp out there instead. Upon entering the park, we went straight to the info center to ask about things they recommend seeing and doing, and where they recommend camping. They pointed out three hikes to do (one on the way to the campground and two past). They also pointed out where to stay (at the campground in Little Gaspe). When we asked about the hills in the park, the woman said it was all relatively flat except for one really big one right after the waterfall hike. She said it was similar to that of the hills around Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine. We were dreading it the whole way down! I really did not want to cycle more of those kinds of hills!
The woman was right for the first part of the trip. It was fairly flat (especially compared to what we were used to!). It was a really nice cycle, and the sun was out! The small hills were a touch steeper than they needed to be, but not too bad. Once we headed to the interior of the park, the roads turned even flatter!
We stopped to do the first hike. It was really nice, and we fully explored every route available. It was really nice (both a change from cycling and the scenery was beautiful!). At the hike, we bumped into the same family from yesterday. They were really nice and the kid was so cute! He was a little less shy today and kept asking us cute questions like “what’s faster, our car or your bike?”.
We were then ready to start the “big climb.” There was a small uphill, then it leveled off a bit, and then it looked like it went down, then turned the corner. Dread set in as I knew once we turned the corner, it was going to be brutal! Turns out, the fear was not necessary! It wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought! It was actually a nice hill. It wasn’t too steep, and turns out, it wasn’t long at all! This is the first time in the Quebec road system, that the people who designed the roads actually used the path of least resistance. Congratulations Quebec! And thank you! When we saw the sign at the top warning about the steepness of the downhill, we were in shock! We didn’t think the hill would end so soon! But alas, it did! And it wasn’t bad at all and was followed by a wicked downhill!
We went immediately to our campsite, quickly set up our tent and threw everything in (so as to not leave anything lying around to prevent both theft and animals getting at our stuff). We then took our bikes and lock to cycle out to do some hikes (as the start of the hikes were several kilometers away and we were running out of daylight!). We asked the guy working at the booth at the entrance of the campground which of the two hikes he would recommend (as we weren’t sure if we could do both before sunset), where to buy firewood, and other small details. Turns out, he was HORRIBLE at giving directions (something that seems to be a trend in Quebec! Nice people, but there have been a few too many times the directions have been hard to follow/understand!). It’s hard to type out how bad his directions were, but he kept contradicting himself (ie pointing to one point on the map saying to cycle that route, then five minutes later, pointing to the exact same spot saying you can’t cycle there). Finally we just took off so as to not waste more time!
We did a hike up to Mont Saint-Alban, which had an AMAZING view! It was beautiful! You could see (just about) all of Forillon National Park, the vast ocean, Gaspe, Perce, and a bunch of other little inlets, beaches, and mountains! It was such a nice clear day as well! And the sun was really bright, and not far from setting, so it gave a nice effect! We were really glad we were able to do the hike! It was definitely worth it!
We cycled out to the start of the last hike that was recommended, but when we got there, we realized there wouldn’t have been time to hike the 4km out and 4km back, and then cycle back the ~10km to the site. So, we enjoyed our scenic cycle out and back! And the sun was setting as we were cycling back, so it was really beautiful!
We then went to get firewood (and start a fire), shower, do laundry (which we didn’t end up doing because the people who were presently doing laundry said the dryer really sucked and they put it through 4 times and their clothes still weren’t dry. We decided not to waste our time and money!), and have some tea! It was a really nice, chill night! I’m so glad we decided to stay tonight!