The night before we arrived at Forillon National Park, we had stopped at a less-than-perfect private campground. But more worrisome was the information we had that all the campsites in the park (our next day's destination) were full. We would have to rush our park experience or return to this private campground outside the park for a second night.
Our biggest complaint with the campground was that all the water taps were marked "non potable". This, despite the fact that the one service included with the campsite was, yes, water. We could cope - we had filled our fresh water tank just yesterday. But the couple from Minnesota who were setting up in the site next to us were more than mildly upset.
They were cycling the Gaspe Peninsula on a tandem with a trailer and had already gone to the campground office to purchase about a dozen small bottles of water, which the clerk apparently sold them only "begrudgingly". I guess the purchase cleaned out her stock. Watching all this, we started a conversation with Dan and Karen, and offered them all the water they needed tonight and in the morning. They were more grateful than if we'd offered to cook them a four course hot meal including the finest wine. If any of you have done a long bicycle trip, I'm sure you can identify. Randy did some long-distance cycling himself in his youth so we had plenty to talk about as we visited into the evening and again before their departure the next morning.
We shared many stories and, when we mentioned we had learned all the campgrounds at Forillon National Park were booked for the weekend, they told us that they had one booked and offered to share it with us. Since, after all, they have no vehicle, there was plenty of room. This was perfect! We mentioned to them that we've shared campsites with strangers a couple of times before - at Yosemite National Park in California - and the rule (one we had invented) is that the "joiner" pays for the site. We decided we'd enjoy the park separately the next day and meet at their campsite by evening.
We wanted to do the two most notable hikes in the park. The first was a long hard climb to a lookout tower.
We had already run into this couple, Richard and Nancy from Ontario, a couple of times on our drive around the Gaspe. Meeting up again on the Lands End Trail in the park, we ended up hiking it together. At the end of the trail, where this photo was taken, we were amazed to watch more than a dozen seals playing in the water near shore. Other hikers had told us they spotted whales earlier but I guess we missed them. We did see many gannets (diving seabirds) plunge from great heights to even greater depths to catch dinner.
This national park is all about the views and it did not disappoint. While in Quebec, we've come to expect that most people we encounter are French-speaking so meeting these two couples was an unexpected pleasure.
Other unexpected extras for motorists along the Gaspe route are many (perhaps 50 or more) roadside picnic areas at scenic viewpoints - often with public toilets, drinking water and more. We often lament how these have all but disappeared in Ontario. RVers will also find several free RV dump stations along this route.
With all of this and such beautiful views, we have nothing to complain about. But we have paid for camping two nights in a row! Are we splurging just a bit too much? I guess the next week will tell...
Days on the road on this trip: 8
Total camping costs to date: $54
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