Bike Trips: Gaspé Peninsula:
July, 1992


Roger Kenner
Montreal, Qc,
Canada 2002

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Day 3: Ste. Anne des Monts to Mont St. Pierre

Friday, July 24, 1992

Getting Started

Click on photo to enlarge
Original Map Used: (Quebec Tourism Map: 1992)
Day 3 & 4
I was up early again, by 6:15, but took a while longer to get packed up. Taking advantage of the nice facilites, I took a shower and ran a load of washing. I tried re-arranging the load on my bike, but things just would only fit one way. It was not until 8:30 that I was heading out on my way.

I had a nice refreshing and sunny morning ride back into town for breakfast. The same strong easterly breeze was still at my back and the weather reports promised clear weather until Monday (and rain thereafter). After breakfast and a visit to the hardware store for some gear (I was still having problems with that stupid air mattress pump.), I finally set out at 10:15.

My goal that day was Mont St. Pierre, which was only 60km away. The distance I could travel, it was turning out, was being set more by the availability of campgrounds than by anything else. I was sure I could go further than 60km, but not all the way to the following campground.


(La Carthèque Map: 1992)
Day 3: Ste. Anne to Monts to Marsoui
 

Along the Coastline

At 11:00, just past Tourelle, and after a long and exhausting climb up from Ste. Anne to­wards the promontory, I stopped for five minutes. The view back westward was breathtak­ing. I could see over the entire cove, all the way back to distant Cap Chat. After my stop I rode up and over the point and could no longer see back where I had been.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
La Tourelle: Looking back on Ste. Anne

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Ste. Anne des Monts: Detail
 

To landward, the distant blue peaks of the mountain range had been getting closer and closer as I went along. Ahead, in the distance, I had been watching the point where they would meet the water and I was not looking forward to what I knew I would find when I got there. Then I had a pleasant surprise.

Just past Ruisseau Castor [Beaver Brook], There was a small climb, followed by the road suddenly dropping right down to the level of sea. I mean right on the sea! The road was built on a bed of rocks right at the water's edge. Looking over the sea wall to the left, the breakers broke right against the edge of the roadbed, some twenty feet down. To the right, huge cliffs towered hundreds of feet straight up. The road itself was absolutely flat, a wonderful change from what I had been riding on. This section of road had a large, wide paved shoulder for cyclists to ride on, well out of the way of traffic. It was a great section. With the strong wind behind me, I sped along. I think that if I had stopped pedalling all together, I would still have been propelled forward.

I stopped soon to this rest area where there was a waterfall cascading down from the cliff and running under the highway. There was a pathway leading down through the sea wall to the water itself. It was low tide, so I climbed out on the rocks.

I imagined, and it was later confirmed in conversa­tions with locals, that this nice road would not be so nice in the wintertime. I was told it is a "killer stretch". The thunderously high winter waves, driven by storms, spray right up onto the road, which were often covered with ice. Avalanches fall down from the clifftop, smothering drivers and cutting off traffic for days. Still, for me in the Summertime, the road was very nice. I was going to get quite spoiled over the next day's cycling, only to be rudely awakened later on.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
The Stretch along the Seaside
Looking East and ForwardLooking West and Backward
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Cap aux Renard
Looking East at the road to comeLooking West at the road done
 

At Cap-au-Renard [Fox Cape] the good life ended for a brief moment, as I had a long climb up over the point, but then I had a nice long ride down. The road then continued along the seaside as before.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Looking West: Detail
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Looking East: Detail
 

By 12:15 I was at La Martre [Marten], where there was a famous lighthouse. I stopped again for a few minutes by a waterfall cascading down from the clifftop. It was a most interesting sight for through such a long fall, most of the water was lost to mist and did not reach the ground. A perpetual rainbow could be seen when looking up at the clifftop from below.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
The Light at La MartreDetail
 

By 12:45 I had reached the quaint little town of Marsoui, nestled far back into a narrow, but deep cove, sheltered by the cliffs.

See the Notes on Marsoui for more background.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
The road near Marsoui: Looking EastOver the hump at Marsoui: Looking West
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Newspaper Ad: 1992)
La Couqerie de Marsoui
I had lunch at a restuarant called La Couqerie, which, it turns out, is a famous local eatery. I had almost left for when I first entered, I had thought it was a private gathering, so family-like was the atmosphere. The eating room held about ten wooden tables and benches, five per side. Pies were set out on all the tables and people were all sitting together. I forget what I had as a main course, but the pie was excel­lent. You were permitted to take as much as you wanted. I had two pieces of the best homestyle, Quebec sugar pie I have ever tasted. I had been invited to sit next to the Viet­namese couple I had met the previous day, at the rest area climbing out of Les Méchins. They, too, were heading for Gaspé and I wondered if we would meet again. (We didn't.) I was on my way again at 13:30.


Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Looking West: Detail
 

(La Carthèque Map: 1992)
Day 3: Marsoui to Mont St. Pierre
 

It was an hour later that I stopped again, at the "halte routière" [roadside stop] following the climb up to Le Petit Cap [Small Cape] from Rivière-à-Claude [Claude's River]. The road had continued along the cliff's base, pretty much as before.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Supplementary: Photo taken on 1994 trip)
The Road between Marsoui and Mont. St. Pierre
 

I had passed a couple of fellow cyclists, but they did not seem very friendly. In fact, they seemed downright hos­tile. One of my reasons for stopping was that I wanted them back ahead of me (since they were moving faster than I). I did not want to meet up with them out alone on the highway.

I passed the town of Ruisseau-à-Rebours [Backwards Creek], which had featured in a famous French Canadian short story I had read in college, a story by Felix Leclerc. The town was a dissappointment.

Mont St. Pierre

By 15:00, I had turned the corner into the cove of Mont St. Pierre, my forced stop for the day. I had been a little reluctant to stop so early, but it turned out for the best. There was a hang gliding festival and the town was packed.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)/Period Postcard
Mont St. Pierre
The "mountain" and EastwardThe West end of the Cove
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period Newspaper)
Festival du Vol Libre
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period Document)
Mont St. Pierre: Campground
I got the very last space in the camp­ground, a nice campground climbing up the hillside right by the sea, on the east side of town. I was in the very front and had a beautiful, unbroken view of the bay.


Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Campground at Mont St. PierreThe Kenner camp: See Red Tent
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Newspaper Ad: 1992)
Camping du Pont
 

I learned that Mont St. Pierre was famous the world over as a hang gliding site. People were at the festival from all over the world. The actual launchings were early in the morning, so I had missed them for that day, but the town was full of bars and nightclubs where all the hang gliders and their followers were hanging out and discussing the next day's launch.

The town covered the back of a small, tight cove, with large mountains at either end. Mont St. Pierre ended in a sheer cliff, jutting right out over the water and the strong breezes apparently created lots of updrafts, making it perfect for the hang gliders.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period postcard)/(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Hang gliding at Mont St. PierreThe Rules
 

After getting my tent set up, which was quite an art in the strong wind, I set out on foot to explore the town. Right by the campround was a river, which met the sea just beyond the highway bridge. I took off my shoes and got my feet wet. The water was freezing! The ocean water temperature was actually colder than the ice-cold mountain stream. I did not play for long.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period postcard)
Mont St Pierre
The town was built as a crescent along the beach, which was about a mile long. I spent the afternoon walking back towards the west end of town, along the road. There were several gift shops and other interesting places, this being the most touristy of all of the towns I had seen so far. The international flavour meant that I actually heard some English, the first English I had heard since leaving Montreal.

At the very centre of town was what looked like one of the most popular watering holes. The bar had a terrace which was filled with leather-jacketed bikers. As the forty or so bikers drank beer, their shining choppers lined up along the road, I could see that the throng of women and children playing directly in front of them, at the beach, was part of the same tribe. This somehow drew me, I don't know why, and I later had supper at the same place.

At the west end of town there was an interesting set up to allow beginners to have a go at hang gliding. A cable stretched from a perch about two hundred feet up the side of the mountain. The hang glider attached to this cable and beginners could slide down to the bottom. Sadly, it was closed for the evening. I visited the market and stocked up on foodstuffs, then wandered back through town to the campsite.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992 (enlargement))
Mont St. Pierre: Beach walkabout
 

Armed now with binoculars and camera, I began a second walk, this time along the beach. It was now early evening and I was joined by throngs of others, entire families, out for an evening stroll. There were no more bathing suits though, for it had begun to get downright chilly. I got back to my end of town just as the sun was setting out over the sea, a beautiful sight.

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo: taken in 1992)
Sunset at Mont St. Pierre
 

Click on photo to enlarge
(Period photo montage: taken in 1992)
Sunset at Mont St. Pierre
 

I got to be early, but it was hard to get to sleep. It was Friday night and the little town was partying hard. Then later, I was awakened in the middle of the night by the wind flapping every conceivable loose part of my tent and tent cover.

Daily Report

I had made 65km in about four hours riding time. My average was about 16km per hour. [See the Kilometrage Study for more details]

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Prepared by Roger Kenner
January, 2002