Destination: Forillon National Park, Quebec
Another super hot morning! We were beginning to get used to that. Our tents were in the full sun almost as soon as it rose, so we were cooking. It makes for early mornings, though – hard to sleep in when you can barely breathe!
I went to the reception area, where they had a bit of cell signal, to call a friend, but the reception was so poor that the call kept dropping, so I sent a few texts in hopes they would arrive, eventually if not right away. A difficult thing about being away for so long was trying to maintain friendships in a way that works for both parties. I am someone who can let friendships go if the level of contact feels like more than I can commit to. Friendships that are honest about intentions and investment work best for me. I would much rather under-commit and over-deliver, even in friendships. I am not one for talking on the phone at the best of times, but when you can’t see someone in person, it demands an additional effort that I would continue to struggle with on this trip.
Back at the camp, we lay out the tents to dry because the cool nights and hot mornings made a lot of condensation. Although overall we really had been doing a good job keeping up on the organization, it felt great to have a completely clean slate with our stuff.
We left the campground around 10:30am. It felt like a really long driving day. We stopped at a lookout just outside Temiscouata, and it overlooked a mining operation. It was shocking, because I don’t know about anyone else, but when I stop at a lookout, I’m expecting an especially lovely scene of natural beauty. Not stripped earth and massive destructive machines. It hurt our hearts. We have seen so much destruction of nature on this trip, all across our country. Do we think this can go on indefinitely? The earth is finite – and it’s our home, not a resource. We really need a radical re-envisioning of our relationship with the earth and our place upon it.
We stopped at a few more lookouts and then the drive continued. We did stop in a tiny town with a huge red lighthouse that we really wanted to tour but we weren’t able to. We were hungry, so we decided to stop in that town for lunch. There was a gallery/café that we went to check out, but it turned out to just be a guy’s house! He had two other people there for a viewing, and when we asked about food, he acted like we were idiots. It’s was pretty embarrassing, but in our defense the sign said ‘café’ which, okay, doesn’t mean in french what it means in English, but it still means coffee and there was none of that!
We drove away from our feelings of dorkitude and continued along until we came across a little cantine just beside the cliffs to the sea. It was owned by a woman and I made the entire order en francais and I was really pleased with myself. It was really basic and she had to teach me a couple words, but it was a definite improvement from my previous attempts and much better than forcing french-speaking people to adapt to English. Hot dogs in Quebec come wrapped in toasted, buttered bread instead of buns, which I really liked! Why do we need a special bread food for this purpose? Capitalism, I tell ya! Anyway, the food was really good, and we ate overlooking the sea.
We arrived at Forillon around 6:30pm. As we were checking in at the entry, we saw two young women with giant packs getting ready to start one of their backpacking trails. I was a little envious! I really love interior camping and going with someone else is a joy. A night or two is great but I really crave going on multi-day trips. I wish I had gotten into backpacking as a younger woman. I had no idea I would take to it like I have – or that I would find such peace in it. I remember to be grateful that I started when I did – after all, many women start in their 50s or later, and I wouldn’t want them to regret not starting earlier, so I try not either.
The site was nice – small and grassy, and bracketed by thistles past their bloom, so all offering puffy seed pods bursting with seed fluff. I love thistle, so this was especially meaningful for me and I was very happy with the site. The campground was a bit of a maze, but the bathrooms were really nice and well-man tined, which is something for which you become very grateful when you come across so many!
We walked around the campgrounds for a bit, stopping in the playground to try out an absolutely sadistic teeter-totter. We made our way to the ocean, which has in no way lost its charm for me. As a landlocked Ontarian, albeit one spoiled by lakes, there is a unique enchantment to the oceans that speaks to me. I see them as the earth’s lungs, and the waves crash in time with our breathing. And we are doing unmentionable things to the oceans with plastic and overfishing and acidification. As if we could breath if the oceans can’t!
We built a stone tower on the beach, following what seemed to be the tradition there. We sat with the water for some time as the night rose and our surroundings grew dark. On the way back to our campsite, we saw a skunk, which was so cute! It looked freaked out, but I think it can take care of itself! We didn’t know it at the time, but it would be a premonition for another skunkly encounter…
Christine and I hung out in her tent for a while, but we called it a night fairly early. Heading back into my tent, I looked up as one must always do – the stars were bright, the milky way a stripe of white across the sky, almost skunklike, one might say…