Cap-aux-Meules, QC

Day 3

Home: Parc de Gros-Cap Campground

We woke up to another morning where the wind forecast was at odds with reality. Looking out to the water from our tent platform, I could see whitecaps on the water, which meant that although still lower-than-normal, the breeze was likely a bit higher than yesterday.

Looking back to the Cap-aux-meules interior from our peninsular campground.

We’d had some vague plans to ride northward today (with a traditionally-smoked herring shop as our excuse), but that didn’t sound like a lot of fun to Rett, and I wasn’t feeling especially motivated either, so we agreed to just spend the day relaxing at the campground. We frequently do three-night stays at places with a roof (in fact that’s probably our preferred duration to allow us to both know a place and to relax), but we almost never do them with our tent (the last closest thing was palapa-living on the Bay of Conception in Baja, and before that, all the way back to Monterey, CA, and then Napa Valley, which still holds a spot in my memory as containing one of the most-relaxing days of the last year). So while Rett feared that her lack-of-motivation was curtailing my desires, I was actually excited to have the opportunity to sit back and breathe a bit, especially when the sea-borne air blowing over our red-rimmed campground is what I’d be breathing.

Looking north towards “downtown” Cap-aux-Meules. If you look closely, you can see wooden stairs atop the rightmost hump that look down upon the port where our ferry arrived.

The only nagging question related to the “cost” of coming to these islands. At a total ferry price (2 people, 2 bicycles, round-trip) of US$250, the money-optimizer in me said we should be packing more in between our arrival and departure (or extending our departure) to amortize that cost. But yesterday was really fulfilling, and today would show us other dimensions, so the fact that we would never make it to the north end of the archipelago simply needs to be subsumed into the broader truth that we will never be able to traverse through more than a tiny fraction of the places we would like to visit on this planet, even if we spent the rest of our lives in 24/7 constant motion.

This thought was driven home by the fact that a simple walk around our damn campground, Parc de Gros Cap, was a spectacle all on its own. And something we wouldn’t have even explored or appreciated if we’d been running around to check off other sight-seeing boxes. The campground sits on a cliff-sided knob of a peninsula, both surrounded by the sea, and intercut with it. Close to the center of “town”, it’s a bit remarkable that the prime piece of real estate is a campground and all, and not the land for someone’s luxury summer estate.

The main beach at our campground. This place would be even more incredible for us if we were into water/wind-sports.
The Seussian landscapes of the Magdalen Islands.
Some birds are down at that little hole for scale.
I guess eventually the wind and waves will decide that the peninsula on which the campground sits can no longer be allowed to stand.
The view up from the small beach at Parc de Gros Cap, for which a rope is provided to assist your ascent/descent.

Many of the campsites are open and unsheltered, but ours was specifically selected to be secreted within the small grove of tight, scrubby trees at the high point of the knob, advertised for its wind-sheltered benefits (exemplifying how high winds are a constant concern on the Magdalen Islands). We nearly had to bushwhack our way in to the walk-in site with our bicycles, but then due to the unlevel rocky surface, we had a wood platform to set up the tent on, and in our case, our chairs fit too, and just having a non-dirt surface when exiting and entering the tent felt like a luxury. We had some close neighbors under the trees with us, but they were quiet and mostly absent, so it definitely felt like a better call than the open sites, even if the wind never turned into an issue.

Site P5 at Parc de Gros Camp
Site P5 at Parc de Gros Camp

Throughout our multi-day outdoor stay, with no rain, no dampness, no serious wind, and comfortable temperatures, it was basically a luxury place to spend the day, at a budget price. We spent a portion of the afternoon plotting out our eventual return to the United States. Given our timelines, and the sightseeing opportunities, we decided to return to Nova Scotia and its northern coast along the Bay of Fundy (and then take the CAT ferry back to Maine), rather than going overland through New Brunswick.

Rett stirred up some whisky cocktails, and then we drank our wonderful bottle of wine-like mead (both alcoholic forms from PEI artisanal crafters) with our second charcuterie dinner. A bit funny that on these days when we didn’t have to move camp, we did some of our simplest no-cook eating, but if it’s good and aids the relaxing, I’m all for it!

Strait Whisky from Myriad View Artisan Distillery, Prince Edward Island.
Got a few excellent whisky-soaked cherries left in my Old Fashioned.
Sunset on one of the rare trees on the Magdalen Islands.



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