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20 July 2012

Cross Canada and Back, Part 36


St. Lawrence River North to La Malbaie to Parc du National des Grands-Jardins

Days 81 and 82 of our Cross Canada Trip, August 4th and 5th, 2011

Today we will travel on the north side along the St Lawrence River from close to Québec City to Rivière Malbaie, close to La Malbaie in the Charlevoix Region, all in the wonderful province of Québec

The weather is overcast, a good traveling day. 


View St. Lawrence River North to La Malbaie to Parc du National des Grands-Jardins in a larger map

We stop at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré to look at the Basilica. Already in 1650, some shipwrecked sailors built a chapel here in honour of their patron, Sainte-Anne. By now the 5th church is standing at this spot. Stained glass windows and a richly decorated statue of Sainte-Anne on the inside, and a beautiful facade on the outside welcome over a million visitors a year. 

Sainte-Anne was proclaimed the Patron Saint of Québec in 1876, and an annual pilgrimage on Sainte-Anne's Feastday on July 26th celebrates this honour.

Liz in front of the Basilica

Wonderful Architecture.
A mass was in progress when we were visiting, so we respected the event and took no photographs on the inside. Anders had to invent some tricky turns with the 5th wheel in the narrow streets around the church, but eventually we were rolling north-east again along the Charlevoix Coast on the St.Lawrence River. This drive is very pretty over rolling hills, and views to the water.

Dairy farms

The drive along St Lawrence River is very scenic.

Rolling Hills

We arrive in Rivière Malbaie
We are camping at Chutes Fraser in Rivière Malbaie. Great place to stay by the river with an impressive waterfall. In the city of La Malbaie we had an oil change done on the truck ( half price than in Victoria).

Rivière Malbaie. The St Lawrence River is tidal.

Rivière Malbaie

Rivière Malbaie

Anders in  Rivière Malbaie
August 5th is our hiking day in Parc des Grands Jardins. This park forms one of the core zones of the Charlevoix World Biosphere Reserve, a status granted in 1989 to the region by UNESCO. 
Parc des Grands Jardins in the distance.

Parc des Grands Jardins in the distance.

Parc des Grands Jardins.
The park is about 310 square km. Here we can see the taiga and the tundra, and black spruce forest with lots of lichen. This arctic vegetation sustains a herd of caribou, we were on the look out for, but did not see. 

Liz checking out the map

Off we go...
Our hiking destination is Mont du Lac des Cygnes. We pay our park entrance fees of $ 11.00 each and start the ascent toward a sheer rock wall. The information said this hike to be 4.5 km long and about 480 meters of height difference. 

Wonderful landscape

The trail is good so far.... soon to change!
Backpacks are full of water, food, bear- and bug spray. The weather is light overcast, perfect for a hike. The trail is nice all the way to Lac George. Further up, for about the last one kilometer the trail is very steep, with some stairs, and river rock trails. 

Looking for the nice view that is promised.

Rough trail at times

It's hot and I need some water, says Liz
Our hearts are working overtime when we reach the top. But what a reward: the 360 degree view is absolutely breathtaking. Rolling hills, lakes, and the expanse of the ancient Charlevoix Crater. We have lunch, and a little rest.

We made it.... Breath taking, in more then one way!

Lunch time....
According to Wikipedia the Charlevoix crater is a large eroded meteorite impact crater in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, Canada. Only part of the crater is exposed at the surface, the rest being covered by the Saint Lawrence River. The original crater is estimated to have been 54 kilometres or 34 miles in diameter and the age is estimated to be 342 million years. 

Spectacular
The projectile was probably a stony asteroid, at least 2 kilometers in diameter, and weighing an estimated 15 billion tonnes. The Mont des Éboulements, situated in the exact centre of the crater, is interpreted as the central uplift, a consequence of elastic rebound. The crater is classified as a multi-ringed basin with a central uplift.

Lac des Cygnes
The impact origin of Charlevoix crater was first realized in 1965 after the discovery of many shatter cones in the area. Other evidence for impact includes planar deformation features in quartz and feldspar grains. More information at the Wikipedia website.

Wow!

The decent is to be done carfully, not to twist an ankle.

It's rough in places
This hike is unforgettable, if you have time, good hiking boots, and please take lots of drinking water, do not miss it!

On the way back to our campsite we take route # 362 over Les Eboulements from Baie-Saint-Paul to La Malbaie. Beautiful drive along the water and over the fertile hills. Happy, but very tired we arrive back to our camper in Rivière Malbaie at the Chutes Fraser Campground.

Route 362 back to La Malbaie

Route 362 back to La Malbaie along the St Lawrence River
For more pictures from this part of our trip click on the image below or go directly to the slideshow here.

Saint Anne de Beaupré, Grands-Jardins Park,route 362 back to Malbaie

Cheers,

Anders and Liz

Here are some shortcuts to all the blogs from our Cross Canada Trip. Just hover over the number to see where it will take you

 1,    2,    3,     4,    5,    6,    7,    8,    9,   10

11,   12,  13,  14,  15,  16,  17,  18,  19,  20

21,   22,  23,  24,  25,  26,  27,  28,  29,  29b

30,   31,  32,  33,  34,  35,  36,  37,  38,  39,

40,   41,  42,  43,  44,  45,  46,  47,  48,  49,

50,   51,  52,  53,  54,  55,  56,  57,  58,  59,

60,   61,  62,  63,  64,  65.

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