Forillon National Park Overview
A waterspout shoots up into the sunlight and catches my eye. Squinting against the sea glare, I look out into the water as the curving body of a whale breaks the surface and disappears. Another humpback. It breaks the surface twice more, then after arching its back shows me a pair of flukes, mottled black and white; they hang momentarily above the waterline, then slip quietly below.
I am in Quebec's Forillon National Park, at the far tip of the Gaspi Peninsula. From my perch on Cape Gaspi, high above the Gulf of St. Lawrence, I watch for whales, porpoises, seals, and seabirds. Behind me I can see a path leading inlandit's the very beginning of the International Appalachian Trail, which travels the ancient spine of the Appalachians all the way to Georgia before continuing on to Florida.
The original inhabitants of the peninsula, the Mi'kmaq people, called this area "Gespeg," meaning "the place where the land ends." And it's truly hard to imagine a more dramatic border between land and sea than one finds at Forillon. This is where the mountains stopor more correctly where they sink out of sight, as the Appalachians dip down beneath the sea. The northern terminus of the East's mighty mountain chain is a rocky bulwark rising from the sea, its limestone cliffs buffeted by wind and waves.
The sea shapes this land; the cliffs and other surface features have been carved by waves, and beyond that the rock of the peninsula is itself sedimentary. Along the narrow strip of land that is Cape Gaspi, ten geological formations are readily visible, each easily distinguished from the others. These formations had their foundations more than 500 million years ago when marine sediments began accumulating here. Fossils found in limestone and sandstone have given further clues to the age and history of the area.
Forillon is a fantastically rugged, beautiful place that's a great destination for hikers, bikers, wildlife watchers, and those curious about the natural and human history of the unique Gaspi Peninsula. Read on for the details.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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