The skinny of National Parks

ferme rioux I was standing right about here when the stupid blackfly bit me!  It was the third bite in 2 days.  My right eye was already swollen and I had a bump on my left temple.  I told Leon that I was allergic to insect bites!  The first thing we did, after taking this picture, was to go into the boutique at the Ferme Rioux to get some insect repellant.  We were in the Parc National du Bic.

Now you mustn’t get confused.  In Quebec, a parc national is a provincial park, not a Parks Canada establishment.  Don’t worry, we were confused too as we handed the park ranger our Parks Canada pass and she returned it with her best English “this is not Parks Canada”.  I paid the entry fee and we drove to the area we might most likely see some seals.  (Unless you think we might see some Bic products – pens, razors… Just kidding.)  Bic is the name of the area.  It’s a lovely point that was made up of a large farm, last century, a summer residence of Colonel Lyman and family, sometime in the 1930s.  Col. Lyman by himself owned over 300 acres in the area.  Today the park is along the St. Lawrence River and includes a bay called Baie du Ha!Ha! – unusual name, don’t you think?  Were the natives laughing at the original settlers at the time? Actually, it’s from old French, meaning some landscape feature that you might encounter by surprise.  Or some such.  I can assure you that I have no ha!ha! in my garden nor do any of my friends, even those who live in French-speaking countries.panoramic parc du Bic

At any rate, we took our bikes along the paths, rode a couple of kms to the tea house – La rose de thé, and enjoyed a nice walk on the rocky shore.  Then we went back and rode to the Baie du Ha!Ha!  The whole area was covered in wild rose bushes and the smell was lovely!  That’s was my Ha!Ha! for the day.baie du haha

From Bic Park, we continued north east past some lovely villages, one of which was Ste Luce sur Mer.  It has a long stretch of beach and seems to be a thriving summer community.  We were really after some good bread and I had read there was a boulangerie in town.  We never did find it.  But we did find a terrific fish store (poissonnerie) on the side of the highway, where we stopped and purchased some fresh salmon, 4 large scallops and more Matane shrimp.  I had a lovely chat with the owner about the local history. (Remember that Leon is trying to speak only French on this part of the trip, so I seem to do most of the talking.) He told us the next town, Mitis, was the largest airforce base in eastern  Canada during WWII.  They used to fly targets across the river and practice their artillery shots while aimed into the water.  He said his father was not allowed to fish during those years because of the dangers of the target practice.

We left after a great chat and stopped for the night in Métis sur Mer where dinner was a feast made of the grilled salmon and the big fat scallops!  Yum!!  Plans for the next day included visiting the local gardens in Métis.scallops and salmon from the Metis poissonerie

4 thoughts on “The skinny of National Parks

  1. Hey guys I hope you don’t mind my constant interruption to your wild and wonderful vacation…but when the truth be known it is for me therapy . My wife is still in hospital and will undergo another surgery tomorrow and at this time of the evening it is a bit of free time when I can think about other things and of course the Gaspe is very dear to both of us. So please allow my indulgence. When you pass Chandler you are definitely on theBaie des Chaleurs[. (Chaleur Bay is a member of the prestigiousMost Beautiful Bays of the World Club.)[Just kick back and enjoy….and BTW lobster in french is “homard” at the roadsidepoissonnerie…my kids always got a laugh out of that word…until of course I got them strait.!!! I will continue “mytherapy” and hope for your acceptance. Enjoy Parc Forillon.



    • Hi Brian. Sorry to hear your wife is having such hard time of it. Just a quick comeback – our camping neighbours in Ste Anne des Monts have been Jean and Didi Cormier. His family is from Iles de la Madeleine, which I would very much like to visit. Perhaps on this trip?


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