Matane, QC

Coming out of the isolation of Parc-National-de-la-Gaspesie, my re-entry into an urban setting makes me tense. I have a death-grip on the steering wheel as I navigate roads that seem to pin-wheel in every direction.

“Can’t you people all go home?” I said aloud to myself, annoyed by the unpredictability of other drivers, and pedestrians crossing the street as they please. This is their home. The answer immediately popped into my head The change in scenery required patience I seem to be short of.

I take notice of a sign for the ferry dock straight ahead, but I instead turn off for the center of town. If I had another week or two I would make the crossing to Baie Comeau and drive up the west side of the Saint Lawrence, toward to Sept Iles and onward to the end of highway 138. My time constraints demand I do that journey another time. I focus on my task list: restocking my food supplies and satisfying a three-day-old hankering for a decent cup of coffee.

Sipping my coffee under the backdrop of a blue-gray sky and gulls zooming by, I walk slowly along the Captains Promenade on the banks of the Matane River, pausing at each of the interpretive plaques dotting the boardwalk. The signs pays homage to ships’ captains who took part in the building and development of the maritime history of this town.

At the end of the walkway is a pretty spot. Off in the distance a man in hip-waders is casting a line out into the river. The water level is very low and the rocky protrusion of the river bed is visible.

Rocks in the Matane River.

I finish my coffee and head back to the truck away from the dam, into the heart of the commercial area. Smells of a bakery waft in the air, a brasserie and church with a For Sale sign. I find an open spot in the paid parking area. The walking bridge to the trails on the island is right in front of me.

I find some art pieces; including an inukshuk, some sort of engine, and some contemporary stone pieces.

The path circles the island and I walk for maybe twenty minutes past a children’s play ground, a small sandy beach beside a duck pond. Coming to end of the trail, I am a bit underwhelmed. It is a nice town park for sure, but not what I am longing for. Matane-wildlife-reserve is next and I can’t wait to get back into nature. Please join next time as I go on a moose safari.

Happy travels from Maritimemac.

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