It’s an event we locals await with anticipation, the moment when the gates of the North and South Areas of Forillon National Park finally open in the Spring, allowing us go for a turn in the park and officially start the season.
Early season also happens to be one of the best times to see fauna. Many animals are favoring the open areas that are slowly showing signs of growth, preferring them to the forest which can still have snow patches. The bare trees also help spot animals that would usually be hidden by leaves. My quick tour of a few hours on May 19th was quite successful, with many wildlife sightings.
Come with me on a photographic tour of Forillon National Park in late May!
Let’s start with something new! The trail featuring the beautiful landscapes of the North area and the Cap-des-Rosiers lighthouse, as well as the commemoration of the shipwreck of the Carricks is almost ready. This project puts an end to 3 years of road construction and redefining the access to the sector. Can’t wait to see how it looks!
Doesn’t take long to run into our first wildlife, a moose and her calf.
When trying to spot wildlife, don’t forget to look up! The empty Cap-Bon-Ami campground was the stomping grounds of a few porcupines. Porcupines are probably one of the most easily seen animal in the Spring. Many can line the roadside in the South Area of the park at once.
A stop at Cap-Bon-Ami is a must-do. In my opinion, this is the park’s most stunning and iconic landscape.
There are a few tourists roaming around but they are without a doubt outnumbered these days by the thousands and thousands of marine birds currently nesting on both sides of the Cap-Bon-Ami lookout.
Look at the transparent water and the rock formations. When I say stunning, I mean STUNNING! Do you see the white bits in the cliff in the distance? Some North-exposed parts are still snowy. Does not seem to bother the 30k+ Black-legged kittawakes who call this cliff home during nesting season and who have arrived many weeks ago.
If you are looking for seals, an often successful viewing spot is standing behind the interpretation kiosk at the spot indicated by the arrow and looking down at the rocks near the seaside. Best time is low tide. (Local low tide schedule is here: http://www.marees-tides.gc.ca/eng/station?sid=2330)
We arrive in the South Area where the conifer forest is not completely free of snow.
The Blanchette homestead is currently undergoing a major restoration and will soon be at its absolute best to welcome you, starting July 14th 2018.
L’Anse-aux-Amérindiens is usually a good spot to see whales and seals swimming in the water nearby but no luck that day. The beautiful view made up for it. A surprising number of visitors were enjoying the hike to Cap-Gaspé. With its southern exposure, it is one of the first trail accessible in the park.
Groundhog day is everyday in Spring as they are so easily seen… the pull of the freshly grown grass is just too strong. Easy to understand when we think that it’s the first fresh meal in many months!
This ruffed grouse was taking its time slowly crossing the road. Drive slowly!
If you are visiting the park in late May, you will find that wildlife sightings may outnumber human sightings. The weather is colder and the attractions have not yet opened but if viewing wildlife ranks high on your list, this is the time to be here. There truly is an opportunity to enjoy this beautiful area during the whole year, albeit differently.
Entry to the park is free until May 31st 2018 as the toll booths only open on June 1st.
I ended my day with another local sign that confirms Spring has sprung and enjoyed my first (of many more season!) chocolate soft-served ice cream cone at La Mollière, the seasonal ice cream shop in Cap-Des-Rosiers.
Have a great Spring!