August 17, 2016

Roth and Ramberg say bonjour to the Quebec lower north shore


Day 7: Kegaska, Harrington Harbour

Posted by Terri

We spent the night in Blanc Sablon, Quebec. The fact that we’d crossed the border was not lost on us, especially at the grocery store, where you can find a bottle of rosé to go with your Camembert. That and the accents had shifted from English, to English mingled with French. There were as many bonjours as hellos, and on account of the friendly people, they were both plentiful.

Armed with our prior warning about the shifting time zones, but iphones / alarm clocks that seemed slow on the uptake, we did the best math we could given the fact that were we up since 5am Labrador time, spent the day on Newfoundland time, and were going to bed in Quebec. We made a plan to regroup at 6am. So off to bed we went, secure in the knowledge we wouldn’t miss our flight. 

A few hours later, I woke up to a gentle knock at my motel door. Here was Dale, freshly showered and ready to rock. It was 4:30am, Quebec time. 

Needless to say, we went back to sleep and enjoyed the temporary advantages of cross border travel.

Kegaska, Quebec

Despite our early morning challenges, we made our flight in plenty of time, and began our trek across the Quebec Lower North Shore (along the Jacques Cartier Trail).

As the plane hopped from one coastal community to the next, we got sense of the new (to us) landscape – lush green mixed with rugged rock, endless sandy shores, and thousands of islands.

We spent the morning in Kegaska, the western most village on the Lower North Shore. The tiny fishing community with a two-room school is wrapped around a crescent shaped beach. It was the perfect spot to dine al fresco on a picnic table, especially on account of the restaurant being closed. Our lunch (or dinner, depending on where you’re from) consisted of chips and dip, Swedish fish, beef jerky, and butterscotch pudding (with a communal fork). It was almost as good as the view. (Note to self: eat a salad.)

Since we had another plane to catch in the early afternoon, we got to work roaming around town in our borrowed black truck. The only sounds you could hear were an occasional speed boat, the odd seagull, and the snap of a camera. 

Harrington Harbour, Quebec

Two quick hops later, we landed in Chevery. Nicole, our Air Labrador agent and wheels on the ground, took us on a quick tour on the way to the dock.

Our final destination for the day was Harrington Harbour, a tiny fishing village on an island about a 30-minute boat ride away with no roads, no cell service, and an unlimited view. It sounded perfect. And it totally was.

Since there are no roads, there are no cars. Instead, locals rely on quads to zip along the boardwalks that connect every inch of the place. In fact, other than the ocean, it’s the only sound you can hear. 

We wasted no time chasing what was left of the late afternoon sun. And we couldn’t think of a prettier place to do it.

The evening ended with supper at Jean’s Auberge (Inn). As we dined on fresh lobster caught that morning (OK, Dale and I had the chicken) we chatted to guests from all along the Lower North Shore, and discovered that this too is a small world in a big land, just on the other side of the border. 

Thanks to Air Labrador’s Julia & Tristan in Blanc Sablon for handling our excessive baggage, Brenda in Kegaska for scoring us a truck, and Nicole in Harrington Harbour for the tour and the ground transportation, and our pilots Sean and Simon for getting us there. Also, thanks to Jean for feeding us, not once, but twice.