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Autumn's Cusp on the Windswept Islands (Les Îles de la Madeleine)

The inter-island ferry deposited me on the docks in late afternoon, and I had to scramble to find a campsite and set up my tent before night fell. Clouds had rolled in from the ocean on a wet wind and the temperature was dropping. "It's not the temperature," everyone told me, "it's the wind." I got my first sense of just what they meant that first night in my sleeping bag, when my little tent was buffeted by winds that would have carried it out to sea had I not been lying inside. The Mi'qmak Indians got it right centuries ago when they named the place "Menagoesenog," the Windswept Islands. Continue reading "Autumn's Cusp on the Windswept Islands (Les Îles de la Madeleine)"

Île de Bonaventure

The literature from the local chamber of commerce all pointed me to Roche Percé (“ Pierced Rock”), the photogenic monument standing off the coast of the Gaspé peninsula. Indeed, Percé’s high arch permitted small boats to sail right through what could only have been a monument to the struggle of forces that defines nature and humankind. But my own map was leading me farther afield to Île de Bonaventure. Continue reading "Île de Bonaventure"

Land's End at Gaspé: A Quebécois Adventure

The adventure began with a map. All the best ones do. All the maps of America I’d grown up with had shown Maine as the northeastern terminus of land, the limits of civilization, the promontory from which you could look out over the cold waters of the North Atlantic. And maps of North America showed Canada and the United States in such a way that the sheer mass of Quebec overshadowed the land north of Maine. But “Atlas Plate 20: Eastern Canada, May 1967” made me catch my breath. Continue reading "Land's End at Gaspé: A Quebécois Adventure"