The Gaspé Peninsula is divided into several regions. For the last few days we have been in La Haute Gaspésie, which can mean the high or the upper portion of Gaspésie. I choose to go with the high interpretation, as it clearly reflects the geography. Leaving behind the steep red cliffs, here the mountains stretch right down to the water, creating impressive forested headlands. It's a pattern that repeats all along the shoreline – huge capes that jut out into the water with semi-circular bays in between, which typically host small towns, rivers and curved beaches. With the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains as a backdrop, it presents a beauty all its own.
It also means hills to climb. Naturally. So imagine our surprise when the road suddenly ceased to mount each ridge, and instead was built at the base of each headland. Perched out on the edge of the steep incline, hugging the edge of the land, immediately adjacent to the water – and perfectly flat! We thought we were in heaven! And it could not have come at a better time. With a light spitting drizzle as a warning, we had just donned our rain jackets and begun cycling through a steady rain. We were so amazed and happy about the flats that the wind and rain were almost immaterial.
The first mileage sign told us that this wonderful road, which was also a designated bike route, would last for 7 kilometers. We were happy with that. But as soon as we passed through a town, we were granted another 8k. And another 6k after that – and so it went for the last 18 miles of our ride for the day! In fact, we followed it for yet another 25 miles today. And by that time, we were nearing the end of La Haute Gaspésie and the mountainous ridges were abating.
Not a soul had told us about this wonderful phenomenon. How could anyone have failed to mention something so significant? Regardless, we were thrilled with it. It was a happy surprise and a true gift.