The McGerrigle mountains are in the Parc de la Gaspesie in Quebec.
Length: 25.2km 3 days 2 nights
Our hike started at the trail-head of Mount Jacques Cartier.
To get to the trail-head you need to take the shuttle from the visitor center as the access to Mount Jacques Cartier is restricted in order to preserve the fragile habitat of the Caribou that inhabit its alpine slopes of the tundra. We started our hike in the rain, on and off the whole way up to the look out on top of the mountain. The only courageous hikers on this rainy day were those that had booked the shelter, le Tetras, as reservations cannot be changed.
Inside the lookout tower on Mount Jacques Cartier there was a fire burning in the fireplace, while drying our clothes and having lunch we got to know the other long distance hikers that we would meet again later.
The second part of the trail is basically scrambling over rock fields created by harder and softer layers that burst and eroded with frost and melting snow. The trail is marked by cairns, piles of rocks that mark the way, in the fog visibility was very low and as the trail progressed we had to be very careful where to step.
As the trail descends through snow and more rock fields passing through swampy meadows and a pine forest before we finally reached the shelter in soggy boots and clothes.
Hikers that arrived earlier had already started a fire and as we hung up our clothes to dry, made our supper and shared a bottle of whine that somebody had carried up the conversation got animated and fun, just short of singing and dancing the Rigodon. As to photography the conditions were much too wet and visibility too short to capture any of the surroundings, but the next day was supposed to clear and dry up.
We headed out for the second part of the hike, said goodbye to our new friends while the fog lingered on. We could not even see the lake right next to the shelter, neither did we see any Caribou even though there was a solitary male roaming around the area as we learned the next day. From here the trail climbs towards the peak of Mount Xalibou, still in the fog we started our descend towards the Lake aux Americains when the fog suddenly lifted to expose the beautiful landscape, a waterfall, clouds and foggy patches.
From here on it’s all downhill. After spending an hour taking pictures of the landscape with the lifting clouds we hiked down on the rocky path passing day-hikers who made their way up to the top. By the time we reached the shores of the lake the sun was shining bright, the trail started to dry and we were hot enough to remove our boots and cool our burning feet in the crystal clear waters of the lake.
The second shelter, the Roselin, is close to the lake and we went back to take pictures at sunset and dawn.
We spent the night with our friends from the night before, a family of 4 and were joined by a young, solitary hiker on his 100km hike to self-discovery and the far end of the peninsula of the Gaspesie.
We had fetched a ride with some other hikers to get our car from the Visitor Center to the parking of the Lac aux Americains and instead of hiking through the forest to the end of the trail we cut it short here and went to our campground.