Mingan or more precisely the Mingan archipelago Natural Park Reserve, was the number 1 on our Quebec – travel – bucket – list. So we were more than happy when we could finally start our drive up North. As you might remember from the last post we had to shorten the days up there and cross off Natashquan of the list. Anyhow the anticipation was there.
Camping la Minganie
The way up North is beautiful! It is such a great scenic drive, that you should plan time for stops. To take a breath, enjoy the view and stretch your legs. We didn’t allow ourselves that many breaks, due to the fact we started late and had a longer stop at Baie Trinité to leave our equipment.
We knew we would arrive after sundown, so I called the campsite to make sure somebody will be still there to hand over the keys. Keys for camping? Yes, this time we rented a roulotte (trailer). The more north you go, the colder and windier it gets. Curious for a new experience and making it as most comfy as possible for the girls we choose it. First row of course!
No disappointment when we reached our destination. Michel, one of the managers at camping La Minganie was waiting for us. He showed us around and explained the roulotte and all the functions inside. Big J was super happy, when she spotted the small TV. We „parked“ the girls and moved in. Taking a deep breath and listening to the whisper of the sea made us know why we have taken the strain.
No regrets at no point. Michel brought us some wood, so we could have our obligatory campfire. Just a small one, but so needed! Believe it or not, I already started missing our fire-routine after only two days! When the night came and the temperatures fall, the 4 Js were super happy to be inside with a heater.
The next morning we started relaxed with fresh brewed coffee and warmed up bread. Putting on the outdoor jackets and the girls were ready to go out. Up here an average of 18-20 degrees means summer. Luckily it was sunny and only a shallow wind. The difference in temperature between day and night is often about 15 degrees. Studying the region before, we prepared ourselves. There is no such kind as bad weather only wrong clothes.
Day one at Minganie we seized to explore the camping and surroundings. Collected stones and made a girls trip to Havre-Saint-Pierre, To give daddy a little break. It is a small city about 30-40 minutes further up North-East at the St. Lorenz. To our surprise a big summer family festival was going on! Little J was sleeping in the stroller and big J was running around and up and down tons of bouncy castles! It was so much fun. Right on time for the short rain shower big J had her slot at the face painting!
Afterwards we went back to car, had an delicious ice cream and took of direction campsite again. This time I stopped every now and then. Won’t deprive it from you.
My princesses choose to nap on the way back, to make sure they are fit for dinner and the campsite fire.
Back there the kids run and crawled around while I started preparing. It is so comfortable to cook in a trailer! Stove, oven all kinds of cutlery and plates in a radius of only 1 meter. Before dinner we made sure to book a boat trip to explore two of the islands. Following the recommendation we took the 8 o’clock one. The reason behind is, that the wind is most shallow in the morning and even the noon trip often needs to be canceled!
After dinner we even had a couple of minutes for us as a couple. Rare moments though while traveling with kids!
Nevertheless, we had to make sure to be in bed on time, not to miss the alarm at 6 am.
Roundtrip to île aux Perroquets & île Nue de Mingan
I mentioned it before, this part was one of our favorites while planning, so it wasn’t as hard to get up early! We put everything on, we thought we need. So we had several layers of long sleeves, thick socks, jackets and scarfs. We got a winter jacket with a sewed in life vest – so glad they gave it to us! My personal heating was little J in the baby carrier.
Weather was perfect. Shallow wind, sunshine so obviously a perfect summer morning at Côte- Nord, but deceptive. Out on the water and the with airstream, we were hardly missing cloves! Me, I also missed a warmer pair of pants! It was nevertheless nothing to complain, just to mention. If ever you go, take your cloves!
The first stop was île aux Perroquets. Already the ride there was impressive! We passed another small island, which hosts dozens of seals!!! Have you ever seen moving a whole colony at the same time into the water? We did and we couldn’t stop be astonished! It looks a kind of funny. First it seems those massive mammals can hardly move there bodies, but once they are in the water, they slide through the water like mermaids. The three guys below were waiting to make sure the water is save.
île aux Perroquets
The island we were heading for is famous for the numbers of the Alcids who come here for nesting. Especially with the Atlantic Puffins we felt in love with. We had about an hour there. We could choose to take a national park guide or go on our own. We did both and here are some of our impressions. There is not much to say rather than let the pictures act.
île Nue de Mingan
Second stop Nue Island. I couldn’t find better words to describe it so I will cite the site of Parks Canada : „Located in the western region of the archipelago, île Nue de Mingan is composed almost entirely of a tundra-style landscape called the barrens which makes it an ecologically fragile and unique milieu. This apparently bare island, its rugged monoliths standing guard over sparsely-growing « bonsai » trees, will surely fascinate you. The main attractions are the remains of the Basque ovens, the monoliths, the seabirds, river-edge plants and, at low tide, seaweed and other sea organisms.“
The Canada Park Guides, really did a great job on not to bore us. They shared their knowledge in an interesting way. Even though we were really freezing at that point we had fun to explore this little island. To warm up at a fire place at the meeting point and enjoyed some fresh urchins.
This trip was so great. I felt like an ice block. I burned my face and it was hurting for a few days. But there is nothing other to say than: Go Mingan region! Do the trip, if ever you get the Chance and do it in July or August otherwise it will be to cold and the sea even more rough!
Back at the campsite we were still cold and hungry like wolves. So we took a hot shower and had a proper lunch. Preparing to leave the next day, but still enjoying the last hours here to come!
Writing this post I feel like I am back there. I feel the cold, the waves and the warming sun in my face. It feels as it was yesterday. Archipelago of Mingan you exceeded all expectations!
This was truly our best summer trip in years! If your are interested in where my travel blogger colleagues made their unforgettable memories in the nearest past, have a look at the blog of togetherontour. The blog-parade will give you some great examples, which make you dream away and plan your next trip!
Next stop Gaspe!
Facts & Links
M – like MINGANIE camping
I – like île aux Perroquets
N – like nature did wonder here
G – like gorgeous views
A – like ALMOST untouched nature
N – like Natashquan where the paved road ends