Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rocher Percé, the Pierced Rock

Tales from my family's cross-country road trip

On the road, my dad kept going on about how we had to see this pierced rock.  I hadn't heard of the Rocher Percé, which indicates that I clearly do not have enough French Canadian friends, so I was wondering what my dad was talking about and why everyone was so excited about a rock.

It actually turned out to be a pretty big rock.

We pulled into the little town of Percé to see this famous pierced rock, a giant rock formation that rises out of the sea as though the sea gods wanted to mess with sailors and freak them out with a giant rock that looks like a sailing ship.

Although the whole village has developed a tourist industry around this rock - with a tourist wharf, dozens of restaurants, auberges and camping spots, and really, one of the loveliest towns we've visited - but the area around the legendary pierced rock itself seemed somewhat unprepared for tourists.  A flight of stairs leads you down the cliff towards the beach but stops abruptly, leaving you to scramble down the rest of the cliff's boulders on your own.

Then you make your way across the rocky beach, careful not to sprain an ankle on the rocks (with your flip flops, if you are me), because God knows they won't be able to carry a stretcher up those stairs. 

I mean, I assume these stairs went somewhere at some point, right?

these stairs: out of order. Please take the elevator instead. 

It's actually a fun adventure, but the seaweed and the dead crabs on the floor remind you that the tide is out, and will come back in and pin you up against the bluffs. Sometimes people don't realize that and walk across the sand bars at low tide to walk right up to the Rock...only to be stranded when the tide comes back in. If I lived in the village, I would start up a water taxi business, ferrying back tourists too stupid to read the tides. Or I'd build a boardwalk and charge a toll.

Obligatory pierced rock selfie

We had a lovely sandwich picnic on the other side of the cliffs overlooking the rocks, and then continued driving along the coat past many beaches and other picturesque towns. I love Quebec.