Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chapter 17 - Saint Johns to Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

June 26th, Day 30: Just for the record, I did not take this photograph to the left. I will explain later why I had to "lift" someone else's photo off the internet.  I will only state at this point that our goal today is to visit the rocks in this photo that are known by the name Hopewell Rocks.

Our drive from Saint John over to our campground near Hopewell Rocks should have taken us no more than 2-1/2 hours according to Garmin, but somehow, whether it was my mistake or Garmin's, we ended up near the end of our trip driving almost twenty miles on a poorly graded gravel road in the middle of nowhere driving at only 20 mph or less.  Behind our vehicle and trailer was a dust cloud that must have risen miles into the sky. When we finally arrived at the Ponderosa Pines Campgrounds, I jokingly mentioned to our receptionist about our long drive on the gravel road, and she immediately commented "You were following Garmin, right?" Apparently we were not the first to experience such an adventure. In either case, the drive over to our campground was a natural splendor not to be missed. I had not realized that the Maritime Provinces were so mountainous.

Our space in the Ponderosa Pines Campground was also sort of a natural splendor as we were shaded under tall pine trees and the view in front of us was a beautiful lake. Again what seems to be a common Canadian campsite problem, we had no television coverage and the Wi-Fi signal at our trailer was weak.  Nevertheless the beauty of our surroundings offset any of these deficiencies.  Besides, there were always good books to read or just sit with a cool drink and enjoy the scenery.

We knew once we arrived and had hooked up our travel trailer that we had to go visit Hopewell Rocks.  This was particularly important because we had reviewed the tide tables online for the Hopewell area and we knew that the peak of the low tide was occurring around the noon hour and we very much wanted to walk on the beach and around the rocks. Incidentally, the rock formations are nicknamed "Flower Pots" because of the tall shape of the rocks and the fact that trees and plants are growing on their tops.  Kathy is in this photograph on the beach area around the rocks holding on to Cabo. Can you find her. She is waving.

The tide waters of Fundy Bay here at the far eastern end of the bay rise and fall on an average of 50 feet every six and one-half hours and fortunately when we visited the Hopewell Rocks today the tide was almost at its lowest. I took the photograph of Cabo and Kathy from the stairs leading down to the beach which at 110 steps was no easy climb back up for this senior citizen.  I heard someone ask "Where is the elevator" although I cannot believe that they were serious. The bottom of the stairs are under water at high tide. Incidentally, the high tide for this area occurs today and tomorrow at after six o'clock in the afternoon and with the long walk to get to the area and the additional cost, we decided not to revisit the Hopewell Rocks during the high tide level.  We returned to our campground by early afternoon content that we had experienced another great day and that we will save any further exploring of New Brunswick's coastline until tomorrow.  The nighttime was cool and we had a great night's sleep.

June 27th, Day 31: Our plan today is to drive west along the coastline of New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy until we reach the entrance to the Fundy National Park and then depending on time and stamina we would decide what to do next.  The drive by anyone's standards should be described as a passage along a Scenic Byway. It made our day.  Our first stop was at an old wooden covered bridge named the Sawmill Creek Bridge. According to the sign the bridge was built in 1905 and as you can see in the photograph cars are not allowed across the bridge (probably for good reason).
Most of our drive west this morning was down the narrow and winding New Brunswick Hwy 915 where views of the Bay of Fundy were frequent.  When we spotted a sign naming Mary's Point we turned left and followed the road until we arrived at a small unpaved parking area on the left where we could view a small lighthouse as well as what looked like a long ago abandoned and rotting wooden ship that was entirely sitting on the shoreline. The area was called Shipyard Park buts it's remote location makes it seem unlikely that this is a highly popular tourist attraction despite the lovely 360 degree views.
When we left the Shipyard Park and continued down the road towards Mary's Point the road soon became another gravel road and while the scenery and many of the small homes along the road were quite beautiful, we were very happy when we eventually returned to the paved highway.  Our next planned stop was to be the Cape Enrage Lighthouse. This lighthouse sitting on the high cliffs above the Bay of Fundy has been in operation since 1838 and the current light tower is over 140 years old. As you can see in the photograph of Kathy and Cabo, the wind was blowing hard and the temperatures were in the low 60s.  It was a wonderful setting.
While most of the photographs that we took today and have included in this travel blog show the Bay of Fundy in the background, not all of the beautiful scenery on our drive was along the water.  This photograph to the right was a very typical and lovely view of the countryside of southern New Brunswick. Tall coniferous trees and long range mountain views (and almost deserted roads.)

By the time we arrived at the Fundy National Park we had been on the road about 2-1/2 hours and while the drive through some of this huge park might have been fun we decided that it was best that we return back to the campground.  Naturally we first needed to stop into the park's Information Center to buy essentials, like souvenirs.  We did after all drive into the park if only a few miles.

On the return drive back to our campsite we took a different route which took us through a small village by the name of Alma. It was here where we crossed a river running into the Bay that we saw a very common sight here in the Bay of Fundy area - fishing boats sitting on the river bottom. When the tide goes out it leaves the rivers and other inlets almost dry and the boats have no choice but to wait out the low tide sitting on the rocky river bottoms. This must really goof up the work schedule of these poor fisherman since the tidal hours are constantly changing.

Once again we relaxed all afternoon and evening.  Tomorrow we head even further east, this time all the way over to another one of Canada's provinces, Prince Edward Island. This will be the furthest east that we have ever driven in North America. 

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