Canadian Park Hound

Outdoor Trips & Tips With The Novice Bushwacker

One week, Four parks. Gaspe to New Brunswick. July 2011 Pt. 5/5 (Fundy)

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Kouchibouguac -> Fundy

Having lived in Nova Scotia for a few years, I’ve become well-acquainted with the drive through New Brunswick. NB is often referred to as the “pass through” province on account of the long, long stretches of the Trans-Canada highway and trees. Don’t get me wrong – I love New Brunswick, but driving through the interior isn’t the most dynamic, scenery-wise.

I had been to Fundy National Park the year before and drove down through the north end of the park, coming from Fredericton. This time, we came south through Moncton, following the river and then taking the more scenic Fundy view trail. If you can approach the park through the south-east at Alma, give that a try. It’s a beautiful drive.

At this point in our week-long trip, we were damp (and getting weary of it) and looking at another day of the same. The drive was mostly overcast with a few sunny breaks, but the forecast called for rain. Pitching a wet tent in the rain wasn’t in the cards, this much we were sure of.

We made a deal with ourselves at the outset to get a motel room whenever we felt that we needed it. Considering that a car camping “front country” tent pad (without electrical) in a Canada park only costs $25 – $50 less than a cheap motel room (depending on location and season), it has never been difficult to opt out of tenting in miserable conditions. The objective is to have fun, oui?

We stopped in the town of Alma, just outside of the Park gate and found a room at The Alpine Motor Inn for about $100. It’s a pricey little town, but there aren’t many options outside of the park or a local B&B. Alma is known as a fishing village where you can see the boats sitting on the floor of the Bay of Fundy due to the highest tides in the world. There is a diner across the street from The Alpine Motor Inn that serves a decent breakfast.

Town of Alma

We woke up the next day to sunshine and got into the park in the late morning. I had stayed at the Chignecto North campground the year previous. We chose a site at Point Wolfe this time that sat along a high ridge with a good view and fairly decent privacy. We were able to set up and start drying out in the mid-day sun.

Point Wolfe Campsite in Fundy National Park.

Once set up and bellies filled, we took a stroll down to Point Wolfe to see the tide while it was low. During my visit the year before, I had seen the tide while it was out, but missed seeing it while it was back in. I was familiar with the walk already and looking forward to doing it again.

It’s nice to have a site right at Point Wolfe if you’re planning to see both high and low tides. The parking lot is busy with day trippers and campers from around the park, so it’s a treat to just walk from your own site. During low tide, you can expect a good 20 to 30 minute walk out to the low tide marker if it’s at its lowest. The terrain underfoot is mostly rocks with barnacles which can be slippery and sharp. Choose good footwear.

Along the way to the water’s edge, you’ll pass by some very cool rock formations that spend half their time under salt water.

If you plan to explore, be mindful of the timing of high tide. You don’t want to get caught!

Point Wolfe beach at low tide.

Point Wolfe Beach at low tide.

Point Wolfe Beach at low tide.

To access Point Wolfe, there is a large, wide and well-maintained staircase. Book-ending the short hike (90 mintues) in the hot sun, this natural Stairmaster got us hankering for a swim.

We drove up towards the north end of the park to have a picnic and a dip at Bennett Lake. This is a sweet spot for families and paddlers. It’s a small, calm lake with beautiful water.

Bennett Lake

After a couple of hours spent lounging by the lake, we packed up and went back to the site for a change of clothes and some dinner. The tide was due back in for sunset and we headed back for Point Wolfe to see what high tide looked like.

The point that I’m looking at in the picture below is basically the point where the water is at low tide. The volume and speed of the incoming tide is quite something. It’s definitely worth catching if the timing is right during your trip.

Self-portrait at Point Wolfe beach during high tide.

High tide at Point Wolfe

The Bay of Fundy as seen at the main parking lot after the entry point near the town of Alma.

Another side trip worth taking is the short loop to Dickson Falls. At the trail head, there is a great lookout towards the Bay of Fundy. Also, you’ll find an interpretive sign that reminds hikers to take note of the climate change at the very bottom of the loop. It’s noticeably cooler due to the surroundings. This is a nice 20-minute hike. Short and very sweet.

Dickson Falls.

As the sun went down on our final day of our Gaspé to New Brunswick adventure, we opened a bottle of wine and celebrated with a fire under a clear sky that was full of stars. If you’ve never experienced a starry sky by a Maritime ocean: put it on your list!

Nice and dry, we crawled into our tent with the rain fly off and fell asleep with a view of the stars.

Early the next morning, we woke to… rain pelting us in the face. We jumped out of bed and broke camp with record speed. We ended our trip by, once again, throwing our wet gear into the back of the car. Luckily, our destination was Fredericton, only a 2 hour drive away (taking the scenic route, of course). The clouds broke and we were drying our gear out on our friend’s lawn in the early afternoon, already recounting stories of the fantastic week that we had just experienced.

Part Four: Kouchibouguac

Part Three: Forillon

Part Two: Forillon

Part One: Le Bic


Written by canadianparkhound

September 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm

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