Fundy Footpath Day 1

Point Wolfe campsite to Big Salmon River – 2 hour taxi ride.  Followed by hiking from Big Salmon River to Little Salmon River – 17.9 km.

Alexi showed up at whatever time I had asked of him, I even changed the time on him last minute as I forgot that there was another time difference when we crossed over to Canada into New Brunswick.  He brought coffee, he was friendly, he told us all about the sites, and even stopped and showed us his favorite spots while telling us the history.  He tried to stop at a restaurants for world famous seafood chowder before we departed but it was closed as we asked him to leave so early.  Put him in as one of your options.  You can contact Alexei Kalinin for more information at –

Alexei

Go Fundy Тours
(506) 898-1312

He happened to be our cheapest option, and the experience was great, so just wanted to put that out there for those who are interested in taxi options.  The plan was to hike back to our car at Point Wolfe Campground (yes you can park for free).

2 of Alexis favorite spots on the way to Big Salmon River (the Western Terminus)

Now, the hike – Day 1 – Big Salmon River to Little Salmon River

17.9 km (11.12 miles)

FYI, there is available water everywhere.  Do not worry yourself with packing too much, I carried just over 1.5 liters at each water location, and never ran out.

Big Salmon River is the Western Terminus of the Fundy Footpath, and has a visitor center complete with bathrooms and a shop in case you forgot anything.  They ask for your emergency contact information, estimated date of finishing and they WILL contact you if they do not hear back from you by the time you are done.  This turned out to be a dangerous trek, and we met a couple people who were rescued from this hike the year before.  Fun!  The most important info to take away, if you do call 911, you must tell them you are in New Brunswick, as all call GPS are rerouted to Nova Scotia, and they will spend all their time searching for you there.

We signed in and she told us quick directions how to get to the trail.  I was half listening, because I believed this trail to be blazed with white blazes, which I am familiar with following having hiked the Appalachian Trail.  The entire trail has a map and guide, available for purchase at both ends of the park, since mine never arrived after I sent for it I purchased a new one here.  It breaks up the trail into sections about 4-5 km long, and is pretty descriptive.  I will reference these points in my blog.

Leaving the visitor center, we crossed the bridge and took some pictures.  This was my girl friends first backpacking trip!  And she was entirely dependent on me to not get lost…

We got lost immediately after crossing the bridge!  The trail looks like this.

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Pretty much after walking on a nice path that is a trail, the trail disappears.  This will happen again and again and again, throughout the entire hike.  You must guess where to go next, and sometimes the guide is helpful.

After losing all credibility in front of my girlfriend, we followed the river staying on the eastern side, up to almost the mouth of it.  Guess what?  The trail starts there, and there were no markers pointing that way.  If you want to hike this trail, cross the bridge, pretend you know what you are doing and make your way towards the ocean on the east side, and BOOM – TRAIL.  I wish someone had told me that.  Thinking back, the lady at the visitor center probably did.  Moving on,

Big Salmon River to Long Beach Brook – 4.5 km (2.79 miles). 

EASY!  Except we got lost again.  Guess what?  Those white blazes that are on the trees?  They say parts of the trail are washed out.  In Maritime Canada, that means 500 foot wide rock slides, tearing down all trees holding any blazes on them.  Where the f*ck did the trail go.  I don’t know.  You’ll find it, just look very carefully.  They have gone back and marked it, but holy hell, this trail is in bad shape. Not bad shape due to lack of maintenance, bad shape due to constant bombardment of way too much rain, slopes of 60-80 degrees, and apparently the earth caving in on itself.  I mean, look at this fun.

 

This was one of the easier sections however, and we were able to reach Long Beach Brook in about 1.5 hours.  There are bathrooms and benches to sit at and take a break right on the ocean.  This will be your last luxury of seeing a parking lot also.   We saw 4 hikers ahead of us just finishing their break, and we talked to some people hanging around the beach.  2 couples in their 60s that were actually rescued last year on the part we were just on.  Oh, and they told my girl friend there were bears… Jerks.  I had been lying to her up until that point.  We had a nice snack and moved on.

Long Beach to Seeley Beach 3.8 km (2.36 miles) 

Total – 8.3 km (5.15 miles)

After sitting for a while on the benches on the beach we took off.  But once again, where the EFF did the trail go???  There are no signs pointing to where the trail picked up again.  Luckily we saw the other hikers leaving the bench spots up on the pier by the parking lot.  We searched and searched, and finally we found what looked like a trail could be.  This was right next to the last bench by the ocean, a small unmarked trail leads around the corner and uphill.  There were no blazes, just pink ribbons signifying that maybe they are working on this section.  This turned out to be the trail (we did lots of back tracking to make sure).  Once we were on the trail, it was easy going again.  This section ended up being the easiest and quickest walk, we were quickly to Dragons Tooth before we knew it.  There were signs that there was blasting going on, but we made it around the dynamite, around the 500 ft rock slides that brought down every surrounding tree with it, and down to Seeley Beach.

Seeley Beach was rocky, windy, remote, a nice place to take a break.  The trail follows the beach here for about 1000 ft, before going back up into the woods.  We had lunch here.  This has one of those cross at low tide warnings.  We crossed a tiny section that was above our knees.

Seeley Beach to Cradle Brook – 4.6 km

Total to Cradle Brook – 12.9 km (8.01 miles)

From here, its stairs straight up.  The hike to Cradle Brook was tough, up to the top, marshes on top, down again, up again etc.  Usually I wouldn’t mind, but the trail was weathered as I said, steep, lots of opportunities to miss the trail etc.  We started resting every time we got to a brook, we were tired.  It was only 4 pm, and Little Salmon River was only 5 km more.

Cradle Brook to Little Salmon River – 5 km (3.1 miles)

Total – 17.9 km (11.12 miles)

We were wiped!  The trail got very steep up and over cradle brook to Little Salmon River.  This part sucked.  This 11 miles was harder than starting the Appalachian trail, more comparative to the whites, without the 4k elevation.  Just ups and downs, roots and rocks and roots and rocks.  We should probably have stopped at Cradle Brook, but it was only 4 pm(ish) and daylight literally stays until 10pm.  We’re not suckers!

We hiked the 5 painful miles, and descended rapidly to Little Salmon River, where we just came out into a basin, at low tide, and said whaaaaaaat.  Apparently you take a sharp left, hike .3 – .5 km and cross the river.  There are a bunch of trails marked blue blazes (ATV trails), don’t be fooled.  The trail is hidden in a foresty inlet, a bunch of rocks leading into an enclosure that doesn’t look like a trail at all.  This is it.  Hike up just 100 ft, and you will see a beautiful campsite, with a bear box and a privy!!!  Whaaaaat.  I didn’t think I would see a privy on this trail.  The bear box added to my girl friends fears of bears, and the Canadian hikers we met shrugged it off.

We set up camp, ate our stupid hiker dinners, listened to Canadians talk about their lives, I eventually crawled out of my tent at 8 pm to join them at the fire, consuming half a bottle of my whiskey, while my girl friend straight up passed out hard.  The fire continued well past 10 pm, as the sun was still out (seriously?), and finally I got to sleep for about 5 hours.

 

 

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Fundy Footpath – Prep and beginning day 1.

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The Fundy Footpath.  The largest tidal zone in the world.  A continuation of the Appalachian Trail (international Appalachian Trail).  Ocean.  All reasons I chose this hike this summer.  Also, the hike was only 30 miles, and I would be taking my girl friend on her VERY FIRST backpacking trip.  In retrospect, this was not the best hike for a first timer…  It is extremely difficult :).  She’s still with me though!

I was able to find lots of information about this hike, including various blogs and youtube videos.  Understandably, most blogs and videos complained about how rugged and tough the trail was.  Being the over-confident hiker I am, I laughed at most of what was written and wrote it off.  (I’ve hiked the 49.3 km or 3o miles in just a day before with a full pack).  I shit you not, it took me 10 hours to hike 1o miles on this trail.  I realized on day 2, they weren’t joking!  This is an intense hike.  Compared to the Appalachian trail, where you will climb a mountain, get a spectacular view, climb back down, repeat.  This was climb 1000 vertical feet in less than 1 mile, no view, immediately descend, repeat.  Getting past that part, its beautiful, remote, rugged, and most of the trail is completely destroyed by the coastal rains.  Be prepared to hang on to a lot of roots as you try to space your feet perfectly on the 6 inches of what remain of the trail.

SO, that being said, let’s get to it!  Preparing for the hike.  The hike ends (or begins) at point wolfe campground.  We decided to camp there, and get a taxi to the other end, the suspension bridge at big salmon river.  I called various sites and Alexi offered to take us for 150 Canadian.  The people at the information center were charging about 250.  If you are feeling adventurous, and lucky, we ran into a couple from Quebec that parked their car, and then waited to meet someone heading the opposite direction, giving them their car keys, and asking them to park their car for them at the opposite side!  Dang guys!  Canadians sure are polite!

The drive from Pointe Wolfe campground to big salmon river is about 2 hours.  We got there around 10 am, signed in the register and started our journey.  We quickly got lost immediately after passing the suspension bridge.  Which I will get to in my next post.  Did anyone mention it was really easy to get lost on this hike???

 

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