Canada / Part 3

Having had a wonderful couple of days it was time to get down to one of the main reasons for coming to Canada…. Genealogy! The New Brunswick Provincial Archives are in the town of Fredericton. We did some research and found that we could stay overnight at Morell Park close to the center of town so that was our first target. When we arrived there were 2 other folks set up in there RV’s so we slid in between them and settled in.

This park in right on the St. John River with a walking path to town.

We headed off for a short walk only to find Suzie’s favorite flower…. Fall Leaves!!! She was very excited!!

Back at the truck we were having dinner when we met one of our fellow campers… Serg! Turns out he is from Quebec and speaks French. Suzie told him why we were here and that some of her documents were in French so he volunteered to interpret them for her!

Serg and Suzie hard at it!!

After we had the documents in a language we could use we took a walk downtown to have a look around. What a beautiful city! The architecture of the homes was beautiful with tall pillars and wrap around porches. We circled a couple of the churches and made our way across the St John river on the pedestrian bridge that had been a train bridge before it’s transformation. We headed back to hit the sack so we could get an early start.

We woke the next morning as the locals were heading out on the river to get some exercise.

Suzie spent most of the day pouring over documents in search of some more family records and had a pretty successful day. With the new info we now had plans to head down river to St John in the morning. After we finished at the Archives Suzie asked one of the employees where we could find Poutine (French fries covered in gravy and cheese curds)

Happy Suzie!!!

After dinner we headed back to Morell Park to spend another night. We took another walk along the river and crossed the footbridge just in time for a wonderful sunset. We finished of the evening with a nice Stout at the local Brewery. We absolutely loved the town of Fredericton and would highly recommend it to anyone!

The next day we headed to St John and spent some time wandering the downtown market, the local graveyard, and the Loyalists Church. We also went to the church that Suzie’s Great Great Grandfather was baptized back in 1849.

St Luke’s
St Luke’s

We finished the day at the Reversing Falls while having lunch. We headed home after lunch as our time was up for now. We will definitely be back to Canada… We found the country and it’s people to be simply wonderful!!

Canada / part 2

We awoke at 5 to boogie out of the visitor’s center and begin heading to our first stop of the day, Hopewell Rocks. We arrived around 6:30 and dropped the tailgate to have some breakfast. We finished up and still had some time to kill as the gates didn’t open until 9.

We saw a sign that said you could enter at your own risk after hours…. So we had a quick chat with one of the security guys and he confirmed that it meant before hours too…. We grabbed our camera and off we went. The 1/2 mile hike went quickly and we were soon standing at the top of the 3 story set of stairs that would put our feet on the sand!

As we hit the sand we realized there were only 3 other people on the beach with us. This is a spot that gets 5 to 7 thousand people a day and we virtually had it to ourselves. As we moved along the beach the camera was going off around every turn.

The entire experience was surreal. To think that in approximately 6 hours this would all be under 20 to 30 feet of water here on the Bay of Fundy… As we were making our way back the line of cars and tour buses were unloading the throngs of people to see the same rocks we had just seen…. But their experience would be nothing like what we had just enjoyed…

Little did we know that the mosquitos from the day before were the blessing that moved us on and put us close enough to have this experience. You just never know… At this point we were on cloud 9 and ready to move down the coast to Fundy National Park.

There are many hikes in the park but with the intermittent rain we chose a few short ones. our first was to Dickson Falls. We kept expecting to see fairies in this wonderland.

Our next spot was Shipshaven, a sheltered cove where schooners would anchor in the storms. This spot also provided a perfect spot to load timber on to boats for a journey down to market. The timber industry controlled much of what happened as they were the economic engine back in the day.

We went down to the beach and you could watch the tide rising about an inch a minute.

We had spent so much time enjoying the trails that we were late to see the tide rush in at Alma, New Brunswick but we had certainly had a wonderful time. We headed out on our way to Fredericton where we would be spending the next day working on Suzie’s Genealogy.

Stay tuned for part 3….

Canada/part one

With our time running out on our summer in Maine we decided to take a couple extra days off and check out New Brunswick. We clocked out a 3 p.m. and jumped in the truck. Within a couple of hours we were at the Walmart in Calais Maine to purchase our provisions for our 4 day excursion. That handled we hit the Duty Free Liquor store to acquire some adult beverages at a greatly reduced rate. From there we were headed over the bridge to the border crossing…..STOP…. we forgot to fill the gas tank! We had to hang a u-turn and stop back by the liquor store and drop off our purchase for them to hold while we went and filled the gas tank… Back to the liquor store to retrieve our purchase and on to the crossing….

The crossing went well as we got all the right answers to the questions…. Did you know you can’t take guns or pot across the border???? Duh…

Suzie was very excited as this was the first time out of the U.S. We had a site picked out for our overnight boondocking spot and it turned out to be just as described. A great little spot just pass a boat launch in Maces Bay. When we arrived there were 2 other campers there so we found a spot along the sand road and settled in. We had dinner and set up the truck bed with our sleeping arrangement.

We slept well but awoke to rain. We figured we would head to St John and see what the city had to offer in the way of an indoor venue. Of course it being Sunday nothing was open until noon…. and it was 8. With such little time to waste we came up with plan B. We figured since it was raining anyway we would head to the furthest point we were hoping to see and then work our way back over the next 3 days. 5 hours later we arrived at the Acadian Historical Village in Caraquet. As we arrived the rain stopped and we were graced with some blue sky! The village is an accumulation of buildings from all around New Brunswick with Acadian history. The homes ranged from 1770 to 1949 and had actors in each to give you the history of the building and the family that had lived in it. Definitely a must see in New Brunswick.

We stayed until closing time and decided we would come back the next day because we still had a few more things to see. I had found another spot for our overnight overlooking the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We pulled up and I got out to survey the area for the best spot. I had walked maybe 50 yards from the truck when a swarm of mosquitos hit, literally hundreds of them. I headed back towards the truck swatting as fast as I could. When Suzie arrived she began wiping them off of my back and legs. We then bolted for the truck and dove in. Needless to say staying there was not an option…. We headed back down the road a ways to a little roadside picnic table to make dinner and decide what to do…

The view was perfect and the lack of mosquitos was an added bonus! Suzie found some plantain leaves and rubbed them on my mosquito bites which was a great relief . With dinner done we decided to forfeit the return to the Village and head toward our next destination and find a spot along the way to boondock. We ended up spending the night in a visitor’s center parking lot in Richibucto. It was about 10 when we arrived so we just climbed in the back and passed out… Stay tuned for Part 2…

Up to camp!!! Shirley Bog…

We have been lucky enough to become good friends with one of our co-workers who lives here in Maine. We have been even luckier to be invited up to his camp in Monson for the weekend. Not to mention his lovely lady is Suzie’s soulmate sister….. two peas in a pod!!

Doug’s camp
Marion aka “Mugsy”, Doug, and a couple of mules…

We rolled in about 6 on Saturday after finishing work at 3… Set up the tent and devoured the cheesesteak subs we had picked up in town. Mugsy and Doug had already eaten and had a great fire going in the pit.

Doug set us up with all the fixins for smores, including his super secret ingredient… Reese’s peanut butter cups…..Don’t judge… After smores we got the 10 cent tour and spent the rest of the night telling life stories. Good times!

The next morning Doug fixed breakfast and then we all took a hike up the dirt road his camp is on. Seems crazy but the A.T. crosses about a 1/4 mile up the dead end road. Funny to think when we crossed it in 2012 7 years later we would know someone down this dirt road.

We borrowed Doug’s canoe and headed for Shirley Bog in search of that elusive moose… We arrived about noon and started out.

We fell in love with the bog right off. The little wood ducks were working the reeds with their little ones in tow.

We made our way all the way until the water got to shallow to float the canoe any further… No moose… we did come across a large rock that made a great lookout and allowed us to view almost a mile of the bog. We hung out there for a couple of hours hoping to spot a moose. We enjoyed looking at the dragonflies and the pitcher plants. Suzie found an engraving from 1945. A lot of water through the bog since then.

Evening was closing in on us when we saw him coming out of the woods headed for the bog. From our vantage point we watched him move along the shore, cross over to the other side and head toward the woods… We thought for sure we had missed him but we hopped in the canoe and paddled in the general direction where we had seen him disappear. The wind had picked up and was pushing the canoe sideways making our progress frustratingly slow. We figured we had had our opportunity slip through our hands…. Just then we came around a bend in the bog and there he was…. having dinner!!!

blowing bubbles…

We hung out for a half an hour enjoying the moment before we headed back to the truck to load up and head back to camp. We had finally seen our moose… Well worth waiting for!!! We headed back and grilled up a great big steak over an open flame. Success always tastes great!!

Thank you Shirley Bog, not to mention Marion and Doug!!!

Maine North Woods

Most folks consider the coast of Maine as Maine. While we have enjoyed the coast the inland wilderness of Maine is what calls to us….shocking, I know. We headed out for an overnight on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway nestled in the Maine North Woods. Sundays are a day of peace in the area as this area is usually bustling with logging trucks careening down the miles of dirt roads headed for Canadian sawmills…

From the check-in point we had 56 miles to our campsite on these gravel roads…. 25 to 30 was top end but the slow speed did allow us to take in the views and enjoy the wild flowers.

You never know what you will come across in the back woods of Maine…

Need to make a phone call???

Once again we were planning on a wooded site but when we arrived the deer flies and horse flies were so intense that we regrouped and headed to the ranger station to see what other options we might have. The ranger was out but his wife was there and she pointed us to a camp right on the river.

The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a 92 mile long protected area. It is a ribbon of lakes, ponds, and streams established in 1966. These campsites are all along the way for those kayaking and canoeing the waterway. While we expected to share the camp with Allagash travelers we ended up having the spot to ourselves.

After we got set up we spent some time just standing on the shore taking in the view… and making friends with the locals..

Later we headed back up to the Ranger Station to visit. Suzie got to talking about canning and preserving and before you new it the ranger was handing her some of their stash. Suzie said” I cant take this!” The ranger said ” You already did!!!”.

We had hoped for a dark sky to see stars but forgot the moon would rise about midnight a ruin that. Oh well, the dawn was magnificent!!!

As we headed home we were greeted by truck after truck headed to Canada with full loads of logs. When you see them coming you better pull over because they take their half out of the middle. After the check point we came across fields and fields of happy potato plants.

We fully enjoyed our stay and are pretty sure a kayak trip down the Allagash was added to the bucket list!!!

Stratton, Bigelow Preserve

When we were heading to Maine we wanted to stay in this area for a couple of days but the area still had a fair amount of snow so we weren’t able to. These were the last big mountains we had to climb on our A.T. hike before Katahdin and we were happy to get them behind us…

We were planning on camping on a free spot on the other side of the lake but there appeared to be squatters there so we moved on and found Cathedral Pines campground and scored a sweet tent site right on the lake.

The view from our campsite

We got settled in and tossed the kayaks in the lake to take a paddle.

We were entertained by a young eagle for a while. After several hours on the lake we headed back to camp to have dinner and start a fire. We really enjoyed the stand of pines we were camping in.

We stopped by the local market/general store and enjoyed wandering through to see the amazing stock they carried. They could rival Walmart any day!!

Truth in advertising….

We spent the rest of the night enjoying a crackling fire and some good Pandora..

The Bold Coast Trail

After our sunrise morning we arrived at the trailhead just outside of Cutler Maine at 7 A.M. We headed from the parking lot with about a mile hike to the coast. The usual moss covered boulders and slippery roots were our view until we popped out on the ledge. The same calm waters we had seen at dawn were here as well. The hike followed the cliffs sliding in and out of the tree line with side trails to magnificent views.

We kept commenting how cool it would be to be down there with a couple of kayaks pulling up on the rock beaches. We finally made it down to the waters edge before heading back through the forest to the parking lot.

The Mules were a little tired and hungry at this point so we headed back down the coast and stopped for lunch on the wharf in Corea. What a great couple of days we have had! Not to mention the weather was perfect!!!

First Light in the East

After our day at Reversing Falls we headed to the town of Lubec. We were hoping to find a spot to boondock for the night. We were able to find a spot just about a mile from the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. We are so far north that twilight lasts for several hours and total darkness starts about midnight. After grabbing a couple hours of sleep we got up and stepped out of the truck to view the stars. The view was great and the Milky Way was in plain view! Without some light pollution from Lubec it would have been perfect.

We jumped back in and grabbed a few more winks. We woke at 3:45 to see the first light on the horizon. I slipped out of the truck to capture the view from our boondocking spot. Notice the silhouette of the truck?

We headed on to the lighthouse to be the first to see dawn on this day in the U.S. We walked out a little side trail to a bluff. This location would give us a perfect view of sunrise.

We watched the lobster boats heading out to tend their pots just before the sun broke the horizon.

We hung out for a little while letting the moment soak into our souls….

We headed back down the trail to the lighthouse. What a beautiful spot and what an amazing life it must be for the caretakers who live there!

We also came upon the bell that was used back in the day for fog. Take notice where it was made!!!

On our way out we stopped in Lubec to enjoy the view of the fishing boats in the harbor.

With that done we headed on to the next destination for the day! Hiking!!!

Reversing Falls

We headed out on a two day jaunt north close to the Canadian line. Our first Destination was a spot where the tides move through an inlet at such a rate as to create waterfalls in both directions. Hence the name “Reversing Falls”.

As we traveled along highway 1 we swung by Columbia Falls. The rain from the day before had it a little muddy but still a nice little spot. Suzie found a great spot to enjoy the morning sun as well!

Now that warmer weather has started the wildflowers are in full bloom and we enjoyed them all along the way.

We arrived almost at the end of the outgoing tide but there was still quite the push!

We headed on to see what the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge was like. We were not disappointed. Some beautiful crystal clear lakes and some Bald Eagles!

After a short visit to Calias and a quick peek at the border we headed back to see the falls in reverse… There were a couple of seals playing in the current but they stayed just out of camera range. The power of the current was impressive and the fact they could swim against it was cool to see.

We also came across a bunny and a scallop I wish I had found alive! That is a big scallop!!!

We had planned to stay here for the night but as darkness fell the swarms of mosquitos were too intense. We decided not to set up the tent and to go ahead and stage ourselves closer to the next morning’s location…

Borestone Mountain

We headed over to Monson Maine to find a spot suggested by a couple of the local Mainers we work with. Monson is a great little town that sits at the beginning of the 100 mile wilderness that the Appalachian Trail traverses on the way to Katahdin. While traveling the gravel road we spotted a snapping turtle so we stopped and snapped a picture!

We arrived around 7 am and the mosquitos were in full force. We took a quick Deet bath and headed out. The hike begins in a pine forest filled with rocks, roots, and moss everywhere. The morning sun was working its way to the forest floor like spotlights on a stage.

There are three spring fed Alpine ponds that are fishless and crystal clear.

After passing the lakes the hike takes on a different feeling as you begin the assent rather quickly. Loads of rock scrambles and exposed roots make foot placement tricky.

We absolutely loved the surfaces of some of the granite slabs.

We were just clearing the tree line when we were given a glimpse of what was to come.

We headed on to the west peak to find the wind much greater than in the trees. We adjusted our hats so as not to lose them over the edge… But the view… breathtaking…just breathtaking. We are so blessed to have these experiences.

What a special hike! We were the only ones there the whole time. Our own private mountain.

On our way home we came across a covered bridge so we stopped to check it out. Originally built in 1830 it was washed away by flood waters in 1835 and 1837 only to be rebuilt. The 1837 bridge lasted until 1987 when another flood took it out. It was rebuilt in 1990 just as before with just a few adjustments to bring it up to code. It was also raised by 3 feet in hopes to stay above future flood waters.

We finished our ride home and fixed one of our favorite dinners, grilled pork loin with sautéed brussel sprouts and fried sweet potato fries!!! What a day for a couple of lucky mules!!