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Nick & Tim’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 30 Aug 2003

Location: Hillsborough, Canada

Map7830 km

The wind gods are smiling on us at the moment and it scares us a little. We’re on the Atlantic coast now and we’ve had a tailwind to get us here almost daily. Karma has to turn bad on us soon!
Well, after last updating we had a quandary as to whether we should stay in Riviere Du Loup and camp at the municipal campground or continue on and do a few more km’s to a wild camp site on the Trans Canada trail. Thankfully we made the right decision, with a waterfall, swimming hole and stove thing, as well as being free – this was a good night's camping. It also turned out to be a cold night's camping. After what seems like forever, heat and humidity disappeared. This country does like its extremes of weather. We went from swimming in the evening to freezing in the morning. A cold snap, that I guess has welcomed in Autumn or “The Fall” as we’re meant to call it here.
Despite the cold we had a nice ride on the last section of trail in Quebec that headed towards the border with New Brunswick. As mentioned before the tailwind that we had, turned the ninety degrees that we did and we were very happy about that. The trail was through forest and the occasional town, one of the last being “St Louis Du Ha! Ha!” a place we’de been waiting to get to just for the name. Exclamation points are included on all the maps and signs.
Soon enough we were in New Brunswick, the next Province and our first Atlantic province. We didn’t get too far into NB before it was time to stop for a cold nights camping. The locals assuring us that it was unseasonably cold. The next day we started our ride into NB, pretty different to Quebec, and quite picturesque. Our friend the tailwind was still with us and it pushed us down the smooth wide shoulder of a highway through Edmunston (a town like any other) on onto Grand Falls. Grand Falls was pretty cool, having – you guessed it a waterfall (of significant size), but also a fairly amazing gorge. We ate in a Burger King, because it was so cold and then hit the Trans Canada Trail again which was back for another few hundred km’s. Well, the trail was sweet to say the least. As much as we loved Quebec’s bike highways it was good to get onto some rough stuff again, and the scenery was awesome. We traveled down the St John river which is quite serene and beautiful, surrounded by lush green maple trees. We arrived at Bairds campground in Perth-Andover, another really nice spot on the river.
The next day was entirely on trail – yay. In the morning we cruised through some nice little towns. All named after a town in England. A silly habit these explorers seemed to have. We followed the St John River until a place called Harltand where we encountered the worlds longest covered bridge (see photo) – we’re sure this excites all of you as it did us. The trail then cut away from the river and went deep into wild country which was good. Only problem was that the trail was being used by people on ATV’s (four wheelers) and they had managed to rip the trail up so bad that it was almost unusable. We reached the town of Millville (which seemed to be ATV epicenter) and discovered nowhere to camp, so we headed into the wilderness and found a nice spot by a creek. Picturesque, but pity about the sandflies.
The trail finished up for a while in Fredericton, capital of New Brunswick. A nice little city. We ate lunch there and then took a scenic road back on the St John River towards Cambridge Narrows. On the way an evil shop was advertising home baking and we were unable to resist its lure. The tailwind still with us we shot down the St John River, stopped only by the abrupt occurrence of massive hills, the first we’ve really seen since Ontario. We were out of practice. We got to Cambridge Narrows eventually, and were considered to be quite exotic guests by the lady at the campsite there.
Our aim the next day was to make the Fundy National Park, which we did. It was all on road, but very scenic. Also very hilly. In fact there were some real killers, and not much downhill. The trees and wilderness start well before the park which makes for a feeling of really being out there and meant that we were happy to wild camp near the entrance to the park at Wolfe Lake. The temperature had warmed up and this lake, not being that scenic, was very good for swimming. Two very brief, but pretty heavy storms decided to disturb our evening there, each time the skies clearing straight to blue again.
In the morning we had a nice time speeding back down the height we had gained. Nick reaching his personal best of 71km/h. We also saw the Atlantic for the first time! Woohoo! Not since Burnaby Mountain in Vancouver have we seen the sea. No sooner had we seen it, than we were on it in kayaks. We arrived in the town of Alma and were told there was a kayak tour leaving immediately. So we got changed and hit the water within minutes.
The Bay of Fundy is pretty special in that it has the highest tides in the world. All to do with resonance, but we won’t go into that here. Lets just say the tides are huge, 35ft in some places. These tides make for some interesting rock formations on the coast. Good for exploring by kayak which we did for a few hours, meeting some nice people on the way.
Once we were done kayaking we went straight to a the bakery which was apparently famous for its buns and ate ourselves stupid, ready for the hilly ride to Hopewell Cape. We chose to go on the scenic coastal road rather than the highway for the first section. A wise move, as it was very scenic, but did come with the price of having near vertical hills. Now we are on the coast the scenery has made a big change. It all seems very “fishing village” and “maritime” – sorry my descriptive skills are poor here, but certainly that afternoons ride was one of the more breathtaking we’ve had in a while. The trail started back up again for us too, taking us out to see the amazing colours of the sand and grass at low tide.
Arriving at Hopewell Cape, we camped for the night and got up at dawn to go and see the famous “Hopewell Rocks”. These rocks have been formed by the massive tides and are like giant pillars with trees on top. Again see the photos to save me trying to describe them! The mornings walk was fantastic, the whole thing was really beautiful. We were glad the tide forced us to do it in the morning too, as the colours were best then. We had a day off there and watched as the tide came in and submerged everything – including the rocks.
Now we’re on our way to PEI the next province in Atlantic Canada, though we’re sure NB still has something to offer.