Sunday, August 28, 2022

New Brunswick- St Martins, Fundy Trail Parkway, Kouchibouguac National Park

Covered bridge in St Martins being rebuilt

Monday and Tuesday were basically rest days at St Martins Century Farm campground. Tuesday it rained off and on pretty well all day, so it was easy to be lazy for the day. 

Wednesday arrived clear and sunny though. We headed for the Fundy Trail Parkway (FTP, for more info Click here), a 26 km (16 mi) scenic drive along the Fundy coat. St Martins is one of the jumping-off places for a FTP tour, which normally includes going over the covered bridge in the picture above. There was a bypass while the bridge is being rebuilt, luckily. 

The West entrance to the FTP is about 10 km from St Martins. It's a scenic area even before you get to the FTP, but the FTP is designed for the views and coastal hiking/biking trails. Here are a number of views from driving/stopping along the FTP. We didn't do much actual hiking today:

Lots of moss, it's a Maritime climate

A crew working on the steep steps on a hiking trail. We were going to take this one, but it was closed. 

Auto and pedestrian bridges over the Big Salmon River

Lots of rocks to examine along the shoreline, you may even find fossils here:

And even more seaside views:

After exiting the East end of the FTP, we headed pretty directly northeast to Kouchibouguac National Park, where we hoped to get a campsite for 4 nights. Kouchibouguac National Park is on New Brunswick's eastern shore (for more information on Kouchibouguac park, click HERE ).

There is a large campground in the park, and they have always had sites available, as long as you don't need electrical hookups. Those get reserved early. Amazingly enough, we had a choice of 5 sites available for the whole 4 nights, and one had electric, so we took the electric site. We were concerned that the tall trees and possible bad weather would hamper our solar panel charging.

Creative use of an old phone booth at the check-in

We set up our little screen shelter in case of bugs. Lots of mosquitoes at times.

We did have a nice campfire though.

Our largest campsite wildlife

The campground gives easy access to a shoreline trail, perfect for our style of biking. These pictures are all from sections of the trail:

Nice dock, across from a working fishing boat marina

Sittin' on the dock of the Bay...

A little minnow nibbled on my toes while we were minding our own business

Fishing boats starting to return to port

They go out real early in the morning, not too far offshore

The mouth of the river is tidal, so lots of fisher-birds as the tide goes out

A nice viewing deck, complete with comfy chairs


Great Blue Herons were common

Bench along the trail, the once-nice view is not so good anymore as things grow up

At one end of the nice part of the trail is Kelly's Beach, accessed via a boardwalk (no bikes or dogs allowed):

Lots of interesting things to look at here:

A cormorant drying its wings

Lots of smaller shorebirds picking up small prey

Several Piping Plovers here, still a rare bird

Minnows schooling in the clear water

A couple (not us) trying out their inflatable kayaks

Wednesday's drive:

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

*START* We're on our way east to Atlantic Canada

We're in covered-bridge country (New Brunswick)

Saturday morning we left home in good time, about 8am, to head through Ontario and Quebec on our way east to Prince Edward Island. We left on a Saturday since there shouldn't be much traffic that day, the way we were going. Wrong!

We stayed away from the 401 route, going near Orillia, down to Hwy 7 eastbound, and on to Perth. Nice back roads mostly, but lots of traffic today. It seems we neglected to remember we were heading through vacation country on a nice sunny weekend day in August. We did finally get to Perth Ont (about an hour west of Ottawa) and mooch-docked in my sister's driveway for the night. Thanks Beth and Sandy, nice to have a visit with you!

Saturday's route:

Sunday we left from Perth earlier than we did from home on Saturday, heading to Lancaster via Hwy 43 through Smith's Falls etc. We were hoping to get through the first half of Quebec while most people were still recovering from their Saturday night. 

Smooth sailing over the #30 bridge across the St Lawrence south of Montreal ($4.50 toll) and all was ok until on past Montreal on Hwy 20 eastbound. First there was an RV on its side in the westbound lanes, with an ambulance attending. Several more accidents in the westbound lanes, some complete with ambulances, had traffic backed up for many kilometers over there, and slowdowns on our eastbound side from the lookie-loos. 

We figured we'd be cruising along once we got to Quebec City. Wrong again. Heavy traffic near the main bridge to Quebec City led to stop-and-go even in the through-traffic lanes where we were. Once past Quebec City a section of construction led to a merge of heavy traffic from 4 lanes down to 2, and just near the end of that there was an accident that closed one of those 2 lanes. The long 4-to-1 merge likely delayed us by an hour but seemed even longer. Ah well, we survived unscathed once again.

Some of the less-intense PQ construction

The Quebec construction was not even active, today being Sunday, but there were lane restrictions and diversions in places, and they still caused traffic slowdowns. Even all the construction warning signs slowed things down, maybe partly because any warnings on these bright signs were only in French. 

By 6pm we rolled into our usual stop along here, the De La Republique provincial park just inside the western border of New Brunswick. We took a non-electric site for a change, so were put in the back in the tenting area. Sites aren't as level back there, and the washrooms are more primitive, but a nice view and almost no traffic noise:

A noisy gathering was in progress at one end of the tenting area, but a passing thunderstorm cleared that out pretty quickly.

Sunday's route:
Notice all the little construction markers thru Quebec

After the two tiring driving days we had a leisurely start on Monday. Cathie took a tour of the nearby botanical Gardens, called Les Jardins, before we left. Here are some things that caught her photographic eye:

Hard to tell but this is a large peacock

As one approached, the buffalo grunted and made foot-pawing sounds


This fellow sang "Hi Ho, Hi Ho" etc

A wood carver was in residence today, showing off his wares. Cathie had a good visit with Mr Cyr, as he is fluently bilingual (unlike us):

After arriving at St Martins (we had reserved 2 nights here, at Century Farms campground, with electric and free wifi) and having a break, we took a short drive up the road to a seafood restaurant with a view, The Caves Restaurant. They are proud of their World-famous chowder, and it's at least really good; the fish & chips we split were also excellent:

Happy tourists on the deck

Some views from the deck:

Monday's route: