Local Motion - New Brunswick

Welcome to Local Motion where we celebrate hiking, biking, rock climbing, paddling, skiing, and exploring in Southern New Brunswick.

July 15, 2013

New Climber's Guidebook for New Brunswick

With big excitement, a new Rock Climber's Guide for New Brunswick was released this summer. Dom Caron took on the massive project to update the previous guide. There's been so much new development in recent years- we greatly needed this. The new book has lots of photos and easy to follow cliffline maps and photo-topos. There's a free sample online - go check it out!

Buy it online here -http://climbnbguide.com/Home_Page.html

Or in stores: 
Fredericton @ The Radical Edge
Rothesay @ River&Trail
Saint John @ The Scout Shop
North Conway, NH @ IME

Wheeping Whisker

April 21, 2013

Maple Sap and Cape Chignecto

Meg and I had a great couple weeks in New Brunswick with my parents...Who says April has to be a sit-inside-watch-the-rain kind of month?? There's lots to do! We collected maple sap for syrup, ate fresh salads from the greenhouse, backpacked along Cape Chignecto, rock climbed at Welsford, and saw so many great folks!

My dad collecting maple sap from trees in their hedgerow.

My mom covering her spring salads for the night to protect them from frost.

Meghan on the Seal Cove Beach near our campsite while hiking Cape Chignecto.

August 18, 2011

Home for a Week!

 Still groggy from a 22 hour day of rock climbing in Banff I boarded a flight to Moncton. My tiredness evaporated as soon as the plain descended over Moncton. I could see the Petitcodiac River glistening in the sun with the Fundy Highlands rising to the south. And all around a patchwork of farms lay over the dark green forest.

My parents picked me up and we drove home to Corn Hill. I couldn't get over the roadside ditches. They were so lush, overflowing with wildflowers and bright green grass. The heat, humidity, and aroma of a million flowering plants was overwhelming. The dry air in Calgary is quite pleasant but you know it’s kind of sterile. Eating supper on the deck with my parents, we ate dish after dish of fresh homegrown veggies, pastured meats, and then celebrated my birthday with a rich fruit pie.

This wasn't just a vacation for me. I was home to help finish organizing the 2nd Corn Hill Bicycle Festival which was taking place at the end of the week. Joanna Brown and I had spent the spring emailing back and forth and having phone meetings. Now it was only a few days away and there was so much to do. But with last years experience and the help of Lynn the summer student, and volunteers the final preparations went so smoothly. I actually got a vacation out of it! I never expected that.

What a dream week! I don't know how I managed to pack so many things in such short time frame. Not only did the bike fest preparations go smoothly but I had the chance to visit friends from all over NB and spend some quality time at home in Corn Hill with my parents.

What a random coincidence...on a break from working on the bicycle festival I ran into a touring cycling in Downtown Sussex. I saw a heavily loaded bicycle parked outside a restaurant and stood there staring at it when at that moment the rider walked out of restaurant. He'd rode all the way from Washington State. So inspiring. 

On Tuesday I went up to visit my friend Paul in Marysville (next to Fredericton). We've had some great adventures together and it's cool to see what projects he's got on the go. He has a great place with a backyard on the Nashwaak River! So I had my first swim of the season! Wow its feels good to lounge about in warm fast-flowing water. All the lakes and rivers in the mountains are glacier fed...it sounds nice but god they are cold.

 Tuesday night I drove down to Saint John to visit Lucas and Kristy, who brought me into the NB climbing scene years ago. It was great catching up with them and seeing the city that I'd gotten to know when I was starting this blog. After supper we took bicycles out and I had my first crash in years...hit a gnarly crack in the pavement flipped, rolled, and managed to walk away with only a few scrapes...and I was pretty damn sore the next day.

On Wednesday I drove back up river, stopped in to see how things were going at the Bike Fest in Sussex then continued on to Elgin to meet my buddy Dom, a local climber who's been devoting a lot of time to replacing old bolts in Welsford.  I wanted to show him a fun spot in Elgin. Gibson is a cliff jumping spot along the Pollett River just past the village of Elgin. Its beauty is marred by piles of broken beer bottles, trash, and the out-of-town hosers who threw the trash. It's kind of a wreck but I love the place. We jumped in a few times then I showed him a route that a climber had bolted years ago...but had no hangers. We got our gear from the car, installed hangers, and lead the route. It was a short but balancy 5.10. We top roped another cliff and both were impressed by the quality of the rock.

I got home and raced over to a friends' place for supper with my parents. After a great meal it was time to move a load of hay bales into our barn. Its hard work but I love it. It's something that I've been doing for as long as I can remember. When I was young it was so hard to lift the bales into barn.

The next couple days were spent getting ready for the bicycle festival. Lots of errands to run and odds and ends to take care of. Everything just blended perfectly together. While out in the country picking up big tents from the McCullum's I happened to be near Collina and my friend Deanna invited me over to her cabin for brunch. Collina is a lofty high perch overlooking endless rolling hills and pastured valleys north of Sussex.

 Every day at my parents house we ate fresh picked veggies from their garden. My mom is an incredibly skilled gardener. She's been doing it for decades and seems to effortlessly cultivate over 50 varieties of herbs and veggies in her garden. Every year she's trying something new. On Thursday we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with an exceptionally gourmet dinner in the greenhouse.

Saturday came, with no big stresses, and the Corn Hill Bicycle Festival was again a success. Well over a hundred cyclists came out from all over southern NB. I guess the word had gotten out in cyclist circles. There was a great line-up of workshops with Lucas Toron back again with his popular workshop on shifting gears, Bill Consolvo shared useful tips on changing flats and answered questions about long distance touring. John McNair's workshop on basic bike mechanics was packed, and Tim and Dawn put on a great nutrition workshop. The volunteer cooks whipped together a delicious lunch that tasted like it had been made for an intimate few friends rather than a hundred hungry strangers.

This year the amount of cycling spandex rose considerably with about 25 riders on the fast 100km ride and many more avid cyclists on all the rides. But what was amazing was that such a variety of riders came out to enjoy the back roads of Corn Hill. That's what really made me happy - the fact that so many different levels of riders can enjoy being active outdoors with friends. It was really cool seeing so many familiar faces from last year and meeting a whole bunch of new people. Unfortunately I was so busy I didn't get a chance to really talk with many...so many interesting people that I wanted to chat with. The day wrapped up and within record time volunteers had cleaned and packed up. We capped off the day with a cold beer at the Cedar Cafe. Just perfect.
Before I knew it I was heading back to the Moncton Airport. I was pretty sad to be leaving home after such a great week filled with friends, family, and beautiful landscapes. It definitely recharged my NB batteries.
 cornhill bicycle festival, rock climbing elgin, gibson, gordon fall, sussex, fredericton, marysville, cycling, biking

August 13, 2011

My Move to Calgary

 What Happened to the regular stories?
For anyone that follows this blog regularly you may have wondered: "what happened to Local Motion?"
I haven't posted anything since last December....because I moved to Calgary in January 2011 and just didn't know what to do with the blog. I've decided that it will remain about outdoor adventures in New Brunswick.

Back Story
Last December (2010), while on a climbing trip at Mount Katahdin, Maine I decided to move to Calgary. The spontaneous decision seemed to materialize from the thin winter air one evening as we descended through deep snow back to the small cabin. Over the next couple days as we trudged through snow, climbed, and then finally skiied and hauled our sleds back to the car, I had a lot of time to think about moving away.

Spending time in wilderness away from distractions and social pressures usually leads to at least a couple revelations and as the duration or intensity of the trip increases the chance for introspection magnifies. This effect is one of the reasons I am drawn to the wilderness again and again. Whether its the activity (such as Climbing) or the remote location, the very real sense of risk hones my focus and helps wash away the mind's needling distractions.

I know what you're all thinking - "He's moving out there for the mountains." Well no actually. It's not that simple. Mountains are great but I think I could have a lot of fun wherever I live (maybe even in Saskatchewan). And if you're into the outdoors, New Brunswick is pretty frigging awesome. I've shown time and time again on this blog that New Brunswick's outdoor opportunities are endless (climbing, hiking, skiing, paddling...etc). I certainly didn't run out of things to do in New Brunswick. I just felt like changing things up in my life.

The decision to move to Calgary came from somewhere deep in me. As difficult as it was to accept, I could tell that it was a gut feeling that would be hard to shake. In 2008 I followed a similar gut instinct to return to NB from my open ended climbing trip on the West Coast. At the time it seemed a bit crazy for me to be moving back to New Brunswick without a job or any friends there. But it turned out that was one of the best decisions I had ever made. As you can see from this blog I definitely had a lot of great adventures in NB.

In the two years that I spent in New Brunswick I really come to appreciate how much it has to offer. And I think more people are catching on. There's definitely a new wave of young people moving to (or back to) the province bringing with them new ideas and enthusiasm. It's so encouraging for me to see this and it made me kind of sad to be moving away from this cultural shift. I made some great friends and connected with some places that will always be close to my heart. 

What's to Become of Local Motion
The inspiration for this blog was New Brunswick's outdoors and it will remain that way. You are encouraged to submit your stories and photos from outdoor adventures in New Brunswick. You can send them to grhmwgh [at] gmail [dot] com 

Thanks for supporting this project.

July 3, 2011

Corn Hill Bicycle Festival - Saturday July 23rd

After last year’s resounding success, the small community of Corn Hill is gearing up for the 2nd Annual Corn Hill Bicycle Festival. The Corn Hill Bike Fest (Saturday, July 23) is a day long celebration of bicycling. The back roads around Corn Hill provide an idyllic getaway for cyclists in southern New Brunswick. The Festival day will provide participants with a great introduction to Corn Hill’s cycling possibilities, with guided rides ranging from 5 km to 100 km, and a variety of workshops will focus on basic bicycle mechanics, road safety, proper gear shifting, and cycling as a family.

“Last year’s Festival was a fantastic event”, says Brian Steeves, a cycling enthusiast and local landowner. “It was a great introduction into all of the cycling possibilities around Corn Hill, and I’m really excited to participate again this year. I encourage anyone who has even the smallest interest in cycling or being active to participate in the Festival”.

Attached you will find Registrations Forms (for print and digital) and a poster for the event you can print out or forward to anyone you think might be interested. You can also visit the Festival website (http://bicyclecornhill.wordpress.com) for more information. Participants must register by July 18th, because space is limited and registration will close when capacity is reached, and the event goes rain or shine. A delicious home-made lunch is included in the registration fees.

Hope to see you on the road!

February 12, 2011

Truancy Falls: An Elusive Pillar of Ice

I wrote up this story for submission to the Canadian Alpine Journal published yearly by the Alpine Club of Canada. I picked up a 2009 copy of the CA Journal last week and while reading it thought, "Hey, why I don't I submit an article about some of the cool shit that's happening in NB?" What came to mind was Truancy Falls - an elusive pillar of ice that formed for the first time in living memory and was climbed last winter. Hopefully the Journal accepts it!


Truancy: (noun) the condition of being absent without permission.

Truancy Falls in its typical condition - a big hanging dagger that probably collapses and reforms multiple times a season. (g.waugh)

Despite the apparent absence of mountains, New Brunswick is gifted with a few key ingredients for ice climbing; Appalachian geology, cold winters, plenty of precipitation, and most importantly diehard locals.

On a cloudy Monday in February, Lucas Toron and I had finished a day of ice in the Fundy Highlands when we decided to do a little bit of recon in a nearby gully. Years before, while attempting to find the well trodden Parlee Brook ice climbing area, I had accidently snowshoed into this smaller gully and I saw a 50 foot hanging dagger suspended perilously above a cave.  I wasn’t an ice climber back then and the sight of it was terrifying and awe inspiring. It dangled 40 feet off the ground – and touch down seemed improbable.  I continued to check in on the dagger over the years but never saw it form into a pillar. Very few had heard of the dagger and those who did had never seen it touch but. But 2010 was a weird season for ice and so Lucas and I thought we’d check it out anyway.

Unweighted by our packs, Lucas and I skipped up the dry creek bed into the gully and then swam through chest deep powder.  As we rounded the last bend in the rock wall, the hanging dagger began to reveal itself. Bit by bit the dagger came into view, lengthening by the meter until finally our eyes followed dripping water down to its thick base. Over 30 metres of vertical ice stretched to the roof the cave. Our jaws dropped and our exclamations trailed off into the sound of splattering water in the cave. We stared at each other speechless as we stood beneath the biggest, baddest pillar of ice we’d ever seen.  It felt like the immense weight of the ungainly pillar would come crashing down at any moment. It was dusk and time to get home. We walked home with a pit of anxiety in our stomachs. We needed to come back soon, the Maritime climate wreaks havoc on ice and if we waited too long it may be the last time we ever see it.
Lucas below the beast the night we found it.

We called around to some friends. The first on the list is Cory Hall who jumps at the opportunity. Cory’s an upbeat young climber with the focus of a bomb squad and drive of a mule team. The weekend before we’d watched as he attempted one of NB’s hardest routes. His tools dinnerplated 10 feet above his last screw and he took a 30 foot whipper, stopping just shy of the rocky beach. This turned into a mini epic as we rushed to retrieve his screws and climb frozen mud to escape the quickly rising Bay of Fundy tides. 

Moments before the fall on Uncomfortably Numb 5+  (g.waugh)
Climbing frozen mud to escape the tides. (g.waugh)

On Wednesday night Cory visited our friend and local ice hero Joe Kennedy to pick up a replacement part for his ice tool that was damaged by his fall.  Cory remembers talking to Joe that night, avoiding the topic of the pillar that we were planning to climb the next day. None of us realized that we were about to steal Joe’s 20 year project and perhaps the Maritimes best line…oops.

On Thursday Cory skipped school, Lucas called in sick to work, and I shrugged off my responsibilities. Ontario ice climber Andriy Kolos just happens to be visiting his girlfriend’s family in Moncton and is able to sneak away for the day. While photographer Paul Maybee comes along to document the climb on film. We meet in Sussex giddy with excitement and wash down our anxiety with cheap coffee.  Lucas and I have told the others about it, but no words can justify a pure vertical pillar of ice that has never been climbed or even witnessed in known history.

Dead vertical pillar (g.waugh)
In the three days since Lucas and I visited the pillar; the weather had been warming and we pray that we’re not too late. But as we rounded that last bend in the gully, the pillar stood blue as steel.

After some inspection, Cory and Andriy agreed that they could share the pillar by leading on opposite sides. Lucas and I were less than thrilled with the idea but bit our tongues and didn’t share our morbid thoughts. 
Getting ready to climb. (g.waugh)
Cory started first, taking the mushroomed left side while Andriy took the gargoyled right side. Immediately the challenge of lacy blobs and chandeliers became apparent. “It was definitely the hardest ice line I had led, and only my second WI 5 and I was pumping,” recalls Cory. The pump grew as he pulled out of a small chimney 20 feet from the top. “The clock was ticking. I could stop and place a screw, but I would definitely fall, or I could run it out to the lip and maybe not fall.” Cory went for it, not wanting to throw away this classic line and pulled over the lip with “jell-o arms, looking at a fifty foot whipper.” As Cory ran it out Lucas remembers stepping to the side, out of the way, in case Cory came flying towards him like the previous weekend.
Cory and Andriy leading side by side. (g.waugh)

Cory and Andriy leading in tandem.  (g. waugh)
Meanwhile, Andriy was in his own world leading the other side of the pillar. “As I was in the thick of things, it was re-assuring to feel the dull thud of Cory working his way up, out-of-sight, but alongside me. Weaving my way to the top a few moments after Cory topped out was extremely rewarding!” Lucas and I followed up behind, pulling the lip with lactic acid coursing through our arms.  
Cory at half way.  (paul maybee)

Andriy topping out with Lucas below (paul maybee)
Celebrating at the base with a bottle of whisky, Lucas suggested that we call it Truancy Falls. It seemed fitting for a route so elusive that it had tempted most of us to skip either work or school to be there.

Truancy Falls stood just long enough for most of the locals to climb it before it crashed down in solitude a month later. It’s still being talked about a year later and many climbers have been hiking in to check on it, hoping that they will find the hidden pillar formed once again. Even if it only forms once in a lifetime, Truancy Falls adds a plum to the New Brunswick climbing scene and embodies a resurgence of ice climbing in New Brunswick. It was just one of a dozen new routes to go up this season and it adds fuel to the fire that keeps us searching for new lines.

Truancy Falls (WI5+, 40m), Parlee Brook, New Brunswick. FA: Cory Hall, Andriy Kolos, Lucas Toron, Graham Waugh, February 11, 2010. More details at www.climbeasterncanada.com

For more photos check out Paul Maybee's blog Rocks in My Pockets

February 11, 2011

Fundy Loppet - February 20th

On Sunday February 20th the Chignecto Ski Club is hosting the Fundy Loppet at Fundy National Park. If you like groomed trails, Fundy National Park is a great place to cross country ski with 25 km of trails for both classic and skate skiing. 

For you information and to register for the Loppet, check out their website www.skichignecto.ca 

The Chignecto Ski Club promotes cross country skiing in the Park and operates a Jackrabbit Skiing Program for youth. In addition to the winter activities they were the force behind the H20 Adventure Triathlon last September.  

The Fundy (Caledonia) Highlands that flank the inner Bay of Fundy from St. Martins to Hillsborough, create a unique snow effect. Moist air coming off the Bay, cools as it's pushed into the higher elevations and turns to snow. The snow starts to get deep as soon as you leave the coast climbing into the park and creates a snowbelt in the middle and northern edges of the Highlands. This area has significantly longer snow season than the valleys of southern New Brunswick.

January 30, 2011

Winter Ascent of Cheekbone Corner

On a sunny day in mid-January Lucas, Cory, and I headed to Welsford to climb...we came prepared with ice screws and a full trad rack. We hiked to Waterfall Wall hoping to find ice but it was pretty rotten so after a lap on the old white stuff, we played on a mixed route in the center of the wall. We threw ourselves at the route's blocky roof, hooky and hanging on our tools. Cory made some progress on it but without ice above the roof we couldn't finish the route.
Cory hooking through the roof
 A few hundred feet down the cliff line, Cheekbone Corner baked in the sun. It looked downright tropical - the cracks were free of snow and pink rock gave the illusion of warmth. Cheekbone is one of Welsford's classic routes with at an old school rating of 5.7 the 200 ft corner has a wild alpine feel.

We put away our ice axes and crampons and racked up with cams and nuts. Cory lead the first pitch through the dry offwidth and then carefully inched up snowy rock and moss to the belay. The easiest part of the pitch turned out to be the hardest, let me tell mountaineering boots are hard to use on an icy slab!
Cory on the offwidth

Cory leading the first pitch
Lucas climbing pitch one

The second pitch, was pure gold! I took the rack and grovelled my way through the chimney and skooched up to the first ledge. Cams slid perfectly into the dry cracks. With my gloves off, I could crimp the cold rock just enough to inch through the wide stemming section. I mantled onto pigeon shit ledge, shook out my frozen hands and stared at the famous roof. Everything was going great until I reached up and got a handful of snow. I finally worked myself into the narrow gap, one arm slapped at the snowy ledge, the other arm pressed the wall and my feet kicked at the air. I was stuck, my adrenaline kicked in and I found some hidden strength to squirm and wiggle in an upward motion until finally I reached out and grabbed a snowy edge.  Aww, relief came with a blast of endorphines. This was Type 2 Fun at its best!

Humping over the first bulge on pitch two
While I was off in lala leading-land, Cory and Lucas were quietly freezing their asses off at the belay. In the time it took me to lead the pitch clouds shaded the sun and robbed us of any warmth. Mad props to those guys for climbing the route in the cold. By the time Cory was near the top, the temperature was well below freezing and the airy traverse was all iced up for him!

Cory on the icy and airy traverse

Final moves

At the top out.
What a kick ass way to spend a winter day. I had no idea that winter climbing in mountaineering boots could be so much fun. I'm so glad Lucas and Cory convinced me that it was worth going to Welsford and even more so for letting me lead the money pitch of Cheekbone. Good memories!

cheekbone corner welsford new brunswick saint john rock climbing graham waugh fredericton rock climbing ice climbing mixed climbing new brunswick local motion

January 8, 2011

Snowshoeing the Bluff

Snowshoeing last week on the Bluff trail above the Dutch Valley, near Sussex Corner.

sussex corner hiking snowshoeing bluff waterford local motion graham waugh new brunswick hiking

January 3, 2011


The snow hit Southern New Brunswick after Christmas like an egg-nog hangover. And I've been having a blast everyday since it fell. The cross country skiing has been great and I've done some snowshoeing unfortunately the ice climbing has suffered from the warm temperatures. As the temperatures have risen in the past few days I even tried to go bouldering!

Great snow for snowman making.

Wet snow fell on Monday so my family suited up and built a snowman in the fresh snow.

The Amphitheatre at Parlee Brook - looking scrappy.

On Tuesday I ventured in to check out the ice climbing conditions at Parlee Brook's amphitheatre. The snow was suuuuper deep in the bottom of the ravine. We swam and struggled in snow up to our armpits for over an hour trying to reach the back wall. Fun but exhausting. The ice wasn't worth climbing. We'll need it to be a lot colder.

Cutting a trail through deep snow.

New Years Eve was warm and sunny - a perfect day for being outside.

My Dad skiing behind our house on New Year's Eve. 

I snowshoed into Parlee Brook again, tempted by potential ice. We were able to top-rope a route with some nice vertical ice bits. I got back to Sussex after dark and wanted to meet my goal of three sports in a day. So I drove out to the Dutch Valley towards Waterford with the hourglass hill in mind. I couldn't see it from the road in the dark, so I followed a skidoo trail hoping it would lead me there - it did. After 45 minutes of climbing, I turned my skis back towards the lights of Sussex and practiced my turns on a long downhill run.
Top-roping a bits and pieces of a route at Parlee's amphitheatre.

The New Year began sunny and warm. It was great weather for my first Polar Bear Dip. It wasn't nearly as cold as I thought it would be - just a few cuts from a the ice in the river.

I had planned to cross country ski on New Years Day but we thought it may be too warm (turned out to be great skiing - just like spring conditions). Instead we went to check out some newly found granite boulders west of Saint John. We drove in on snowy roads and found snowy boulders but I still enjoyed hiking around to look at the boulders. Still a great day for hiking!

Legitimate granite boulders in New Brunswick!

On Sunday I got out for a short cross country ski at my parents house in Corn Hill. The snow was melting and it even sprinkled a few rain drops by the conditions were actually quite good. Fresh snow around the melting point can be a sticky mess but older snow that has warmed and froze and started to melt again is great - just a bit slow. I'd call these spring conditions.

XC skiing in Corn Hill 
XC skiing on my parent's trails.
graham waugh new brunswick skiing cross country xc skiing snowshoe ice climbing parlee brook corn hill sussex moncton outdoors saint john skiing