Local Motion - New Brunswick

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

May 21, 2009

Biking Hinterland

Hinterland: a rural area surrounding the urban catchment of large cities or ports. It is characterized by a less dense population and low infrastructure that produces food and goods for the city. In England it refers to the "back country" or "surrounding countryside."

This Victoria Day Weekend I got away to Turtle Mountain with two friends. We enjoyed the hot sun on Saturday while on Sunday we relished in the coziness that cooking under a tarp in the rain can bring. I'll write more about this later. For now I'll just say we saw some of New Brunswick's best and worst characteristics.

Last Monday was an overcast drizzly day. Late in the afternoon, I felt the urge to get out pedaling. I threw together a few things in my backpack and hit the road on my old 10 speed bike. My goal was to see a new part of Saint John.

I headed North, on familiar streets at first, until I wound up hills past Rockwood Park and the University. Without a map I was free to explore with only my memory to get me home. I continued along rocky forests and sparsely populated areas until I came to a sign for the Millidgeville Ferry. I made a snap decision and turned to the water.

On the 15 minute Ferry ride I soaked up the Kennebecasis River and scanned the rocky Kingston Peninsula coast for beaches. I was amazed to see rugged undeveloped coastline so close to the city. Chatting with the Ferry operator prepared me for the steep hill I had in store on the other side. Of course, that's the story of Ferry Landings, always at the bottom of the hill.

On the Kingston Peninsula, in a community called Summerland, I pedaled along forests and farmlands. In the passing fields I could see Rhubarb patches tucked around old sheds and budding apple tree orchards. At every hillcrest I caught glimpes of the Old Appalachian Mountains rolling along on the north of the Kingston Peninsula.

I pedalled around thinking of the old days when the Peninsula was the breadbasket of Saint John and Southern New Brunswick. The Peninsula has the fortune of sitting at the intersection of two major waterways; The St. John River and the Kennebecasis River. In the 1800's the river was Main Street and sail boats carried hand made and farm raised goods up and down river.

The richness of the land is still felt on those country roads. On a bike, moving at a human pace, you can retrace history past the hedgerows and cow pastures. This is Saint John's hinterland.

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DIY

The Kingston Peninsula provides excellent bike trips of all lengths whether for an afternoon, saturday morning, or day long endurance ride. You'll find low traffic and lots of rolling hills.

Starting from home and crossing over to the Kingston Peninsula by Ferry on your bike will help you realize the significance of the waterways. There are multiple Ferries, all of which are free.
http://www.gnb.ca/0113/ferries/ferries-e.asp
http://www.kingstonpeninsula.org/
Saint John, Local Motion, New BRunswick, Outdoors, Biking, Adventure, Graham Waugh

May 14, 2009

A Pick Up Truck with Fins

Last night a couple friends and I picked up a case of beer and biked out to the beach in West Saint John. Arriving after dark, we were surprised to find crowds of people leaving the beach. That's when we learned of the beached shark.

We got on the rock beach and split from the groups of people huddled around flashlight beams. We found a good sitting rock, cracked open a beer and looked out over the black sky. Tanker ships glowed like little cities on the horizon. The lapping surf drowned the city and left us alone on the coast. With a case of beer and much conversation behind us, we got up, shook off the sand and went searching for the shark.

Following the narrow tunnel cast by Ross's mini bike light we moved across the beach looking for the beast. When we came upon it's dark grey body we thought we'd found a whale. It's belly rose up to my waist and it was easily longer than a Pick Up truck. But dorsal fins, gills, and the vertical symmetry of its tail gave it away as shark. Sadly, but not surprisingly the head had been cut off and removed, for the jaws and teeth no doubt. It probably was a harmless plankton-filtering Basking Shark but I'm no expert.

There are beautiful, wild things in those cold Fundy waters.

May 6, 2009

Tricky Balance

It's a tricky balance splitting time outside and time at my computer.

Photo credit: John Adamson

Just last Saturday I thought finally the rain is allowing me some time to slow down, write, and share what I've been up to this spring. But a phone call from a climber friend offered me a chance to learn bolting so I quickly snatched up the opportunity. As the day progressed the rain cleared, the sun dried the rock, and it was obvious I wouldn't be doing any writing that day. The next day was sunny and we were on the rock until dusk.

Another weekend with no writing. Although that can mean I spent more time doing what I love outside, I'm feeling unfettered without a chance to reflect. Writing things down for others helps me build a frame to focus my mind on what I doing. It helps me appreciate the moments I have outside and the attention I'm able to give to play at this stage of my life. It helps me remember why moving outside is an important message.

I'm apprehensive about my involvement in more activities as summer approaches. I'm still scrambling to get caught up on my winter writing projects among which is my travel book "Tying Up Loose Ends Tour 2008". It's at the final fiddly stage having several edits and oh so close to completion that I'm almost sick of it. When it's available I'll let you know how you can get it on this site.

With some exciting prospects for the summer and more fuel for writing coming up every week, I hope to find that balance.

As a teaser, to what I've been up to here are some photos from climbing on the weekend. Thanks to John A. for capturing some great images of me from a tree. So far this spring I've gotten out rock climbing 8 times already in New Brunswick. Warm, sunny days, free of bugs. Can't beat that.

Photo credit: G. A. Waugh


Photo credit: John Adamson


Photo credit: G. A. Waugh