Local Motion - New Brunswick

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

July 24, 2009

BDay Challenge: Soggy Trails Here We Come!

Tomorrow morning Ross and I will be hitting the Dobson trail after a humongous breakfast. Starting in Riverview we will proceed to walk, and walk, and keep walking past Hayward Pinnacle, likely stopping to camp by water source near the Kent Road. The next day after a breakfast of banock we will proceed to hike the final 25 km to the Coast through Fundy National Park, meeting up with my parents, and hopefully tacking on a extra 10 km to Pointe Wolfe. The whole deal to Pt. Wolfe is about 85 km.

I'll carry on from Point Wolfe solo. Stopping for a day in Walton Glen Canyon ( I can't wait!) and finishing at St. Martins (sort of...actually Big Salmon) on Thursday or Friday.

Ross and I are packing light for the Dobson. We're both really excited to cover this much ground and see how walking ~40 km a day will feel.

localmotion, graham waugh, dobson trail, fundy trek, hiking, new brunswick

July 21, 2009

Fundy Trek Bday Challenge Update

The Trek starts in 4 days. I can't wait. I want to start now. And as I lay out my hiking schedule I am already feeling bummed that it'll be ending just a few days after I start.

Last night I sat at my kitchen table going over my itinerary once again, thinking about food, building my To Do list, and phoning trip partners. It felt like a night of mundane tasks but all important anyway. I waxed my hiking boots and waterproofed my raincoat.

The Good News from last night is that my friend Paul, a photographer, (http://paulmaybee.wordpress.com/) might be joining me from Saturday to Friday, finishing at Walton Glen so that he can meet up with family that is coming to visit him. We had a great experience hiking Turtle Mountain together this spring and I look forward to spending some more time on the trail with him. Plus he's an excellent photographer.

I plan to Start Saturday in Riverview and finish Friday night at the Big Salmon River.

So Far this is what the itinerary looks like:

Saturday (July 25th) Dobson Trail - Riverview to Campsite past Hayward Pinnacle.
Sunday, Dobson Trail/Fundy Park - Into Alma, or camp just before Alma.
Monday, Fundy Park - Pick up my backpacking equipment in Alma, Hike to Pt. Wolfe
Tuesday, Fundy Footpath - Pt. Wolfe to Martin Head/Quiddy River
Wednesday, Fundy Footpath - Martin Head/Quiddy River to Little Salmon River
Thursday, Walton Glen Canyon - Explore the Walton Glen Canyon. Camp at Little Salmon.
Friday, Fundy Footpath - Little Salmon River to Big Salmon River.

I look forward to having the wilderness amplify my inner dialogue and the opportunity to capture this in writing and drawings.

Getting ready for the Fundy Trek reminds me of a hike I did around the same time last summer. While visiting friends in Waterton National Park I had the opportunity to solo-hike the Tamarack Trail in two days. It was an amazing trail up and down the gravelly red mountains in a dry smokey heat. Forest fires burned across the border in Montana and snow lingered in the mountains.

local motion, graham waugh, fundy footpath, dobson trail, saint john, new brunswick, sussex, hiking, backpacking, fundy,

July 20, 2009

Ride to the Headwaters Sum-Up

Was it a success? I think this photo sums it up. I snapped it on the flat stretch coming into Corn Hill just a couple miles from home. All in all, a perfect ride. A hundred and some kilometers in about 5 hours. No flats, no breakdowns, good pavement, great views, plenty of water, and a new sense of how compact Southern New Brunswick is.

Smiling on the final stretch into Corn Hill

I realized as I left my appartment in Saint John at 2 pm, that I was nervous. I thought, this is good. It means I'm doing something beyond my comfort zone. Raindrops made me hesitate as I crossed the Courtney Bay causeway but I carried on. It was a boring ride through Loch Lomond and traffic was steady until I passed the airport. I am blown away by the size of Loch Lomond (the lake). I stopped to drink some of its water that I had brought from my tap at home.

After that it was quiet back roads through Upham, Upperton, Hillsdale and all the way to Hammondvale. I followed the Hammond River past fresh cut Hay fields and cow pastures. This was a very mellow and peaceful section of biking. I used this opportunity to snack on carrots and trail mix that filled my pockets. As I turned toward Sussex Corner I crossed the Hammond River for the last time and began a section of big fast hills. Hills so long that on the way down you reach terminal velocity.

And old barn in Hillsdale with one summit of Saddleback Mountain in the background

Looking over spokes at the community at farm country near Sussex Corner

Wide open fields near Sussex Corner

I made it to Sussex Corner, hooped and hollered to myself, then swung through downtown to get water at Winter Wood Natural Foods. Being on my bike for the first time in Sussex it occured to me that this is a perfect town for day to day biking. Its completely flat and relatively compact.

The last section of biking, Sussex to Corn Hill, I knew would be the toughest. Not only because I was getting tired but because its got lots of hills.

Hesitant rain started falling as I left Sussex but it wasn't enough to slow me down. Once you get moving on a bike its psychologically hard to stop. After a few kilometers the rain stopped and the warm wind dried my shirt. I past more freshly cut Hay fields, big barns, and front yard vegetable gardens. My pedalling slowed on the straight aways and now I was for the first time using the easiest of my ten speeds on most of the hills. With about 12 kilometers to go I decided it was time to pull out my secret weapon...Sauerkraut! I ate a few mouthfuls of my homemade energizer and life flowed back into my legs. I'm not sure what it is about homemade fermented sauerkraut but it gives a huge rush of nearly hyperactive energy.

Looking west down the valley towards Sussex

The last hill, the killer, just before pulling into my parents' driveway

My dad biked out to join me for the last kilometer and together we sped our way up the final hill which just also happens to be steepest hill of the entire route! And as we turned into my parent's drive way, it started to rain. Which is a fitting way to end the journey to the top of a watershed. That night we enjoyed a delicious meal from my parents' organic vegetable garden, topped off with homemade strawberry ice cream from their garden's final berries.

Good Food from the Garden at my folks' place
local motion, graham waugh, bicycling, new brunswick, sussex, saint john, cycling, bike, birthday challenge

July 16, 2009

Ride to the Headwaters - mini Birthday Challenge

Biking the backroads of Southern New Brunswick

Looking across the Saint John - Petitcodiac Watershed Divide in Corn Hill

This afternoon, for my mini Birthday Challenge (the real deal is the Fundy Trek), I'm bicycling from my house at the Mouth of the Saint John River to the Headwaters of one of it major tributaries, the Kennebecasis River. I grew up in Corn Hill which forms the watershed divide between two of New Brunswick's famous rivers- the Saint John and the Petitcodiac. A good birthday challenge should provide some reflection. As a kid I was obsessed with the creeks near our house, the puddles in our driveway, and even a good rainstorm. So for my 24th birthdday it's fitting to retrace my path through the river network back to Corn Hill.

Since I'm dedicating my ride to water I thought I'd start by tracing the taps from my house back to their source at Loch Lomond in East Saint John. Beyond this I'll continue through Barnesville, Upham, and Hillsdale following the beautiful Hammond River Valley (http://www.hraa.ca/). Near the community of Hammondvale I'll part with this river and head towards Sussex Corner, joining Trout Creek shortly, before I leave Sussex and begin to follow Smiths Creek to Corn Hill.

While watersheds collect and concentrate the rain, our backroads reflect century old carriage paths that took people and their goods from farm to village to town and city. From the hinterlands of the Kennebecasis Watershed, people for thousands of years have walked and floated downstream to Saint John. These age old paths are now paved and impersonal but they can be tamed once again on foot or bike.

I love hearing the old stories of farmboys from Corn Hill biking the 25 km into Sussex for a Friday night dance then biking home again in the wee hours of the night. Although I doubt it would be much fun to ride a single speed bike on those bumpy old dirt roads, the idea of riding my bike get somewhere is very appealing. Biking home today is about more than just a physical challenge, I frankly need to get home. Its my Dad's big 60th birthday party on Saturday and I have a whole day of work to our place ready for it!

As my friend Ross often reminds me, human bodies evolved for motion. We can walk and run more efficiently than any other land animal. And the invention of the bike in the early 1800's increased the efficiency of our human potential once again. Last night I got a lesson on bike mechanics from my friend Lucas, the bike mechanic, as he fixed up my old Nishiki road bike on his backdeck. It's been a couple years since I pedalled 100km. I'll see how it feels to be an efficient human...probably painful :)
graham waugh, local motion, biking, bicycling, cycling, birthday challenge, corn hill, sussex, saint john, kennebecasis, hammond river,

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July 14, 2009

Ride and Hike to Green Head

The Cliffs of GreenHead

The other night I was looking for an evening bicycle ride and remembered hearing about cliffs at Green Head, Near Dominion Park, in Saint John West. The ride was just what I needed. An hour on my bike and a 2 km hike with a dash of exploring.

I packed some things, a sweater, some water, my headlamp, and a clif bar, then hit the road. I pedaled down Harbour Passage, enjoying the smooth red pavement, then climbed over the hill to the Reversing falls Bridge. After a couple simple turns to the North, I crossed the tiny bridge and found myself on the Rectangular Island that faces into Grand Bay.

When exploring a new area I like to bike to the end of roads so that I can develop a mental map of the place. So I followed the main road, soon arriving at Dominion Park Beach. The beach was not my scene. 'Man Trucks' blared crappy radio rock in the parking lot, while people slammed back pop from the canteen. No cliffs in sight. I turned to the remaining road on the island, climbed a steep hill on my bike and came across a woods road that went North. (On google maps this is labeled as an extension of Greenhead Road.) This road has been blocked off with a few large boulders. Eager to find some wilderness and knowing there was still a lot of Island left to the North, I stashed my bike and started hiking.

I followed this straigt forward ATV road for 2 km, admiring the big old forest, and soaking up spectacular views from a powerline clearing on the highland. Big forested hills rumpling into the sparking water, reminding me of hiking along the Saanich Peninsula, just north of Victoria, BC. The road ended at a small cove that was backed by tall limestone cliffs. I was blown away by the rugged landscape. The site has been a quarry once and bizarre formations remain.

I scrambled up scree slopes and walked along narrow limestone ridges that reminded me of hiking in the Canadian Rockies near Canmore. The rock was identical. The cliffs were tall and held some potential for rock climbing. Though, like I had heard the most impressive face, 100 ft of slightly overhanging blank rock, was nearly completely blank. The bulk of it was devoid of cracks and holds. But beautiful in its own right. The 50-60 foot rambling cliffs on either side of the big face could hold easier sport routes. And I did see the potential for a line through a large flake that would only require a couple bolts to protect the top third. If quarrying had taken place on this face, then nature had hidden the scars. The rock was clean and weathered.

The MainFace, big, intimidating, and seriously lacking hand holds.

I ran into a young couple that regularly enjoying hike in the area. They informed me that the cave, up on the cliff, was at least 100 ft deep and was a popular spot for caving. These two carried on to scramble up one of the cliffs.

This area is also a popular party spot with empty beer bottles in abundance. In my experience, Moose Light is the number one beer bottle tossed in the woods (Coors light cans are close behind). I wonder why this is? Apparently Moosehead has the bush-party/camp market cornered in New Brunswick. Is it the "wild" or "nature" appeal of the name "moosehead"? And why do these manly outdoors men drink "Light" beer? This was the case on Turtle Mountain. The tough guys in their loaded Jeeps, who spray painted naked women on the cliffs, handed us bottles of Moose Light as they drove off the Mountain. I wonder if Moosehead, who is a proud community partner for many events, realizes that its product is often left as trash in the woods?

I soaked up the last of the warm sun from a mini ridge line, overlooking the sparkling bay, banked by countless layers of mountains in the distance. Lots of people enjoy this natural space. Even the ones who leave their garbage behind. I'm glad they use it. We all need some wild in our lives. But what has caused them to accept leaving trash behind? This gives me something to to think about on the ride home.

Local Motion, graham waugh, hiking, saint john, dominion park, green head, cycling, biking routes, cliffs, rock climbing, explore, exploring, road rides,

Where: Saint John West
Distance: 9 km (oneway) from Uptown Saint John to trail head. 2 km (oneway) along ATV trails to cove and cliffs.
Directions: See Google Maps below. From Uptown take Harbour Passage and the Reversing Falls Bridge. Veer Right at Simms Corner, then right again onto Manawagonish Road, and right onto Church Street, and right again onto Greenhead Road. Pass the prominent Church, go down the long hill, cross the small bridge, and keep right on Greenhead Road. Climb to the top of the short hill. This road loops back around to Dominion Park Beach.
The trail head, is marked on the map by the white circle. It is at the top of the hill, directly across from a house. It is marked by a few big stones to keep traffic out. On this trail, stay on the main path. There are couple small side trails, but its obvious that these are not used as much. At the power lines follow the trail to the left and down the big hill. The hike climbs and descends several hills but is relatively easy.
Roads: It's a straight forward route, requiring a minimum of city riding, despite being through the city. Smooth pavement for most of it. Harbour passage is easy to ride and there is a section, though short, of bike lane on Church street. This route is easy to navigate on the way to Green Head because it is all right hand turns.

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July 9, 2009

Mellow Pedaling to Mispec

We are pretty lucky in Saint John to have so many back roads cutting across a range of landscapes. From the rolling river valley to the Bay of Fundy, cycling provides a great way to experience the regions unique character. Recently I've stumbled upon a cycling gem.

For the past two nights, I've hopped on my bicycle and pedaled down the meandering road to Mispec. After a sedentary day in the office, nothing feels better than propelling myself away from the city in the cool summer air. I find the motion of bicycling soothing to my mind and energizing to my body. Life is better when I bike!

The entire route from Uptown Saint John to Mispec Beach is about 30km round trip. I started getting to know this area in June with shorter excursions along Red Head Road, eventually working up to the 30km route. A regular cyclist will find this route easy, while those looking to improve their endurance and fitness will find this mellow road ideal training ground.

From my house at the bottom of Orange Street on the Saint John Peninsula, I need only navigate city traffic for five minutes before I hit the quiet two-lane Red Head Road that takes me all the way to Mispec. This route was made for biking! I wouldn't call it flat (nothing is flat in Southern New Brunswick!) but the short hills are gentle and just the right length for a quick charge to the top. The road begins at the wide tidal flats near in East Saint John, passes the Red Head Marsh, then on to old farmsteads that contrast with wide watery views of Saint John. On the way out to Mispec the road gradual climbs, providing you with an excellent perspective of the city with its Mountainous backdrop to the North.

At this time of year, a smattering of wild flowers have reclaimed the ditches. Nature is close at hand. Tuesday night I saw a bald eagle swooping at a seagull and last week I studied a red fox that paralled my path for over a hundred feet. Rock outcrops become prominent through the trees and finally when you've reached the height of land in Mispec, the trees break away to Mispec Beach, a gem in the craggy shore. The route's only steep hill brings you to the bridge across Mispec River and an equally steep climb up the otherside. But don't despair, in a few minutes you can pull into Mispec Beach and relax on the flat sandy beach. Tuesday night, I found myself there, totally mesmerized by the endless rippled sand. It was my first time at the beach and I was instantly sucked in by its beauty. I walked over the soft wet sand to the water's edge. The tide was out and over 400 feet of flat beach was exposed. The flatness of the beach is extentuated by the rocky headlands that thrust out on either side. That night a half dozen couples and families were strolling the beach. Teenagers had found some space to hang out on the rocks and young girls were eating ice cream purchased from the canteen. And despite the big honking Liquified Natural Gas Towers of Canaport...the view is still incredible, though I have to admit I felt like I was looking at the lair of some James Bond villain.

So if you live in Central Saint John, this incredible beach is only a 35 minute pedal from your door. That's so quick! Really, what is 35 minutes? With the round trip clocking in at just over an hour, you could do this tonite! Do it for exercise, for freewheeling freedom, or to earn an apetite for a picnic on the beach.

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Start: From Uptown cross the Courtney Bay Causeway, turn Right onto Bayside Drive, then Right again onto the Red Head Road.
Distance: 30 km out and back from Uptown Saint John ( round trip). Can shorten ride by turning around at any point.
Terrain: Flat - Mellow Hills, a slight general climb towards Mispec
Road Conditions: Varied new and old pavement, but overall old 2 lane road with no shoulder. Potholes, cracks, and pavement patches in many places but easy to navigate around.
Traffic: The 60 km/hr Speed Limit keeps traffic mellow, but rushhour has low to moderate traffic
Conveniance store at midway point, water available from canteen and washrooms at Mispec Beach.
More informaion:
Saint John, Local Motion, New BRunswick, Outdoors, Biking, Adventure, Graham Waugh

July 8, 2009

Fundy Trek....18 Days to go!

The Fundy Coastline from Martin Head (photo credit Greg McCracken)

Join me on the Fundy Trek between July 26th and August 1st
for my 24th Birthday Challenge.

I decided that this year for my 24th birthday I needed to set a challenge for myself. I guess it all started last year when for my birthday I climbed the Cardiac Arrete Route on the Grand Sentinel near Lake Louise. At the time it was slightly over my head. I'd never tried anything like it before. My friend James and I hiked over 28 km that day, with 800m elevation, and froze our asses on a 4 pitch 5.10c sport route. We stumbled back to the car in the empty parking lot at dusk with smiles on our faces. It was the best birthday in a long time and an excellent way to start my 23rd year. Check out these incredible birthday challenges, http://www.birthdaychallenge.com/index2.html.

After throwing around a lot of ideas I have finally settled on attempting the Fundy Trek. It's a ~125km trail from Riverview to St. Martin's through the dramatic Fundy Highlands. I got the idea from www.fundyfootpath.info. This will be a challenge for me since (1) I've never completed a backpacking trip of this length. My trips in the past have been limited to 2-3 day hikes. (2) I'm unfamiliar with these trails.

The Trek links the 50 year old Dobson Trail (~ 60 km) with the renowned Fundy Footpath (~45km), with trails in Fundy National Park (~20km). The Fundy Trek traverses some of this regions most wild places. Last summer on an overnight hike to Martin Head, my Dad and I found Mossy Rainforests, Giant Hardwoods, Huge Waterfalls, beaches, incredible coastal cliffs. We are so lucky to have this wilderness in our backyard. In fact it was recently designated at a UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve due to its unique biological and geological nature. This hike has garnered a reputation as a serious physical challenge with heady logistics due to the many river crossing near the world's high tides! As it says on the Fundy Footpath website, "This is where the Appalachians meet the Sea".

For practical reasons I decided to delay my "birthday challenge" until the end of July. (My Birthday is July 16th, I'll have a mini-challenge on that day). I'm taking the last week of July off work (27th to 31st), which gives me 9 days to work with. My current plan is to start in Riverview around the 26 or 27th of July. I plan to hike the Dobson Trail as fast and light as possible. When I arrive in Alma I'll pick up my extra gear and food before starting the Fundy Footpath. Mid-way along the Fundy Footpath I want to take a day to explore the Eye of the Needle and the cliffs of Walton Glen Canyon. Check out these links:

The trail has several sections, providing ample opportunities for others to join me for 1 to 4 day chunks. I've learnt that hiking is more enjoyable with people and my hope is that others will come along to share the experience. I've found that the best number for backpacking trips is 3-5 people.

Here are some Options for joining me:
Major Sections:
- Dobson trail (2-3 days)
- Fundy Park (1-2 days)
- Footpath (4 days)

- the whole thing! (6-8 days.)
Minor Sections:

- Join me from Hayward Pinnacle near Elgin and hike to Shepody Road in the Park. ~ 20 km?
- Shepody Road to Alma in Fundy National Park. ~15 km?
- Alma to Goose Creek in Fundy National Park. ~15 km?
- Martin Head to St. Martins (accessible by logging road with a truck). ~35 km

In the coming days I'll be providing more information about my itinery. Please contact me if you are interested in joining me or have advice on trail logistics. Contact me at grhmwgh@gmail.com or 506.647.6588

A Misty Morning at the Mouth of the Quiddy River near Martin Head. Look at the size of this Valley. Think about what it took to create that. Now look at the photograph below. My Dad snapped that photo near the start of our hike. Again its the Quiddy River but wait a minute, how did that little river create such a big Valley? The glaciers that flattened the tops of these appalachian mountains also eroded huge river valleys. And those valleys are what make the Fundy Foot path so demanding.

Trail Info
Fundy Footpath http://www.fundyfootpath.info/
Dobson Trail http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/rss/article/497528
Fundy National Park http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nb/fundy/index_e.asp