Local Motion - New Brunswick

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

August 26, 2009

The Beauty of East Saint John



In the past couple weeks I've been getting to know East Saint John. This rough looking, sometimes smelly suburb gets snubbed only by those who don't know any better. I'll admit to it. Until recently I didn't know any better and just I dismissed it as a land of malls and ribbon development. But, with help from locals and by exploring on my own I've come to appreciate East Saint John's hidden wild spaces. It really is a spectacular part of our region.

I don't quite know where to start. There's just too much to say and too many questions to ask. So I'll warn you, this post is going to be scattered. But I have to get it out there, the summer is ending and you need to get your butt to East Saint John! You'll have to forgive me if my terminology isn't accurate. I'd love to hear from East Saint Johnners about name of these places.

Ok, first off, a must-see . If you do one thing in East Saint John then make it Silver Falls. Water roars through this narrow gorge like a freight train off its rails. There are many drops and pools in this gorge with some big falls too. There's a couple large pools that lure both cliff-jumpers, swimmers, and anglers. Follow the narrow path along the edge of the gorge to find ripe beds of bright red cranberries and sweet blueberries. In the past two weeks I've picked about 2 liters of those tart cranberries.
One of the larger drops along Silver Falls


Moving waters

Cranberry season

Silver Falls is easy to reach. From the parking lot off Loch Lomond Road it is about a 10 minute walk through grassy meadows. Follow the path leading from the parking lot past the old metal gate. To avoid some wet spots on the trail stay to the left following the higher ground. This path loops around to the gorge. There's lots to explore up and down the gorge. Hopefully the map below gets you started. The parking lot is across from the Church by the Commercial Drive - Loch Lomond Road Intersection.

Silver Falls Map


Another place that I've had the opportunity to explore through my work is what is known locally as the "Rez". It's not too far from Silver Falls. Just continue along Loch Lomond Road for another 2 km or so. This large lake was once the city water reservoir but has since then become both a wonderful piece of wilderness and an unofficial dump. The lake is surrounded by productive red spruce forest, wetland, and couple brooks. There is a sandy beach with a life guard near the road, while a network of off road trails will take you around the lake and into the forest.

I was excited to learn today that the hidden beauty of the Rez inspired has grass roots group called the Little River Reservoir Assocation. For the past 5 years they have been working to clean up the Rez and make it into a recreational parkland. They have already removed 15 tonnes!!! of garbage and are working to create a trails plans for the site. Good stuff!

Have a look at their website for more information about the Rez and the group.

Plus they were featured in today's Telegraph Journal. Just click the link below for the full article.
"Community support sought for reservoir project"




The Cold Brook marsh along Golden Grove Road


Above Glen Falls

Last night I bicycled out to take photos of a wetland along the Golden Grove Road for work. I was impressed to find an beautiful marsh complete with ducks. As I was taking photos I started to notice cliffs in the background. Large cliffs. I couldn't place them at the time but later at home I located them on a map. A another area, wild and rugged, that will have to be explored. Upstream from the marsh I had heard about a waterfall named Glen Falls. I could see the start of the ravine from the road. It was an unfortunate first impression; tires, shopping carts. But there's deeper beauty to this place that shines through the trash. I dropped my bike in a grassy meadow and discovered two lovely apple trees. This got me excited as I've been thinking more and more about urban fruit harvesting ( Abundance Sheffield in Britain). I'd like to find out who owns these trees because in a couple more weeks there will be quite a harvest.

Two varieties of apples!

Scrambling down the ravine alongside the river, there was plenty of trash, but the usual noise of the city was drowned by the gushing water. At the bottom of the falls was a green cathedral of hardwood trees. The road is only a hundred feet away but I am enclosed in a bubble of nature.

Glen Falls

The green cathedral


Saint John is one wild and beautiful city.
So much to explore!

graham waugh saint john east saint silver falls loch lomond waterfalls new brunswick

August 11, 2009

Don't forget your Brain!



Sometimes I need to get somewhere.
There's no time to think
Just act, just hit the gas
but
Although my body may arrive
My mind is often left behind.

Does that ever happen to you?


It's not easy traveling fast.
In fact its even hard to react

cause my brain
needs time
to adapt
to the place
that I've arrived at.

When I travel the countryside
I often have to drive
but if I can I prefer to ride.
Pedaling a bike may seem slow
but at least
It allows my brain to keep pace.
Or maybe it's just the fresh air
And sun on my face.

Last weekend I needed to get back to Saint John after a night in Corn Hill. It was hard leaving the idyllic countryside. My parent's vegetable garden was overflowing, the pond was refreshing, the fields were buzzing, and our dog would have loved a good walk. I could have found a drive to Saint John but where would that have left me? A Zombie, halfway between the country and the city. Instead I chose to bicycle. It was still hard to leave Corn Hill and I was anxious about forgetting my bike pump in the city, but as the miles rolled by I started looking forward to the city. I left in the middle of the afternoon and five hours later I arrived in Saint John with a smile on my face. The key is that I actively arrived, ready to engage in my new surroundings and appreciate the city's brisk bay of fundy air. I was excited to cook supper, catch up on some reading, and call friends about rock climbing the next day. Had I drove, the four hours I could have saved would likely have been widdled away as a zombie. Besides, the bike ride was really fun. Because I was biking instead of driving I got to chat with a young guy that was working in his field of organic hops in Corn Hill. I followed the old transcanada along the Kennebecasis, passing through Hampton, then entering Saint John via Rothesay Avenue. Maybe my brain is slow. But I don't think I'm the only one. So how about we try to give our brains a break once in a while. Walk or ride your bike and give yourself some time to actually arrive.

August 10, 2009

Climbing the Pink Panther

Roger at the top of the route Pink Panther in Welsford

Yesterday I had the climbing day I had long been waiting for. The summer is a busy time and unfortunately over the past month climbing has fallen to the bottom of my to do list. But yesterday brought it out of the depths and renewed my love for the sport.

Lucas, Kristy, and I started in the morning at Gallery Wall with two pitches up Astroboy 5.9 which would take us to a couple amazing climbs that start 200 feet off the ground. Lucas lead Rythm Stick 5.8 (awesome!) which ends on a huge detached rectangular block that you chimney behind to reach the top. After that I lead the Ragged Edge 5.9, which was so good. Protection off the ground isn't great but it soon gives way to a stellar finger crack with some stemming and a huge void to step over.

Later in the day we headed to Minkey Wall where we met up with a group of climbing friends of mine from Halifax, as well as a climber from Ontario, and David Brayden who is biking across Canada.

It was great to climb with my old friend Roger from Halifax, who three years ago brought me to Welsford for the first time. That trip showed me how great the climbing is here as well as introducing me to ropes and carabiners, rappelling, and how to lead belay. Back then I was a boulderer and completely distrustful of climbing ropes. Now, its almost laughable that I used to sweat on Top Rope like it was a life or death situation. During that trip I lead my first route...Go-Ni-Ga-Ga 5.6 sport. Things have changed a bit in the last three years.

Lats night as the sun was turning the stone to gold, Roger and I racked up for Pink Panther 5.10a. This is a route that I've been dreaming of leading all summer. Roger lead the short first pitch up to the pigeon shit ledge. He brought me up and I sat on the ledge for a few minutes to collect myself for the intimidating roof. I counted my slings making sure I had enough to extend around the roof then re-racked my #3 Camalot so I could easily reach it. My nerves were tingling but I chased away my doubts. I felt a long way from the top-rope turmoil that I experienced three years ago. I trusted my gear, my rope, and my belayer. With my mind focused on the crisp rock, I climbed up into the maws off the roof. I set a #0.75 Camalot and a orange Mastercam below the roof and extended the hell out of them, then launched into the sharp layback until I was jammed under the massive roof with one foot smeared on the face and the other leg jammed in the wide crack. I grabbed my #3 Camalot threw it in the crack, clipped on my long sling, took a breath and carefully puled myself around the roof to the exposed face. I caught the jug and sent out a whooop and with a big grin cruised through the rest of the route. I was rewarded at the top with a comfortable seat on a big flat ledge. I belayed Roger up and we sat in awe as the smoldering sun lowered into the valley.

We hiked out in the dark with growling stomachs and at the cars I said goodbye to Roger who was heading off for more climbing adventures in Kamouraska, Quebec.

I arrived at home just in time to meet David, the biker, who I had invited to stay with me. We had a late supper, shared stories about climbing and traveling out west, but mostly my roommate Ross and I just sat there getting inspired by David's summerlong biking adventure across Canada.

graham waugh local motion rock climbing welsford saint john new brunswick

August 6, 2009

Ride and Climb on the Kingston Peninsula

My two wheeled, ten speed "escape hatch" from the city

Nothing better than leaving for an adventure straight from work! This evening was a couple weeks ago on a hot day in July. I had my backpack ready to go with some basic climbing gear, warm clothing, and snacks so that by 5 pm I could hit the road. I wanted to bicycle instead of drive to meet my friends Lucas and Kristy at a favorite after work crag near Reed's Point on the Kingston Peninsula across from the Gondola Point Ferry terminal.

Shortly after leaving uptown where I work I crossed the transcanada highway and I got lost, having navigate by feel until I met up with a familiar road farther north. I was bound for the Summerville Ferry that crosses from Millidgeville, just north of Saint John, to the Kingston Peninsula. As I pulled up I passed a line of cars that had been anxiously waiting for the ferry. At busy times of the day car drivers sometimes have to wait for the next boat....not bike riders though! I enjoyed the luxury of boarding and unloading ahead of all the cars. On the ferry I had a few minutes to relax and enjoy the sun glistening over the Kennebecasis River.

On the Kingston Peninsula I rolled through quiet backroads. On my way to Reed's Point I met more barns than cars and got into a good flow rolling hills. The interesting views on this ride occured less often than I expected. The road mainly passes through a thick forest but a there are a handful of panoramic views over the Kennebecasis. And the scenic highlight of the trip occurs just before the descent to Reed's Point. Views are good but I'm not chasing those. The fleeting images I catch as I'm pedalling hard, with my mind focused, are always more memorable.

The road leading down to the Gondola Point Ferry Crossing

I rolled up to the Crag at just before 7 pm. The riding time probably only added up to just over an hour while getting lost and taking the ferry made up the rest of the hour. The crag, which we can Gondola Point, ( although its not in Gondola Point) is set down just below the road on the edge of the Kennebecasis River. It's a great spot to unwind at the end of the day. There are a few great, through short, sport climbing routes. This includes one that has 20 feet of delicate stemming (picture an being inside an open faced book) and another that traverses an overhanging wall over the water!

What a great summer night!

Lucas leading a DeerJaw 5.10 with Kristy on the belay


Lucas Leading MooseJaw 5.10 with the Kennebecasis River in the background


Details:
Where: Kingston Peninsula, near Saint John
Distance: 30 km (oneway) from Uptown Saint John to Gondola Point Ferry.
Directions: See Google Maps below. It's a straight forward route once you reach the Ferry. To get there I went on Somerset Street and Milledgeville Avenue but you'll have to take whatever streets make sense from your origin. Once you're on the Kingston Peninsula, there are no turns to make. Just stay on Route 845 following signs to Gondola Point. The climbing area is approximately 1000 feet before the Reed's Point/Gondola Point Ferry Terminal. There is a small roadside pull out on the water side of the road across from a wet 15 foot cliff. From the roadside pull out, facing the water, head left 30 ft to a steep trail that loops around to the cliffs. The cliffs are directly below the roadside pull out.
Roads: Good condition overall. Some sections are better than others. The surface is mostly pavement with areas of chip seal. (Chip seal is common on backroads. It is tar with rock on top with makes it rougher than pavement) Not many pot holes. Cracks are common yet easily avoidable.
Terrain: Rolling hills with just a couple bigger ones.
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: Very little traffic. I was given lots of space by drivers.
Services:
There are a couple Convenience Stores along the way.
graham waugh, local motion, saint john, new brunswick, kingston peninsula, cycling, biking, bikes, outdoors, active living, rock climbing

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August 5, 2009

Back from the Trek!

Woooueee! What a week! Just a quick update for now... I am back from the Fundy Trek, back from the wilderness. This birthday challenge was just what I was looking for. Seven days of hiking in the Fundy Highlands strained my mental determination and battered my body . But all for the better! I saw swaggering forests, mind tingling landscapes and felt lots of pain in my knees!

I want to thank Ross Curtner for hiking the Riverview to Alma section with me. His positive attitude and determination kept me going through many painful miles and set the tone for the rest of the hike! My Parents, Joe and Jane, for providing much needed transportation on either end of the hike and a gear re-supply in Alma. Janelle and Lindsay, two compassionate women I met from Calgary, who I spent two days hobbling behind on my way to the Fundy Footpath. Cory Clark for the keys to his car that was waiting for me at the Big Salmon River.

After I distill the events of last week and slowly get back into the swing of my life in the city I will hopefully find the time to post stories from the trip.

Here are a few photos from the trek that for me capture its highlights. The highlights were the visual surprises created by the shifting light or the tumbling of rapids and the richness that hard work and wilderness imparts to the people I was with and the food I ate.



Day 2, Dried Pepperoni Extravagance for lunch at Laverty Falls

Day 2, Ross at one of the many crossing on the Upper Salmon River Trail.


Day 4, Tweedle Dum Tweedle Dee Falls on Brandy Brook


Day 6, My side hike into the Wild Country of Lil' Sal


Day 7, the final day, crunchy walking on Seely Beach