In 9 days my friend Paul Maybee and I are heading into the backcountry of the Loch Alva Protected Area for 6 days and 5 nights of winter fun. A couple months back, we sat in Paul's kitchen discussing our plans for a Gaspe Ski Touring trip. As we drank our coffee the conversation kept slipping back to New Brunswick backcountry adventures. We'd both heard about the great hut to hut skiing in the Gaspe but that comes with hut bookings, park passes, and a day long drive in each direction. The huts would be nice, a luxury even, but we didn't want a vacation. We want an adventure, a learning experience. So do we really need to drive 10 hours to find this? No we don't. We've got plenty of wilderness around Southern New Brunswick.
Paul and I hiked into Turtle Mountain in the Loch Alva Protected Area in May 2009. Maybe it was the framed photo of the Turtle Mountain overlook in Paul's apartment that triggered it. But as we finished the dregs of our coffee, I think we were both dreaming of the view from Turtle Mountain. Wilderness stretching as far as you can see and so many lakes.
We did some more research and found there's not much online and there are certainly no guidebooks about the area. Go online and see what you can find. Not much at all. This added to the alure. So we started asking around. First we heard about an old growth forest on the banks of Loch Alva. Digging around some more, we found that there's many unique places to explore in this protected area. Earlier this week we listened to Martin from the Department of Natural Resources describe the rocky barrens and point out a handful of other attraction including a canyon, a series of waterfalls, and a place called the Valley of Diamonds. Our hearts sank when he mentioned the skidoo highway but we smiled when he told us skidoos can't get into much of the backcountry. Precisely the area that we're heading into.
So with a week to go we're quite busy with gear preparation and food dehydrating. As the temperatures outside, threaten to crack the thermometer each night, we find this small piece of wilderness grow in size.
For more information about the Loch Alva Protected Area
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