Local Motion - New Brunswick

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March 12, 2010

Just Walking to Town - Corn Hill to Sussex on Foot.

I've wanted to walk to Sussex for years. I suppose it all started when I heard stories about ol' Parker Coates. When he was young (we're talking long ago) he'd walk or bicycle into Sussex from Corn Hill for dances on the weekends. That was back when it was an old dirt road with more potholes than you could fill with a dumptruck. Then there is the stories of ol' Joe Dickie walking his cows to the market in Sussex. Nowadays with automobiles, no one walks like they did in the old days. So I thought, what the heck, people have walked long distances since the dawn of time. I might as well give it a try.

I got some maps and planned my route to sussex. The obvious path is to follow the roads but who wants to walk on roads?? So I outlined a route that would take me through the fields and forests of Knightville and over the top of Mount Pisgah. I'd always wanted to hike on top of Mount Pisgah, so why not include it in my trip to Sussex.

I set out from Corn Hill early on Friday morning on snowshoes and by lunch time I had made it to Giermend's German Deli in Knightville. I picked up some deliscious meats for lunch and carried on.

Near the end of the day I climbed onto Mount Pisgah, fought through birch thickets and came out in a gorgeous hollow near a fork in a brook. Exhausted from a couple hours of bushwhacking I decided to set up camp. I put together a simple tarp structure and enjoyed a hot supper as the sun went down.

I feel asleep to the sound of the babbling brook under a canopy of stars. I was awfully cozy that night, snug in my little nest.

Dawn crashed through the trees with an cutting light, but I just put my head deeper in my sleeping bag and kept sleeping. It's nice to sleep in a bit during winter camping to give the sun a chance to warm things up.

I climbed out of the hollow and found myself in a humongous clearcut. The mountain side was totally smoked! "What a disgrace" I thought. But at least you get good views from clearcuts. The sun was high, and in the blue sky I noticed two eagles circling in the thermals. I smashed and cursed my way through the clearcut's thick growth and breathed a sigh of relief when I arrived in an old hardwood forest. From there I could see Smith's Creek, Roachville, Sussex, Sussex Corner, Dutch Valley, and Penobsquis. It was stunning how much higher I was than the surrounding hills.

  Looking over the Sussex Valley. The town is just below the strange black dot.

After a quick lunch in the sun, I was ready for the final push to Sussex. After a steep descent, I hit a forest so thick that I could swim through it. But soon I began encountering a web of woodlot roads which tempted me and soon lead me off track and in the completely wrong direction. I started to realize where I was headed but refused to go back into the choking forest. So I carried on and with a heavy sigh, well actually more like a few F***'s. The wood's road brought me to the Knightville Road near Smith's Creek. I took off my snowshoes, strapped them on my pack and hoofed it the rest of the way to town on the road. Soon I was happy to be on the road. With the warm weather my snowshoes had been balling up with snow some terrible. As well, on the road I got to look up at, the hills I was looking down at from atop Mount Pisgah.

In the hot afternoon sun I arrived in Town and strolled downtown to get a beer at the Broadway Cafe. That was the perfect way to conclude my walk to town. Taking the time to get somewhere always makes the destination a whole lot more rewarding. This walk was probably the most rewarding trip I've done in recent years.

As spring arrives, consider taking a day to leave the car at home and walking to your closest town. Bring a lunch and a friend, and see what that distance feels like. You can follow the country roads, there's no need to contrive a bushwhacking adventure like I did.

graham waugh local motion sussex corn hill snowshoe hiking walking new brunswick wilderness adventure


Michelle said...

Thats fantastic! That is a gorgeous area. I usually see it on a bike. Couple yrs ago I did a bike tour from Moncton to Sussex to Cambridge narrows and back to Sussex. I loved that bit through Cornhill/Knightville. Probably one of my favorite legs.

forgot said...

I like your blog.

Isaiah said...

Thats sweet, I did that once, but stayed mostly to fields and roads. I think I still prefer biking through that area though.