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Thursday, August 25, 2016

St. Martins and the Fundy Trail

The Fundy Trail is a beautiful drive along the coastline of the Bay of Fundy which separates New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  St. Martins is a fishing village but in its heyday was a shipbuilding community in the 1800's.  It is a beautiful village with many old historic homes and, being on the beautiful Bay of Fundy, it attracts hundreds of tourists each year.  You can get to St. Martins via Saint John or Sussex.  

The Fundy Trail is being built as a highway to connect St. Martins to Fundy National Park about 50 km up the coast.  It is a very costly road to build along the rugged coastline with many ravines and hills to get through.  It has only been built about a third of the way.  St. Martins has a wonderful stone beach and great sea caves which are a big attraction, as well as two covered bridges, a museum and lighthouses, and great seafood restaurants.  I've shared photos of our visit here before which you can find in the 'labels' at the end of my post.

This is a long post so I hope you enjoy the pictures and dialogue.

My friend Ida drove us to St. Martins and we were prepared for all kinds of weather.  Being on the Bay can be foggy, damp and chilly, or sunny and hot.  It was a beautiful sunny summer day with a little breeze off the bay so quite perfect.  This is Fuller Falls.  We hiked down a ravine that has 63 stairs built into the side of it.  I nearly died climbing back up as I'm so out of shape!  Haha.  

A friendly couple making their way up that staircase.  There were quite a few American tourists there - all so friendly and enjoying the beauty and great weather.

The beautiful coastline with fog hanging over the cliffs.  That is either Melvin Beach or Pangburn Beach down below.  One can hike this whole trail from the beginning near St. Martins all the way to Fundy National Park - a total of 49 km.  We met one young couple who were finishing their 4 day hike from the Fundy Park end!  She said it was the toughest hike she'd ever done.  The front end of the hike from St. Martins to the Big Salmon River is groomed and wide, although lots of hills and vales to do, but the other end is extremely rugged and one has to be physically fit to do it.  In fact, with the little bit of hiking we did I need to be more physically fit!  Haha.  It was pretty bad when I had to stop to breathe and rest my poor knees on the downhill slopes.

This is the bridge over the Big Salmon River.  We had a picnic lunch here.  The Interpretive Centre is located here as well.

This photo shows the suspension bridge for foot traffic and the new highway bridge on the right both over the Salmon River.

The Interpretive Centre.  The history of this area is very interesting - from logging the hillsides to ship building to salmon fishing - over the past 150 years.

We stopped at a look off and this is the view down to the Interpretive Centre and the Big Salmon River.  

This is looking down at Long Beach, the current 'end of the trail' as far as the Parkway goes for driving.  This section just opened this year as previous to now one could only access the beach on foot.  Do you see the grey rock cut on the left in the wooded area?  That is where the road twists and turns down the hill to the beach.

This is a cropped shot of that rock cut.  You can see why it's taking so long to build this road and costing millions of dollars to do it.  Some of the ravines were filled with the rock from these cuts or bridges have to be built.  

Driving through this rock cut to Long Beach was an adventure!  There are 2 or 3 hairpin turns on it.

When we got to the beach area, where there is plenty of parking, we found 3 of these lovely picnic shelters and there were more on the hill above it next to a larger parking lot.

And this is Long Beach looking to the right.

Looking back to the parking lots and picnic shelters.  The beach is a combination of gritty sand and beach rocks and the water is cold!

The tide was out while we were there and it was a lovely day to be on the beach.  A cold, rainy, foggy day would not be as pleasant.

This is the left side of the beach around the bluff looking toward Fundy National Park somewhere up the coast.

Since this was the 'end of the line' we drove back and found some trails to hike.  This particular trail was pretty and wooded and challenging.  We didn't realize we would be walking through roughly cleared woodland down the edge of a steep ravine to the valley below that had major drop-offs.  We hiked a ways along then decided to turn back as I just couldn't do it plus we had to hike back up to the car.

Isn't this beautiful?  The trees were so tall and the filtered sunlight was lovely.  You can see how the hill drops off on the left and how narrow the path is.  Not for me!!  No thank you.

This is another trail that was wide and even paved in the steeper parts.  We came across some youths who were biking the trail.  I did have a hard time even on this trail with some of the steep parts as my knees got quite painful going downhill and my hips hurt going uphill.  I think my body is going downhill!!  :)

We finished the Trail and returned to St. Martins so we could walk the beach and see the caves.  When the tide is in you can't access the caves at all.

This is looking out from the large cave.  So cool!

I love the red sandstone cliffs that have eroded for centuries from the high Bay of Fundy tides.

This is the part of the wharf area in St. Martins at low tide.  They are dredging the harbour which is why there are some men and survey equipment there.

The iconic covered bridges over the Irish River.

A sweet gift shop with beautiful flowers and colourful decor outside.  Ask the owner about the interesting history of this building.  

We had a wonderful day of exploring and ended it with supper on the patio of The Caves Restaurant overlooking the beach.  I had a whole fried clams (not the tough clam strips) and chips (French fries) platter.  Yummy!  And, we had cones of ice cream for dessert before we headed on the road for our 2 hour drive home.  

I hope you enjoyed my visit to St. Martins and the Fundy Trail Parkway.  You need to put this place on your bucket list!  There is so much to see and do for all ages and abilities.  The Trail is open 9-7 until September 5 then from September 6 - October 10 it is open from 9-5.  It closes for the winter then but one can park at the gate and take short hikes.  Visit the website at www.fundytrailparkway.com.   


I hope your August is going well.  I know it's going very fast and fall is almost upon us.  We've had some beautiful days with lots of heat and humidity and we've also had some fall-like-temperature days.  

Thanks so much for visiting.  Take care.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

happenings in August

We are skipping along quickly in August already with a change in the temperature the past few days here.  The humidity has given us a reprieve (until tomorrow) and it is almost sweater weather...for me at least.  Most of my friends love the cooler drier air.  We've had a few spectacular sunsets recently but the one above was exceptional.  The photo is not edited.

I've been using mostly my iPhone for photos lately so that is what these ones I'll be sharing today are.  Enjoy.

Sisters ~ Me, Pat, and Maggie 

Pat, our older sister at 74, has Alzheimers and was having a good day this day when she and her husband came to visit.  Maggie is doing pretty well and will see the eye doctor again at the end of next week.  Still no idea when she can fly back to BC.  She is visiting Pat and Richard this week for a change of scene.  

The summer harvest is ongoing in our area.  A local farmer hayed part of the field behind our house last week.

We are enjoying some fresh beans and peas from our garden and so are the deer!!    See how they are nicely 'trimmed'?  The beets are trimmed too.  

Maggie and I went for a walk on the trail in Fredericton last Sunday afternoon and crossed the walking bridge over the St. John River.  This is a little cruise boat that one can go on for a river tour.  Our choir is doing this boat tour for a summer get together on Thursday evening.

I've been enjoying a lot of these this summer.  :) Do you have a favourite flavour of ice cream?  I love anything with chocolate and have been eating a lot of "Hoof Prints" this summer.  

We've had a few of these kind of skies lately too, which have brought thunder showers and storms.  This one actually passed us by....not a drop of rain.

Last Friday Maggie and I drove to Nackawic, home of the world's largest axe, and Woodstock.  It was one of those hot sultry summer days that I love.  

Murray and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary last Saturday so we went out for dinner at a hotel downtown then for a walk along the green after.

This is a new art installation along the path called "Watermark" that shows the height of the flood waters from the St. John River going back to the 1880's.  The tall dark post has the dates of the high floods marked on it and yes, the highest was near the top of it in 1936!  Each post is copper clad hence the turquoise colouring and there is a band of molten glass near the top of each one too.  Kind of interesting.

Our shadows and Murray doing a two-handed wave.  ;)

A peaceful pastoral scene on the weekend near where we live.

I've joined Instagram recently and am having fun with it so far.  My account is private for now but if you'd like to follow me send a request.

Thanks for visiting and leaving your comments on my last post.  I have visited a few of you and will try to find time to visit some more over the next couple days.  

Have a beautiful week.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

summer is flying by

You know summer is flying by when the Brown-eyed Susans are blooming.  I can't believe it is now August.  July has been a beautiful month weather-wise here, but a crazy busy one.  We still have company with us.  My sister, who is visiting from British Columbia, had to have emergency surgery in Halifax, NS for a detached retina on July 23.  She now has 'the gas bubble' and 'buckle' in her left eye and therefore cannot fly for several more weeks (maybe until September!) until the gas is totally depleted from the bubble.  It has been a rough time for her as she is supposed to be flying home today.  

This is a long post with lots of photos.  Enjoy.

We did get to visit Moncton and Hopewell Rocks though before 'it' happened.  {By the way, 'it' can happen to anyone but in particular to 'older' adults just due to aging. If you notice flashes of light, sparks, colours or dark floaters in your eye get to an ophthalmologist or an ER immediately as time is of the essence.  If caught early enough a tear can be repaired through laser surgery and recovery is much faster.}  We spent a delightfully hot and very windy afternoon at The Rocks with our sister-in-law and niece.

This is the famous "Elephant Rock" that collapsed this winter.  The 'elephant' is on the left and the gap between it and the next one was filled in with rubble, including "The Keyhole".  Time and tide took its toll.

The "Elephant Rock" and "Keyhole" in August 2015.

This is the memorial to the 3 RCMP officers killed in the line of duty in Moncton in July 2014.

We walked along the trail in downtown Moncton that evening and viewed the Honour Garden.  These sculptures are beautiful and each one as individual as the man they represent.  

The Petitcodiac River in Moncton aka the 'Chocolate River'. Doesn't it look like a nice chocolate cheesecake or mousse to you?  :)

We even saw the Tidal Bore come in.  The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world and during high tide the water which flows into the huge bay also flows up the Petitcodiac River making a wave.  Some brave souls even surf the wave.

There is also an Irish Families Memorial along the river commemorating the Irish that settled the Moncton area.

We later caught the sunset over the river through a window in a model covered bridge in Riverview.


That leads us up to the weekend of July 22 - 25.  I include the 22nd (also my birthday) as that is the day we found out about the detached retina and Murray and I drove Maggie to Halifax for surgery the next morning.  While she was in the hospital resting after her surgery Murray and I went for walks down on the waterfront, up Citadel Hill and through the Public Gardens.  Halifax is a beautiful, busy port city on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia.  Murray had a business meeting on Monday which was kind of good timing so we stayed over to give Maggie a bit more rest then we went home late afternoon getting home by dusk (it's a 5 hour drive).  

Here are some photos from Halifax.

We stayed here the first two nights.  They even give a special rate for hospital patients and family, although the rooms set aside for this are smaller than normal but comfortable.

The new Public Library building.  I guess the view of the harbour from up there is wonderful.  

The beautiful St. Paul's Anglican Church.

The Wave sculpture along the boardwalk.

The long steep walk up to Citadel Hill.

Looking down to the harbour.

Us with the Citadel Hill clock tower in behind us. {a kind tourist took our photo after we took theirs}  It was thundering while we were walking and we climbed up the steep hill to the top (still thundering) took some pictures then headed back to the hotel.  The storm was severe but we made it safely and waited it out on the hotel's front patio until it let up then walked over to the hospital to visit Margaret.  A person could definitely keep fit by walking around this city!!

Waiting for the thunderstorm to end on the patio of the hotel.

The beautiful Halifax Public Gardens on a gorgeous and hot Sunday afternoon.

This beautiful fountain in the gardens was commissioned to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

A beautiful allee of old trees.

Once we had our bearings we found that the Citadel Hill was next to the park so we climbed up again for a better daytime view.

This is the view of the entrance to the Citadel, which was a fortress built to protect the city.  We didn't have time to tour although we did tour it many years ago.  The red chairs are part of Parks Canada's 'Red Chairs' theme across the country.

Back at the Public Gardens.

The beautiful Victorian bandstand.  There was a really great band playing some old 60's and 70's rock songs so we sat in the shade of a huge tree and enjoyed it for a while.

The tea house which serves teas, coffees, light refreshments and ice cream.  There is seating in front of it for the concerts.

Despite all the stress of my sister having eye surgery, we are home and trying to carry on.  Margaret and I have gone for a couple of walks enjoying the local scenery and hope to do more visiting of family during her extended stay with us.  Recovery from this kind of surgery can be long and there is also the risk of the eye tearing again (!!).  We are praying that doesn't happen and that she will have full healing and recovery.  She is anxious to return home to her husband and family as she's already been here almost a month.  

I'm sorry I haven't been visiting anyone.  There just hasn't been time it seems, but I hope to visit a few of you today.  I may not comment, just read.  :)  I must say we've had some spectacular summer weather so far and hope it continues into this new month of August.  I hope you all are enjoying the summer as well.

Take care.


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