It's been a long time...I know, but with the pandemic and all, there really hasn't been a lot to report. Happily, as restrictions loosen and the two of us are fully vaccinated, we were ready to head off on another adventure.
We've long talked about the Mount Carleton region of New Brunswick, at least amongst ourselves, as it has some true mountains to hike, a couple of really quaint towns and, of course, ridiculously charming little villages in between. That you can follow the Acadian peninsula and enjoy water views, as well, only added to the appeal.
With all that temptation, we rented a car, packed our bags and took our out of shape hiking legs north to the very edge of the New Brunswick/Quebec border.
Mount Carleton is a national park, situated in the middle of the northern part of the province. It's remote enough that you can only pay your park entry fee in cash and cell service is definitely spotty. (Consider that a warning, especially if you're planning on hiking around the mountains.) This area is where the Appalachian mountains start (or end, depending on your perspective) and is fairly remote, despite the little towns scattered around the coast and inland.
The park, itself, offers camping, lakes, hiking and biking trails. We opted for a self-catered B&B 22kms from the park entrance, called Bed and Breakfast Du Repos . It was the perfect little hideaway for us to recoup after a days hiking, as it had a small kitchenette, comfy bed and all the fixings for breakfast (and trail snacks) that we needed.
We were careful about selecting our first mountain trail, as we'd been out of the game for a while. We tackled Mount Bailey first. At 564m (1850ft) it boasted great views and moderately challenging climbs. The weather wasn't ideal, in that it had rained a good part of the day before and through the night, so the trees were wet and the wind blew, cascading down drops despite the tree cover. The views weren't disappointing, the forest soothing and our legs, not so out of shape that we wanted to quit half way up, so it was a win-win.
Our final day, we broached the hardest climb on our agenda - Mount Sagamook. While it isn't quite as high as Mount Carleton, the hike up was steep, technical and occasionally, daunting. There is a lookout, 300m before the summit (again, depending on how you hike the loop) which wasn't terribly well marked and required a bit of bush whacking through the forest to get to the rock outcrop that over looks the park, with it's lake and a charming little heart shaped island. The pinnacle was underwhelming after the great views of the lookout, but provided a spot in the sun for a well deserved drink of water and snack. The descent was more challenging than anticipated, but we were glad we took the park attendant's advice and hiked up the short (harder) path and then down the longer, less steep path. At the very end (or start) depending on which way you choose to go, there is a lovely mossy little brook that provided us with a magical little pause at the end of all our hard work.
The next day we packed up and took a scenic drive to Campbellton and along the Acadian peninsula. We stopped for lunch in Mirimichi, at an Irish pub. (Mirimichi is the Irish capitol of New Brunswick, so says their welcome sign.) The weather turned once again and we found ourselves driving with the windshield wipers slapping frantically to clear the rain. We settled back home and tried to decide what to do with ourselves the next day. Ron had finally worn out his hiking boots (the sole separated from the upper) so we planned to search for a new pair. Once obtained (a pair of Merills), we decided to try them out in Fundy National Park. We just couldn't let the opportunity pass us by.
We drove the 1.5 hours to Alma, a cute little sea town that borders the park and enjoyed lunch at Tipsy Tails (I didn't make up the name, I swear!) and then headed into the park to do a 3-4 hour hike to the largest waterfalls in the area. The trail was mostly down hill and not terribly difficult until the end, where we had to wade along the stream to reach the beach below the falls. It was well worth the effort and Ron's new boots proved a good choice. We were surprised to find ourselves back at the car just 2 hours later. Our Mount Carleton experiences must have put some pep in our step.