Peeling back a corner of the universe to glimpse the utter chaos that lies behind.
Aug 29, 2010
Bay of Fundy Trip Report
As summer draws to a close we snuck in some time for ourselves with a one-week vacation to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to explore the Bay of Fundy.
The trip was a Road Scholar get-away. Road Scholar was formerly known as "Elderhostel" and then briefly "Exploritas". Elderhostel was a seniors-only affair, but they lowered the age-limit with the re-branding to Road Scholar and increased the activity level of the trips to entice the next generation of customers. These are learning vacations - explore the Road Scholar link and you can see the trips that they offer are generally educational and topical based on the location.
We selected a Bay of Fundy hiking trip partly because we have wanted to explore the Maritime Provinces for a long time and have never gotten ourselves out there, partly because of the timing of the trip, and partly because it was hiking-heavy, as we like to tromp through the wilds.
Despite lowering the age-limit for Road Scholar trips, we were easily the youngest people on this trip. In fact, one of the participants pulled me aside at one point and asked me if I was old enough to be on this trip. I laughed it off, but I think there is some tension when the younger folks show up and change the dynamic from what was previously a seniors-only experience.
The hiking was good, for the most part. The Fundy Trail is beautiful (that part which is complete). The "Hearst Loop" hike was only three miles long, but it was some of the most challenging hiking I have experienced - comparable to the most rugged of the Blue Trails in Connecticut. There were some less enticing walks, however; the afternoon hike to Giffens Pond was not as interesting. It was a three-mile walk down an over-grown logging road. The beach at the end of the trail was spectacular, but I deemed this walk our "march to the sea" at dinner that evening, and and that name seemed to stick for the rest of the trip.
We stayed in St, Martins, NB - a very small town on the north shore of Fundy Bay. St. Martins was formerly known as "Quako" but was renamed by the Loyalists that moved in and took over during the Revolutionary War. Evidence suggests that the Loyalists ousted some Acadians in St. Martins (a diaspora that the locals seem to be very reluctant to talk about to this day, although it's a well-known and well documented fact). The Loyalists also relegated the Catholics and other undesirable elements to the outskirts of town (in fact, there is STILL an Orange hall right in the middle of town) and banished family that married outside of their faith. I was very interested in learning more of this legacy of intolerance, but that was not a topic the historical museum interpreters seemed eager to pursue, focusing instead on ship building and the evolution of women's undergarments.
I have mixed feelings about the Road Scholar program; I think if you were able to find a topic that was interesting and had enough content to fill the time allocated to it, these could be very good. Our trip, while very pleasant, was light on the facts and heavy on enthusiasm for the Fundy Trail. A lead-off on regional geology would have been very helpful since we spent the entire week experiencing it, and a more unblinking look at the history of St. Martins would be very interesting and enlightening. The region is great - I would love to go back and explore this ares in a less structured setting again.
Here is a link to our driving route on this trip. I should note that I did not see one bicycle rider during this entire drive, although a lot of it was on the TransCanada Highway. Still, I expected to see more cyclists out there.