Welcome to Nova Scotia

July 14, 2019

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After visiting Hopewell Rocks on Saturday I spent the night in the town of Moncton, New Brunswick.  Sunday morning I headed southeast to cross into Nova Scotia.

 

Looking at my maps I always thought all of Nova Scotia province was an island but in fact the majority of it is a peninsula – attached to the southeast tip of New Brunswick.  The northeast end of Nova Scotia is an island.  I will address that issue further when I get there later in this trip.

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(Photo credit: somethingbiggeroutthere.wordpress.com)

The map above covers most of what I will address in this post.  Moncton, NB is off the map in the upper left corner and I crossed in to Nova Scotia just above Maccan in the upper left part of this map.  I took scenic roads (not shown) through River Hebert, southwest to Apple River then south to Advocate.  I then proceeded east through Parrsboro, Five Islands, Economy and then reached a bigger highway near Debert Station which would take me to Truro (due east of Belmont and just off this map) where I would spend the night.

When I got to River Hebert I learned something new about tides: that they can create a tidal bore.

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River Hebert (the town) is at the bottom of the map above – almost the end of the line for this part of the water coming in from the Bay of Fundy.  The photos below are of the water from a bridge over the Hebert River.  The water, as it was at Hopewell Rocks, is milk-chocolate brown.  This is because of the constant churning of water and mud at this, the shallow northeastern part of the Bay which almost completely drains at low tide.

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A tidal bore is something that occurs at many locations due to the force of the incoming tide pushing large amounts of water forward quickly.  In narrow areas, such as the river at this point, that “push” creates kind of a teeny tiny tsunami – a wave of water as much at 3 feet high which surges forward.  I’m sure you can find videos on YouTube.

The water here was moving rapidly towards me but I didn’t see any tidal bores – they occur about 2 hours before high tide.

Further down the road near the town of Apple River I drove over that river coming in from the Bay.  The water is clearer here because it is from a deeper part of the Bay.  The water was obviously moving rapidly inland, away from the Bay, as the tide was coming in.

 

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And while the water in the photo above was moving “up” from this vantage point (the other side of the bridge), the marsh grass on the right was clearly matted towards the Bay (“down”) as it had moved back during the transition to low tide a few hours earlier.

The photos below are looking south from Advocate Harbour.

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The water is especially calm here because there is a rock barrier separating most of this harbor from the Bay.

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This is further east in the town of Parrsboro.  I am posting this photo because of something which happened shortly after I took it.  Although I was driving east this was when things started going south.

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The first sign of trouble was when the road I was on turned to gravel.  Shortly after that I stopped to take these two photos – of Two Islands (aka The Brothers)…

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… and of the view looking southwest (towards Clarke Head in the foreground and Cape d’Or in the distance.  If you look closely you’ll see a guy in a kayak in the lower right hand corner of the photo below.

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Shortly after I resumed driving the road went from gravel to two tire tracks in the grass (and became very rocky) and I surmised I was not on the right road.  I plugged in my trusty GPS which quickly confirmed that I had gone astray.

I drove the 7 miles back to Parrsboro (no harm, no foul) and my GPS put me on a much nicer paved road to take me where I had intended to be.

East of Two Islands is Five Islands:

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I overlapped one of the islands if you want to create a panorama.  The tiny “finger” sticking up on the far right of the second photo evidently doesn’t qualify as an island.

I proceeded without further delay to Truro where I found another Tidal Bore observation area (where I saw a video of a tidal bore.  It looked kind of like the water coming ashore after a wave breaks but before it reverses direction).  I was running ahead of schedule – despite the detour – and the young man I spoke with there suggested a good restaurant in town for dinner and also suggested I visit a large city park to help pass the time.  He told me there was a nice waterfall but that I’d have to climb “Jacob’s Ladder” to get there:

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I was going to play my “Go ahead, count ’em – I’ll wait” game but it isn’t a fair fight.  You can’t see all the stairs from this vantage point because they slope away from the field of view as they approach the top.

187 stairs, which helped boost my Fitbit stair count for the week.

I ended up NOT going to the waterfall.  After climbing all the way up I had to go DOWN another bunch of stairs and then go right back up to get out.  I could see the waterfall and it wasn’t anything remarkable so I just marched back down the “ladder” and went to my Airbnb for the night.

 

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick

July 13, 2019

Further north up the coast from Fundy National Park is Hopewell Cape, home of the famous Hopewell Rocks.  These are flowerpot rocks on steroids:

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Before I go any further let me give you a quick explanation of how this works.  The body of water in these photos is the Bay of Fundy which separates New Brunswick province from Nova Scotia.  The Bay covers 6,177 square miles – about 4 times the size of the state of Rhode Island.  Give it a minute to let that fact soak in.  Every day massive amounts of water flow in and out of the Bay creating huge tides. I will explain more details at the end of this post but I’m sure you want to see more photos.

But first, an example of the difference between low and high tide at this specific location.

Low tide:

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High tide:

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Those are actual photos posted at the Visitor Center.  The tide here rises 46 feet.  Now I know what you’re thinking – JohnBoy, if those were adults standing out there that isn’t any 46 feet…

Well, what you may not be able to tell from those photos is that the shoreline slopes downward from the formations to where the water is currently (my last few photos were taken within a few minutes of low tide, which occurred at 426 PM the day I was there).  From low tide the water had to rise 28 feet just to get to the base of the formations you are seeing.

OK – enough talk.

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The photo above shows the metal stairs leading down from the walking path to the area where everyone is milling about.  A ranger told me that at high tide the lowest two or three flights of stairs are underwater.

This is what one of the formations looks like up close:

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The photo above illustrates my point about the current water level at low tide.  The guy with the blue shoes is standing closer to the water than the formations.  His buddy on the left who is taking his picture is clearly lower in elevation and the water behind him is even lower yet.  Just imagine how much water it takes just in the area you can see in that photo to raise the water level 46 feet…

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Every day 116 billion (that’s with a B) tonnes (which equates to 127 billion US tons) of water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy.  Now I know water is very heavy, but 127 BILLION TONS of it.  That is the equivalent of the daily discharge of ALL the rivers in the world combined.

127 billion tons in and out, twice a day, every day.   Just a massive amount of water.

Full disclosure – there are not exactly two in and out cycles every single day.  A full cycle takes a little over 12 hours.  Each day the “same” high or low time is about 35-40 minutes later than it was the day before so 2 full cycles take more than 24 hours.  For example, over the next 5 days the “evening” low tide at Fundy National Park occurs at 932 pm, then 1007pm, 1042 pm, 1119pm and midnight.

The Bay of Fundy is wide and deep at the mouth and narrow and shallow at the northeast end so that is why all that water coming in raises the tide by such large amounts.  In places the tide can rise 14 feet in an hour.

Fundy National Park

July 13, 2019

After leaving St. Martins I drove northeast back to NB-1 at Sussex and went a few miles east before exiting and driving southeast again to get to the Park.

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(Photo credit: hlanderz.blogspot.com)

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I purchased a Senior Discovery Pass when I entered the Park (at the upper left hand corner on the map).  It is good for one year and will get me in to all the National Parks I will be visiting during this trip.  Unlike US National Parks, where a higher admission is generally good for 7-consecutive days from date-of-entry, Canadian Parks charge a smaller entrance fee every day.

As I surmised from my research, there wasn’t much for me to do here other than drive on the three roads in the Park.  Fundy is heavily wooded but with lots of hiking trails and campgrounds.  There is one small lake, a golf course and beach access.  The major attraction that draws most people here is actually further up the road, outside the Park.

Here is a photo I took about 4/5 of the way down the main road just before reaching the Visitor Center.  As you can tell, much of the Park is on a hill which descends to the water.

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Because of the cloud cover it is hard to distinguish the clouds from the water in the photo.  You can see a thin peninsula sticking out from the top of the large mountain on the left.  That appears to be part of the land mass on the opposite side of the Bay.

Probably the highlight of the Park was the covered bridge near the end of Point Wolfe Road (lower center of map):

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This is the view from inside the bridge. looking through an opening towards the Bay of Fundy:

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As I was heading back towards the Visitor Center I drove down Herring Cove Road, parked my car and walked down to the beach:

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Not that much variety to see in this Park but it was still very nice and worth the visit.

After exiting the Park and stopping to eat in Alma I drove past this beach on my way further up the coast to my next stop.

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That photo was taken less than an hour and half before low tide so the water is way out.

 

 

 

Fundy Trail Parkway

July 13, 2019

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(Photo credit: hlanderz.blogspot.com)

Saturday morning I set out from Rothesay (just northeast of Saint John) to drive down to the coast and check out the Fundy Trail Parkway (aka Fundy Coastal Drive). First I had to take a secondary highway southeast to the little town of St. Martins.

This was taken before I crossed NB-1, which I arrived on the day before.

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And these were taken in St. Martins:

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The second photo is actually a different covered bridge, behind and to the left of the first one.  I didn’t even know it was there until I was on my way back to the highway after driving the Parkway.

This is the waterfront in St. Martins:

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The big circle you see in the first photo above is one of several Sea Caves:

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The tide was going down so I still couldn’t have walked out to them without getting my tootsies wet, but at low tide people can walk out and explore them.

Shortly after taking those photos I continued up the road a short distance and arrived at the entrance to the Parkway.  The road getting there wasn’t too great (very rough) but the roadway once you get in is great – not paved exactly, but fairly new crushed gravel (compacted, not loose) which was in excellent shape.  Admission was $8 (for me, now a Senior!) and it was worth every Canadian nickel (they don’t use pennies – they round cash purchases up to the nearest nickel).  A gorgeous 17-mile drive with lots and lots of scenic overlooks.  No billboards or human residents – just you and Mother Nature.  On the way in I didn’t even see another vehicle except in parking areas and I saw very few people coming in as I was on the way out.  The road currently ends before reaching Fundy National Park but it will hopefully get all the way there in the next year or two.

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This is the view of the Big Salmon River as it drains into the Bay of Fundy near the Visitor Center for the Parkway.

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Since this is river water it is crystal clear:

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I saw these Red-Breasted Mersangers swimming in the river – Mother with one young’un hitching a ride on her back and two others swimming behind.

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This is a “flowerpot rock,” so named because when the tide is low you can see it is attached to the ground but when the tide is high it looks like a freestanding flowerpot with trees growing out of it:

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And as seen from the other side (from further up the trail):

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Pretty cool, eh?