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You met Michael Jordan AND The Baconator on The Footpath?! Day 22

Updated: Jan 29, 2021

Home for the night: Rose Brook

Distance: linear: 13 km, GPS: 16 km

Weather: gray in the morning, overcast, mist arriving in the afternoon on and off...settling into fine rain after lunch and continuing overnight.

B: Eric's newly created savoury oatmeal which has bacon bits, cheese and nuts in it!! Yum! Coffee, coffee, coffee muffins from Rebekah

L: trail mix, jerky, chocolate, granola bars, homemade dehydrated pea soup, bagels, cheese, salami, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes from Rebekah and Johnathan!

D: homemade dehydrated roasted eggplant tomato stew with couscous, tea and a very tasty backpacking food company's chocolate mousse cake!

 

lace up the ol' boots,

we'll leave the roads behind us

left, right, left, right, breathe

 

A gray and quiet morning greeted us with the sound of the alarm...not in any huge rush we slowly finished preparations for the hike, going over gear and food one final time. Eric's new breakfast creation was a hit!! Savoury oatmeal, what a brilliant idea! Oatmeal is great for breakfast, but it has a tendency to be absorbed and disappear within an hour or so leaving a person who's living outside for a month hungry after just a few minutes on the trail. This new oatmeal was so filling I couldn't finish my helping!


Eventually we were off, driving along the road I had cycled yesterday to complete my continual distance of woman powered adventure. Final adjustments, final communication with Rebekah and Johnathan who would shuttle our car to the other side of the trail (Hero status, THANK YOU!!!!!) for us and we were ready!!!!

At the trailhead, ready to rumble!

Off we went, unknowing what lay ahead of us and so grateful that all the moving parts had come together for this trip to happen. The first 9 km or so of the trail was quite gentle, made up of a mulituse trail that bikes were allowed on. It was hill, rooty and rocky enough that a mountain bike would be the only way to go...but it was nice to have fairly even footing for us to settle into the trail with, especially with our heaviest pack weight of the trip.


Having just experienced Chignecto within the past two weeks I was very curious as to what differences/similarities I would discover about the plants, forests, topography, feeling of the trail. I was very quickly noticing a much more remote experience as we picked our way westward...we saw few people and most were out for a day hike. We did meet a fellow travelling in the opposite direction of us who had been on the trail for two days and one night. He was tired and a bit grumbly about how hard the trail was. He HAD decided to do the entire footpath in two days, which seems like a guaranteed recipe for grumpiness and it was revealed that family who was picking him up would be bringing him food as he was super hungry. He was hoping for a Baconator (not sure which fast food restaurant it's from!) and without knowing it, solidified himself a nickname for us. The Baconator. What a trail name!!!


I've encountered many "baconators" over the years. This one in particular dangled the bait of how he FAR preferred Chignecto to Fundy because it's so simple to show up, trot around the whole trail in one day and end up right back at your car, no problem. Piece of cake, right?? I politely offered that loop trails do certainly offer a different experience than linear ones....this is not judgement on my part, there are as many ways to adventure and test oneself as there are people on the planet. Personally, the ultralight sufferfest of crushing distances and doing something as fast as possible doesn't work for me. Me, as in Adrien....if the Baconator is happy to do it in two days, and I'm happy to do it in four, great! Except I'm bringing cheese and real coffee.

Waiting for the tide to drop...

It started to spit and we made it to Goose River in time to see the tide falling from the basin, back into the sea. This was our first tidal crossing and we would need to wait for it to become passable. We hunkered down out of the breeze, donning extra layers and rain gear, a perfect day for a hot lunch! The tide dropped, and dropped further.... It was incredible to see the speed of the current as the water rushed through the beach channel. The flow created small standing waves out in the bay and the current line was visible quite a ways off shore. We were both in awe of the whole thing, even as two people who grew up next to the ocean. Eventually, the entire basin was empty. What had been full of water was now mud and rocks with seaweed dropped along the banks, right underneath the red spruce trees and ferns of the forest above.


We picked our way up the riverbed, squelching through mud and getting thoroughly filthy. It was great fun! The rain let up and mist hung in the valley creating a wild and very remote feeling. I was having a hard time remembering we were in the Maritimes. I had flashbacks to being in British Columbia...or New Zealand. This was a landscape I had never encountered on the East Cast before and had a feeling it was just getting started.


Finally at the top of the crossing, we found the white blazes that would guide us to the west. The river marked the boundary of the National Park and it was very obvious the different budgets land management abilities. To the east, a beautiful archway overtop of a well constructed trail, new signage and official park branding. To the west, weathered signs stuck into the ground at odd angles and dangling off trees with a small, hiker-created path scrabbling off into the hills. Let it begin!!


The forest got prettier and prettier. Close-growing red spruce with their dark, branchless trunks contrasted with endless carpets of moss. The rain was making everything extra lush looking and we walked along, soaking in the smells and sights of a new landscape. The hills don't mess around and we certainly had some eating to do to help lighten the load!


Eventually we came across a look off and we watched the clouds of mist lift and fall, lift and fall, giving sneak peaks of the beauty we would be seeing in the coming sunny days. Scraggly headlands jutted out to the west and east, fishing boats motored their way to shore and we even could see Cape Chignecto in the distance. Having stood on the cape so recently and in the moment, sighting the far off cliffs of Fundy...I had a deep sense of how far I have come. Not only in physical distance, but in my self sufficiency and trust of the goodness of the people who live in this corner of the earth. Everyone is affected by the tides of Fundy in so many ways and it seems to be a unifying rhythm of those who call this place home. A rhythm based on honesty, generosity and good humour.

Misty Rose Brook

Eventually we made Rose Brook, a beautiful, private beach with crystal clear water disappearing into the stones beneath our feat. The same boats we had seen earlier were anchored just offshore and Eric deemed them to be scallop boats...although it was hard to see what they were doing. We made camp and set up the tarp to keep the mist off of us. As we sat around the small candle I had brought, we were entertained (at times annoyed) with a VERY bold woodland jumping mouse who came to investigate our crumbs. He/she didn't care if we flashed our headlamps, waved our hands, made weird noises or anything!! It just scurried about living up to its name of leaping into the air and bouncing away into the bushes every time we would successfully shoo them away.


We found ourselves with a second nicknamed companion of the day...Jordan, as in Michael...as in this mouse could effortlessly get air as if it was on a trampoline!!! Proportionately, it would be like me being able to bound away, gaining heights over 8 times as tall as I am. Not happening!! Jordan would impress us, be gone for 3 seconds and then return, nosing about our belongings. As much as it's hard to see wildlife so obviously accustomed to human presence, we were afforded the opportunity to observe this little creature for as long as we wanted. What is so striking about the woodland jumping mouse are the length of its toes!!! They look far too delicate and spidery to withstand life outside, but they act like slingshots to propel their furry owner out of harm's way. They also have very long tails that account for 60% of their body length which I believe also helps in the act of making a slam dunk. Jordan did eventually find a perfect, mouse sized ball of couscous that one of us had dropped and settled down two inches away from the candle, happily munching away out of the rain. When finished, a quick grooming was enough to feel content and off he went....either to bed or more likely in search of water to wash down the cous cous.


We followed suit and buttoned up our gear for the forecasted overnight rain. The sound of the waves and the drops of water plopping off the tree above the tent would be a perfect lullaby. The scallop boats gave an occasional toot on their horns and their lights bobbing around on the water created a bit of a festive feeling, sort of reminding me of Christmas. By the time I crawled into the tent, Eric was already peacefully snoring away. I forged my way through a journal entry with drooping eyelids before cozily drifting off to dreamland, deeply grateful for yet another beautiful day of discovery.




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