Little Salmon River to Goose Creek
Rangoon started us up after sounding the Maine Train whistle. Our little international crew was on the move for our biggest big day yet of trekking through the sine wave topography.
Is this trail as tough as the AT ?
Yep. I felt it beat me up more than 95% of any raNdOm 14 mile day on the Appalachian Trail.
It is curious that this trail is termed a footpath. At times, particularly in the eastern half , it would more accurately described as a goat path. The promotional literature rates the Fundy Footpath as “challenging”. Other internet trip reports have described this term as misleading, suggesting that “extreme” would be a more accurate descriptor.
A ranger report states, “The challenging 24-mile Fundy Footpath is like a roller-coaster; even serious walkers only manage six miles a day,”
Xenon reports that we were a strong, but atypical group, with our hiking times about half compared to those suggested in his hiking guide (“Hiking Guide to New Brunswick” by M. Eiselt and H Eiselt).
We doubled our mileage again with a “three map” day, where we faced 7 ravines, each presenting with a 500-700 foot descent with immediate challenging climb. The cable steps were gone in this Eastern section. Instead we were greeted with laughably steep switchbacks.
Today offered a really a big dose of deeply satisfying hiking: occasional spectacular views,
cool temps, and world class terrain, with the blessed mattress footpath springing us right along. We encountered no one today.
Rapidy Brook, Wolf Brook, Hunter Brook, and Telegraph Brook came and went. We had lunch and a longer break at Telegraph Creek. Here is a video that takes place then and there:
At the end of an uphill climb after fording the Quiddy River, we encountered a gravel road crossing. Our map revealed that the footpath paralleled this road. We had to step back into the brush, dodging a phalanx of All Terrain Vehicles and 4 wheel drive pickup trucks that were headed down to the shore. Xenon took charge, sticking his thumb out to stop a truck that carried us all the way down to the mouth of the Quiddy River and the expansive beach at Martin Head. This scene had people milling about ( mostly drinking) , families cooking up hot dogs, with the backdrop totally dominated by an acrid fuel smell accompanied by the roaring, and/or whining motors of perhaps a dozen ATV’s screaming across the beaches, dunes, and paths. The Canadians were very inquisitive and friendly to us, and we ended up being gifted a quart citrus drink from them as we told them our hard traveling tales.
We tried to walk the beach past Martin Head, only to meet a rock wall that blocked any further beach walking. We rejoined the path after a steep bushwhack climb through some increasingly brushy matter. We still needed to do the descent/ascent sequence a couple of more times. Our final gully appeared at Brandy Brook before our final climb, ridgewalk, and then decent to Goose Creek.
We finally reached out intended destination at the western side of the rather formidable Goose Creek.
At day’s end, we passed up a chance to set up camp on the beach in favor of a more secluded spot just inside the tree line at the shore.
The next low tide here would be at 4:47 AM.
We needed the tide to be low in order to cross here, otherwise we’d have to deal with the incoming tide, which is reportedly very fast as it advances upriver, as you’d suspect with the thirty plus foot tides here. Xenon reasoned that we’d probably be able to handle the depth of the water if we crossed at 7 AM. We had a brief talk about the merits of crossing right now,
and looking for a site on the other side of the river. Xenon wisely counseled us that there was no place on the other side to camp, and it turned out he was correct.
This campsite had good seating, due to the large timbers that had been reclaimed from the high tide line of detritus a short distance away.
One bizarre touch was finding a full, rusty can of air freshener we found perched on the edge of the open air toilet box. Maybe folks used it and a lighter as a blowtorch to fight off the mosquitoes which would likely be fierce here in the heat of the summer.
It was easy for us to build a decent fire here, as there was plentiful dry wood that had washed up above high tide. We lay on the earth around the fire, and worked up some words that got us through at least another hour of darkness before we retreated into our respective tents. Bad Influence had a nice grove to trees to hang up his hammock, and the rest of us were on cushiony, dry grass.