Backpacking the Fundy Footpath, Day 2 of 5

Start: Goose River Trail Campsite at western border of FNP
End : Brandy Brook campsite
Mileage: 9.5        Elevation: 2,700′

Today’s Strava map

Euphoric recall is a wonderful thing, for the most part.  It is a term that I associate with hiking, but has usefulness in other aspects in life as well.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:  “Euphoric recall is a psychological term for the tendency of people to remember past experiences in a positive light, while overlooking negative experiences associated with that event(s). Euphoric recall has been cited as a factor in substance dependence, as well as anger problems. Individuals may become obsessed with recreating the remembered pleasures of the past”.
    Ten years ago, Bad Influence and I did this same backpacking trip, but in the opposite direction.  Our own euphoric recall was strong enough that we are back here trying to thu-hike this bitch of a trail once again. Staggering into our campsite, drenched in sweat from the excessive humidity and over 2,700 feet of elevation gain (and losses),  we began to experience the difficulties that would lie ahead of us over the next several days.
Canadian Geographic ( Jan/Feb 2018 issue) notes that, “This narrow, rock-strewn track along New Brunswick’s Fundy coast is recommended for only the most prepared hikers — but those who brave it are amply rewarded.”  Here is one of their stunning photos:
View of Fuller Falls along the Fundy Footpath.

Here’s my own photo of Bad Influence trekking along the soft, springy forest floor:

BI heading to Brandy Brook

There are shorter segments of stream bed and beach walking encountered on a daily basis.

Transition zone

Occasionally, it is necessary to cross tidal streams and even rivers, which are best accessed at low tide.  Tide charts are necessary in order to to time your traverses . Some of the tidal walks are up to a half kilometer across.

Low tide is good here!

Wildflower meadows lined some of the shores:

Fireweed

A half hour later we were up toward the tableland again, which sometimes reached 800′  in elevation.  Here a long view looking west to Martin Head,  jutting out into the Bay of Fundy.

Looking west

Eventually we made it to put up our tent ( me) and hammock (Bad Influence).   This fire was the only one we were able to enjoy for the rest of the trip, due to rain.

Brandy Brook campsite

These falls were upstream and in view of the campsite.   I don’t like these flashy signs promoting the organization involved with supporting the FF.

Despite our efforts to dry out our clothes, the humidity persisted throughout the night.  We slithered into wet, cold, sweat-saturated socks, shirts, and pants each morning for the rest of the trip.

On the positive side, it never dropped below 60 degrees not did it get excessively warm for the whole walk.  Mosquitoes were not an issue either!

Backpacking New Brunswick’s Fundy Footpath, Revisited

Day 1 of 5

Start: lower parking lot, Point Wolfe Campground, Fundy National Park, NB, CAN
End : Goose River Trail Campsite at western border of FNP
Mileage: 5 miles

First, here’s some skinny on the Fundy Footpath (plus more info from the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve website):
Total Length: 41.4 km ( 25 miles)
Trail Rating: Challenging
Add the Approach: 8 km approach trail from Point Wolf parking area in Fundy National Park to Goose River, the eastern terminus of the footpath.

Full map
Western Half
Eastern Half

Background Information: Established in 1994, this 41.4 km coastal hiking trail stretches from Goose River, the Western boundary of Fundy National Park, to Big Salmon River, a popular tourist destination East of the community of Saint Martins. The area is considered by many to be the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline between Florida and Labrador.
The Fundy Footpath offers hikers an opportunity to observe some of the last remaining stands of old-growth coastal Acadian Forest in the world as well as spectacular vistas, pristine beaches, unique estuaries, interesting geology and lots of wildlife. The FFP is a remote and challenging hiking trail and should only be attempted by those with suitable physical abilities and wilderness equipment. There are also several side trails to bay viewpoints and waterfalls like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum falls. In other cases the Fundy Footpath crosses numerous gorges and ravines which can be explored like Walton Glenn Brook, Eye of the Needle, Little Salmon River and Goose Creek. There are dozens of spectacular waterfalls along the many streams, brooks and rivers the Fundy Footpath crosses. Hikers with a keen eye can also spot remnants of logging operations from many years ago.”

Both Bad Influence and I had completed his hike going East in 2008, accompanied by Xenon and Rangoon. This time we ended up walking it in the opposite direction. You can review the  four days’ of 2008 blog posts here.

Two of us made this hike: me and my trusty hiking, biking, motorcycling, and backpacking buddy Bad Influence, in real life as Mark Shaw, hailing from Vermont. We each tried to find another person to come with us to cut costs and make it more interesting, but had no luck.

Our shuttle was provided by Red Rock Adventure and cost us $250 total, for 1-4 people. Remember that the US dollar is enriched right now to the tune of 30% Canadian. The roughly 160 mile round trip for the driver took at least four hours. Straight line distance from end to end is just 30 miles, but as they say in Maine, “You can’t get there from here.”

Each of us coughed up $100 each for the long ride, which was made sweeter by free lattes at Red Rock’s base of operations. Two more folks with us could have cut the fee in half.

We didn’t need to do much walking to get to our first campsite. After leaving our car at the Point Wolfe Parking lot it was a relatively easy 5 miles of meandering along an access road through the shady woods to reach our chosen site.

Improvements!

We were on the edge of the Bay Of Fundy, at a grassy site with piped spring water and a clean outhouse (with toilet paper) nearby.

Starting Off Well

Later just one young couple passed us on their way to their campsite along the Point Wolfe River. It was a clear but warm evening. The temps stayed warm but not hot for the whole journey. Our issue on this adventure was the discomfort of constantly wet clothes, first due to excessive humidity, and the two days and nights of rain. At least it was sunny and drier walking out on the last morning.

I’m tired of Taking Crap from People for Walking Fast.

Another brisk, steady mile. (photo by Auntie Mame)

I’m a hiker and a backpacker and I’m peeved when people react negatively to my speedy walking on trails.
Here’s what this is about: I’m descending a trail, trekking poles in hand and moving quickly. I am a heavy guy, around 200 pounds, and this much weight isn’t often the ticket to quick uphill climbs, but put me on a descent and I usually do better than most. Momentum helps! I also believe that my decades of off-road biking have trained me to discern sight lines that are the best for foot placement. It doesn’t happen often, but I have had folks tell me to slow down, or they might mutter a disparaging word or two as I hop my way past them. “Excuse me, but I can”.

And here’s a sample of citizen hiking-speed-police attitude that was only one of many reader comments from a recent national newspaper column on the added benefits of brisk walking: “What about the pleasures of feeling the breeze, watching the toddlers earnestly examining a leaf, marveling at the astonishing variety of canine life at the end of every leash? For heaven’s sake, enjoy your walks! It’s not a job, not a race to be run, it’s a walk. It feeds the human spirit. Chill out, people.” (Eleanor, CA) in reaction to Walk Briskly for Your Health. About 100 Steps a Minute. The New York Times by Gretchen Reynolds, June 27, 2018.

Auntie Mame hiking to Katahdin Lake

What do I mean by fast walking ?
A steady walk is 3 miles per hour. A brisk walk approaches 4 miles per hour.
A recent study looked at not just the total number of steps people took per day but also how quickly they took them. “Those who had a faster stepping rate had similar health outcomes—lower BMI and lower waist circumference—as those who took the most steps per day,” says John Shuna, Ph.D.,  one of the study authors. He recommends trying for a minimum of 100 steps per minute (roughly 2.5 to 3 miles per hour) or as brisk a pace as you can (135 steps per minute will get you up to about a 4 mph pace). Keeping up a conversation tops out for most folks at a speed over 3 miles per hour.   Brisk walking ramps up the pace and results in a noticeable increase in breathing and starts for me anytime I walk over 3.5 miles per hour. Some very fit folks hit this level at 4 miles per hour on a flat terrain. The very fastest walkers are race walkers who are able to reach 5 to 6 miles per hour or even faster.

Morning visitors atop Katahdin

Research is showing that a faster walking practice results in prolonging your life. Walking at an average pace was linked to a 20% reduction in the risk of mortality compared with walking at a slow pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24%, according to a new study. The benefits of walking are far more dramatic for older walkers. Average pace walkers aged 60 years or over experienced a 46% reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast pace walkers a 53% risk reduction, the study found. These findings appear in a special issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine dedicated to walking and health, edited by Emmanuel Stamatakis, at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health.

80+ year old hiker on Appalachian Trail in Maine

Even Consumer Reports recommends brisk walking.
“Another way to get more out of even a shorter walk is to do it faster. A recent study looked at not just the total number of steps people took per day but also how quickly they took them. “Those who had a faster stepping rate had similar health outcomes—lower BMI and lower waist circumference—as those who took the most steps per day,” says Schuna, one of the study authors. He recommends trying for as brisk a pace as you can (135 steps per minute will get you up to about a 4 mph pace).- Sally Wadyka, April 04, 2018.

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently revealed that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits.  Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone disease osteoporosis.

“Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships,” says personal trainer Lucy Knight, author of Walking for Weight Loss.    “Bones are like muscles in the way that they get stronger and denser the more demands you place on them,” Knight says. “The pull of a muscle against a bone, together with the force of gravity when you walk, will stress the bone — which responds by stimulating tissue growth and renewal.”
To burn fat quickly and effectively, you should master power-walking. Adding hills to your route will speed up calorie burning.
“On really steep inclines, it’s not unusual for even a fit person’s heart rate to increase by about 20 per cent,” writes Knight. Going downhill, you have to contract your leg muscles to work against gravity and slow your descent.
Walking on softer surfaces, such as mud, sand or grass, also uses more energy than walking on concrete. Every time your foot hits the ground, it creates a small depression so that the leg muscles must work harder to push upwards and forwards for the next step.

Walking on uneven ground may have even more benefits. Physiologists at the Oregon Research Institute have found that cobblestone walking lowers blood pressure and improves balance. Uneven surfaces may stimulate acupressure points on the soles of the feet, regulating blood pressure.

“We can still create a plan that has a fair amount of lower level aerobic movement, such as walking briskly, hiking, cycling at a moderate pace, etc. a few times a week and keep it at under an hour. Then, we can add a few intense “interval” sessions, where we literally sprint for 20, 30 or 40 seconds at a time all out, and do this once or twice a week”.-Mark’s Daily Apple (Mark Sisson) June 20, 2007.

In the end, it is important to recognize the value of walking of any intensity and pace, but if you are able and wiling picking up the pace, even for short bursts of faster walking or hill work, will result in increased bang for the walking buck.