I have not canoed for two years, with my last effort in Baxter State Park. My friend Ivan and I canoed directly north, straight across Katahdin Lake to reach the Twin Ponds Trail.
My right shoulder is worn out, even after two surgeries, with an overdue shoulder replacement somewhere on the horizon. However, it’s been good lately, possibly the result of bi-weekly physical therapy sessions for the past several months. I decided to take a chance, altering our padding itinerary with backup hikes around Donnell Pond in lieu of a 15 mile paddle exploring the perimeter of the Pond.
I really enjoy canoeing in the fall, where you can take plenty of gear and food. Most of the time I am content with my 15 pound of base weight in my backpack. I may take my new Seekoutside tipi on this trip, and maybe even a camp chair to lounge around in.
Start: Brandy Brook campsite
End : Little Salmon River campsite
Mileage: 9.15 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,641 ft
Today’s Strava map:
We say signs today that the Fundy Footpath was an official segment of the Trans-Canada Trail.
From Wikipedia: “The Great Trail, formerly known as Trans-Canada Trail, is a cross-Canada system of green ways, waterways and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. The roadway sections often have significant levels of vehicular traffic and some lack segregated pedestrian shoulders or walkways. The Trail extends over 15,000 miles. It is now the longest recreational, multi-use trail network in the world”.
The hike today was composed of challenging ascents and descents in traversing 6 ravines. We hiked 400’ up to the table land from the Quiddy River, down and up another ravine east of Martin Head, then down and up another 400’ through Telegraph Creek.
It got more challenging as we hiked 570’ of down and then up over Wolfe Creek, and capping of the days slog with a descent of close to 700 feet to the Little Salmon.
I felt that trekking poles were essential to my survival on some of the descents due to the steepness of the grade, crumbling soil conditions, and humidity-saturated roots.
I upped my food intake today, due to the rigors of ascending this path. After my typical breakfast of granola, Nido (powdered whole milk), Carnation Instant Breakfast, and added Starbucks Via freeze dried coffee I had a couple Cliff bars before lunch, which consisted of 1/4 box of Triscuits and several tablespoons of peanut butter. Normally one snack gets me through the afternoon, but today I ate a half a Cliff bar every hour. It really helped keep my energy and attitude on track.
I felt strong today, but was definitely ready to call it a day after 10 miles of staircasing this challenging terrain.
Here’s my sawtooth Strava elevation profile, read left to right:
I’ve been listening to The Trail Show where I heard about Disco’s hygiene kit. I assembled the 0.5 ounce kit, composed of a small sponge, tiny dropper bottle with Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap, and a microfiber towel. Each evening, I’ve enjoyed washing the grit and sweat off my body with this setup. I plan to add the ziplock baggie containing these items to my permanent packing list. Thanks, Disco!
I continued to be pleased with my progress on this hike, particularly when I compare my experience to the last time I hiked the FF, ten full years ago. What’s it like to hike it at 68 vs. 58 years old ? Truthfully it’s easier, probably due to the fact that I’d fifteen pounds lighter than I was way back then. One thing that made it easier was that we didn’t have to get up in the night to cross Little Salmon at low tide this time.
The tides here are dramatically evident.
When it is low tide the shoreline is Waayyyy Out! At peak surge, the water can rise ( or fall) a foot every 15 minutes !
We saw our first thru-hikers today- 2 young women who seemed to be doing fairly well. They have been the only other hikers we have seen so far on the FF, period!
Start: Goose River Trail Campsite at western border of FNP
End : Brandy Brook campsite
Mileage: 9.5 Elevation: 2,700′
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:
Here’s my own photo of Bad Influence trekking along the soft, springy forest floor:
There are shorter segments of stream bed and beach walking encountered on a daily basis.
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.
Wildflower meadows lined some of the shores:
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.
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.
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!