Overland Expo to TBEX: Fundy National Park

I awoke in a fog on Day 27 of the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition. After a horrible, mostly sleepless night of battling technicolor food poisoning, I wasn’t exactly refreshed to explore the majesty of Fundy National Park. We were now four weeks into our trip and all of the bumps and hiccups along the way had worn us out. We needed a couple of easy days to recuperate.

The Point Wolfe covered bridge.

I dragged my addled, weary self out of the tent to muddle my way through breakfast. After days of rain, I stepped out into entirely unexpected, beautiful clear skies. I felt like a kid at Disney World. The combination of relief and amazement renewed my vigor for exploration.

So after a quick breakfast, I sat down to rough out the next few days. From what I’d seen so far, I knew I wanted more time in Fundy. It wouldn’t be a problem logistically to stay and I started to get very excited at the prospect of hiking throughout Fundy as well as being in one spot for a couple more nights.

Seems mother nature had other ideas though. As a matter of course, I did a quick weather check. It was crushing. The current days weather was nothing but a blip. More heavy rain was due in the next morning and it was projected to last several days. It felt like a cruel joke and snuffed out any thoughts of sticking around Fundy. We’d have to make the best of the day we had.

Epic natural beauty…

Fundy National Park forms the heart of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve. The Bay of Fundy area and the park are famous for the likes of dramatic tides (the biggest in the world), outrageously cool geology, and the iconic Point Wolfe covered bridge. It also boasts the stunning abutment of a marine coastal ecosystem with the Caledonia Highlands Plateau. Mind-blowing is an understatement.

Our first stop was at a deck overlooking the Bay of Fundy. Originally I thought it would be a short stop to gaze at the bay and nab a geocache. But when we got there, the soupy cloud of fog over the bay started to drift up over the nearby mountains. The fog oozed over the peaks as it moved inland. I was paralyzed by the spectacle.

A newcomer to the overlook walked up to the rail next to me to take a picture. I snapped out of my trance and raced back to the car to get my camera gear, all the fatigue of the previous miserable night lost to the soul-stirring amazement of witnessing of one of the most stunning scenes of nature I’ve ever seen. After the ordeals of this trip, this was my reminder about why I explore.

In the face of this unexpected treat, we didn’t rush off to our next geocache or trail. We simply stayed and watched the dance of fog over the mountains for as long as it lasted.

The fog of Fundy makes for a jaw-dropping spectacle.

Point Wolfe

Filled with excitement after the fog show, we moved on to geocache our way to Wolf Point. There are miles-and-miles of trails in Fundy but in spite of my renewed spirit, I was still very physically drained from the food poisoning and the Point Wolfe trail was short enough to be doable for me under the circumstances. So we set out to explore at long last.

The trail led us through the forests down to the little bay at Pointe Wolfe. I was giddy with delight in seeing this boreal forest that reminded me of the upper elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains near Clingman’s Dome. It felt like home and I walked at ease in the familiarity of the landscape. Once at Point Wolfe, the boys played and I spent time shooting along the deserted coastline. We were utterly alone on the peaceful bay.

Jaw-dropping geology is one of the best parts of Fundy National Park.
Fundy’s drama is seemingly endless. Stunning rocks and remnants of piers make for a feast of textures.
Streams cut through the boreal forest to empty into the Bay of Fundy.
George on the trail to Pointe Wolf.
At last, a warm, dry, lunch break in the sun.
The only wildlife we spotted during our brief visit.

Back at camp…

But of course, we did have other things to attend to. It was time to head back to the car for lunch then, sadly, back to camp for laundry duty. I hadn’t tackled it for 8 days and there was no getting by any longer. We needed clean clothes and the dirty ones were beyond pungent.

Back at the Chignecto North campground, we took the afternoon to hang around camp, do laundry, and let Fred and George play. In between stages of laundry, I made arrangements for an oil change and new windshield for Blubaru. That would take us to the Subaru dealer in Bangor, Maine the next day.

Fred and George are getting a bit big for playgrounds but after so many days of rain and driving, they embraced the chance to play in the sun.
I’m not kidding… a full four days after the Franconia Notch incident, my boots were still soggy. There was no way to dry them out in the midst of constant rain.
By the way, this is the view I get when I wake up in the morning. It’s one of the many perks of camping.
One of the most notable differences of visiting a Canadian national park was the infrastructure supporting recycling and composting. Upon our arrival at camp, we were given special bags for collecting both. Well done, Canada, well done.
Note to campers: Do not leave your site like this. Not cool.

Chasing a sunset…

Since it was our last night, it was obviously my only chance to try to shoot a sunset. So while in camp that afternoon, I planned for an early dinner so we could get back to Point Wolfe in time.

By evening, the tide was out leaving the bay empty and the wave-worn rocks exposed. Fred and George, who were initially annoyed at having to go back to the same place, ran and frolicked in the bay where a few hours earlier they would have been swimming. Without enough clouds to create a backdrop, the sunset didn’t pan out, but it was no matter. We finally had a “normal” day of camping and it felt wonderful. So wonderful.

Walking where they would have been swimming only a few hours earlier certainly got Fred & George’s attention.
Point Wolfe at sunset and low tide.

Border crossing #8…

Motivated by the incoming rain the next morning, Fred and George were super helpers in getting camp packed up. The skies had gone overcast again and we knew we were in a race with the first raindrops. And we made if by the skin of our teeth, putting the last bits of gear in the car when the rain began. With that, we bid farewell to Fundy and retraced our path through New Brunswick and back towards Maine and our final border crossing of the trip. And yet again, we found ourselves driving through the pouring rain.

When we got to the border station, the guard ran through the usual queries. When I answered his questions about how long we were in Canada and why, he paused and gave me a sympathetic look. He’d done the travel math of our time in Fundy plus camping plus weather and said “So, you had like one good day?” with pity in his voice. Yep, that about sums it up, dude. But it was a great day.

And now for your moment of green…

Magical places and moments are worth the struggle.