When the euphoria of Walton Glen Gorge…….ous. dissipated, I realized that I have one last adventure in Sussex to complete; the Sussex Bluff . The impressive ridge of rock I drove by yesterday, along Creek Road, is a shiny lure I can’t resist. I must attempt it even if my legs are not fresh after doing this mornings hike to and from Walton Glen Gorge.
I drive along the Post Road, to 17 Rock Ridge Drive. The pavement ends at a circular gravel area. A black Toyota is parked on the shoulder. A pretty good sign I am in the right location. I cozy the truck up close to the edge of the road and turn the ignition off and get out.
I have read two version of where to start this hike; one says go up past a water tower. I swivel around in a 360 degree turn in place and I can not see a water tower anywhere, but I do notice an ATV trail through the high grass. This matches the description of the second version, which states, to cross through a farmer’s field and follow the ATV trail up a hill
The choice is obvious, I head up the ATV trail. I pass an old car drove into the woods. Its’ body now full of rusty patina, with saplings sprouting up through a wheel well. There are homes on the high left side, I keep going up the tractor made grooves into a pumpkin patch. The furrows are littered with premature bright orange gourds; their vines are gnarled black. A killing frost has been here a wee bit early.
I enter a wooded trail, a well-used tire spun, muck fest. Side-stepping along the pools of standing water. Pushing limbs aside and creeping forward along the bank to keep my feet dry. Finally, I reach firmer ground. A deer bounds off into the under brush, instantly camouflaged and I am too late for a photo.
After about a half hour a fork in the trail presents itself. I ponder each direction momentarily, if I wanted to go to a bluff, I have to go up a hill. I choose the up direction. A steady twenty minutes of up, up, up and heavy nostril breathing. I coming to a ridge.
I pile a bunch of tree limbs together marking the spot where I have emerged from the side jungle, just In case I need to find it again later. I turn left and continue ascending the ridge. Huge mature pines and spruce are well spaced, with thick roots bending and jostling in all directions. The ground is pounded down by many foot falls.
I take a miss steps and stubble; almost falling. I stop and look back at the root I tripped on as if to scold it. Then issue myself a caution; there is a cliff here, and you do not want to twist an ankle with no one around to help.
I sweep the negativity away and replace it with an image of the view I have come here to see. I hear muffled voices, I train my eyes forward and I am suddenly out of the trees onto a wide open natural deck, on the side of a cliff, with a spectacular patchwork of fields and the Sussex valley below.
The voices become clearer. I see a blanket spread out behind some shrubs, so I shout out, ” hello” just in case they are having an intimate moment. I am so over whelmed by the beautiful scenery, I just stand on this precipice and breath in the view. The couple are picniking. We make small talk about what a fine day for a hike and what a treasure this spot is. ” It is my first time here” I say. My new acquaintances state it is their first hike here too. The lady asks, ” you have an accent, where is it from?”
I reply, ” I am from Cape Breton, but my accent is a little off, it is unique to me. Many folks think it am from Boston. The man asks what part of Cape Breton? I say West Bay, on the Bra d ‘Or Lake not far from Port Hawkesbury. He nods, he is familiar with the area and introduces himself as Fred Lee from down Sydney way. His friend is Vickie from Miramichi.
He has some cousins in Port Hawkesbury, twin sisters and his uncle was formerly a DJ at CIGO Radio Station, now 101.5 The Hawk . I smile and say, “I recall his voice and I went to school with your cousins.” Vickie seems surprised, ” What are the chances?” “I say Cape Breton is a large island, but within it are small communities like Port Hawkesbury; it is easy to know everyone ”
Just them another couple emerge from the opposite side of the trail. They exclaim to us “you just have to go further, the view is worth it”. They are from Cowie Hill, Nova Scotia. “Out towards Spry field”.
We all chat for a while about the good weather, some common interests of hiking, and camping. I tell them I was at Walton Glen Gore that morning, they declare it on their list of must do’s. I ask if someone could take my picture and if we could get a group photo; to prove to my sister, I do meet lots of people like myself, when I am out on my travels.
We trade phones and cameras back and forth snapping pictures of couples and new friends.
It is wonderful meeting kindred spirits. Eventually, we all part ways. Vickie tells me to follow the ridge down to the water tower. Fred agrees it is better, “instead of turning down on the trail, just follow the ridge down to the water tower.”
I am hesitate to veer from the trail I came up on. I have often landed several kilometer from my vehicle doing that and it is quiet unsettling not knowing where my truck is. I take a chance and I am glad. It is an easy wide, mostly straight path so little chance of getting lost. The full trees cast big shadows with little under growth for easy hiking. I do indeed emerge out at a water tower.
I have less than a two kilometer walk on this gravel road back to my truck. I sink the rest of my water, quenching my thirst, then I shoulder my backpack and march out. Passing the time by day dreaming of my excellent weekend in this area of Sussex New Brunswick- Don’t Just Pass Through. My New Brunswick bucket list got a work out with; Walton Glen Gorge, Sussex Bluff, Daisy and Buttercup, all the murals, seven covered bridges, another one of the provincial symposium sculptures, all checked off. I can’t wait to see my photos
There is one more wonderful attraction this place has to offer which I missed but you can read more about it from my friend simplicity200 on her blog about the Atlantic Balloon Festival .
Where shall will we go next? Don’t worry, I always have something excellent planned. Happy travels from Maritime Mac.
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