New Brunswick has a funny way of luring me down roads. The next town I haven’t seen is always just five kilometers away, then the next one is only ten more, then my original target location is left behind because I followed the rabbit hole.
I had full intentions of doing my walk in Blueberry Nature Preserve in Westfield to Grand Bay, The Best Of but the day was so pretty and the road free of traffic so I set my sites on Rockwood park in Saint John to see the UNESCO Global Stonehammer Geopark location, but changed my mind and pop over to Rothsay to get a picture of The ARC sculpture and checking it off my list.
However, with that easily done, I still haven’t had my walk and I am looking at the dash clock illuminating 10 :30 am and my mind starts asking, where to next?
I pull out my personal travel play book and look at my notes, I have an address written down for 12 Landing road and no explanation except Park. I put it into my GPS- it states it is only four kilometers away. Why not go to see what there is to do, in the town next door. I exit Rothsay and enter Quispamsis.
I seem to be right in the heart of a busy commercial street, and I think I must have put an address in for a shop or a store in error. I make a turn at the light and drive past the town hall. Indeed a park is right in front of me. A ha, I know what this is, the Art and Cultural Park, it has been on my list to see for a while.
There is a new tidy skate board park with all the trimming, but I see no users on this unusually warm mid-September day. I follow the crushed gravel path towards a hanging garden of purple flowering vines cling to the chained linked fence.
The inclined path goes over a little bridge. There is no water in the decorative stone faux brook below. This oasis is lovely, every level has its own garden bursting with late summer colour. I smile at the little house on a pole; I love the idea of the community leave a book, take a book box. The sculpture Cascade is prominent towards the back of the upper park before the amphitheater. I am glad I came. It was a nice walk about but not enough.
My next address gets plugged in; 31 Meenans Cove Road. It is the location of Mathew Cove Park. Just another six kilometers farther.
It is a sharp hairpin turn down into the park, part of the Trans Canada Trail joins up with the local site trail, making it a popular spot. I slip past a middle-aged women with her arm hooked through the crock of an elder ladies arm. ” Nice day for a stroll” I say as I pass by. The elder lady replies ” oh yes indeed”
It is a short walk around the pond. I stop at each interpretive sign, they tell the story of the restoration of the wetlands and the return of birds, and fish with the regeneration of plants native to the area. I see a Belted King Fisher way out on a man-made nest and I get a grainy picture but it is my first such sighting, I will have to show it on Birding NB website.
Too soon the path ends and I am back in the truck ready for the next location. 199 Model Farm road just another 6 KM up the road and I will find Meenan’s Cove Park.
This is a larger recreation park. A picnic area, a baseball diamond, and a loop of trails through the woods. With the cutest miniature covered bridge and a beach.
The trail is stunning. Wide well-groomed, a fully shaded tree canopy with an occasional peek through the foliage for an unspoiled view of the Kennebecassis river.
Back up from the river bank, I see a doe and her fawn cross the path and head into the bush. They are so silent not a crack from a limb nor rustling of leaves. Just quietly grazing and moving like ghosts.
It was such a joy to witness them, they put a smile on my face. Further up the path I come to a gnarly crocked tree and I think it is the perfect stop for my end of story selfie. I set my timer dash quickly to the exposed roots and take a seat. I am smiling waiting for the flash when I hear this low growl right beside me.
I leaped up and he stayed staring at me. I must have disturbed his sleep. He let me take a few close up shots of him, then he curled back down into the tree to resume his nap.
I finished the trail and went down to the beach. I was warm from my hike and decided September 16th was going to be the latest I had ever swam. I removed my shoes and socks, steeled myself for the impact of cold water as I strutted in and ducked under. It was fresh to say the least but I wasn’t the only one in. I got to chatting with two ladies about how nice the weather was for this time of year. I paddled and bobbed in a small area my shirt billowing in the water as I floated. I told them I had spent a fair bit of time at different swimming spots; it was the Summer Of The Beach.for me
They too had also been traveling around Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick going to different beaches. We shared some favourite spots and then I said good bye, I was getting cold. A quick change of clothing and I was off to find the next free attraction.
Darling Covered Bridge Is another 13 Km, down a narrow road, and a distinct changes in the vibe from town to country.
Now that I was back on the covered bridge kick, my notes tell me there are two more not far away. I am off to French Village covered bridge My GPS says it is just a twelve minute drive and I am off.
I exit highway 1 to French Village road and I am confused the road to the bridge is closed. There are homes on the other side of the closure, so they must have access in and out. I park the truck on the shoulder and walk around the barricade. I spot a women with a young boy walking together. I yelled ” Hello, can you tell me where the covered bridge is?” We walk towards each other closing the gap. She replies, “It was damaged last winter” and with anger in her voice she said “the Department of transportation decided it was going to be too expensive to repair so they dismantled it.”
The young lad points in the direction to where it was and says ” we can go show you what is left” His mom agrees and we start walking around another fenced area and the skeleton of the bridge comes into view with in fifty feet. The young lad says if I go down the bank to the rivers edge I can get a better view. I slide and skid down the bank and take my photo. It is sad when we lose a covered bridge only 59 left.
I ask the lady to tells me about the another one on Damascus Road, She says ” if you keep following the 860 you should find it.” I wave good bye and head out. The afternoon is drawing to a close, I missed the turn off to Damascus road and decided to carry on back towards Saint John and head home.
Within ten minutes, I come to an unexpected road side attraction. In Wells Park Rothsay, there is a soccer field and an over sized soccer ball, that I have to pose for. I have completed the loop of Rothsay to Quispamsis and back again. Visited three parks, hiked three trails, saw two dear, one raccoon and a Belted King Fisher. I swam at another beach at the latest dated I have ever swam in September. I got two Sculptures, one covered bridge and a undiscovered roadside attraction. It was a great day to find myself in Quispamsis.
Happy travels from Maritime Mac