Like Canada in general, the province of New Brunswick is large in size and low in population. It encompasses about 27,453 square miles and has a population of just 751,000 people or about 27 people per square mile. The area in and around Hopewell Cape, where we visited, much like Maine, seems to attract many artists. And it’s no wonder, with its beautiful fields full of flowers (lots of lupine flowers), numerous lovely covered bridges, charming old buildings, pretty salt marshes, picturesque lighthouses and spectacular bay vistas. A very bucolic place. The rainy/cool weather continued (this is July!) but gave us a chance to visit some of the many art galleries and see beautiful examples of the local art. Then we moved on to some of the local attractions. The oldest lighthouse in New Brunswick is Cape Enrage, located along the Bay of Fundy coastal route. On a clear day, there is a lovely view of Nova Scotia from the Cape. But the first day we visited was not so clear, and the fog rolled slowly in. In fact, we were not allowed to walk up to the lighthouse because the foghorn, which is automated, started to sound. But since our ticket was good for two days, we returned on the next day.
Cape Enrage is named after the turbulent waters that pass over a reef that continues southward from the island for about a half-mile. It’s one of the most hazardous areas for mariners in the Bay of Fundy and many sailors have been shipwrecked there. The light was established in 1840 and the present tower was built in 1870. Today, it has a fixed green light that is automated, as well as the amazingly loud foghorn. Cape Enrage is very unique in that a few years ago its renovation was taken over by high school and college students as a summer project. Since then, a zip line, and rappelling and climbing equipment have been installed on the property, which has a number of cliffs around it. You can also climb down a stairwell to the ocean at the base of the cliffs, keeping a close eye on the tide clock of course.
The operation is still run by students along with some adult mentors in the summers. The students we met are a very enthusiastic, cheerful and service oriented bunch. They are simply having too much fun!
This cape seems to generate its own weather, and the students confirmed that weather here changes frequently. So we lucked out when the next day was a little clearer. We had a very nice lunch at the restaurant in the old innkeepers’ house watching zipliners out the window. Then we climbed up to the lighthouse and explored the area around it. A little while later, we noticed it was getting a bit foggy and a few minutes later, a staff person arrived to let us know we’d need to climb back down shortly.
The foghorn, which faces the water, is connected to an automated system on the lighthouse that sends a beam out. Once fog reaches a certain thickness, the beam is reflected back and automatically sounds the foghorn. At 130 decibels the foghorn can cause hearing damage if you’re on the ocean side of it. So we walked down and shortly thereafter, the foghorn started. All other operations also stopped due to the fog. But we enjoyed the view, the restaurant and the lesson on foghorns. We also visited Fundy National Park. In anticipation of visiting other National Parks in Canada, this year on the east coast and hopefully next year on the west coast, we bought an annual pass.
We drove through the park in search of moose one evening, alas, no Canadian moose yet. But we scoped out a couple of hikes.
The next day we returned to Fundy National Park to hike up to Laverty Falls, the widest falls in the park, referred to as “curtain waterfalls.” The hike is considered moderate and crosses a number of streams. It goes through some beautiful forested areas with lots of wildflowers. Around the streams there is lots of interesting fungi growing on the trees. Once you reach the falls, there is an overlook from the top of the falls but also a path to a calm area at the bottom of the falls. It was actually a very hot day and there were a number of people in the water, but I only managed to go in as far as my knees. Frankly, it felt wonderful. Hector and I had brought a picnic lunch, and I munched with my legs in the refreshing water. A couple of men with boys around 11 years old arrived, and, as they entered the area where you could look up at the waterfall, one boy said “This is something I’ll always remember”. Well said, young man. Another day we hiked on the Matthews Head Trail and part of the Coastal Trail, which made a loop when combined. This trail promised “breathtaking views of the bay” and it delivered.
There were some stunning views of the cliffs over the water. Many of them were overhanging cliffs – a part which sticks out from the rock face. What’s really amazing is that many of the overhanging cliffs had lots and lots of trees growing on them. Great hike! We also walked down to a tidal estuary called Point Wolfe. Yet another place where there is a giant tidal flat and then a few hours later it is ocean again. So, thinking back on New Brunswick, I must agree with a certain wise 11 year old boy – “This is something I’ll always remember”.