Fundy National Park
10-17 July 2016
|Cape Enrage Lighthouse|
If we didn’t book our campsite in advance, we would not have got in, as it was we only had three sites to choose from as we wanted water and electric and the descriptions of all the sites said they had a moderate slope. I don’t like booking sites sight unseen as you don’t know what you are getting (width, height – branches) or what the access is like. Luckily it was pretty level but it was tight to get in. They are pretty private, so you have a green tree vista out every window. Canadian National parks have free WiFi, but unless you are right near where the router is, as in right at the entrance, you won’t get anything. Top priorities as we drive through the entrance are email and the weather. We knew to expect rain this side of the country and we have been pretty lucky, but it seems it doesn’t want to disappoint us. We have had rain for the last four days now and there are a few thunderstorms on the horizon.
High TidesThe tides around the Bay of Fundy are the highest in the world, near the park they are about 12 metres. Across the bay they are 16 metres.
|Alma Pier at high tide|
|Alma Pier at low tide|
There are sets of Red Chairs all over the park in places where you may want to linger. Some people base their trip on visiting all the Red Chairs.
Beaver Watch at Herring CoveOur first ranger talk was on beavers, the Canadian Park's emblem. We know absolutely nothing about beavers and had never seen one. They only noticed this dam, or series of dams recently and this was the first time the talk had been held at Herring Cove. You can see the thick dam walls that rise about 30cm above the water. The beavers have built about three large dams. They chop down trees so that they can chomp off the branches to use in their house building and dam walls. They push the branches which are about 5cm in diameter at a 45° angle to floor of the creek in the direction of the flow of water. Then they push the small branches with leaves up against it and hold it in with mud. The dam fills with water as the water has nowhere to go and eventually all the trees that are within the dam area die as they are drowned. They never use these trees in their building because dead trees are much harder than live ones. They don’t hibernate in winter, so they keep a cache of food in their lodges as the entrances are underwater and the top of the water may freeze over. They can stay underwater up to 20 minutes which explains why their lodges sit above the water line.
|There were lots of Dragonflies and frogs down at the beaver pond, the frogs were so quick you knew but didn't actually see them jump out of sight|
When beavers build dams in people’s back yards a dozer has to be used to dismantle them they are that strongly built, if they don’t move the beaver to another habitat, the dam is often rebuilt within two days. We did see one swimming in the water but as this talk started at 8:30pm, we didn’t even take our cameras. The following photos are from the pond across from the visitor centre.
|The beaver can be very destructive, see the tree on the right, it's been completely sawn off|
|A beaver's lodge|
We had heard there were beavers living in the pond just across from the visitor’s centre, so the following afternoon we went in search of them. They were a bit weary of us at first, but as time moved on, they got used to us and walked passed Lindsay within less than a metre. At one stage we had three of them within a few metres of each other. One of them went up into the bushes and broke off a large wad of foliage and took it back to the waters edge. She then systematically ploughed through all the foliage, pushing the leaves into her mouth like she was a mulching machine. It was so funny to watch. We manipulate our environment more than any other animals, beaver's come in second.
|They are pretty cute|
Fundy Photo Safari
Looking up the Parks activity list we noticed one for a Photo Safari. As we are always interested in other people's point of view we joined up. Brian put this course together as he wanted people to take better pictures of Fundy National Park. I'm not sure if they would learn quickly enough to make this visit count. He was excellent. There were two people there who didn't know much about photography and he went through all the basics. It's always good to revisit the basics. He showed us how to customise our white balance which we have never done. He explained how he works out the best place to focus to get everything in focus. That using f stops higher than f/10 on a cropped sensor or f/14 on a full frame sensor will start to add lens diffraction. I know I can't use f/22 because it's not sharp, but I didn't realise it was as low as f/14. It doesn't mean you can't use these settings, just to be aware of what happens if you do. After our tutorial we went off to a couple of nearby locations to get some shots trying to get something interesting in the foreground to lead you into the picture, it's not that easy.
There are over a hundred kilometres of trails in the parks, so we only chose a few moderate ones. They gave us a good enough work out.
|None of the other trails were this well manicured|
Coppermine Trail was a 4.4km loop that took us along the coast and back through the forest. I don't think going clockwise was the right decision, it was pretty steep in some places. There were quite a few streams that had high banks that we had to run up and down to get across.
Point Wolfe Beach was a 1.2km return - all down hill to the beach. The beach wasn't anything special even with the tide out. It's completely covered with small rocks and the few people who were down here were sitting in chairs. There are some rotting pylons which may have looked good with a bit of water around them.
|Point Wolfe Beach|
|Lots of boardwalks on some trails|
The Kinnie Brook trail was a 2.8km return through forest. Lots and lots of stairs down to the brook which was dry but we did have a nice conversation for about half an hour with some Canadians down there.
|Watch your step|
Herring Cove Beach trail was a 1km loop, down lots of stairs to the beach and back up even more stairs to the other side. We came here to see where the beaver’s were. On the way there we saw a marmot on the golf course as we drove by, but no beavers in the ponds near the carpark. They are nocturnal so we planned to go to the ranger talk on Tuesday night. There is a trail leading down to the beach, with lots of steps. Information boards tell you about how the bay was created by glaciers and show a lovely picture of ice hanging off the cliffs in winter, it was very dramatic.
|I love all the moss|
Dickson Falls is one of the most popular trails in the park and I can understand why. It’s an easy 1.5km loop. You walk on a very long boardwalk up steps, more boardwalk, more steps, through moss covered rocks and rainforest, with a waterfall half way. It was very pretty. We did this one three times, the first time I didn't take my good camera, the second time there wasn't as much water as the first time and the third time was just after it rained.
Milky Way Madness
Milky Way Madness was the title of the Parks activity, so we signed up. We learned a lot about the solar system but he didn't really touch on the milky way, which was what we were hoping. Because of the forecast for low visibility they didn't set up the large telescope, now that would have been something. After hearing about some interesting facts about the solar system and night sky, we joined the mosquitoes outside to check out the what stars we could find. There was a very smart kid who obviously knows his stars that was able to tell our ranger that the Triangle points towards the North Star. Within about ten minutes the fog rolled in and pretty much wound up the night.
Did you know that Saturn orbits the sun every 30 years, so we don't always get to see it? Some of the planets have many moons, not just one like us. If a grain of sand from the sun was 120kms away it would still burn you to a crisp. Some of the stars take hundreds or thousands of light years for us to see them, so they could actually be extinct by the time we are actually seeing them.
One of the must do's in the area is to see the Hopewell Rocks at low tide and high tide. The window of opportunity to walk on the sea floor is three hours either side of low tide. The entrance fee covers you for two consecutive days but Lindsay wanted to have more flexibility as we thought it was going to rain the next day so he got it signed off that we would be able to come back a second time up to the 16th. It didn't end up raining but it was convenient to go back on our last full day.
|Hopewell Rocks at high tide, it was already on it's way out|
The kayakers come around at high tide and while it would be nice to have them in the photo if they were looking at you, not so much when they are taking selfies.
You have to watch those little squirrels. I noticed that one would run under our trailer and jump up out of sight. I'd look under the trailer but couldn't work out where he could have gone. After this happened three times I got down lower and could see an opening, then he poked his little head out. Where could he be going I asked Lindsay. The generator! So we opened the front panel of our big Onan propane generator and there was a nest of bundled up grass, tightly packed in. It was amazing to see how much had been stuffed into such a small space. After pulling out all the grass, Mr Squirrel wasted no time in setting up home again, so we had to constantly empty it. After having it dismantled four times, he finally gave up.