The Bay of Fundy is known for extreme tides, of up to 50 feet, but as per all tides throughout the world, they vary depending on the relative positions of the sun and moon and their resultant gravitational pull on the oceans. Our schedule on this tour of North America had a number of drivers that didn’t include the local tides, so unfortunately our few days at the Bay of Fundy did not coincide with the maximum tides. Regardless, we enjoyed the experience and it whetted our appetite for a return visit.
We stayed at Chignecto North Campground in Fundy National Park, expecting bare bones camping, we were pleasantly surprised. Pulling into our pull through site we found it long and level, with full services. Bonus features were excellent free wifi and even a small laundry. Way better than our previous Parks Canada experience in Banff.
The only drawback is isolation, with Moncton about 50 miles, Saint John about 80 miles and the closest grocery store about 25 miles. With only 3 days and tons to see, what are our priorities? Well day # 1 was taken up with that dreaded “S” word, yep you guessed it – shopping, or more specifically groceries and diesel.
The WiFi wasn’t working on day # 1, so we also took Andy’s laptop and Judi’s fruit (Apple thing) should we find a Tim Hortons. Departing the campground we took Hwy 114 to Hwy # 1 and spotted a few examples of the first vestiges of Fall colours. A very interesting highway that we will negotiate with the 5th wheel in a few days – lots of corners and a few hills of about 10% grade.
Basically we found a Tim Hortons to get caught up with email, world news, etc a grocery store and filled the truck. After yesterdays drive from Nova Scotia, it was a rather pleasant quiet day.
Day 2 – Scenic Drive
After yesterday’s quiet day, we planned to head out for a scenic drive along the coast as far as Hopewell Rocks. We considered heading back to Moncton, but at 50 miles each way it just wouldn’t give us much time for stops.
We departed the campground and headed left on Hwy 114, downhill towards Alma. Within a couple of minutes we saw a sign for a viewpoint, so decided to make it our first stop of the day. Now this is a quality view point, with 4 comfortable Adirondack chairs well placed affording excellent views of the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy. Our initial thoughts were that crime must be non-existent, as in Greater Vancouver they wouldn’t last more than 1 night.
View of Bay of Fundy at National Park Viewpoint
Suitably impressed with our first stop, we continue down the hill towards Alma, which is a small fishing village situated at the entrance to the National Park. Approaching the time of low tide resulted in a huge expanse of exposed beach.
Alma Beach at Low Tide on Dull Overcast Day
Once clear of Alma we turned onto Hwy 915, or the Fundy Scenic Drive, which is good for the truck, but certainly wouldn’t want to use it with the Redwood behind us. Although close to the Bay of Fundy, it actually affords very few good water views, being predominantly forested. The road is also rather rough and has a few good grades.
This is from the initial section, which is entirely inland, with no views of the water.
Fall colours on the Scenic Drive
Our first glimpse of water was at Dennis Beach, which is part of the UNESCO designated Fundy Biosphere. Unfortunately, it is well treed between the road and the beach, so onward we continue to Waterside Beach, which is a continuation of Dennis Beach and also part of the Fundy Biosphere.
Waterside Beach – A UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve
Continuing with our scenic drive we ventured onto Cape Enrage Road, a 4 mile journey along a paved logging road to the lighthouse. At the bay prior to the lighthouse we spotted a nice secluded beach, which was empty and an excellent opportunity to run the dogs, especially Kona, the German Shepherd puppy.
The photograph doesn’t do justice to the height difference between where we parked at the top and the sandy beach. The rocky area actually has 2 distinct fairly steep grades down to the sand.
Really they are playing, Kona, the GSD, has run about half the length of the beach straight at Duke, our old Lab. As he heads to the GSD, she has literally jammed on the brakes. They had a great time running on the sand and even Duke, the mobility challenged pensioner joined in the fun, at times actually chasing Kona.
Dogs taking a time-out from running on the beach. Once off the rocks and onto the beach, it was gently sloping to the water.
The Nature Preserve was the first area in Canada to be donated for conservation under the Ecological Gifts Program. It is a salt water marsh with abundant migratory bird staging, feeding and resting areas.
Once we tired out the dogs, especially Kona, the GSD, we continued to the Cape Enrage Lighthouse. As the area is operated by a non-profit society and they have a kiosk at the gate to collect a charge of $5.00 fee per adult.
View from Zip Line Tower looking up Bay of Fundy
With the entry fee and volunteers on hand, we were finally looking forward to a lighthouse tour in Eastern Canada, but yet again were disappointed. To make up for the lack of access to the lighthouse they are trying to make it more attractive by adding a Zip Line – survived a few of the in various areas of the world and frankly this one was seriously boring, with only a single line. They also had a restaurant and gift shop.
Cape Enrage Lighthouse looking across to Nova Scotia
Cape Enrage Lighthouse & Fog Horn
As a fully automated lighthouse no access is provided to the public, surely the Canadian Coast Guard maintains the structure, so we have to question the access fee for the stated purpose of restoration.
Andy at windswept Cape Enrage
Having seen the lighthouse, we continued our scenic drive, which required retracing our route along Cape Enrage Road back to highway 915. We completed the scenic highway without any further stops and on approach to Riverside-Albert decided to look for somewhere to have lunch.
Broadleaf Guest Ranch is just outside Riverside-Albert and had good reviews on Trip Advisor, so we planned to check it out. Driving in, we found the restaurant, but found it locked up and no notice of opening times. Must be closed for the season, and over the next few days this would not be our only closed experience. Oh well, lets try Hopewell Rocks.