Friday, October 8, 2010

Fighting The Law

Meg and Chris admire the view across the
man made pond as rain lightly falls.
For some time I have had a strong desire to rise up out of my office chair and take the Law on.  All I needed was a simple reason.  It didn't even have to be a good one.  I was anxious and the frustration of being cooped up in my office or at the mulititude of meetings I seem to be taking part in recently had me a bit on the touchy side.  Finally, I had been pushed to far, and I couldn't take it anymore.  I headed out to pick a fight with the law and there was no way the law was going to win this fight. 

Ok so I'm no rebel and the law I'm referring to is the Law Road.  This short, deadend, dirt road, has always spurred my curiosity, with the deep looking ravines and steep slopes.  I was certain, as I spotted it one day while hiking the Piccadilly Mountain ridgeline, that it had some exposed slopes and thus I knew I would have to go investigate it.  I took some work time to explore the headwaters of McLeod Brook, which runs out of the steep valleys in this area, in hopes that I could form an arguement to have these waters classed as an outstanding water through New Brunswick's Water Classification Program.

The small stream that flowed from the deep
valleys where McLeod Brook began.
The weather was not great as the sky was gray and there was constant drizzle.  It was going to take more than that though to keep me and a couple of colleagues from getting out into the woods.  We pulled the truck down Law Road and pulled up to the end of the road.  The road ended near a farm house on the left with a well maintained front lot and some expansive, worn fields, leading out the back.  Between us and the front yard a small stream flowed from the hills in front of us and we were all itching to find out from where it began.

The view over the farm below from atop the rock face.

Before you could sing the tune "I fought the law and the law won" we were on our way up the stream.  In no time we were standing on the shore of a man-made pond glaring through the fog and an impressive three faced rock outcrop.  With the rock staring down on us it made it hard to take the appropriate time to enjoy the pond which had a clear bottom and a green sheen to the clear water.  We took a few pics before heading further up the ravine so we could approach the rock face from the southeast flank.  A short time later we were stopping to take off a layer of clothes as the difficult climb was causing us to heat up.

In no time we had forced ourselves up the hill and pushed through the tree line and onto the exposed west facing rock.  Before us was an grand view that provided a panoramic greater than 180 degrees.  Even with the fog and rain it was a place that you simply had to sit and enjoy.  The massive hulk of the Piccadilly Mountain was west north west and further north was the looming cranes and construction of the new PCS mine while the old mine sat in the background.  The fall colors were just starting to appear and the hardwood ridge to the south west was glowing yellow as the sun played a short game of peekaboo. 

I found my pictures this day looked better if I
focused on the smaller things.

The rock was weathered and the hill was obviously losing its battle with time.  Large cracks and slabs littered the hillside below us and we youthfully tossed stones at various targets.  It was humbling to sit there and play in this large space where time was moving slowly while at the mine site man was frantically moving to exploit our natural resources for the mighty dollar.  It donned on me that no matter how hard we work to control nature, it will never happen.  If this rock face couldn't win then we don't stand a chance. 

We sombrely left the rock escarpment and headed to the top of the ridge to circle the drainage and come down its west flank.  We walked along the edge of a large clear cut and as we did I realized that with this huge scar on the landscape the small tributary could not possibly be considered an outstanding water class.  What was even more upsetting was that the clear cut was on Crown land.  I am not trying to harp on logging companies, there was no laws being broken that I could tell, but it was, I guess an unneeded reminder of the impact we do have on the wilderness.

The moss covered rocks provided some inspiring imagery
and of course I love playing in water.

We dropped off the ridge into the main stream of this small drainage and had some lunch.  I took sometime to photograph the stream a bit and the bright green of the moss on the rocks caught my attention.  Even on the gray day the greens seemed to stand out.  Every now and then a bright red leaf would also catch my eye and I realized that on an overcast day that the small things are easier to photograph than the landscape itself.  This is likely a no brainer for a photographer, but I have never made that connection before as I have never claimed to be a photographer.

After lunch we circled the two other small tributaries and I noted the great diversity of the forest both in species and age composition.  Huge hemlocks with younger spruce and pines were the stalwart coniferous present, while yellow birch, sugar maple, young elm, and a scattering of beech made up the hardwoods.  Before I was ready we were heading down the main stream again towards the truck and I was already planning my next exploration of the Little South Branch Kennebecasis River.

View Law Road Hike in a larger map


Graham said...

Hey Ben,
Sounds like a wonderful area! Thanks for writing about it. I'll have to check it out someday.

Woolsey said...

Thanks for your rain post, I wondered if my bridges might still be in and now I'm really curious about Saunders bk in Quispamsis by the qplex, which drains fills lickity split. AND thanks for the revist of the tricky-most part of my hike from alma to picadilly, connecting the Thompson with the Law . I remember remarking that the pond was quite the mineraly-looking colour.