Monday, July 9, 2012

FFP 2012: The Beaches

Looking over the Fundy Coast from Martin Head shows how many beaches could exist here.
This is my last look at my spring 2012 hike across the Fundy Footpath with 3 generations of the Whalen clan who I introduced in the first hike entry - The Hikers.  It was a great trip and one that will be remembered for many years.  The parks, the tidal flats, and the waterfalls, are all notable on a global scale.  For me though, the best thing about the Fundy Footpath is it's beaches.

The beaches are full of a variety of tidal life.
When most people think about beaches they think about warm glistening water and long ribbons of white sand but, typical of the FFP, in this wilderness the beaches are even rugged.  The tides are the highest in world and so the beach changes dramatically every six hours.  With the constant flow of the Bay of Fundy the water never gets that warm and even during a hot day in July it takes thick skin to be able to swim.  If you could stand the water temperature, in order to get to the water you typically have to navigate over large boulders to get there.

Just about every time the FFP crosses a river it comes to the mouth of the Bay to do so.  Each time, the hiker is rewarded with the sound of crashing waves on rocky beaches.  Wolfe Brook and Telegraph Brook each have a steeply sloped, boulder covered beach, where wave watching is an awesome experience, especially on windy days.  At high tide along these beaches you are hemmed in close to the shore and it is hard to find a spot where ocean spray can't find you, but during low tide, you can explore the rock faces and smooth boulders.  Regardless of where the tide is on its cycle, both of these small, unconventional beaches offer something to see and explore.  If your into collecting stones, skipping stones, or as one acquaintance of mine does, balancing them, these beaches (as most FFP beaches) are a stone lovers dream.  If you like scrambling and playing on boulders these beaches are great during low tide as you can find crevices, caves, are passages that are fun to play around.  I like all of this stuff but what I truly love is finding that low lying boulder that has the right slant and smoothness that I can comfortably lean back into it and use it as a chair to watch the waves crash in.

Wolfe Brook has lots of rock and boulders to explore.
The beach at Martin Head is one of the most iconic locations on the FFP.  It is a long beach that resembles the more typical image of a beach, especially at high tide.  The long isthmus that forms the "Head" is very gravelly with well rounded and weathered rocks.  The Quiddy River delta is a mud sliders paradise and is full of thick, slippery, mud.  For those who like to build sand castles, there is lots of sand too.  There is no poor time of year to explore this beach but on long weekends through the summer it can be busy with off-road vehicles who like to use the beach as a camping area.  Why wouldn't they?  It's a beautiful spot to watch the tides and soak up the sun.  With the history of this place exposed at a number of locations it is easy to get lost here.  Your mind drifts over not just the scenes in front of you but also through those you can imagine from years gone by.
Martin Head  can be viewed from a variety of angles, none of which are bad.

A beach similar to Martin Head would be Long Beach.  As it's name implies this is a long beach.  Small airplanes have been known to land here.  There is history here as well, although not as obvious as Martin Head, it can be seen if you know where to look.  At high tide this beach is a long ribbon along the shore where in places it is impassable while at low tide there is an unimaginably wide beach over 2km in length.  The highlights here change after every storm as new drift wood floats in and old rocks are covered over.  It is worth exploring over and over again.

Seeley Beach seems to enhance everything, including fog banks.  How cool is that?
The last beach is probably my favorite.  I try to camp here whenever I can and I have never had a bad night.  Even when the weather is poor, it is like the old saying a bad day at Seeley Beach is better than a great day at work.  On a rainy day the sun seems to glisten off the millions of rocks and make it sparkle like the jewel it is.  The topography of  the beach extends it out into the Bay more than other beaches so you can look north up the Bay over all the ground you have or will hike over if you're hiking the FFP.  If you place your tent right and conditions are perfect, you can watch the best sunrise in the morning while you can count the Nova Scotia lighthouses in the evenings.  I watched lighting one minute here, double rainbows, and storms move up the Bay.  

As I finish this entry up I think about other aspects of the FFP and I've decided that I'll add an entry of photos with captions at a later date.  I hope that these entries have peaked your curiosity and you'll get out there and experience some of the locations I have wrote about on your own.  Happy trails.

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