Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Dirt Road Anthem

Note: This is a column I had published in the November 26th edition of the Kings County Record.  I fits rather nice with my previous post about country music. Dirt Road Anthem is a country song that I would often turn up when going on a fishing trip with my son.  Somewhere in my blog roll I have even talked about that.  The roads I discuss in this blog are just a small sampling of what the area in and around Kings County, New Brunswick have to offer.  Hope you enjoy this small taste.
This photo was taken a few years ago on a dirt road near Marrtown NB.  This was taken in late spring after a late season snowfall.  My brother and I were supposed to be fishing that weekend.
Have you ever been out through Jordan Mountain?  Have you ever taken the Mount Hebron Road the whole way through?  I mean the whole way you didn't just stop at the horse farm at the top and turn around.  Recently through my work I took a drive over some of the great back roads between Millstream and Knightville.  It was a truly enjoyable drive mixed with some scenic walking.

This time of year the weather is often cold, wet, and windy.  This is not great hiking, biking, or paddling weather, so driving is a great way to see the country side and we have lots to see.  The drive I talked about above provides some great vistas over farm fields and forests.  The ridges possess rocky outcrops and tall trees while the valleys house clear brooks and fertile farm fields.  There are some great dirt road drives that show off many of the natural surroundings.  I want to lay out my top three for you.

The first drive starts in Norton and isn't truly a dirt road drive but still has some great highlights.  From Norton take Route 124 towards Midland but take a left hand turn on the Dickie Mountain Road.  Make sure to drive slow and look around and if the rivers are high make sure to peek at Almshouse Brook where the falls will be wild.  Cross Dickie Mountain to Route 855 where you take another left until you drive to Route 121 where you take a right and the take another right onto Bloomfield Station Road, then find your way to the Bloomfield Ridge Road.  When you reach the Saltsprings Road take a left and make your way back towards Norton.

Dickie Mountain is tough to top but I think if you take a drive towards Waterford you might be rewarded again.  Waterford in its own right is a jewel.  Keep going though, out the Creek Road, until you can take a left onto Pleasant Lake Road.  You might need a truck for this drive, so drive slow and take in the awe inspiring brook that cascades down this steep valley.  When you reach the top of the ridge take a left onto the Philamunroe Road back Chambers Settlement.  At the Chambers Settlement Road take a right and follow it around to the Cedar Camp Road.  You'll pass by some high rock faces owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  As you take the left turn to stay on Cedar Camp Road you can make your way back to Waterford but be sure to stop at the bridge over Trout Creek and get some great photos.

Now for the drive I introduced in the beginning you'll need to be resourceful as I don't have the space to tell you all the details.  You'll need to know where the Carsonville Road is, once you find it, start your drive at its northern end, say at the Hayes Road, near Millstream.  Then find your way to the Mount Hebron Road being careful on the sharp turns before you get there.  The start of the Mount Hebron Road feels like your driving up someone's driveway, watch out for fences across the road, but don't worry the farmer has had someone drive through it before.  Push to the top of the hill but be sure to look behind you.  From there just drive and explore the ridges in this area.  The Mount Hebron Cross Road, the Jordan Mountain Road, Whites Mountain Road, and the Mine Road are all worth exploring. 

Take a lunch, a spare tire and jack, maybe some extra gas, and simply enjoy.


david cummings said...

Nicely put. I've enjoyed these roads for years. And the Shepody rd from start to finish ( of course you stop for sticky buns in Alma) is always a great drive

Wandering Whalen said...

Dave that drive across Shepody could probably have a blog all it self. I may have to put that up here. Especially if you take off on some of the side roads, Dicks Lake, Crow Brook, etc.