Sunday, June 3, 2012


Monday: St. Stevens, New Brunswick, Canada. We traveled to Calais, Maine. Since we didn’t want to hang out at Wal-Mart with nothing to do all afternoon, we went to St. Stevens to see Chocolate Museum which was established by the Ganong Brothers in 1873. (Yes I bought something, white chocolate almond bark.) We also took a beautiful walk along the river. Too bad it was foggy. I’ll bet it’s even more beautiful on sunny days. We’re in Canada a little early for the summer vacation season. We’ve been beating the crowds so far, but when we get back to the USA, that will be over.

Tuesday: We drove to Campobello Island in NB. FDR spent most of his summers there from the time he was 1 year old. After he went into politics, he didn’t spend all summer, but visited as frequently as possible until he was struck with polio. He only visited 3 times after that. I learned a lot about him and his wife Eleanor. It’s a beautiful place. I hope the weather is better tomorrow.

Wednesday: It rained all night with thunder and lightning, but at least it wasn’t windy like the thunderstorm in Arizona. Today we drove to the other end of the island to East Quoddy Lighthouse. In this part of the country, high tides are very dramatic because two land masses concentrate the water in a smaller area (think pouring water into a funnel). The lighthouse is only accessible at low tide when a rocky shore is exposed. The first part of the path was over boulders most of which were covered with extremely slippery seaweed. After we walked across the more stable rock walkway, and up a ladder, there was an even greater expanse of those slick boulders. Since it was yet another foggy day, we decided not to go over to the lighthouse—too much effort and hazard for no view. We also went on a long hike. The landscape was spectacular, but still no view when we reached the lookouts. Oh well, that’s part of the adventure.

Thursday: More beautiful landscape and two easy if long hikes before we left Campobello Island and back to Calais for another Wal-Mart night.

Friday and Saturday: We started with a hike in the Irving Nature Park, finally clear enough to see the bay from outlooks, stupendous. We visited the Carleton Martello Tower St. John which was built to protect the then British subjects from the American invasion during the war of 1812. It was finished about the same time the war was over, so it wasn’t used, but it became a tourist attraction until the depression. It was pressed into use as a look-out station during WW II, thus the cement part on top.

The most fascinating thing we saw was Reversing Falls in St. John, New Brunswick (sometimes called Reversing Rapids) Friday afternoon at low tide, and Saturday morning at high tide. The St. John River flows toward the open ocean in whirls and over rocky ledges as it meets Fundy Bay. High tide is about 28 feet, so the opposite happens; the tides overcome the river flow, and moves up-river. This happens to a lesser degree when any river meets the ocean, but in New Brunswick, it is the most dramatic in the world. I paired the pictures below—taken from close to the same place so you can see the dramatic difference. (We took the pictures about half an hour before low tide, and an hour before it reached full high tide, but the difference is still quite clear.) I’ll have even more on this phenomenon next week.

Notice the flow of the water at low tide is from left to right.

Here the flow is from right to left in the same spot.

Saturday continued: We drove along the Fundy Trail this afternoon: A clear sunny day and gorgeous views. We took a few short hikes including one over the suspension bridge. The whole thing is 13 kilometers. When we started wondered what we could find to do to spend 3-4 weeks in Canada so we don’t get to Palmyra, NY more than a couple of days before July 13 for the pageant. Now I’m wondering how we can see what this grand country has to offer and still make it on time. We won’t. Just like everywhere else. There is too much to see and do. Americans don't pay enough attention to our Canadian neighbors. Come explore!

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