Shed no tears

Trip Start May 16, 2011
Trip End Jul 31, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , New Brunswick,
Friday, June 17, 2011

A bus ride today from Fredericton up to Campbellton, my last stop and last night in New Brunswick before I enter Quebec. 

It's a lovely sunny day as I leave Fredericton travelling north through the inland river valley and forested mountainous interior of New Brunswick, known as the Miramichi River Valley area. The journey follows the highway through dense forests as far as the eyes can see until we meet the river to start criss-crossing it. It is a beautiful tranquil sight with the sunlight glistening on the water. This is where the Salmon is king. A sight of a fly-fisherman wading in the waters, wetting his line, reinforces this fact. It is Atlantic Salmon anglers are after, however according to my Lonely Planet all fish over 63cm must be released to preserve the precious and endangered species.

We pass the Miramichi Trail (it follows an abandoned railway line) at McNamee, where it crosses an lovely old suspension bridge spanning the river. Onwards passed rustic lodges and homes nestled in by the river and forest. Passed pulp and paper mills. We drive through small settlements such as Boiestown and Doaktown. You can really appreciate why lumbering and ship building made New Brunswick in the 1800s. A film "The Log Driver's Waltz" which I saw in the NB Museum springs to mind as I follow this river setting;

Eventually we arrive at Miramichi, which actually turns out to be a cluster of towns all along the river, with names such as Newcastle and Douglastown. More mills (saw and paper) plus bridges over tributaries that join the river here at it's mouth. This is apparently Lord Beaverbrook's boyhood town and his ashes lie under a statue of him here.

Then as we head on north past Bathurst the sunshine is somehow left behind and replaced with thick cloud cover until we eventually find rain and mist in the Baie des Chaleurs as we arrive at Campbellton on the Quebec border.

After a very short walk from the bus station to the hostel (which happens to be a converted lighthouse on the edge of the Restigouche River) I decide I need to get out and stretch my legs the rain.

Campbellton isn't much to look at and from what I can work out doesn't have much to offer either. It seems to be a cross roads where train, bus and travellers stop as they pass on through in all four directions.

The only interest is Sugarloaf Provincial Park and it's Mountain, so I embark upon the 30 minute walk to it and then up it - 400m up. Apparently the views from the top are very good - the town, river, Bay and surrounding rolling hills, however I was greeted with mist at the top and limited views due to the rain.

Back at the hostel and slightly cold, I hook up with three other girls in the dorm who want to experience the local night-life - after all it is a Friday night. With some local advice we locate the first bar and a group of girls dancing to the MacBook disco celebrating a 30th Birthday. Then on to the next where we find a live band and party atmosphere.

It's as I'm sat here when the band start singing "Barrett's Privateers" and I'm singing, clapping and tapping my feet that I suddenly realise I'm about to leave the Maritimes, a place I have fallen in love with.


Some thoughts;
I get the impression I've done the route less travelled through New Brunswick and that the majority just drive on through on their way to/from more popular PEI and/or Nova Scotia.

The National Parks here are just as wild, rugged and as beautiful, as the rest of the Maritimes.

Industrial Saint John was the first place I saw (very) obese Canadians (and on mass), plus teenage mums.

I was introduced to British Loyalists and log driving

The sun came out and I was treated to a few sizzling days (at last)

Irving rules the province
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