Fundy Footpath Day 4
Goose Creek to Goose River - Wednesday, August 24
Despite an overnight forecast that called for a 60% chance of showers, it appeared (as far as I could tell) to have not rained the entire night. Granted, with the humid air and lack of sunlight, everything was still damp. Certainly the various bits of gear and clothes we had hung to dry under our big tarp were still pretty damp. Still, it was heartening to get a sense that the bad weather was moving on. Not only was it much more pleasant to hike without rain, but rain and clouds and mist meant missing out on potentially great views.
Morning at Goose Creek
As we progressed through breakfast, a solid low overcast and mist started to break up, and in fact, we started to see patches of blue. Chris and I ventured out onto the nearby barrier beach to get a good look at the very beautiful surroundings here at the mouth of Goose Creek. We had a beautiful line of sight over to the tilted outcrop of Martin Head (now to the west of us), and at the eastern edge of Goose Creek's mouth, a craggy outcropping of bedrock looked for all the world like a old man's face profile (similar to the now-fallen Old Man of the Mountain at Franconia Notch in the state of New Hampshire). The mouth of Goose Creek itself is quite beautiful, with an extended area of marshy tidal estuary tucked behind a long barrier beach. The open marsh of the estuary extends quite a way inland from the coast. With the low cloud deck half-burned off, it was a very pretty, very ethereal scene.
Misty Goose Creek morning
Martin Head from Goose Creek
Given the nature of the remaining potential campsites between here and the eastern end of the Fundy Footpath at the Fundy National park visitor center in Alma, we had one of two options: stretch and make a fairly long journey all the way to the campground at Point Wolfe in Fundy National Park, or push as far east as possible without entering into the national park. That second option would mean a short hop over to Goose River, which forms the boundary of Fundy National Park (I know, super confusing that we were at Goose Creek and there's another thing to the east called Goose River... and you'll be further confused to know that Goose *creek* is actually a much bigger river than Goose *river*. Really their names should be reversed. Or just call them something different entirely. But I digress...)
Anyhow, it was only Wednesday, and we had plenty of days remaining to use up (all the way to and including Saturday, in fact). So, we decided to opt for the short hop option. And so, that was why we were only packed up and ready to depart just before 9 a.m. No need to rush and deprive ourselves of a little sleep for a short eight kilometer hop to Goose River.
Setting off from Goose Creek
The Fundy Footpath heads north along the left (western) edge of the Goose River marsh/estuary, in order to avoid crossing a large area of tidal flats that would be super mucky at low tide and probably impassable at high tide. There seems to be two variants to this section - one an indistinct path along the edge of the marsh grasses, and another more formally blazed path just within the woods. We chose the latter in order to avoid the still very wet grasses, which would have had us soaked from the waist down in no time. After about a third of a kilometer hiking up-valley, clear signage (both quite old and very new) indicated that we were to now make our crossing of the estuary and the water course.
Even at this point - a third to a half kilometre upstream from the coastline - it was clear that we were not quite above the high tide line. Fortunately, the tide was still well out at this point and posed no risk to us. The flow of Goose Creek was braided here, and we were able to hop and otherwise avoid most of the flows, save for the last and largest one, where we decided to switch into our water shoes. Like all of the other brooks and streams and rivers so far, though, the flow was very modest, and we probably didn't have to wade through anything that was more than ankle deep.
Post-crossing footwear change
On the far side, in addition to our swap back into hiking boots, we took an early morning break. Very nice view here of the marshlands, the valley, and the little tilted form of Martin Head, still visible poking its head above the barrier beach at the mouth of Goose Creek.
After donning our hiking boots, we followed the Fundy Footpath as it immediately entered the woods and began a generally moderate, gradual climb. Nothing like the much more extreme ups and downs of the twenty or so kilometres east of Seely Beach. Once again there were some delightful little sections of path through verdant ferns and plenty of soft, pine-covered forest floor upon which to hike.
Another idyllic plateau section
For about three-and-a-half hours, we hiked eastward over quite moderate terrain, rising gradually to a maximum elevation of about 650 feet ASL (200m), then mostly gradually descending down to a beautiful little rocky cove at the mouth of a watercourse known as Rose Brook. By this time the sun had come out more completely and was quite strong and warm. The wide open gravelly beach (this place is also known as Azors Beach, by the way) seemed like a very attractive place to have a nice long lunch and dry-out break.
Ah, but was lunchtime at Rose brook a delicious experience.... We carefully hung as many bits of damp stuff to nearby branches and spread out on the ground, then enjoyed lunch in a warm, bug-free environment (yet another spot with no bugs - fantastic!). Then, afterwards, a long, long deep relaxation on the warm gravelly sand, with the only sound being the slight lapping of tiny waves. Maybe we should just crash here for the day, I thought. It was that nice.
The other man in the mountain
Unfortunately, and reluctantly, we gathered all of our things (which had happily mostly dried out) and made ready to continue eastbound. The objective was still the spot where the footpath crosses the Goose River and into Fundy National Park, now less than three kilometres away. Piddling, really.
Tucked under a fallen log near where the Fundy Footpath continues east from Rose Brook, we located another of the so-called Magic Hiker boxes, using an ammo box very similar to the one we came across near Quiddy River. We rummaged around in it for a bit, marvelling at how people are able to find surprisingly cool and useful things to put in them, including in this case, Fireball Whisky, camp fuel, and toilet paper, among other things. We already had the can of Island Red PEI beer from the first magic hiker box and so did not pilfer anything from this one.
From Rose Brook, the Fundy Footpath led up in a set of tight switchbacks (but the overall the grade was quite gradual) to the top of the headlands, which was once again right around 500-ish feet (175m) above sea level. The switchbacks themselves were not that great quality-wise, sometimes dipping downhill, routing strangely around obstacles, and fashioned in a way that almost encouraged cutting. It felt like this slope could stand to have some trail modifications made to it.
Also on this climb we passed the big, bright, 40 kilometre trail marker. Forty kilometers since we left my brother Carl and headed eastward on the Fundy Footpath. Forty kilometres meant we were pretty much at the two-thirds mark. And the remaining terrain between now and then did not appear (on the maps and guides at least) to look all that difficult. Seeing the big four-oh sign also made me realize how much I was enjoying these big kilometre-markers. They were congratulations to a job well done; a marker of progress. There also were an encouragement to continue onwards. I wish more long distance trails did this as well as this one was doing. And I was looking forward to the numbers increasing (hopefully) all the way to that 60+ kilometre endpoint.
The Big Four-Oh
The section of Fundy Footpath from Rose brook to Goose River could have charted a beeline across the rounded headland between the two locations. The footpath designers, however, had aesthetics in mind, and the path instead bent southward and descended slightly to a lookout above the coastline. And a very nice lookout it was, back west along the tens of kilometres of coastline we had traversed over the last few days. Some elements of mist from the previous wet weather were still in evidence, accentuating and highlighting the indentations in the receding coastline. Very nice.
Fantastic Misty Coastal View
Fantastic Misty Coastal View
Beyond the lookout, the trail climbed back up again to the flat terrain on the top of the headland and crossed some more very nice sections of moss and fern-floored forest. We then seemed to align with what appeared to be a very overgrown old forest road, which resulted in the path feeling a bit wider and straighter. The footpath uses this old forest road to descend gradually towards Goose River, which we arrived at shortly after 4 pm.
We chose this spot on the western banks of Goose River as our fourth day's camp for a good reason: on the other side of the river was the beginning of the territory of Fundy National Park, and at-large camping (or any camping without reservations) is not allowed. This spot allowed us a well-positioned launch point for the next day's hike across Fundy National Park to the one place where we did have a reservation - at the park's Point Wolfe Campground.
Anyhow, back to Goose River. Although it is not clearly stated in some guides and on most maps, we had heard that there was an ad-hoc camping area right here adjacent to Goose River, and as we arrived, sure enough, there it was - a large clear flat area a few metres from the footpath and the river, complete with a campfire ring. And fortunately (because there's always the chance for disappointment with a first-come/first-serve system), it was empty - and therefore ours to use!
Even though we had experienced a mostly dry and often sunny day, the forecast did have a chance of showers in it, so we once again raised our big tarp and stored our gear underneath it. We spent an inordinate amount of time attempt to rig up a food hang here (this camp area doesn't have an official trail privy nor food hang rigging), even to the point of Jenn having to climb high up a tree in order to free a stuck rope.
Other than the food hang drama, it was a pretty chill evening at camp. We had arrived at a nice early hour, so we had plenty of time for setup, cooking, eating, marshmallow roasting, all accompanied by lots of conversation. Unfortunately, and unlike all of the other camps thus far, this place was pretty buggy - to the point where several of us put on mosquito netting to keep the buzzies at bay.
Day 4 - Goose Creek to Goose River - Hike Data
(Track color: )
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet