Kouchibouguac National Park

We have been trying to upload this post ALL day. We may just have to buy a Canadian data plan to make it through the next several weeks.

In yesterday’s post, Dart is in Kouchibouguac National Park.

The Park is situated on the Northumberland Strait. Prince Edward Island is located on the other side of the strait and is blocking the Atlantic Ocean from direct access to the New Brunswick coast along the strait. The surf is very tame here. Apparently, the water can get warm in the summer. I don’t personally think it is very warm right now, but there were lots of people in the water at the beach. We were the only people on the beach with a tan and our tans have faded considerably since we left Florida.

We saw lots of common terns feeding and took a short video clip but we can’t post it until we get better internet access. There is a colony of common terns nesting on the barrier islands. They recently counted 5,400 nests. The Piping Plovers also nest on the islands but they only counted 8 nests. That’s not good.

0629 Common Tern (1 of 1)

It looks like they are upgrading the campground in the park to add services into more sites. It is a very nice campground. We only have electricity but that works out fine. It is electricity that I like having the most. Our freshwater tank holds a lot of water. We typically dump the gray or black tanks before we run out of water.

There are many trails around and several of them are great biking trails. One biking trail runs along the river. It is level here, unlike Maine. There are several programs run by the park. They do some programs in English and some in French. If you are not bilingual, you must pay attention to which program you are attending.

Although the campground offers free WIFI, it is not sufficient to do much. I had a lot of difficulty posting yesterday and there were only two pictures in the post. Even without the pictures I would have had trouble. There is no local Starbucks available! Although we will try to continue regular posts, we may be limited in our ability to share them with you until we get better access.

Thank you

Just a short post to Say Thank you for reading. Since the start of this trip we have picked up many new viewers from around the world. I hope you find something of interesting as we continue to travel along.

Again, thank you for interest!

Where’s Dart (4)?

0629 Where's Dart (1 of 1)
Where’s Dart (4)? Which Canadian National Park in New Brunswick? On the horizon line are barrier islands.

Where is Dart?  He is in a National Park in the province of New Brunswick in Canada.  Note that there are barrier islands (hard to see) across the water behind Dart.

We crossed the border at Calais and the border crossing was a breeze.  There was only one other car ahead of us.  Otherwise, there was no one else crossing the border.

I noticed an interesting thing about the highway signs.  All signs are in both English and French.  When we first crossed the border, the signs were in English first and French second.  About halfway to our destination, it reversed and French was first and English second.

Canada is beautiful.  The wildflowers were in bloom along the highways, the scenery was gorgeous, and the clouds were magnificent.  It was a beautiful ride all the way to the campground.  Once we got to the ranger station, it started to rain.  While filling the tanks with water (we only have electrical hookups), the skies opened up and it poured.  The rain lightened a little while setting up camp and then completely stopped once we were finished.

0629 Clouds (1 of 1)
Beautiful clouds over New Brunswick in Canada.

We have been listening to mostly French stations while we are driving.  With my many years of French, I still don’t know what they are saying.  I can pick up a word here and there.  I know they said pluie (sp?) yesterday which is French for rain.  It rained yesterday afternoon.  Was that a coincidence?

Dart likes to lay under the motor home when we are hanging around the campsite.  Regis was testing a mosquito repellent* and Dart was lying under the motor home.  At one point he stood up and had that look of discomfort about him.  Regis was wondering what was wrong when a rabbit came hopping out from under the motor home.  The rabbit didn’t care a hoot about Regis and Dart.  I walked or ran by several rabbits since we arrived and they don’t run away.  They may hop a few feet away, maybe.   If I had encountered rabbits like this when I was a child, I would have considered myself Snow White.

After dinner, I took Dart on a walk around the campground.  I felt like the nucleus of an atom.  Instead of electrons circling in orbits around me, they were flies.  Multiple flies flew in orbits around me without crashing into each other.  It was disconcerting and embarrassing.  I don’t see the flies doing this to other campers and I don’t want other campers to think poorly of me because I am surrounded by flies!

*My brother recommended trying Thermocell.  We were not able to get the devices, only the refills.  Off makes their own version and that is what Regis was trying out.  He said it helped.  The only problem with the device is that you are supposed to stay still.  While sitting around the campsite, it is a solution.   For hiking, we are trying Muskol which was developed by a Canadian.  I used it during Dart’s morning walk and on a run.  I remained relatively free of mosquito harassment.

 

Cobscook Bay State Park

0626 Field Antique (1 of 1)
Cobscook Bay State Park

We spent the last week camping in Cobscook Bay State Park and wanted to share some information about it since we love it so much.  This park is surrounded on three sides by Cobscook Bay.  The park has 106 campsites, many of which are situated on Whiting Bay which is a sheltered inlet from the larger bay.  The tides range 24 to 28 feet.  There are lots of tent campsites and most of them are spectacular.  Most of them have water views.  The campsites throughout the park are mostly private.  These are some of the nicest campsites we have seen.  There are no utilities but water spigots and primitive toilets are placed throughout the park.  There are showers and a dump station near the entrance.

0626 Tent Campsite 2 (1 of 1)
Tent campsite Cobscook Bay State Park
0626 Tent Campsite 1 (1 of 1)
Tent campsite Cobscook Bay State Park

We were not able to get a site with a water view.  There are only a few of them for mobile homes.  But, we still love our campsite and can always see the water from many locations.  There are lots of picnic tables that overlook the water.  If you don’t have a water view, you can spend time in the picnic area.  This park is sparsely attended so there are lots of available sites and no crowds.

There is a public boat ramp next to the park.  The nearest towns of any size are about 22 miles away in either direction.  I had to go 22 miles to a laundromat but it was a nice one.  The town of Whiting is about 4 miles from the campground and has a gas station with a convenience store.  The store also sells some groceries (e.g. meats, milk, etc.) and beer and wine.

We are not able to get cell phone service in the park and we use Verizon.  But, we can get access a few miles down the road.  We drive down the road to set up a hotspot to do the blog posts.

We finally managed to go kayaking.  Lovely.  Besides the beautiful scenery there were two cool wildlife events that happened.  There was a seal or multiple seals curious about us and kept popping up to check us out.  We never saw more than one at a time, so we don’t know if it was the same seal or not.  The seal(s) never got too close to us but close enough to see its eyes.

At one point, we heard a sound coming from behind us that sounded like a firecracker that had just been launched.  As the noise went by us we saw that it was a bird.  It was also a bird that was clearly targeting one of two other birds that had been flying over the shore.  We are certain that we witnessed a Peregrine Falcon hunting.  The other birds were onto him and took evasive maneuvers.  The Peregrine was not successful.  That was a once in a lifetime cool wildlife event for me.  The wind noise the bird made by flying so fast was as awesome as seeing it.

As we were launching our kayaks, we had to make sure we didn’t step on the sea stars.

 

Fire tower hike

BY Regis

0626 Fire Tower (1 of 1)
heading to the fire tower

After hiking out to the coast near Cutler, see “Coastal Hike” at landrtravels.com, surprisingly I had some energy left. I set off to check out a hike to a fire tower near the campground. Now there is, in fact, a map of hikes in the area. However the details, like trail name, length, intersecting trails, (which, without trail names is pointless anyway) was sorely lacking.

Video clips can be seen by clicking HERE.

I could see the tower from a clearing near the campsite, so off I went, safe in the knowledge that there was a trail to the tower. I did in fact find a trail head, ominously, across the road from a small grave site.

The trail I started to follow was the cypress trail. Doesn’t sound like a trail to a fire tower, does it? So at a “juncture” where the cypress trail turned left and what looked like the remnants of a road went right, I had a decision to make. Now normal people would follow the trail, me, not so much, especially when a trail to a fire tower was named “cypress”. By my logic the tower would need a road, at least most of the way to the top. Follow the road it was!

With the general direction of “westish” and a definite direction of UP, off on the road I went leaving the cypress trail behind.

After several hundred yards, or more, the “road” narrowed a bit, well quite a bit. It was more a game trail at this point. Based on the size of the “game trail” I was THE biggest game to travel it and I made the trail a bit bigger. It also got soggy with lot of moss. If not careful the next step would be knee deep.

Now what? Go back? Oh Please… not going to happen. Next choice, turn uphill. As seen in the video the first hill was a bust. No tower on it, so carry on.

Farther on I intersected a trail. It turns out to to be… wait for it…. the CYPRESS trail! Oh what a slog!

I followed the cypress trail the rest of the way to the tower and oh what a sight!

Now I don’t remember the exact term used but, “you can hike to the top of the fire tower” rings in my ears. Looking at the tower I wonder how, or why, it is still standing. The Tower seems to be about 60 feet tall, with four sets of stairs. The base set of stairs has either been blown over by the wind or deliberately set askew (fallen over) to prevent use. Farther up I see very sketchy stairs and even sketchier top platform. The tower is also anchored by four guy wires, one of which is laying useless on the ground.

The good news is there are solar panels and a radio antenna on the top. Somebody is using this thing.

Now Its been quite some time since I’ve climbed/scaled a tower. I’m thinking forty years? Hell its only 15 feet to the first set of useable stairs. Even the first ten feet are on the blown over stairs. Thats only about 5 feet of real climbing. I think that was the hardest 5 feet I have climbed in my life!

Most of the rest was ok. Toward the top, with closer inspection, the wood was very weathered. And what was I saying about the tower being used? At about the 45 foot mark a very large battery was left there. It was an AGM and about 80-90 pounds, didn’t look too old either.

Once at the top a look around revealed that this setup was NOT being used. The antenna was fine however ALL the electronics were in a large plastic tub, With the lid off on the “floor” and no glass in the window frames the tub had about 3 inches of water. I would be very surprised if it worked at all.

I don’t know how this could have been used as a fire tower. The top space was about 6×6 foot square. not much room for anything really. Maybe only used to go up and pin point a fire and not keep a watch.

Here are some pic from the top.

0626 View 4 (1 of 1)

0626 View 3 (1 of 1)

 

0626 View 2 (1 of 1)

0626 View 1 (1 of 1)

On the way down I followed the cypress trail ALL the way and it was a bit shorter to the campsite.

 

 

Coastal Hike

0625 Dart and Regis on Coastal Hike (1 of 1)
Regis and Dart on coastal hike.

We went on a hike along the coast today.  The weather was beautiful.  The scenery was beautiful.  What a great day!

We got a couple videos of the wave action along the coast.  Click here for some cool waves.  Click here to see a seal that showed up while I was doing some video.  I think the seal was checking me out.

Dart’s skills and abilities were both an asset and a liability for this hike.  There were lots of portions where logs were laid over boggy areas on the trail.  The logs were covered with chicken wire which helped a lot in making them less slippery.  Dart knows the command “walk it” for obstacles in agility trials.  Thankfully, he was great at walking on these boards over the wet areas.  No dirty paws!

0625 Board walk (1 of 1)
Board walk over bog on coastal hike in Maine.
0625 Board Walk w-chicken wire (1 of 1)
Chicken wire covering board walk on hike in Maine.

He had more trouble walking on the cobble stone beaches.  He tried but it was clear that it was very difficult for him.  He did the first couple beaches on his own, but eventually Regis gave him a lift.

0625 Cobblestone Beach (1 of 1)
This is a beach in Maine. Dart prefers the sandy beaches in Florida.

Once we got to the rocky coastline, Dart had difficulty walking along the huge rocks.  His legs weren’t long enough.  I have confidence in his jumping ability, but we were perched on the edge of a rough coastline.  One slip and he would be swimming with the fishes with no ability to retrieve him.  Regis carried him over the rough areas of the coastline.

0625 Regis carrying Dart (1 of 1)
Dart getting a lift over big rocks on coastal hike in Maine.
0625 Bent Tree (1 of 1)
Tree on coastal hike. I wonder story this tree has to tell.

The locals told us there weren’t a lot of moose around here.  You mostly find them in the interior and further north in the state.  On the way back from our hike around 1:30 in the afternoon, we passed Moose Cove Road and I started to wonder if there were moose around there.  Before I could finish the thought, I rounded the bend and there was a beautiful moose standing in the middle of the road.  It scared the heck out of me.  Fortunately, I wasn’t driving too fast and was able to stop while the moose sauntered off the road.

There are so many mosquitos here that Regis is wondering about something.  Mosquitos apparently need blood to produce the next generation of mosquitos.  But, there doesn’t appear to be enough animals in the forest to produce enough blood for all these mosquitos.  How are they doing it?  This whole mosquito thing has Dart on edge.  Regis and I are constantly clapping our hands as we attempt to be serial mosquito killers in the RV.  They get in and we are often trying to kill those blood suckers between our hands.  Dart doesn’t like all the clapping and hides.  He’s probably becoming a nervous wreck.

 

Tides and Tanks

0625 Whiting Bay (1 of 2)
Whiting Bay in Maine.

We are staying by Whiting Bay in Maine.  The tide changes are 24 feet here.  Regis captured some of it with some video.  To see it click here.   He had many obstacles in his way the last couple of days including rainy weather.  But, he stuck with it and got something.  Notice the two islands on the right in the video to get a better feel for the tide changes.

I also want to mention some of the problems associated with one of the features in our motor home.  A motor home has a black water tank (human waste), a gray water tank (sink waste), and a freshwater tank.  The sensors on our black and gray water tanks have never worked properly.  If you have full hook-ups, it isn’t too bad.  It’s a nuisance but we can live with it.  When you are boondocking, knowing how full the tanks are is important.  We managed to go a whole week on Mount Desert Island on our tanks but did not take showers in the motor home.  There were reasonable showers at the campground.  At our current location, we choose to take showers in the motor home.  Therefore, we know that the gray water tank will fill faster but have no idea the status at any given time.  Regis tells me you will know it is full if the gray water starts coming up through the shower drain since it is the lowest point.  When I wanted to take a shower, he suggested going ahead and if the water stopped going down the drain then I would know the tank was full.  I, of course, do not think that is a good idea.  After that, when Regis was emptying the tanks, he said he was sure they could fit more.  He wants to perform an experiment to figure out just how much they will hold but I am more interested in sight seeing.

I win today.  No experimenting.  We are going on a coastal hike.