Our Travels: Exploring the Raw Beauty of Fundy National Park
One family tours the beauty of one of North America’s great natural wonders, just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Celebrating Canada 150 in Fundy National Park
Canada is celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation this year. Of course, there is a lot of planning going on and, guaranteed, there will be much celebrating. We have already been given a sneak peek at one of the gifts being brought to the party: The federal government has announced that in 2017, admission to all our national parks, national historical sites and national marine conservation areas will be free.
I am fortunate that one of these national treasures is only a short drive from my home. Fundy National Park here in New Brunswick has it all, including gorgeous waterfalls, lakes and marshes nestled in 200 kilometres of Acadian forest.
If the ocean is more your thing, you have 12 kilometres of shoreline to explore. The massive tides twice a day mean you can even walk on the ocean floor and gather crabs, sea glass and other trinkets given up by the sea.
Like hiking? Will 100 kilometres of trails do? The national park's website has extensive information on the level of difficulty, length and what to expect along the way for you to plan accordingly.
Canada is well-known for its raw, natural beauty and Fundy National Park is only a small area in our vast system of lakes, rivers, forests and tundras.
How many countries can offer icebergs off Newfoundland, polar bears in Churchill, Man., and whales in every ocean that borders it?
My point is, the doors have been opened to delve into its wonders. You will be amazed at some of the beauty hidden in the deep forests and the rich tales of history from our forts. You will also wonder at preserved underwater formations and shipwrecks in our marine conservation areas.
This was a country built by explorers and risk-takers and we have flourished despite the harsh winters and difficult crossing of vast oceans and lakes that frame it.
I’m proud to say I can trace my roots to the first settlers. On my mother’s side, my ancestor Marie-Rose Colin left France in 1670 to cross the perilous sea. Frightened, but I’m sure brave, she was part of the Filles du Roi, women under the king’s protection who were sent to marry officers to populate this new, wild country.
On my father’s side, the early 1800s brought three entrepreneurial brothers from Scotland to land in Quebec. What a wonder the New World wilderness would have been for them all; quite a contrast to the crowded, smelly towns they would have left behind.
Some of my first memories were of the forest. My childhood was full of summers spent camping and fishing in our parks, while winters were spent snowmobiling, ice fishing and hunting. I am at ease in the woods and often seek its solitude.
An old diary reveals a firsthand account of one young family’s experience emigrating from England to homestead in Canada in the 1800s.
On one adventure, my daughter Amanda and I hiked through Fundy Park for an hour and a half to get to our campsite, coming almost nose-to-nose with a moose. Before we could react, the moose, equally startled, turned and ran, then jumped in a lake to swim across. We watched it climb the opposite bank, thrilled that we had shared this experience together. Later, at dusk, a young couple from Sweden came to our fire and told us animatedly how a moose had trampled through their campsite. They occupied the lot across the small lake from us where the frightened moose had fled to. I smile every time I think of these international tourists, and the story that would be repeated to friends and family back in Sweden—to them, Canada will forever be a cliché of moose running rampant and wild everywhere!
I’m proud of our country and how we have tried to preserve large pieces of it. We need to be vigilant and keep our government in check and accountable. We owe it to future generations so that they, too, can experience the peace of the forest, the haunting call of a loon on a still lake and the awesome size of a female moose.
This year, you will certainly find me exploring our parks, a gift of immeasurable value. I hope you will visit them, too.