Wednesday 7 February 2018

Planning Summer 2018: Fundy National Park

In the past, we've only blogged trips on Little Rabbit's Planning. After a couple of days of migraine-inducing marathon planning for Summer 2018, I set myself a limit of 1 hour/day and decided to blog the process.

Fundy National Park map, with my hiking choices picked out with mauve dots.

On Sunday 29 July, we plan to spend a full day hiking in Fundy National Park. Planning for it is really a question of picking a suitable hike. The parks in Canada and the USA don't offer many of the kind of long day hikes we're used to. They favor two other models: multi-day back-country hikes with tents and so on, or 'drive-and-stroll' day hiking. Sometimes I enjoy the 'drive-and-stroll' model, sometimes I get frustrated because it feels like 'interrupted driving'. But it is the North American Way, so... here goes. Obviously, all the times are estimates. We'll be adjusting them on the fly. Also, meal planning is in red, because you really have to think about where the next meal is coming from when you travel with Mike. Anyway, I think this will be fun.

  • 7.00 - a full breakfast is included at our hotel. It would be really good if we got in the habit of getting up at about this time and being out of our hotels by 8.30. We will need to make up our packed lunches in the morning or the night before.
  • 8.30 - 9.30 - Drive from the hotel to Fundy National Park entrance inland route: allow 1 hour, 94 km. The entrance fee is $7.80 each. Opening hours are 8.00 to 21.45. NOTE TO SELF: at some point, I need to work out whether a Canadian Parks Pass is going to be better value for us than paying individual entrance fees. At the moment, I'm doubting it.
  • 9.30 - 11.30 - Caribou Plain Trail is a short view of the forest, with either a 0.5 km boardwalk or a 2.1 km loop. The time here includes driving through Fundy, from the entrance to Matthew’s Head trail car park.
  • 11.30 - 15.30 - Matthew’s Head Trail (4.5 km) with picnic and possible extension towards Herring Cove Beach (c.3 km) along the Coastal Trail. The loop has some historical features and a section of the coastal trail walk with cliff top viewpoints. It will be high tide in the middle of the day, so we may not go all the way to the beach, saving time for the Falls and Hopewell Rocks.
  • 15.30 - 16.30 - Dickson Falls Trail: a very short loop trail (1.5 km) on our way out along the coastal road, but the falls seem likely to be worth seeing. 
  • 16.30 - 17.30 - Drive from Dickson Falls to Hopewell Rocks: allow 40 mins, 46 km.
  • 17.30 - 20.00 - Hopewell Rocks. The entrance fee is $10 each but this is a private attraction, not a National Park. Opening hours are 8.00 to 20.00. Low tide is in the evening and the beaches will be accessible from 17.05. If the weather is clear, it should also be a good time for photography. It's recommended to see the rocks at high and low tide, but that won't be an option for us. I have planned quite a long stay here, with time for strolling, photographing, and supper in the High Tide Cafe. This seems like a good plan because many restaurants in Moncton are closed on Sunday night, specifically the ones closest to our hotel. The High Tide Cafe at Hopewell Rocks has some pleasant seafoody options and good reviews, so it seems like our best bet. It also makes for a more relaxed day overall if we don't have to see everything and rush back to the hotel, planning to go out again. 
  • 20.00 - 20.40 - Drive from Hopewell Rocks to the hotel: allow 40 mins, 50 km.

TOTAL DRIVING TIME/DISTANCE: 2 hours 30 mins; c.200 km

What will we do if the weather is absolutely horrible?

The weather could be quite changeable, and the weather at the coast may not match the weather inland. We could try focusing on shorter loop walks while we hope for better things. If we spend much more time in the car, we could detour towards the Cape Enrage Lighthouse along the 915 coastal route. In extremis, we could go museum hopping in Moncton. There are several small but interesting looking museums but they all close by about 17.00.

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