Monday, September 30, 2019

Dobson Trail kilometer 10.8 to kilometer 27

We awoke this morning to the sounds of a pack of dogs barking and braying as they chased something down a little distance from our campsite.  Unfortunately their chase took them through our campsite which led to two of them tripping over the wires pegging our tent and tarp down.  Evidently hunting season has begun. When we emerged from the tent we discovered our trail Angel had already departed with the first light of day as she had planned.

It was a sunny morning, but there was a definite nip in the air. As we washed up and packed down our site we were really quite chilled and eager for the sun to emerge. The irony wasn't lost on us when throughout the day we sought out patches of warmth along the trail. Only a few weeks ago we were seeking shade and silently cursing the relentless heat of shadeless roadways.

We spent the day basking in another beautiful day on the trail. Today it took us through stands of deciduous trees with bright red, yellow, orange and green foliage, and under stands of dense, dark green conifers. We also traversed sections of white pine, and passed some enormously tall spruce and fir trees.


About half an hour after setting out we were navigating a rather muddy stream crossing when an extremely large and exuberant puppy came bounding up. It seemed like he was spring loaded, since he jumped as high as our faces, barking and trying to nip. We managed not to fall into the stream mid crossing, and the owner soon showed up to manage his dog.


A bit later in the morning we stopped to admire a truly gigantic white pine that must have been 3 meters around, and towered high above the rest of the canopy. Someone had built an unofficial campsite at the base, and just past it we spotted a geocache! I happily signed the log book, only to discover that I couldn't log it because it was a premium cache. Too bad.

For much of the day we took it slow, taking lots of photos and enjoying the small things along the trail, like the colourful caterpillars, the diversity of mushrooms, some of which were enormous, and the remaining blackberries. We didn't get too far today, but after so much road walking, we sure enjoyed being immersed in nature once again!


For the last few kilometers of the hike today we walked along a gravel road. It offered a beautiful views over forested hills, and some easier walking. While the forested footpath is wonderful, our pace is much slower on it, both because we are enjoying it, and because picking our way over muddy patches, swamps, and stream crossings is time consuming.


In terms of birds, the day was quiet. As we left the campsite we listened to a pair of American Crows going through a very complicated and creative repertoire of sounds. Throughout the day we heard the occasional crass calls of a Blue Jay, the quiet chatter of Black-capped Chickadees, and the toy horn honking of Red-breasted Nuthatches. As we crossed the paved road and a bridge where two streams joined to become one, we spotted two female Common Mergansers. Otherwise, it was a quiet day on the trail.


The gravel road eventually met with a paved road, and after crossing it we began to climb. We followed a path beside a river for a few kilometers until we came to an unofficial but established campsite. Our tent is on the side of the stream, tucked into a little campsite on the side of the trail. It is a peaceful spot, and as the temperatures plummet once again we are falling asleep listening to the water.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

Dieppe to Dobson Trail kilometer 10.8

This morning arrived with cool temperatures and cloudy skies. Having spent yesterday largely resupplying, preparing for the Dobson Trail and discovering regional Acadian history reading about the Founding of the Younger Trahan Settlement we woke up today ready to get underway.

As we made our way along the shores of the Petitcodiac River there were many people out walking, running, and jogging on this Sunday morning. The Riverfront Trail is well landscaped, and there are many interpretive signs, memorial parks, and gardens along its length.

On one side is the city of Moncton, and on the other is a less developed tidal flat. We enjoyed the artwork along the path, as well as learning about the history of the early settlers and Acadians in the region.


As we crossed the Gunningsville Bridge, which gave us a panoramic view of the cityscape of Moncton, a Bald Eagle swooped low over our heads. Hopefully this was a good omen for the upcoming Fundy Footpath.

From the bridge we traversed a small tunnel under the road, and climbed a long hill up into Riverview. The trail followed what looked like a city bypass, which was bordered on both sides by trees. The slogan for Riverview was 'a good place to grow' and it felt like in a few years the area might be full of houses. For now, it was forested, and we thoroughly enjoyed the fall colours as we walked.


When we reached the Dobson Trail it was like stepping into another world. We found ourselves on a winding footpath that threaded through a beautiful mixed forest. The conifers were interspersed with maples and white and yellow birch whose foliage was brilliant yellow, red, and orange. The ground was mossy and damp, and there was a constant rain of coloured leaves.


The first few kilometers were busy with hikers, trail runners, and families out for a Sunday walk. We exchanged many pleasant greetings and stopped to chat with a few dog walkers.

After about 5 km the trail became less busy and a bit more rugged. It was still stunningly beautiful as it followed beside a meandering brook. The fall colours were reflected in the dark, burbling water, and the sun seemed to set everything aglow. We made slow progress as we stopped to take photos and bask in the beauty.


As we got a bit farther along we had to pay attention in order to stay on the trail. There were quite a few downed trees across the trail, and many areas were marshy and wet. In some places the trail was overgrown enough where it was difficult to see, although with some searching a blue trail blaze was usually visible. Another challenge came when crisscrossing the ATV and logging trails. It wasn't always easy to see where the trail picked up on the far side.

One of the fun parts of the trail was crossing the streams and rivers on various types of bridges. Some were quite well established, while others consisted of a single log, or several logs with a thin rope for assistance.


Between kilometers 7 and 10 the trail got quite marshy. It was a bit time consuming to pick our way around the puddles and small lakes, but we were still enjoying being back in the forest once again. We feel like we have been in built up areas for so long now, that we are really enjoying being in the forest again!


We decided to stop at the established campsite just after kilometer 10. It had a picnic table, a fire pit with benches (!), and a privy.

What luxury! Shortly after setting up our tent we were joined by Kim, another hiker. From this lovely lady we received two amazing gifts. First, she had just finished the Fundy Footpath, and shared lots of useful pointers using both her photos and our map. Second, she offered us a Skor bar. Chocolate is amazing trail magic any time, but when it has been carried by another hiker and then given away, that is something special indeed. She was also an accomplished hiker, with many interesting stories to share about her adventures on the Appalachian Trail and the East Coast Trail. We spent a lovely evening chatting together around the campfire. It was a wonderful ending to a beautiful day!