The Crew: Simon and SherpaJeff
Location: Fundy National Park
Fundy Park Map
Once at Fundy National Park take the Point Wolfe Road 1.0 kms and park just after the saltwater pool area.. The Trailhead is obvious and is titled "Coastal Trail".
December 6, 7, 2008
Simon and I arrived at the trailhead down by the salt water swimming pool at 11am. The plan was to hike in to Point Wolfe via the 10km Coastal trail and camp over night in the cooking shelter located in the Point Wolfe Campground. This shelter is open all Winter and is largely designed as a resting place for cross country skiers. The shelter is quite comfortable with two 4x8 sleeping platforms, a cooking stove, a heating stove, picnic tables, firewood and a privy out back. The Goose River wilderness campsites are open all Winter as well but require an additional 7.9km trek.
The first leg of our trip along the Coastal Trail immediately climbs steeply for a short while before levelling off to a gradual continuous climb for the next 30 minutes. The trail nicely follows the ridge separating the Point Wolfe Road from the Bay of Fundy. You will know you have finished your first climb when the trail is framed by a neat rock out cropping. Simon and I enjoyed this brisk walk and started the descent to Herring Cove. The trail was clear but crunchy as the ground was frozen. I always enjoy the section just before the cove as you get brief views back towards the village and cliffs of Alma as well as the Cove itself. Herring Cove is a popular picnic area that has a great look off and a great tidal beach with interesting cliffs and cut outs. If you choose to, you can go down to the beach and pick up the trail again via a set of stairs near back of the cove. It took us just under an hour to reach this location.
Simon and I stopped for a few pics and moved on picking up the trail on the other side of the clearing. I planned a water refill at the brook there before climbing over the next hill to Matthew’s head. Water from this point on is scarce depending on what time of year it is. There are several small run offs between Matthew’s Head and the end of the trail but they are unreliable. The climb after Herring Cove isn’t very difficult as the trail makes a few wide sweeping switchbacks to get to the top. The descent on the otherside is a bit steeper but doesn’t present any significant problems. We stopped at Matthew’s Head briefly and I took some obligatory photos including some neat ice forming on the cliffs. Simon and I stopped for lunch at the Squaw Cap lookoff…a great place to rest. We arrived here after two hours of hiking. Simon had a half ration of food and I “enjoyed” a spam single with mustard, a fibre one bar, some cheese and crackers and a few small chocolates. It was a nice sunny day but far from bone warming.
After Squaw Cap, there is a pretty section through some immature softwoods before hitting the last 3 or so kilometres to the end. This last section wanders along with very little topography and few views of the bay unlike the first 6 kilometers. You will know when you are at the end as the trail steeply descends via switchbacks to finally arrive at the Point Wolfe Road just short of the covered bridge. Simon and I still had almost a kilometre to go taking the Shiphaven trail and taking some more photos. We arrived at the shelter in 3 hours and 30 minutes with the only substantial break being lunch.
I unpacked everything and set about lighting a fire. There was a two tier stack of wood that was a little green so it took a bit, and a lot of smoke, to get a good fire going. I brought one of my trusty firestarters that I buy at the general store in Alma ensuring a good start. Once the fire was going I found a good water source just behind the shelter and filled up my 6 litre nalgene water tank. Simon and I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon throwing the ball and just enjoying the quiet and the cold! Just after dark I fired up my MSR Reactor stove and made some Knorr Beef noodle soup with meatballs and added some dehydrated beef I bought from the MEC…..a bar….some crackers…..a powerade pack and some candy and dinner was complete. Simon and I hit the hay fairly early after reading some Stephen King (are you crazy out there all alone!) and listening to the MP3 player. I set the alarm for 5am as I wanted to get an early start even if it meant walking out the road in the dark as bad weather was predicted for mid day.
Well I set a new record for breaking camp. I awoke at 3:30 am and struggled to go back to sleep given I went to bed so early…sooo…I got up…packed…ate….swept the shelter and hit the trail at 4am!!!! It was pitch black as I hiked for the first bit using my headlamp. I had an easy 7.2 km jaunt on the Point Wolfe Road and I knew it was easy to follow. I turned the headlamp off and walked the last 6.5kms without it as I was able to make out the edges of the road as well as the yellow line. It was an uneventful walk but if you have never walked for any amount of time in the pitch black it is surreal at the very least. We arrived back at the truck just before 6am and were home in Freddy by 8am to my wife’s surprise just as the storm was picking up momentum.
This was another great trip with my pal Simon. We started the year with this hike back in April and we finished it the same way. As always email me with any questions or comments.