Grand Manan

It would appear I didn’t get up to much the weekend after my backpack. On the Saturday I went for an outdoor swim and a walk around Wolfville. On the Sunday I went for a run. Other than that I have no idea what I did so I doubt it was very exciting!

So onto the next weekend when I did do something exciting. I went to Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick. This was on my list of places I wanted to see in New Brunswick but was a long drive and then a ferry ride away. Given the time it would take to get there I would have ideally gone for a three day weekend but I wanted to squeeze it in before I left Canada so decided to go Friday evening and come back Sunday evening. The drive round took a little longer than I was expecting but I still managed to make the ferry in plenty of time. As by now pretty much all campsites were closed for the season I ended up staying at the Castalia Marsh Retreat. It was very cool and quirky and I’d totally recommend it if anyone ever visits Grand Manan. I stayed in the Birdhouse and the view across the marsh was pretty cool – even if there were no birds at that time of year. I did see a deer on the Sunday morning though.

Saturday, after a fairly slow start to the day, I went on a long 12.5 mile (20km) hike around the north of the island. The first few miles weren’t terribly exciting as they were walking across the middle of the island on often muddy and wet tracks. There was meant to be a view point along a short side trail about half way across but I never found the viewpoint. Not sure if that’s because the trees had grown enough that there was no longer a view or whether fallen trees had blocked the trail enough that I never reached the view point. Either is a possibility.

The trail hit the coast near Money Cove. There was meant to be a trail down to it but again I never found it. I went quite a way down one trail only for it to dead end and I decided that I best carry on rather than carry on exploring unmarked trails. I did however take a picture of me with the sign to Money Cove and not long after there was a nice view of it from the cliff top so I took a picture of me with the cove in the background. So hopefully no complaints from Sarah this time! There were some more nice views from along the trail as I continued along the cliff top before reaching a trail down to the beach. Down on the beach it was all a little bizarre with quite a few deserted and run down cabins. I could see no way there had ever been road access to the beach so I’m still not really sure what they were for.

The trail continued along near the cliff top, but often in the trees, until eventually reaching a few houses and a lighthouse. After this it was back into the trees – with the odd view of the ferry to the island – before reaching a waterfall. It was quite a small one and quite pretty although both time and the terrain meant that I didn’t have as long as an explore as I’d have liked – there seemed to be more small falls further down the stream. Towards the end of the coastal bit of the hike there was another, much higher waterfall, over the cliff edge but getting a decent photo was difficult. After that it was mostly just getting back to the car, although there was a duck pond on the way. Photos of the day are here.

Sunday the weather was not as nice and was meant to be getting worse later in the day so I decided to do some exploring rather than another long hike. I started by going to an overlook over Dark Harbour (photos). It was a short little hike and the views were quite nice although I think the views from the day before were nicer. Next I hiked the short Red Point Trail (photos). Apparently this was where two different rock types met but there was nothing that spectacular there. Next up was a hike to a ruined lighthouse on a small island accessible at lowtide. A nice man gave me a couple of other people a lift across in his truck as the water was not quite lower enough yet for walking across. The lighthouse was even more ruined than the photos I’d seen and was again nothing too exciting (photos).

At this point the weather was starting to look like it would crap out quite soon – it had already tried raining a few times – so I decided to get the earlier ferry. I did however have time to go and see the Swallowtail Lighthouse (photos). This was in a nice location and quite picturesque although the wind meant it wasn’t somewhere I was going to stay very long. Just as I was leaving the lighthouse it started to rain so there’s not much else to report – I did take some photos on the ferry. It was a very enjoyable weekend – I really enjoyed where I stayed, the hike on the Saturday was really enjoyable and I made the most of the Sunday – so I was very glad I had decided to go.

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